Family Travel

European travelFamily Travel

A Winter Weekend in Milan

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Winter may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect time to spend a weekend break in Milan! But these days, we all lead very busy lives and have to take short stay travel opportunities as and when they arise – whether or not the weather permits! And Milan offers so very much to see and do: for instance – art, culture, entertainment, architecture, restaurants….. You must not miss the chance to visit. You will be charmed by this amazing city! There is a choice of two airports and plenty of inbound flights from other European destinations. You can also come easily by train.

Milan

Arriving in central Milan on a Friday evening, the place was bustling. Alive with shoppers everywhere, twinklingly illuminated stylish shops and hardly a tourist in site!  In addition, style abounds in here – even the city dogs saunter around exuding a certain je ne sais quoi…..

The drizzle even adds to the atmosphere – reflecting the lights on the pavements below. The ideal place to head for to get a flavour of Milan over the centuries is the phenomenal Duomo di Milano. The cathedral is absolutely magnificent. Having taken some 600 years to build you can imagine there is a lot of detail! Against a midnight blue sky, this fabulous edifice stands proud in all its glory, beautifully illuminated and majestic. The feeling that generation after generation dedicated their lives’ work to the completion of the cathedral makes you stop in your tracks. The brevity of the circle of life and the reality of life passing so very quickly rings out loud and clear when you stand in the beautiful piazza below.

Italy has style…..

Beside the cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a great place to wander and enjoy the stylish ambiance. This magnificent building houses prestigious Italian brands which are now renowned throughout the world for their style and elegance. For example Prada, Versace to name but a few. And shop windows are adorned with understated festive touches as Christmas fast approaches. The clothing, leather luggage and jewellery are superbly displayed in glistening shop windows. And our four-legged friends are well catered for too. Moncler even boasts a selection of puffa jackets to protect the stylish French bulldog about town from the harshest winter elements…..

The Duomo di Milano

Taking a walk into the city the following day, it was still raining, as it did throughout the whole weekend! But we couldn’t resist the idea of a walk on the rooftops of the fabulous Gothic cathedral to enjoy the spectacular views.  The two tier queueing system with a fast track option, suggested that we might have had a long wait ahead of us. But in fact we went straight in.

On ground level, the cathedral is magnificent – a massively impressive space. Ornately adorned with intricate paintings and carvings the interior of the cathedral is remarkable. And although the building exists on a huge scale, the smallest attention to every minor detail is apparent in every nook and cranny, both inside and out.

And visitors can visit the St Charles Crypt – a quaintly atmospheric, eerie chamber nestling on the lower levels of the cathedral and also visible from above.

The lift to the rooftops is very quick. And once atop this massive edifice, there are steps and uneven surfaces to negotiate so it is not ideal for the less nimble! The roof slopes gently down to parapets supported by elegant ribbed stone.

Dozens and dozens of ornate spires surround the rooftop.  Most bear the weather and wear of centuries gone by. And a programme of refurbishment is under way repairing many of the eroded blocks of stone.

Views across Milan are spectacular, even on a grey day. This is an adventure not to be missed. And for Instagrammers there are some amazing photography viewing angles.

Cuisine in Milan

And the cuisine…. well this is Italy of course! Fabulous restaurants abound in Milan. We enjoyed a superb meal at the Osteria Mamma Rosa. Service with a smile and delicious cuisine. Not to mention a huge selection of wine. Wine, of course, abounds in Italy and is inexpensive. And even in Milan’s superior restaurants bottles of good wine are priced below €20.

The Lombardy region is well known for its rice and polenta dishes as they are cultivated extensively in this part of Italy. Risotto alla milanese is a firm favourite. And veal shanks in the form of ossobuco alla milanese are a delicious treat for carnivores. And of course, as in all Italy, delicious fresh pizza and pasta abounds. Fish is plentiful. You won’t go hungry here!

Salmon tartare

And panettone originated in this region. We enjoyed coffee and gelato in the eclectic Pasticceria San Gregorio’s  where they had even decorated their ceilings with row after row of them!

Pannetonne ceiling decoration

Milan hotels

In November, accommodation is plentiful and inexpensive in Milan. We stayed at the centrally located Ibis Styles Milano – a charming hotel just off the Corso Buenos Aires. The hotel is an excellent place to recharge your batteries after a long day of sightseeing. They provide an excellent continental breakfast and unlimited coffee is available throughout the day. The rooms are compact but ideal for a family just looking for a bolthole in the centre of the city. The rooms are located around a central atrium which is light, bright and airy. WiFi is included.

