European Travel

London Calling

Are you considering a vacation to London or another European destination? If so, Amanda Watkins Travel knows all of the best places and can add the best perks. Learn more about AWT or get started planning the vacation of your dreams.

London is the perfect spot for first-time visitors to Europe and families who want to test their kids' "travel strength" by jumping the pond. An added plus is that many cities offer direct, overnight flights into London! If you add a heavy meal, movie and a snooze, the flight passes quickly.

Luxury family European travel is one of my specialties. I have planned countless trips abroad for both my own family and many clients, but here I want to focus on London. The city, itself, is a great mix of history and modernity and has so many options for exploring. My family loved it. While each and every itinerary I create is highly bespoke and carefully curated, here are a few of my "must see" activities in "The Smoke:"

Amanda Knows Best: What to do in London

Private Tour of the Tower of London

Yes, it’s pricier than going at it at your own, but if you want a riveting account of this castle turned prison, see the jaw dropping crown jewels and receive a true education, a private tour is the way to go. AWT has access to some amazing guides who can truly bring your experience to life with historical antidotes your kids are sure to remember.

Tower of London

Sherlock Holmes Tour

Want to really engage your kids? How about a walking tour in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes where your family is engaged in a game of Clue - tracking down London’s most famous real or fictitious criminals?

Sherlock Holmes tour

High Tea

What is more English than afternoon tea? Fortnum & Mason is a favorite for traditional fancy tea, and don't miss the posh and sophisticated vibe on the coral velvet sofas at Sketch.

High Tea in London

Walking Tour of Royal Westminster

A great way to orient yourself to the city is a walking tour of Royal Westminster.  If the budget allows, my private guides can usher you past the queue for an unforgettable  (and very exclusive) behind the scenes experience at the Changing of the Guards.

The above picture is team Watkins posing with one of the Royal Guardsmen. The kids even got to try on his hat! And, ok, maybe I did as well.


Get Your Naan On

Most people think fish and chips, mushy peas and baked beans when it comes to English food. British cuisine does not have a historically great culinary reputation, but this has significantly changed in the past decade. Indians make up the largest ethnic group in England and great curry (and naan- Indian pita-like bread) can be found everywhere from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. Many curry restaurants do not allow children, but some do. Let me recommend a few of the best ones.

Imperial War Museum

For war history buffs, the Imperial War Museumis a must-see. This free museum chronicling war in the last century is so fascinating and well-organized, taking visitors through a visual and auditory trip back in time to what it was like to live during World War I and II, including the Holocaust. Not to be missed.


Between Harrods, Selfridges, Hamley's Toys, Bond Street and Covent Garden (just to start), the city sets the international standard for department stores and shopping. There are numerous streets with endless luxury brands that make any shopaholic swoon.

Amanda Knows Best: Where to Stay in London

If you are looking for more space, consider one of their recently refurbished apartments - stunning! And make sure to visit the Stables Bar in the hotel where they mix amazing, smoke infused cocktails.

If you are looking for more space, consider one of their recently refurbished apartments - stunning! And make sure to visit the Stables Bar in the hotel where they mix amazing, smoke infused cocktails.

The Milestone

If you are looking for a quintessentially British experience with a top-notch staff, look no further. The Milestonehas 44 deluxe guest rooms and 12 luxury suites overlooking Kensington Palace and gardens and is minutes from Royal Albert Hall and the West End. Your AWT booking could include a room upgrade (on availability), full English breakfast and $100 in dining credit.

Dorchester in London

The Dorchester

One of London's most iconic and well-known hotels, the Dorchester never disappoints.  To the east of Hyde Park, this prestigious hotel opened in April of 1931 and retains its 1930s ambience and furnishings despite being modernized.  There are five restaurants including 1 of only 4 of Britain's Michelin-starred restaurants, Alain DuCasse.  Your AWT booking could include a room upgrade, $85 in food or spa credit and daily continental breakfast for two.


This grand hotel combines luxury, history and modern touches in its 283 rooms. With a phenomenal location within walking distance to many tourist destinations, definitely consider the Corinthia. AWT bookings could include the amenities of breakfast for two daily, room upgrade (on availability), $85 in food/beverage credit and $200 GBP hotel credit for select suite bookings.

Rubens Hotel in London

Rubens Hotel

With 161 rooms, this Edwardian-era hotel was originally built as a debutante hostel for nearby Buckingham Palace. Today this 5-star hotel does not disappoint, with a homey and friendly feel despite it's first-class setting. Check with AWT to see which rooms afford the best views and what perks we can add.

