Kids-friendly Rome!

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Rome is one of the most spectacular capital cities in the world.  It’s steeped in culture and history and no matter where you turn there’s something interesting to look at.  Its ancient ruins are amazingly well preserved and the beauty of its churches is unsurpassed. Modern Rome has 280 fountains and more than 900 churches!

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I wanted to show my kids in Rome was the Colosseum, so I’ll recommend beginning your first day in Rome here.  There are lots of tours and ticket options for visiting the Colosseum and you can choose the one that suits you and your family best.  However a skip the line ticket of some sort is definitely worth buying.

We took a family friendly guided tour of the Colosseum and the Forum.  This was really informative and our guide was great with the kids. The Colosseum doesn’t disappoint.  It’s an incredible structure and your eyes can’t help but be drawn to it.

Your ticket to the Colosseum will also include entry to the Forum and Palatine Hill.  Here you’ll find the spectacular ruins of ancient temples, palaces and baths – a great way to get a glimpse of roman history.

Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City is the world’s smallest state and is the centre of Catholicism.  Visiting the Vatican means crossing an international border, but you don’t need your passport.  Getting skip the line tickets is recommended.

The Vatican Museums themselves are stuffed to the gills with treasures collected over hundreds of years.  The wealth on display is quite staggering.  The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous things to see here and you shouldn’t miss it.

St Peter’s Basilica is also incredible.  Linked to the Vatican by a doorway from the Sistine Chapel, this was our last stop on our Vatican visit.   A great thing to do is the climb the steps to the top of the dome to get a fantastic view over Rome. Remember that you need to cover your shoulders and knees or you won’t be allowed in.

Castel Sant’Angelo

This amazing looking castle sits on the riverside and has a statue lined bridge to reach it.  It’s a former papal fortress and a secret tunnel connects the Castel to the Vatican. The Castel has a long and bloody history which you can learn about in its large museum.  The views from the terrace are also fabulous.

Tickets from €10.50 per adult.

Pantheon

Although it’s an ancient Roman building, the Pantheon has been a Christian church for centuries.

The Pantheon was designed by the Emperor Hadrian around 120 AD.  It’s one of ancient Rome’s best preserved buildings and gives you an idea of what some of those ruins at the Forum must have looked like long ago.

Outside, the pillared entrance is imposing but the interior is a real surprise – there is a huge domed ceiling.  Covered in decorated cloisters, the ceiling has a hole, or oculus, in the middle, letting the sunshine (or the rain) in.   The artist Raphael is buried here so make sure you find his tomb.

Villa Borghese and its gardens

You’ll find the Borghese Gardens just up the hill from the Spanish Steps.  If you turn left at the Spanish Steps you can get a great view over Rome before you explore the gardens.  Even in winter the gardens were green and pretty, and the kids found a carousel to ride on which kept them happy.

There’s loads to explore in the gardens – you can ride a boat on the lake or try to catch a show at the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe.  There is a Biopark (zoo)  and hiring bikes is the best way to get around the park.

The Villa Borghese itself is now an art gallery with works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Titian and is highly recommended.   Tickets for Villa Borghese gallery must be reserved in advance.  Cost is from €22 per adult.

Trevi Fountain

Every night at the Trevi fountain about 3000 euros are swept up from the bottom of the basin. The money is donated to a catholic charity who uses the money to provide services for needy families in Rome.  The kids enjoyed throwing the obligatory coins into the water.  Looks like we’ll be coming back to Rome!

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps is a famous meeting place for Romans and  there’s a pretty fountain at the base.  If you’re going to the Borghese gardens then you’ll be going right past it.Nearby the streets are filled with designer shops, so if shopping is your thing, this is the place to come!

Day trips from Rome

Other possible day trips include the ruined city of Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast.  If you’re feeling really brave and you’re up for a long day, you could even try visiting Florence.

Where to stay:

  • Hotel de Russie, Rome: One of the most prestigious luxury hotels next to Piazza del Popolo. roccofortehotels.com

Where to eat:

  • Al Fredo alla Scrofa Restaurant –don’t miss the famous Fetuccine alfredo.
  • Tartufi and friends for truffle lovers.
  • Ginger Sapori e Salute for brunch and panini sandwiches on the go!
  • Zuma Rome inside the iconic Palazzo Fendi.

 

 

 

Gleneagles- Family Luxury in the Scottish Highlands!

 

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Inspired by Gleneagles’ roaring twenties heritage, the quintessentially British hotel is reaffirming its position as a leading luxury destination after a multi-million pound
investment project by new owner Ennismore.
Since opening its doors in June 1924, Gleneagles has been one of Scotland’s
most iconic hotels and sporting estates. Set beneath the Ochil Hills, in the heart of
Perthshire, it has been the must-go destination for travellers for nearly a century.
Beginning its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived in great style
at Gleneagles’ very own train station, the 850-acre estate epitomises the natural
beauty for which Scotland is famed. With its glorious playground of country
pursuits and activities, the hotel is reclaiming its position on the social calendar.

The Glorious Playground
Gleneagles is an authentically Scottish experience, a destination for unparalleled fun
and adventure in one of the most luxurious and beautiful settings imaginable. There
are few places in the world that offer the same breadth of opportunities and activities
as Gleneagles. Beginning its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived
in great style at Gleneagles’ very own train station, the 850-acre estate epitomises the
natural beauty for which Scotland is famed.
Three distinct and challenging championship courses have established Gleneagles’
world-class reputation in golf but it is the glorious playground of other sports, country
pursuits, culinary experiences and luxury hospitality that truly sets Gleneagles apart.
Whether you come to play 18 holes, fly a Harris Hawk, ride horses, play tennis, go
off-roading, train gundogs, shoot game, fish, enjoy Michelin-starred dining, or relax in
an award-winning spa, Gleneagles is a golf experience, sporting estate and five-star
country hotel like no other.
A new modern country style
To realise this vision, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the
UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties,
Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio –
with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage
and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.
Bedrooms and suites
The hotel comprises 232 luxury bedrooms and suites. The bedrooms are being
enhanced with beautiful detailing, fabrics and craftsmanship to create the feel of
a warm country estate by Goddard Littlefair. The team has also created intimate
corridors to link the hotel spaces together – with antique Persian patterns and special
herringbone wall coverings with bespoke lanterns highlighting room numbers. The
rooms and suites celebrate the stories of Gleneagles’ past through specially-curated
furnishings, antiques and art.
The new design of The Royal Lochnagar, the hotel’s royal suite, was completed by the
Ennismore Design Studio and exudes the grandeur and elegance one expects, but
without the stiff formality often associated with the highest tier of hotel suites. The
designers’ vision for the 170m2 space was to create an opulent, charming and relaxing
space, which would feel at once glamourous and homely – reflecting the atmosphere
of the public spaces within the hotel, as well as the warm Scottish hospitality for which
Gleneagles is renowned.
Other suite categories include Estate Suites, Whisky Suites and Spirit Suites. Signature
suites include the stately Royal Lochnagar Suite and the more contemporary Blue
Tower Suite – both of which have been refurbished.
To Drink and Dine
Gleneagles is a social hotel, a place where people dream of going to have some
fun. The new design means there’s even more spaces where guests can mingle, relax
and better enjoy the dramatic views of the Perthshire countryside whilst creating a
welcoming environment that feels more akin to a home or a private club than a hotel.
There is nowhere that exemplifies the hotel’s style better than in its restaurants and
bars. There is something for everyone – from relaxed Clubhouse lunches to Michelinstarred fine dining.

A World of Pursuits
Gleneagles offers the perfect retreat for those looking for authentic relaxation, fun and
adventure. It has an unrivalled range of pursuits including over 50 outdoor activities,
led by a passionate team of experts who are truly the leaders in their field. Guests
can try their hand at falconry with Harris Hawks; horse riding in the state-of-the-art
equestrian centre; indoor and outdoor tennis; off-roading; cycling; gundog training;
extensive clay pigeon, game shooting and archery; ferret racing; fly fishing; and an
award-winning spa. Located just one hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and
with its own railway station serviced by trains from London and around the UK, the
hotel is ideally suited for a weekend break or extended stay.