Visiting Madrid

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

— Saint Augustine

With 2023 stretched out ahead, perhaps plan a city trip with the family and discover a few more pages of the world. Cities are great places to take children of all ages – museums, parks, food, buses to jump on and off, and new treasures around every corner. It may be a nearby city such as Exeter, Manchester or York, or somewhere further afield.

Last October half term took us on our first family foreign city trip since pre-Covid. And what an adventure! It was a 5-day trip including travel, so we had 3 full days to explore Spain’s capital city. Short but sweet. Any longer and the kids might not have been so willing to walk for miles.

A glimpse into our trip:

A snapshot of our days, if perhaps you fancy visiting Madrid:

DAY 1:


Prado Museum – Fabulous audioguide, and lots of familiar paintings by distinguished artists. However, the rooms and rooms of dark oil paintings were quite heavy going on the eye and I cut this visit short before rebellion kicked in.


Retiro Park – ample space for a lengthy walk or run around, playground, beautiful lake and glass house.

DAY 2:


Bernabeu Stadium – got to keep the football fans happy.


Las Ventas Bull Ring – excellent audio guide, a real insight into Spanish culture


Flamenco Show at El Centro Cultural Flamenco Madrid – we opted for a 1hour long show, which was about right. My 11 yr old boy was a little fidgety only 10 minutes in! It was a perfect immersion into this aspect of the Spanish people.

DAY 3:


La Fiesta de la Trashumanica in the Plaza Mayor – we stumbled across the annual procession of sheep being moved to warmer pastures for the winter. There were farmers, national costumes, music, sheep, goats and hundreds of local Madrileños lining the streets. A real treat for us tourists. The next one is 23rd October 2023 if you want to plan a trip around it.


The Royal Palace with another excellent audioguide which took us smoothly around the lavishly decorated rooms.

El Teleférico cable car – this gave us beautiful views over Madrid and a sense of space and natural beauty in the city, and a much needed rest for our legs!


Our days were diverse and full, but plenty of time for hot chocolate breaks. On leaving there were a number of places I wished we could have squeezed in, but they will have to wait for next time:

Sorolla’s House

Royal Monastery de San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Museo Thyssen

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía 


In preparation for our trip, I trawled the internet, booked tickets and read stories to my children, particularly my youngest aged 7. Reading some fiction set in the place we are visiting always helps my children engage more once we are there. They will recognise a familiar building or the name of a local artist, and the foreign city they find themselves is not quite to alien after all.



Picture Books






Chapter Books for Independent Readers or as Read-Alouds









Further Cities to Explore and more:

Visiting Barcelona

Visiting Rome

Visting Paris

Children’s Book Recommendations

Spring Picture Books

Easter Stories & Poems

Easter Traditions (part 1)

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