End-Of-Summer European City Breaks For All The Family
As summer gets underway, many families will be planning a luxury escape for the last few weeks of sun. While the sun-soaked beach holidays offered with our Classic Collection homes are endlessly appealing and popular at this time of year, the stunning properties in our City Collection can provide the key to a world of discovery, culture and excitement for the whole family to share and enjoy. For the perfect late summer city break for the whole family, here are a few of our favourite destinations to consider.
Few cities captivate and inspire better than London. The setting of countless films and novels, and one of the most iconic cities in the entire world, the United Kingdom's capital is the perfect place for a summer city break with the family. With countless attractions that appeal to all ages, you'll be spoilt for choice with things to do- when the evening rolls in, there are plenty of incredible bars and restaurants in which the adults can put their feet up and relax. London plays host to some of the most vibrant and memorable cultural events throughout the year, and even as summer draws to a close there's no lack of things to experience with the whole family.
Museums and Galleries:
London's museums and galleries are world famous, and there are more than a few to choose from. Half the fun of a London city break is picking which of these you'll explore with the family: Will you indulge your cultural sensibilities and explore some of the art and history of the city, or opt for a more interactive experience and visit one of the numerous science museums?
Possibly the two most recognisable museums in the city are the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. While worlds apart in their offerings for visitors, both have plenty to offer children and adults alike, and whether you want to spend a couple of hours, or an entire day, there's more than enough to see to accommodate you.
The Natural History Museum dinosaurs are always a talking point among younger visitors, and children can even experience their very own 'night at the museum', and take part in a torch-led sleepover. The Science Museum also offer a science-focused sleepover, which includes a hands-on workshop and screening at their IMAX Theatre.
West End Theatre:
Recognised globally as one of the most iconic locations to experience a play, and home to some of the finest theatres that can be found anywhere, London regularly sets the stage for performances that go down in history. Shows like Les Miserables and War Horse have all come to the fore in the incredible West End, and a visit with the family to any one of the many shows on offer throughout late summer is an evening or afternoon well spent. (A couple of particularly worthy performances include 'Annie', and 'Disney's The Lion King', both of which have received stellar reviews and run until February 2018)
One of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world, Rome is undeniably a dream location to visit. Just 30 miles from the Mediterranean sea, Rome has a sun-baked, crisp and dry summer season, and when the temperature starts to cool and becomes less intense as late summer arrives, it's the perfect destination for a family visit. While Rome may not host a particularly large number of specific late summer events, the appeal of the city doesn't lie with it's organised experiences, but with it's stunning history and beauty. If you're planning to visit the city in late summer with family, then here are some experiences you'll treasure forever:
Immerse Yourself In History and Culture:
The Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built, should be high on anyone's list the first time they visit Rome. Children and adults alike will be awestruck at the incredible structure (and with the option of a 'gladiator school' experience for boys and girls alike, things can get very immersive). The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and iconic Spanish Steps (conveniently where members' luxury home in Rome is located) are all worth visiting, and will provide the whole family with endless inspiration for conversation, photographs and lasting memories.
Test Your Palate in a Gelato Tasting Session:
While many adult luxury travellers appreciate a refined wine tasting sessions at an elegant vineyard, unfortunately this is an experience that can't be easily shared with the children. During your stay in Rome, however, you could try a sweet alternative and embark on a family gelato tasting session. The city has some of the best gelato in the world, and children and adults alike can delight in the flavours, colours and craft that go into this Italian tradition. You might try an Espresso and Gelato walking tour, or visit one of the many parlours in the city to sample the best ice cream to be found.
Explore Villa Borghese:
For a truly exciting day in Rome, you and the family could spend some time exploring Villa Borghese. These huge, beautiful gardens are home to a number of things to see and do, and can be explored on foot, bike or even go-kart, but the Bioparco di Roma is a must-visit. This zoological garden is home to 222 species, and features an express train that children will love.
Embark on a family 'passeggiata':
The word Passeggiata refers to a leisurely stroll or walk, usually taken in the early evening - and when in Rome, this is a tradition that can be a magical chance for you and the entire family to enjoy. The cool late summer air provides the perfect climate for a gentle walk after dinner of a evening, and the tradition is particularly upheld on Sunday evenings: It's the perfect end to a magical week in the city.
Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe for good reason - the sheer abundance of things to visit and explore year round makes the city the perfect place to experience a slice of European culture, while still having plenty of variety to choose from to ensure that kids and adults are entertained.
Visit One of Europe's Best Zoos:
Prague Zoo is an institution which alone is enough of a reason to visit the city. Opened in 1931, and with over 4,200 animals - representing close to 650 species, many of which are endangered - the zoo is known as one of the finest in all of Europe, and makes for a fantastic family day out on your late summer city break. The zoo is open throughout the year, and while in the peak summer it stays open until 9pm, during late summer months you can still visit between the hours of 9am and 6pm. Highlights include the 'Lemur Island', 'Elephant Valley', 'Bororo Reserve' and 'Children's Zoo' areas.
Try An Exciting Tour:
Prague is a wonderful city to explore, and taking part in a guided tour is a wonderful way to do so. If you're planning a trip with family, there are plenty of exciting twists on the classic tour, which the kids will adore. You could set aside an evening to take part in a spooky ghost tour of the city.
Prague is known as the most haunted city in Europe, and its winding streets set the perfect stage for an eerie and thrilling lantern-led spectral experience. For something a little more adrenaline-fuelled, you and the family can hire a convoy of segways, and take a tour of the vistas of the city led by an expert guide. The segways themselves are hours of fun, and while they're mainly suitable for slightly older children, will provide an exciting and memorable afternoon.
Experience A Slice of Czech Culture:
Theatre and the arts are well represented and respected in the city, and there are literally hundreds of galleries, museums and cinemas found throughout Prague- the National Theatre and the National Gallery are two standout examples.There are plenty of events to visit as autumn starts to descend, notably the Prague Autumn International Music Festival, which runs in September and is a stunning collection of some of the finest conductors and orchestras.
For a more passive but nonetheless spectacular time in Prague, a visit to one of its historical buildings is a fantastic family outing, and Prague Castle undoubtedly tops the list here. Once the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, Prague Castle covers around 7 hectares, and is the largest medieval castle in Europe - and it's also the home of St Vitus Cathedral. While it may take a long time to fully explore, a family visit to the castle is a visual and cultural treat.