Multi-Generational Travel Destinations

Students – Lisbon

Lisbon is an enchanting mix of old and new, sun and sea, ups and downs. Navigate your way round the hills and you will find traditional neighbourhoods, breathtaking views, cute cafes and boutiques, all within walking distance. When your feet do begin to ache the modes of transport are numerous: trains, trams, taxis and modern tuk-tuks! Aside from the typical tourist attractions, this capital has plenty of other ideas for young people to explore. Flights are cheap to Lisbon and the night life is infectious!

Stay at The Independente: the trendiest hostel and suites accommodation in the city. This funky venue also offers a groovy bar and restaurant for guests and visitors. Cheap and cool.

Couples – Zurich

Many assume Zurich will be stiff and stern, with thoughts of finance and business, I witnessed the opposite: a fresh and friendly city with beautiful surroundings, a delightful old town, a cool and creative burgeoning industrial quarter, and a culture which is instantly likeable. Just 80 minutes from London by plane to Switzerland’s most popular city, it is the perfect weekend destination for a romantic getaway.

Stay at Baur au Lac: the belle of the town, Baur au Lac hotel is the most renowned place to stay in Zurich. Currently celebrating its 170th birthday the hotel has served many famous and royal guests over the years. Today it upholds the highest level of classic luxury and tradition whilst regularly modernising its facilities. It is a special place for couples to celebrate a special occasion and indulge in a lovely city break.

Families – Cornwall

While my friends jetted off in the school holidays to exciting international destinations my family drove to Cornwall, it seemed like an unfair substitution. Now, years later, I can truly appreciate this amazing county, and particularly take advantage of its close proximity to London. Serene sunny beaches, stunning sights, charming pubs, long countryside walks and a carefree lifestyle, Cornwall is a blissful destination for a refreshing minibreak family holiday. Just 4-5 hours by train from London Cornwall has a plethora of activities and sites for kids and adults. I can particularly recommend The Minack Theatre and The Eden Project, enjoyable for the whole family.

Stay at Bedruthan Hotel & Spa: Set into the cliff above Mawgan Porth Beach on the North Cornwall coast Bedruthan is build amongst a stunning backdrop. This award-winning hotel has been welcoming families for over 60 year and has something for every age-group: free activity programmes, kids clubs, surf lessons and all the facilities to ignite a child’s imagination.

Just Retired – Oslo

Unusual and exciting, Oslo has an icy cold appearance and climate but is perhaps the warmest and friendliest city I have visited. In recent years Norway’s capital has grown in popularity and importance, with the ‘barcode’ business district developing at speed and the hotel and restaurant scene becoming more trendy and diverse than ever before. It may be more expensive than its Scandi counterparts but it has just as much, if not more, to explore and discover.

Stay at The Thief: Less than a year old, the Thief hotel is without doubt the most enticing hotel in Oslo. Located on the water’s edge in the cultural hub of Tjuvholmen, this coveted hotel is the home for every celebrity visiting the city. With an enviable art collection and an alliance with neighbouring gallery, Astrup Fearnley, the accommodation looks as seductive as it feels. Hotels don’t come much cooler than this.

Mature travellers – Alicante

Of all the wonderful Spanish cities Alicante is not the most obvious destination for a weekend break, however with 300 days of sunshine a year and very cheap daily flights from London airports, Alicante is sure to suit those in need of a warm minibreak, all year round. The destination is ideal for older travellers as it offers exoticism without the long flight, warm weather and great food.

Stay at Asia Gardens: This contained luxury hotel is an oasis of calm and luxury 30 minutes drive from Alicante city centre. This Asian inspired exotic hotel offers indulgent rooms, sparkling pools and a traditional Thai spa. With several restaurants and tropical gardens on site there is no need to leave the hotel!

Basingstoke- Pemberley House:  Once you’ve embarked upon most of your travels, an idyllic setting to retire in, could be found in Basingstoke. In the event that you’re looking at your different retirement options, this town situated on the outskirts of the county of Hampshire with its picturesque countryside, may be more than just picture perfect. Gracewell’s Pemberley House care home in Basingstoke,  is a classic example of one of the facilities you could invest in for retirement living at its best.

I hope these destinations will inspire you to travel, whatever your age.

