Sharon Reid


I am trying really hard not to obsess about the weather; during our protracted winters, being adept at dressing warmly for chilly temperatures means I barely track the weather because winter like an honest, straight talking friend, you know where you stand. Summer on the other hand is less honest and prone to changing its mind literally blowing hot and cold! So rather than agonise over whether we will be the recipients of the over –hyped heat wave (by the time you read this it may have materialised) you could book a trip to Florence, Madrid or Rome, to experience the rich cultural heritage of theses cities in addition to basking in consistent warm sunshine while you dine on fine regional cuisine – this should beat aimlessly waiting for summer any day!


Why visit?

As the birth place of the Renaissance, Florence is the home of classic art and architecture. Make sure to pay a visit to the iconic Florence Cathedral; the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s ‘David’; and the Uffizi Gallery for Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation’.

Stay at: The five –star, deluxe Belmond Villa San Michele, a former monastery, perched on a hillside overlooking the city of Florence, expect breath –taking views, stunning rooms and suites, along with a heated outdoor swimming pool set amongst terraced gardens.Cultural Summer in the City.jpg 1

There is also a courtesy shuttle bus which regularly runs to and from Florence centre.

Stay three nights for the price of two – the price is from £1,098 pp* – saving £300 pp – including complimentary entrance tickets to a choice of either the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia or Bargello. Offer valid until 10th September.


Why visit?

Spain’s lively capital city has an abundance of good food, great night life, elegant boulevards, and manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. In addition, the city is dripping in culture, visit the Prado Museum to marvel over works by the Spanish masters; Goya, Velázquez, Rubens and Bosch. Furthermore, tickets sold out for ‘Bosch – The Centenary Exhibition’ when it visited Den Bosch in the Netherlands earlier this year, and similar demand is expected for an even bigger version of the show that runs at the Prado until 1st  September. Featuring over 60 works in the museum’s dedicated Jerónimos building, highlights include the outstanding triptych of the Temptation of Saint Anthony.

Stay at: The five –star superior Orfila, a former 19th century palace, this elegant boutique hotel is just five minutes walk from the Plaza de Colon and a short taxi ride or 25 minute walk to the Prado.image

Enjoy delicious meals from Orfila’s gourmet restaurant and relax in the charming courtyard where meals and afternoon tea are served.

Stay four nights for the price of three -the price is from £899 pp* – saving £149 pp – including complimentary entrance tickets to a choice of either the Prado, Thyssen or Reina Sofia museums. Offer valid all year.

Alternatively stay four nights for the price of three at the four-star superior Hotel de las Letras from £595 pp* – saving £72 pp – including entrance to the exhibition. Offer valid until 31st August.


Why visit?

For the art, architecture and culture, whether it’s the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Coliseum or the papal residence Vatican City. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums – the home of Michelangelo’s famous ceiling at the Sistine Chapel.

Stay at: The five –star superior Aldrovandri Villa Borghese, a grandiose, traditional hotel which boasts a poolside terrace ideal for alfresco dining, a spa and stunning views overlooking the Borghese Gardens located in the exclusive Parioli district of the city.Cultural Summer in the City.jpg 2

Stay four nights for the price of three – the price is from £948 pp* – saving £130 pp – including complimentary entrance tickets to a choice of either the Villa Borghese or the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel, as well as a complimentary five-course dinner with matching wines. Offer valid on stays until 4th September.


For further information, to hear about Kirker’s latest special offers on short breaks and tailor-made holidays across Europe and beyond, or for a copy of Kirker’s 2016 Short Breaks brochure (click here), please contact Kirker Holidays on 020 7593 2283 or visit

*All prices include flights (London – regional departures on request), private transfers, accommodation (two sharing) with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants, museums and sightseeing and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book restaurants, expert local guides or tickets to theatres, opera performances, concerts, museums and galleries.