Day One

Moscow’s traffic is infamous, so avoid the congestion by staying right in the centre of town. You can get bargain rates at the Ararat Park Hyatt ( and Ritz Carlton ( at weekends, and both magnificent hotels are a stone’s throw from Red Square.
Saturday’s the day to get the Cold War out of your system, so start by paying a visit to Comrade Lenin (, queuing with a remarkably nostalgic crowd. His red sandstone mausoleum, a truncated step pyramid, is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of Soviet architecture, and behind it you’ll find memorials to many other famous names from the Communist period. It’s a pretty solemn place, and also somewhat macabre, but Lenin undoubtedly changed the course of Russian history and so recognition is due.
Back on Red Square, cross to the neo-classical GUM Department Store (, built by Catherine II in the 19th century. The vaulted glass roof is reminiscent of the glass houses at Kew, and you’ll catch plenty of newly married couples posing for their wedding photos on the interior bridges and outside brand name stores. Pick up a picnic from Gastronome #1 (Moscow’s answer to Harrods Food Hall) and eat it outside while you watch the beautiful people stroll by. 


After lunch, head down into the Moscow Metro, a tourist attraction in its own right thanks to the preponderance of sculptures, crystal chandeliers, mosaics, murals and other decorative artworks.
A one-day Smartcard costs RUB210 (about £2.20) and gives you unlimited access to the metro, buses, trams and the monorail, valid for 24 hours from activation. Take the train to Taganskaya on Line 5, the Circle Line.
You’re heading for House 11 on 5th Kotelnichesky Lane, otherwise known as Bunker 42 ( From the street it looks like any other suburban residential building, but appearances can be deceiving: this is in fact the entrance to Stalin’s nuclear bunker.
It was dug out 65m below ground during the 1950s and now houses the Cold War Museum. Many of the rooms are still set up with their original equipment, you can experience a simulated nuclear strike, and even press the proverbial big red button to annihilate a metropolis in the West. If this wasn’t exciting enough, you can even take over the bunker for a game of laser quest!


Whether you’re normally an opera and ballet fan or not, go to the Bolshoi Theatre ( tonight. Not only is it the most famous stage in the world, but it’s recently undergone a $1.1bn renovation. The interior is stunning, the atmosphere in the auditorium is electric, and if you turn up at the box office just before a performance, you can pick up a ticket for as little as £1.05.
When the rapturous applause finally ends, you’re just a block away from arguably the best bar in Moscow, the O2 on the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton. The O2 has panoramic views across the Kremlin and St Basil’s (both of which are floodlit at night) and you can drink your way through an innovative Russian cocktail menu that includes the Coronation Imperiale (a decadent twist on a Black Russian), a Moscow Mule mixed with Polugar, and, for literature lovers, the Zhivago. 

Day 2

Muscovites love Sunday brunch, and you can certainly do worse than spend the morning eating. The Ararat Park Hyatt serves up a brunch banquet with unlimited wine and live jazz for under £50, but if your budget won’t stretch quite that far, instead head to Correa’s on Gasheka Street ( for great coffee and Italian-style pastries and cakes. You can sit outside on the terrace in summer.

Roll out of brunch and into one of Moscow’s incredible museums. Fine art lovers should head to the Tretyakov Gallery (, which began as a private collection in the 1850s. Indisputable highlights include Vrubel’s vast Princess of Dreams (transferred here from the Bolshoi), works by Malevich and Chagall, and a gallery of icons that are simply breathtaking in their beauty.
If you’d rather look at objects than paintings, pick the Kremlin Armoury (, which exhibits more than 4,000 pieces of weaponry, textiles, jewels and precious metals, including state regalia belonging to the tsars. Inside the Kremlin itself, the museum’s surroundings perfectly offset the collection. Tickets are £7.50 for adults but free for under-18s.


You might be surprised, but Moscow is gaining traction as a gastronomic centre, and you can taste it for yourself at Varvary (, Anatoly Komm’s molecular deconstruction restaurant. Here Russian favourites have been catapulted into the 21st century in style, and you can try spherified borscht with foie gras or Kamchatka crab with liquid nitrogen sour cream. Dress up for the occasion, soak up the atmosphere and watch the sun go down across Moscow from the terrace.