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Berlin with children: A fab family city break

Going to Berlin with children, was probably my favourite city break we’ve done as a family.  There’s so much to see and do that the children can be kept entertained at the same time as you getting a closer look at Berlin’s history.  Here are some of the things we did with the children in Berlin, where we went, ate, etc and some of the things we ran out of time for!

Things to do with children in Berlin.

Fat Tire Bike Tours.

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Wet but happy on a bike tour of Berlin

We were recommended the Fat Tire Bike Tour in Berlin and we loved it. I exchanged emails and telephoned Fat Tire beforehand to check out the options for our children (they’re 9 and 5 yrs old) and on each occasion found them to be very helpful. We wanted to do the All-in-one tour, a 5-6hour 10km cycle around the main tourist sites. I was unsure whether our 5 year old would prefer to ride or take a tag along attachment to an adult bike and they said they’d reserve both for us and we could choose on the day. As it was we chose the tag along, which I was extremely pleased about as although the routes are mainly on cycle paths, there’s some (very safe) road riding and crossing of roads to do. Also, when it rained (and it rained masses) she would have struggled to keep up with the group.

Our guide was the very charismatic Randal. Clearly knowledgeable about Berlin, his Eddie Izzard style delivery was interesting to listen to and he interacted well with our children (the only ones on the tour that day). The 9 year old was able to keep up with a lot of the explanations, but in the main, the kids just loved that we were on bikes. We visited all the main sites; the Berlin wall, the Richstag, Checkpoint Charlie, etc.

We found the tour to be good value, particularly for the children (adults were 24 euros, 12 for my 9 year old and nothing for the tag along).  They were well prepared, offering rain ponchos (which we sadly needed) for 1 euro that they’ll buy back if you don’t use it and they had suncream available if you’d forgotten it.  If you’re travelling with littler children to Berlin, they have bicycle seats too (which are also free).

If you’re in Berlin with children, then I would highly recommend Fat Tire Bike Tours (click for more info).  An excellent first day for our trip!

Berlin Zoo

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Berlin Zoo: Who’s watching who?

Like many things in Berlin, we found the zoo very uncommercial.  At just 35 euros for the day, for a family of four, we thought it was excellent value.  It’s hard to imagine you’re in the centre of a city when you step into the zoo; everything was so green and lush and, well, rural I suppose!  Turn a corner and see an industrial crane, and you’re reminded.

The enclosures (with the exception of the small cages for some beautiful big birds of prey) are OK sizes; at least, what you expect from a zoo.  At the time we went (May), there were so many baby animals in the zoo, from baby giraffes, orangutans to cute little wart hogs (even they are cute when they’re that little), much to the delight of my youngest.

There aren’t animal displays, though feeding times are published.  But we didn’t feel we needed to see yet another sea lion show!

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Berlin zoo: Playground for children

Best of all, for me as a parent, were the lack of souvenir shop

s!  There was just one inconspicuous little shop near the restaurant.  How refreshing not to have the usual commercial junk rammed down  your throat at every turn as you keep telling your kids, no they don’t need another giraffe keyring!

There’s also a fantastic playground (mainly suitable from about 4 years upwards) for a bit of a leg stretch (and a chance for a coffee for mum and dad).  Another great day out and one we’d recommend. See Berlin Zoo website for more details

Museums in Berlin

I have to be honest, we didn’t visit any of the museums.  For history lovers, there are antiquities galore.  However, we didn’t really feel that many were suitable for our five year old.  Our Fat Tire guide recommended the DDR museum, with it’s history of East Germany.  It claims to be one of the most interatctive museums in the world, and certainly looks a lot of fun.  For more info see their website:  DDR museum, Berlin

Eating out in Berlin with children.

Eating in Berlin with children isn’t hard, thanks to a huge choice of restaurants.  There are the usual array of chain restaurants around Berlin, and restaurants from many different countries and cultures.  Two we liked were slightly out of the centre of Berlin, near our apartment

Mao Tao, Thai restaurant

A lovely atmosphere.  We were sat, to the delight of our girls in a room completely enclosed with a palm roof and walls.  The service was a little slow, but the food tasted great.  There isn’t a children’s menu, but they happily ate a range of starters and a chicken and vegetable main.

Il Pane y el Rose

Our favourite restaurant of our trip.  The girls enjoyed a fab, good value pizza while we ate superb swordfish and rack of lamb.  Great restaurant with basic decor, but clearly popular with locals.  They seem to have two separate eating areas, and we were in the more basic looking side, but it meant for relaxed eating with the children.  The waiters were friendly, helpful and great fun with the kids.  The only downside was no icecream on the menu for dessert.

Transport in Berlin.

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Enjoying some wall art in Berlin

We were near enough to walk in and out of the centre, but we did use the trams a couple of times, which the children loved.  They were relatively easy to use (ahem, provided you get on the platform for the right direction!) and people in Berlin are very friendly and happy to help if you look lost.  If you’re planning to do a lot of travel, we have been recommend the Berlin Welcome Card (click the link for booking and prices).  It gives you unlimited travel and discounts to some of the sights.

Accommodation in Berlin.

Our accommodation was nicely located, but on a 3rd floor, with an odd lift arrangement, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend where we stayed.  I do however recommend finding a 2 bedroom apartment so that after a days sight-seeing, the children can go to bed, while you relax.  You can prepare breakfast before your days out too, keep water in the fridge, etc. Try www.ownersdirect.co.uk or www.booking.com for options.  Do check on the lift situation before booking!

Getting to Berlin

Try easyjet.co.uk for highly reasonable priced flights to Berlin from a number of UK airports, or www.cheapflights.co.uk to compare options.

Have you been to Berlin with children?

If you’ve been to Berlin with your family, we’d love to know what you throught of it, what you’d recommend seeing and doing and if you found some fab, child friendly restaurants.  Do drop us a comment below and let others share from your (hopefully postive) experiences.

Posted in Holiday Destinations.


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