Things to do in Zurich

Many assume Zurich will be stiff and stern, with thoughts of finance and business, I witnessed the opposite: a fresh and friendly city with beautiful surroundings, a delightful old town, a cool and creative burgeoning industrial quarter, and a culture which is instantly likeable. Just 80 minutes from London by plane to Switzerland’s most popular city, it is the perfect weekend destination. Here are my recommendations for exploring this small but diverse city.

To Stay

Baur au Lac – the belle of the town, Baur au Lac hotel is THE place to stay in Zurich. Currently celebrating its 170th birthday the hotel has served many famous and royal guests over the years. Today it upholds the highest level of classic luxury and tradition whilst regularly modernising its facilities.

To Eat

Markthalle – after a busy morning of shopping nearby Markthalle is a lovely lunch option. With a food market indoors the menu changes daily using only the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Pavillon – this civilised and sophisticated Michelin star restaurant serves fine Swiss contemporary dishes with exemplary service to match (look out for witty restaurant manager Jürgen). Try the speciality Veal knuckle with creamy potatoes for two.

Rosso –  until 1997 a law existed that restricted the number of restaurants per district in Zurich. This shabby chic pizzeria therefore has only existed ‘legally’ since then. It was previously an under the radar venue but even now Rosso retains it’s underground atmosphere so you still feel like you’ve been told about the best kept secret in town. Serving the best pizzas around it is essential to book ahead.

Sprungli – this chocolatier is renowned in Zurich, the sweets are so special that Zurchers haven’t let them leave the country unlike other big Swiss chocolate brands. Pop in for breakfast in the upstairs cafe or just for a Luxemburgerli (a version of the macaron filled with cream), we tried delicious Gold champagne and salted caramel flavours.

To Drink

Grande – this fashionable cafe is on the main Limmatquai street, serving up strong and creamy flat whites for takeaway or eat in. The creative decor is super cool, I especially loved the illustrated coffee designs drawn on blackboards on the walls.

Bear, Brothers and Cow – receiving rave reviews as a pop-up coffee outlet, BBC will soon return to a permanent venue in Zurich supplying caffeine fans with the finest roast in town.

Kronenhalle Bar– this cosy little bar dates back to 1862. The interior is designed by Diego Giacometti with mahogany wood panelling, forest green walls and leather banquettes. The paintings on the walls indicate to the artistic past clientele. Braque, Chagall, Miro and Picasso often frequented this bar sometimes settling the tab by donating their art. Known for mixing the best cocktails in town we tried the deliciously refreshing and unique Olio Nobile which combines gin, lemon, sorbet, olive oil and mint.

Helsinki – this hipster hang-out is popular with crowds of all kinds. Located in a scruffy chic old gasworks facility under the Hardbrucke, Helsinki is a great venue for an evening drink, especially on Sunday nights when the house band AAD Hollander Trio from Hell play rock’n’roll, country and polka.

Rive Gauche – this stylish and slick casual restaurant offers a range of delicious comforting dishes, but it was the cocktails that really impressed me. Try the pretty pink Rhubarb Panther, an addictive fruity martini that is mixed here to perfection.

To Shop

Im Viadukt – a picturesque and trendy collection of design shops housed beneath the arches in Kreis 5 I particularly loved the Senior Design Factory.

Bogen 33 –  a wonder world of retro furniture and wacky items. When you’ve splashed out on vintage one-offs visit the nearby old fashioned photoautomat machine to commemorate your purchases with a strip of black and white classic photos.

Freitag – housed in old shipping containers this popular Swiss brand makes bags and accessories from recycled truck tarps, a thick shiny and scruffy material which wears well in harsh weather. Climb to the top of the stack of containers to view the city from an impressive height.

Edition Populaire – found in a huddle of hip independent boutiques Edition Populaire is a simple and stylish concept store stocking design focused clothes and accessories by local brands like Townhouse: from Zurich with Love. I loved the bright hued leather envelope clutch bags.

To See

Fraumunster – drop in to this famous Zurich church to see the colourful stained glass window masterpiece by Marc Chagall.

St Peter’s Church – the tower proudly presents the largest clock face in Europe. Admire this church from various vantage points around the old town.

Boat trip on the lake with ZürichSee – sit and relax on the upper deck on one of the 90 minute lake tour boats. Order a glass of rose and sip the cooling wine whilst the boat floats towards the magnificent snow topped Alps.

