Madrid is a city with a lot to discover in the company of children. There are many, many things I like about Madrid. One of them is its wonderful bright blue sky, dotted with clouds that make it look like a Velázquez painting, especially in autumn.
There are many versions of Madrid, of course! I’ll show you mine, the one I enjoy with the family, and I’ll start with a place that’s spectacular at any time of year: the Royal Botanical Gardens. This is a magical place, where you can make up your own fairy tales and have a fabulous morning. We’re going through our fairy phase at the moment; we make up stories where we choose houses for each of them, what skills they have, their names and even clothes made from leaves, twigs and so on.
On the official website, which is really easy to navigate your way around, you can find the plants of the month. There’s also a Self-Guided Tours section. I like this part a lot, being your own guide, going at your own pace – that’s always good with kids – and being able to plan your visit in your own time.
The garden contains more than 1,500 specimens of unusual trees and a collection of plants that’s unique in Spain and has survived wars, plagues and so on. Another alternative for families who aren’t into fairies is to organise your visit around all the statues standing in the garden. There’s Carlos III, Antonio José Cavanilles y Palop, Mariano Lagasca… you could take drawing pads and crayons and draw portraits of these distinguished gentlemen.
A visit to the Greenhouse is a great way of rounding off your tour. It’s split into three sections – desert, subtropical and tropical – reproducing the ideal conditions of light, humidity and temperature (ideal for warming yourselves up a bit).
Go and have a lovely time in this royal garden.