The central station

Railway stations provide a profound sense of contrast in history and time. And Milan station is no exception. With its huge, imposing facade and solid architecture the station dominates the Piazza Duca d’Aosta. Once inside, there is an abundance of modern cafes and shops bustling with stylish passengers in a hurry.

Then you can walk onto the 24 platforms and see the big beasts of high speed trains arriving and departing for destinations throughout Italy and beyond.

And the local Metro stations are not without their charm. Graffiti appears in various places and provides a charming contrast to the stark, simple lines of the stations.

Graffiti

Quaint streets

The charm of the streets of Milan just keeps on giving. Quiet little roads and pathways with fascinating shops, restaurants and bars to explore.

Milano

The streets are tastefully festooned with lights with Christmas fast approaching. It seems that the only festive lights allowed to adorn the shop exteriors and the streets are just white so it gives the place a stylish glow. Tacky it ain’t! The November drizzle enhances this effect by creating dazzling reflections off the damp pavements and cobbles.

East market – where old meets new meets creative

And no trip to Milan is complete without a visit to the flea market in Via Mecenate. Simply take the tram from downtown Milan and you will find a huge series of warehouses devoted to a fascinating array of wares from today and yesterday.

East Market Milano

Vintage clothes and jewellery abound – particularly from the 70’s and 80’s. Odd objets d’art – throwbacks to the age of psychedelia are for sale on the stalls. And the stall holders themselves are dressed in the most fascinating ways; style accents hark back to yesteryear. You can buy yourself an old record to bring home – vinyl is well represented here! I had no idea that everything Beatles is still so popular! Music booms out through the speakers and the whole place has a very cool vibe.  For instance, modern day artists and designers display eclectic wares for sale on their colourful stalls.

Refreshments are brilliant too! Enjoy an abundance of tasty street food and international delicacies. So you can just sit on simple stacks of pallets topped with chipboard and have a beer and a bite to eat.

In conclusion, Milan has something for everyone.  And you will not be bored – even when it’s raining! We recommend it very highly!

Accommodation in Milan

If you are planning a short stay in Milan there are lots of options. Click here for inspiration >>>

Family TravelLondon

2 bedroom family apartments in London

Italian Gardens Hyde Park

2 bedroom apartments are the ideal solution for a family travelling to London together. Whether you are coming for a weekend, a week, a month or a year there are some great accommodation options for you to consider.

With your own kitchen, and your own front door, regular cleaning and complimentary WiFi you will enjoy a level of luxury and independence that hotel guests only dream of! Even on a very short stay!

The benefits of a kitchen

Generally speaking, most serviced apartments have kitchens with refrigerators and cookers. Many are even equipped with Nespresso coffee machines. So when you get up in the morning you can make your own breakfast and enjoy your own coffee in the privacy of your own “home.”  No need to exchange polite “good mornings” with strangers.  If you are travelling with young children this is brilliant . There is no need to keep your eyes on naughty kids (yours and other people’s!) – to make sure that they are behaving themselves in public. This is a really low stress option for families on the move with young children.

And don’t forget the calories! Research has shown that guests serving themselves from a hotel buffet are 10 times more likely to overdose on fatty foods – simply because it’s there! Many apartment residences offer welcome packs which include basic breakfast ingredients and we find that supermarkets are often happy to deliver groceries. As are Uber Eats and Deliveroo in most areas of the capital. Research amongst our guests has shown that the option to make their own meals is why they return time and time again to stay in an apartment while they are in London.

Stay near the museums

Many guests bring their children to London at half term when the big London museums such as the V & A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum have an amazing array of exhibitions, films and hands on displays all geared to the younger visitor during the school holidays and weekends.

Italian Gardens Hyde Park

How about close to Hyde Park?

If you have children with you who wish to let off steam then staying near Hyde Park is probably a very good option. We offer some very nice apartments opposite the Italian Gardens with public transport on your doorstep.

Put your feet up

When your children are exhausted and you feel in need of a break, you can retire to your apartment, put your feet up and relax. You can even order a takeaway. All residences have at least one TV and many have several.  With an abundance of channels, Sky, Freeview etc. there is masses for your children to watch. Just park them in front of the TV while you get out a glass of wine and put your feet up.

It’s great to know that you and your kids are all under the same roof.  How often have you checked in to a hotel only to find that your children have been allocated a room along the corridor?  Next door is bad enough!!!  For parents to enjoy a relaxing stay, they need to know that their babies and children are totally secure. That peace of mind is guaranteed when you book a serviced apartment with it’s own front door where you and your family will all be safe and sound together so you can chill!