To Do

Schiffbau – this super cool complex is the cultural epicentre of Zurich-West. Home to Moods jazz club, LaSalle restaurant, Matchbox Theatre and the rooftop bar, NietturmBar. Make sure you keep a whole evening free to try them all, and on your way out pay 8 CHF for a quirky design product from the Designomat (a recycled cigarette dispenser).

Kunsthaus – an art fans first stop in Zurich this gallery holds a wonderful collection, including works by Giacometti, Munch and Miro.

Haus Konstruktiv – in a former power station this alternative but equally interesting institution presents conceptual art exhibitions from local artists with a focus on Constructivist and Concrete art. We saw a psychedelic collection of works by Victor Vasarely.

Frauenbad – women rule the roost at this public bath on the river. During the day only females can frolick in the water, at night though both sexes are allowed to come and enjoy a drink and the fun party vibe.

Book a stay at Baur au Lac here: , read my review of the hotel here.

Many thanks to the Swiss Tourist Office for their help with this trip, more information here.

Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich

The sun was setting as we came into Zurich airport and the air had a hint of early summer warmth. Usually I dread the onward journey from the airport but in Zurich the connection couldn’t be simpler, a 10 minute train ride and a few stops on the tram. I asked the airport information officer for orientation help, explaining I was trying to get to the Baur au Lac hotel. She looked up, eyes alight, ‘the Baur au Lac is amazing, the best hotel in the city’. This reaction was repeated every time I mentioned the hotel and I soon realised the iconic status of this Zurich institution. Most cities have a few top luxury hotels to choose from, in Zurich there is one hotel which impresses locals and tourists alike, and I was staying there for the weekend. Walking through the quiet clean streets to Baur au Lac, I was nervous with anticipation.

Celebrating its 170th birthday this year, Baur au Lac has spent almost two centuries charming visitors to Zurich. Discreet and understated on the exterior but lovely and lavish inside, the property has a sophisticated allure. The hotel enjoys an advantageous position on the edge of the lake overlooking a scene of natural beauty with the Alps dazzling in the distance, but not far from the favourite designer shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse.

Service at Baur au Lac is second to none, every member of staff is alert and caring at every opportunity – it felt so comfortable but so special simultaneously. We were in an elegant second floor double deluxe room, newly refurbished and spacious with an abundance of natural light. The décor is a perfect balance of antique tradition, modern luxury and stylish creativity. I loved the decadent plush red chairs and the expressive Miro print which hung next to the giant bed. The heavy curtains ensure you fall into an immersive sleep until morning. On the desk a selection of delicate and delectable cakes were freshly made for us by the highly accomplished pastry chef.

The bathroom is another world of wonders, extra shiny marble and granite covered surfaces, delicious smelling Baur au Lac toiletries and fluffy towels and bathrobes. A power shower and a big deep bathtub are both on hand for a quick refresh or a longer relaxing soak.

In the morning it is tempting to just lounge around in the bedroom, it seems too beautiful to leave but downstairs breakfast awaits. Served in the immaculate Pavillon dining room, Baur au Lac breakfast is truly fit for a queen. The room is adorned with bouquets of flowers on pastel green tables and looks out onto Baur au Lac’s lush private garden, it is heavenly. An array of Parisian style pastries, fruit, yoghurt, meat and cheese are all available from the buffet. We chose French toast with maple syrup from the a la carte, which arrived covered in crunchy cornflakes and dusted in icing sugar. Accompanied by ruby red strawberries and a dollop of thick cream, it was absolutely divine. Strong cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice completed our morning feast.

There is so much to discover and explore in Zurich but guests who wish to rest, relax and recuperate from their busy lives could not do better than Baur au Lac. Michelin star restaurant Pavillon serves wonderful fine dishes, whilst bar and restaurant Rive Gauche offers a more casual option. Shopping needs can be met within the hotel at the design boutique or at the unique wine cellar and shop, whilst working visitors can use the 24 hour business centre and indoor or outdoor spaces for meetings and receptions.

Quite simply, this place has everything, but best of all this historic, family-owned property has personality and soul ensuring every guest will remember their stay and dream of a return visit to Baur au Lac.

Book a stay at Baur au Lac here:

Many thanks to the Swiss Tourist Office for their help with this trip, more information here.