Travel

There is no time like autumn when it comes to booking a little city break.

The weather is usually sunny and crisp, without being too hot and sticky. Everyone needs a little pick-me-up now that school is back and reality is upon us again. And let's face it, we could all do with a little staycation, no?

The good news? You really don't have to travel far for a great (and family friendly!) urban weekend. So forget about London or Paris or Prague; Dublin is on our very own doorstep, and when it comes to experiences, history, sights and fun for the whole family, this fair city has got plenty of everything.

Are you ready for an urban staycation the whole family will love? Here you go:

Friday

5pm: Arrive for your check-in at Castleknock Hotel and marvel at how leafy and serene the surrounding are – when you also know that you are a mere 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle that is Dublin City centre. Take a few minutes to relax in your gorgeous room – or let the kids persuade you to come check out the playground for a little swing and slide action.

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5.30pm: Time to burn off some energy before dinner! Get everyone into their swimming togs and let dad take the kids for a dip in the hotel pool. Not only can the leisure centre boast a 18-meter swimming pool (complete with a stunning view of lush countryside), to make life that little bit more blissful, they also have a baby pool, toddler pool (and a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi!) Just don't blame us if your kids want to spend the entire weekend right here in the water!

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6pm: While the rest of the family are having a ball in the pool , you take yourself off for a gorgeous Aromasoul Ritual Full Body Scrub at the hotel's Tonic Health & Day Spa, mamas. (Because you're worth it!) Feel your shoulders drop as you chill out in the relaxation room before your treatment, before letting yourself be seriously pampered.

Now, get dressed (or, you know, wear your robe all the way up to your room, and indulge in a little post-spa nap. We totally wouldn't judge you for doing just that!)

8pm: Time to sit down to a relaxed dinner at the hotel's Avenue Bar & Restaurant. Tuck into seriously scrummy food like the epic sharing platter, or, if you are feeling particularly hungry, the rib eye steak is truly what dinner dreams are made of. And don't worry about the kids, they have their own (delicious!) menu to order from!

Afterwards, get ready to sink into the sheets for that hotel bed snooze that never quite feel the same at home.

Saturday

9am: Time for breakfast – and take this advice: Don't miss it and arrive hungry.

10am: As far as having fun with the kids, it will be hard to beat Dublin Zoo (and as luck would have it, you are literally only 10 minutes away) Whittle away your morning hours by strolling through one of the world's oldest and most visited zoos, and see how many of the 400 animals that live there you can spot.

Tip: Do check out their website for the animal talks and feeding times before you go.

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2pm: Hop on a bus into the city centre, and make time for a stroll through the bustling street. Stop off at Murphy's Ice cream on Wicklow Street (the Dingle Sea Salt flavour is a must-try!), and grab a really nice coffee-to-go at Kaph on Drury Street before rambling up towards Stephen's Green where you can sip your latte in peace and the kids can wear themselves out at the playground.

3.30pm: Now that you have already been to the "real" zoo, why not take in the "Dead Zoo" as well? Dublin's Natural History Museum on Merrion Street is only a short stroll from Stephen's Green, and is a real must-see when in the city with little people. Kids will no doubt marvel at being let up close to giant deer, giraffes, elephants and hippos, and there are also some very cool (and gross!) collections of bugs and creepy crawlies to admire/freak out over.

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6pm: Take yourselves off to Milano's on Dawson Street for a chilled-out and family friendly pizza. Say a silent prayer of thanks for the puzzles and colour pages they bring you as soon as you sit down, letting you enjoy a by-now much needed glass of wine in relative peace.

8pm: Head back to Castleknock for an evening cap (or fancy cocktail) at the hotel's Lime Tree Bar before no doubt falling into bed after your fun-filled day in the city.

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Sunday

11am: Order your breakfast to the room and  indulge in the perfect lazy hotel morning before you have to leave and head for home.

(Should time allow it, we are pretty sure all dads would love a go at the  hotel's 18-hole golf course, while you and the kids hit the playground, take another dip in the pool or fancy hitting the (many) shops at the nearby Blanchardstown Centre.)

Castleknock Hotel is situated in Castleknock, Dublin 15, and is the perfect location for a fun-filled family weekend in the capital.

For just €499 per family, the two-night family package includes: Two nights B&B accommodation in a family room for 2 adults and 2 children under 12 sharing, one three-course family evening meal in the Avenue Bar & Restaurant with children dining from the special children's menu, a family pass to Dublin Zoo for 2 adults and 2 children, a packaged lunch for a family of four to bring to the Zoo with you, Full use of onsite playground and playroom (during open hours), full use of leisure centre and pool, as well as  10% off prebooked individual spa treatments in our Tonic Spa (Mon-Fri)

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family travel, Dublin, city break