 Ready to plan your next adventure?



This past April I was fortunate to be able to spend some time in one of my all time favorite cities - Amsterdam.

Did you know:

  • Amsterdam has more bridges than Venice?

  • Amsterdam has 165 canals?

  • Monet painted the South Church during a visit to the Netherlands?

I ADORE Amsterdam. I have all the feels for it. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Couples, families, groups of friends…Amsterdam can handle it all.

My stay in Amsterdam was short. But I took the opportunity to meet up with one of my favorite and most trusted suppliers and experienced Amsterdam the way my clients do.

I started my trip with ½ day walking tour that included the Anne Frank House followed by a private, 2-hour canal cruise on the UNESCO protected Canal belt with traditional Dutch snacks to further introduce this jewel of a city. Guys, I work with some of the very best tour guides in Amsterdam and I loved getting to experience them firsthand so much!

Another must do is a visit to Museumplein - home to Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedieliik Museum of Modern Art.

Amsterdam is also one of the finest culinary destinations in Europe. The list is long, varied and ever changing. I am always happy to suggest options based upon my clients’ dining preferences.

Parks, tulip bulb markets and fabulous shopping…and I could go on and on. I’d love to chat with you more about the fabulousness that is the Netherlands.

Amanda’s recommended hotels:

1) Hotel De L’Europe

Situated in the heart of Amsterdam in by the Amstel River the Hotel De L’Europe was my home while in Amsterdam.

Hotel De L'Europe Room.jpg

For you movie buffs, Alfred Hitchcock shot “Foreign Correspondent” (1940) in Amsterdam, he chose the Hotel De L’Europe as the backdrop for some of its most important scenes.

The rooms are so stylishly decorated and the entire hotel feels like you are staying in a palace. And not surprising as the Prince of The Netherlands was going to be staying at the hotel the week after my visit. My favorite touch is that, in the larger rooms, there is a “focal piece” replica of a work by one of the Dutch masters. Then, elsewhere in the room, is a smaller piece of art that is just a small portion of the larger piece. So clever.

A wraparound terrace offers waterfront dining overlooking the historic city, and many of the best rooms have private balconies with views of the rooftops.

And you don’t have to go far for extraordinary cuising, Hotel De L’Europe is host to the culinary delights at the two-Michelin-star-rated Bord’Eau Restaurant Gastronomique.

I love this hotel so much. And I’d love to discuss it in more detail with you!

Virtuoso Amenities you get by booking with AWT:

  • Guaranteed upgrade at time of booking (up to Junior Suite)

  • Full breakfast daily, for up to two in-room guests, served in Hoofdstad Brasserie or through room service

  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay

  • For bookings on room category Junior suites and above only: complimentary one-way private airport transfer

2) Sofitel Legeng The Grand Amsterdam

Sofitel Lobby.jpg

From a 15th-century convent to royal lodgings to Dutch Admiralty headquarters to the city hall of Amsterdam, the Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam is a historically rich, 177 room hotel located in the city centre. A beautiful interior courtyard is a great place to grab a cocktail and reminisce about your day.

If you are able to get a tour of this hotel, do so! Truly fascinating.

Virtuoso Amenities you get by booking with AWT:

  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests

  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability

3) Pulitzer Amsterdam

The Pulitzer Amsterdam is comprised of twenty-five 17th century houses, this popular gem fills almost an entire city between two beautiful canals and is located just two short blocks from the Anne Frank House. Simply stated, this hotel is in an excellent location.

Pulitzer Room.jpg

Make sure to dine or have a cocktail in their beautiful and mazelike gardens.

Comprised of twenty-five 17th-century canal houses, the property fills most of a city block between two of the city's most picturesque canals, two blocks from the Anne Frank House.

Amanda Knows Best:

  • It is often said that to really experience the Netherlands, you have to go outside of Amsterdam. And I 100% agree. Make sure you take a day trip to a tulip garden (season dependent). And you definitely don’t want to miss a day trip outside of the city to visit smaller villages where you can see real windmills, visit an authentic wooden shoe factory and partake in a cheese making workshop.

  • You may think it seems cliché. But book a private canal cruise.

  • To visit the Anne Frank House book early.

  • Research the culinary scene and make reservations at least one of its world renown restaurants.

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam