As it was my birthday last week, we decided to have a family holiday. My boy had never been on a plane before, and it was a new year’s resolution to take him abroad . We thought it best to start with a short journey, so chose Madrid which had a 2 and a half hour flight. The boy loved the plane – with Peppa on the Hudl, he sat still in his seat. Then fell he asleep for 2 hours, woke up and laughed as the plane landed. Phew!
Here are our top things to do in Madrid in winter. Bear in mind, it is just as cold as the UK – so dress as you would in the UK – hats, coats, scarves and gloves!
1) Go on the Metro
The boy LOVED going on Madrid’s answer to the tube. London has a lot to learn from this city, as nearly every stop has lift access – so having a pushchair is no problem 🙂
The signs are all in Spanish, so learn these words before you go:
Ascensor = Lift
Salida = Exit
Also make sure you know which line you want to change to, and the end stops of each line in advance – this makes it easier when finding the right platform.
2) Visit the Madrid Train Museum
AKA Museo del Ferrocarril – this place is amazing! It is 4 platforms with original vintage trains from 1900s onwards, a miniature railway room, and a 1930s dining carriage where you can sit and have a ‘Cafe con Leche’ (coffee) and a croissant. This was my favourite part – it really felt magical as if it really was 1930. Entry to the museum is 6€ per adult, under-4s are free. It’s open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm, and is just outside Delicias station on Metro Line 3 (this one has lift access). The boy loved it so much, we went twice!
3) Go shopping in Gran Via – C&A is still alive!
Yes you read that right, C&A – remember that store? It’s alive and thriving in Madrid, I bought a whole new wardrobe 😀 Amazingly it was open till 10pm on a Sunday!
There’s plenty of food places in between the clothes shops – all the brands you will recognise from home. The boy particularly enjoyed running around H&M which is in a grand period building.
For food shopping, there is a basement supermarket in El Corte Inglés, which is just by Callao Metro station. El Corte Inglé is a huge department store selling everything. There’s another building just for clothes and toys – good for letting the boy explore the toy department. This place is good for nappy changing too, they are inside the ladies. Look for the sign ‘Aseos’ which means Loos.
Another good supermarket is Carrefour just outside Lavapiés Metro – it’s a bit like the European Tesco.
For indoor shopping, visit Principe Pio Shopping Centre which is inside the original 1900s railway station. This is by the Metro station of the same name.
4) Visit the Reina Sofia Museum
Not for the art (well maybe if you’re into sticks and bent rulers), but for the amazing garden in the centre. The museum is housed in an 18th century hospital and rather grand. The beautiful garden was perfect for the boy to have a run around in. The cost is 8€ per adult and is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 9pm, and Sundays 10am to 2.30pm. Children are free. The nearest metro with a lift is Atocha Renfe.
5) Stay in an apartment
This is much more convenient than staying at a hotel, as you can cook your own food for your toddler, and do all the stuff you do at home – washing, chilling out on the sofa and watching TV after a long day. We brought our HDMI cable so we could plug our Hudl into the TV and the boy could watch his favourite nursery rhymes. The one we stayed at was Woo! Plaza de Oriente Apartments, which is in between Metro stations Plaza de Espana and Principe Pio – very central and close to Gran Via, so definitely recommend them.
I hope this helps anyone planning to visit Madrid in the future 🙂 The boy has a few new Spanish outfits, so stay tuned for future blog posts on them…