When it’s time for them to go to bed, bedrooms are often very well equipped, especially for children.  Combinations of twin beds and cots are common so your children and babies can be comfortably accommodated in style so that both they – and YOU – get a good night’s sleep. Ready to be up and about the next day with the energy need to explore what London has to offer!

That is not to say you won’t enjoy going out for dinner. As London is one of the world’s most vibrant capitals when it comes to wining, dining and entertainment you will be spoilt for choice when you select a restaurant in London’s buzzing hub. 

Mayfair – a great place to stay

In Brick Street and Hertford Street you will find some lovely 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom luxury apartments which are all part of the Como Metropolitan group. There is a guests’ spa as well as a lovely bar and restaurant.

Luxury apartments in the Kensington area

We recommend the Milestone. This is a sumptuous property offering oodles of luxury features.

Larger apartments for the corporate family

As London is such a major hub, many corporate executives relocate here on business. And if you are coming to London with your family there are many options for you, some of which even have shared gardens. Europa House is a good option. Residents benefit from the use of some 3 acres of private gardens.

Europa House

Amenities

Many of the residences offer extra options including airport transfers, daily breakfast service, restaurant recommendations and theatre bookings. At others there are meeting room facilities.

Cost efficiency

When you are travelling with children, serviced apartments are a cost efficient short stay option. They will probably cost you less than two equivalent hotel rooms and you will save money but not having to dine constantly in restaurants.

ApartmentFamily TravelServiced Apartments

Fountain House Penthouse

Fountain House

This amazing Fountain House Pres­i­den­tial Pent­house Suite offers a vast amount of space and is styled in contemporary lux­ury. It is light, bright and airy with views over Hyde Park and ideal for fam­i­lies want­ing to enjoy a com­fort­able stay in a London’s top locations. Mod­ern in style and decor with rich wooden floors and lux­ury car­pets. Total floor space: 249 m² / 2,680 ft². It is available for short stays of one week or more with longer stay durations during the peak summer months.

The living accommodation

The spa­cious living/dining area in the Fountain House penthouse has a pre­mium enter­tain­ment sys­tem with a very large flatscreen TV. It has a fantastic atrium, making the space light, bright and airy for the lucky residents.

The gen­er­ous sized kitchen is fully equipped with the lat­est mod­ern appli­ances including dishwasher and washer/dryer. It is great for preparing family meals.

The apart­ment fea­tures four dou­ble Bed­rooms (three with king-size beds and the fourth with twin beds). Three of the bedrooms each have an ensuite bath­room with jacuzzi bath. A fur­ther bath­room has a walk-in shower. Pri­vate lift access to the pent­house ensures discretion and privacy for guests.

Amenities

Daily housekeeping service is provided 6 days of the week except Sundays. The apartment has an ironing board/iron, in-room safe and direct dial telephone/voicemail. Enjoy watching satellite channels on the flatscreen TV. Free WiFi and laundry facilities onsite. The building is secured by CCTV. A 24 hour concierge resides in the office on the ground floor of the residence to ensure that whatever the time of day or night you will be looked after.

Location

Overlooking the famous Italian Gardens of Hyde Park in an extremely convenient location within easy reach of Oxford Street, the West End and City of London.  Excellent public transport links (Lancaster Gate Tube Station, Paddington Station).  This is the perfect base from which to explore the vibrant capital. Across the road from Hyde Park with the excellent restaurants of Queensway and Notting Hill nearby.  Just across the road from Hyde Park and only moments from the vibrant West End and Oxford Street area with easy access to a fantastic choice of shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife. Within easy reach of London’s top attractions including Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall and Portobello Market.

Nearest underground

Lancaster Gate

Nearest mainline station

Paddington Station – less than 5 minutes’ walk

Read more about this fabulous penthouse…..

Business TravelFamily TravelLondonServiced Apartments

A London apartment – the corporate solution

Keyboard

Corporate apartments in the City of London are the ideal accommodation solution.

You may be coming to London on business – even for just a week – and you need somewhere to stay. We recommend an apartment for your visit. More spacious than hotel rooms, serviced apartments offer a home from home in the middle of the City. It is your own private space where you can simply relax and unwind.

Our apartments offer comforts and conveniences for corporate travellers. Financial savings are ideal for relocation, long term assignments and project work. Short stay and long term serviced flats provide increased flexibility, space, independence and privacy over traditional hotel accommodation.

Amenities

Our corporate serviced apartments meet the needs of the discerning executive in individual and private surroundings. Furthermore, you can use the apartment as an office and for meetings. You can use a larger apartment for entertaining. You will be able to prepare meals and dine in your flat because they all have kitchens.

Our London corporate apartments are fully furnished and offer WiFi, TV’s and regular maid service and weekly linen change.  Also, extra security and concierge reception services are offered at many of our short stay apartments.

