So this one came about because I was lucky enough to win a weekend in Prague, courtesy of Family Traveller Magazine and Czech Tourism. I must admit, having been to Prague twice before, it didn’t even cross my mind that this would be a place I’d take children. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful city with lots to do, but my experiences before had been more about local beer and nightclubs than family attractions. Add the fact that we only have the kids every other weekend and it can be a bit tricky fitting in a weekend abroad.
But last December we were picking the kids up from school and heading straight to Heathrow for just that. It’s the first time we’d flown together and I wasn’t relishing the thought of endless travelators at the airport. We arrived pretty late and were super tired from the journey but we couldn’t have wished for a better welcome at the Hotel Klarov; a friendly and speedy check-in plus a lovely treat for the kids. Not only were their beds decked out with welcome lettering in their names and their favourite characters on the bed linen, but there were sweet treats and a bottle of kids’ bubbly on ice.
As well as flights and accommodation, the lovely people at Czech Tourism also included a day at Aquapalace – an outstanding waterpark on the southern outskirts of the city. The glass roofed aqua park provided a whole day of fun for the children (who are still asking to go back now) and was full of ‘first’ moments, including a few unseen swimming moves and unprecedented bravery on waterslides. Us grown-ups also had a chance to take turns on the Spacebowl – a thin, and slightly claustrophobic, steep flume leading to a giant bowl where you’re tossed around like an edamame bean in a salad spinner. With wave machines, slides, jacuzzis, pirate themed areas and even a partially submerged aquarium, we spent the best part of a day exploring and playing.
After a bit of light refreshment, we headed back to the centre of Prague and hopped on a tram from our hotel. It took us up the hill to Prague Castle, a stunning structure dominating the city’s skyline. Some of it dates back to 880AD and it features a range of architectural styles over 70,000 square metres. The views from here are some of the best in the city. It’s easy to spend a bit of time here, exploring the cobbled side streets and historic buildings.
Time for a bit of grub. A local taxi driver had recommended U Fleků – a brewery and restaurant all in one – so we caught the tram and settled in for a feeding session. We were immediately presented with tankards of 13° U Fleků dark lager and a menu full of Czech classics and winter warmers. This place is huge; there are 8 different halls plus a garden for the warmer months and it has a great atmosphere. Live musicians wander around the restaurant playing traditional Czech folk music, which is great fun for the kids. The adults will never find their beer glasses empty and I loved that even the light fittings were made from glass tankards. We could have practically rolled home after the delicious, stodgy goulash and a belly full of in-house brew.
A restful night and a lazy morning watching strange Czech music videos on the box, while getting ready, led to our next mission – explore the city centre before our early evening flight.
We headed straight to the Astronomical Clock to watch the clockwork show on the hour, marvelling with hundreds of others at “The Walk of the Apostles”. After this we shopped (I cannot contain my excitement for finding C&A – old skool), stopped for hot chocolate and mulled wine on the chilly street, watched rock being made through Viva Praha’s window and getting a caricature of the munchkins on Charles Bridge. Success all round.