We cater for relocating corporate executives, interim housing for business travellers and long term assigned projects.  Our range suits all budgets so we are confident we have something for you.

Whether you are on a business trip, moving or relocating there are great advantages to taking an apartment.  Also, you can book for the duration you require; a few nights or a few months. Corporate apartments in the City of London are very competitively priced.

You have plenty of options with Go City Apartments. We offer locations across the capital both in heart of the City and quiet residential areas.

For families

If you need an open green space for children to play, then Europa House in Little Venice may be for you. With over 3 acres of private gardens it is a lovely family residence.

Europa House

Extras

Many of the residences offer extra services including airport transfers, daily breakfast service, restaurant recommendations and theatre bookings. At others there are meeting room facilities.

Our clients

We work with a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 and FTSE250 corporations as well as SME’s across a wide range of industries. We offer solutions to our clients both in the UK and globally. Our clients come to us for our expertise, experience and in-depth knowledge of the apartment industry.  We guarantee consistency and high standards  in modern contemporary city apartments.  We help businesses find the most cost-effectve accommodation solutions for their directors and employees.

London is one of the busiest hubs around the globe.  If you are visiting for business, attending a conference or working on a short term placement, it is important to be able to settle in a homely environment.

Family Travel

The Orchid Festival at Kew – An Annual Treat

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Kew Gardens is a great place to visit. Especially from 6 February when you can enjoy the Orchid Festiva!. Featuring a treasure trove of botanical exhibits and specimens a visit is a real treat. Vibrant colours abound. Whichever time of the year you visit you will see nature in the raw. It is a lovely place to wander and see the British trees and plants in their natural habitat. And in the spectacular conservatories there are thousands more exhibits from more exotic climes. They are carefully nurtured and tended by teams of dedicated staff.

There is lots to enjoy at Kew. Features include exhibitions, talks, tours, short courses and much, much more. The Gardens are a must-see for visitors to the capital. They are located just 30 minutes away from the centre.

Every year, in February, Kew Gardens arrange the most spectacular display of orchids. And this is the 25th!

This year…..

In 2020 the display celebrates the biodiversity of Indonesia. Indonesia comprises 17,000 islands. This is your change to immerse yourself in the tropics in the middle of winter!

The fabulous display is taking place in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Showcasing an exotic array of vibrant orchid displays this exhibition is not to be missed.

The 17,000 islands of Indonesia play host to some 5,000+ species of orchid.

The exhibition is a celebration of the cultural and natural diversity that is scattered across the archipelago.

After hours there are events featuring Indonesian music and cuisine. You can also go along and hear an expert talk.

The visit to see the orchids is included in the Kew Gardens ticket price. In order to avoid congestion, visits are staggered so you will need to book a (free) time slot.

Address

The Royal Botanical Gardens Kew
Richmond
TW9 3AB

Arriving by tube

Kew Gardens station in Zone 3 is just 500m from Victoria Gate. It is served by the District Line (Richmond branch) and London Overground.

Coming by train

Kew Bridge station is 800m from Elizabeth Gate, via Kew Bridge. South West Trains run services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. Please note that there is no level access at Kew Bridge.

Getting there by bus

65 stops close to Lion Gate, Elizabeth Gate and Victoria Gate.
391 stops near Kew Gardens station and Elizabeth Gate.
237 and 267 stop at Kew Bridge station.

By bike

There are bicycle racks at all four gates and a limited number of lockers available at Victoria Gate.  Please note that bicycles, tricycles, roller skates, skateboards and scooters are not allowed into the Gardens.

Entrance gates

The Gardens have four entrance gates. Please take a look at which one is most suitable for the visit you are planning.

Elizabeth Gate (TW9 3AB)

This is the fastest route from central London. It is also the closest to Kew Bridge station. Good entrance for:

  • Children’s Garden
  • Orangery restaurant
  • Princess of Wales Conservatory
  • Kew Palace and Royal Kitchens
  • The Hive

Brentford Gate (TW9 3AF)

The is next to Kew’s Ferry Lane car park and is near to:

  • Children’s Garden
  • White Peaks café and shop
  • Climbers and Creepers

Lion Gate (TW9 2DF)

This is the entrance closest to  Richmond station and is near to:

  • Japanese Gateway

Victoria Gate (TW9 3JR)

This is closest to Kew Gardens station and near to:

  • Palm House
  • The Botanical
  • Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood galleries
  • Broad Walk Borders
  • Victoria Plaza café and shop
Where to stay

If you need short stay family accommodation there are some good options nearby.

 

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