Edinburgh for Kids.
March 5, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Taking our 13 and 11 year old grand daughters to Edinburgh for a week at the end of March. Things we might miss as an occasional tourist. First trip to Europe for them.

My wife and I have traveled to Scotland from the US several times including two trips to Edinburgh. We are taking my grand daughters in several weeks. We picked Edinburgh because of our positive experiences and that it is large enough to be diverse and small enough to be manageable. We would like for them to experience as much of the real city as possible. We have a handle on the regular tourist things, which we will do, castles, ghost tour, double decker tour, Old Town and New Town, climb the hills etc. Any additional suggestions would be appreciated, including ideas about Glasgow. The 13 year old loves horses, reading, is an excellent student, sports (and wants to go to the hotel and have lunch where J K Rowlings wrote). She is the "grown up" on the trip. The eleven year old is very bright, likes sports, prefers dresses to slacks, and wants to "go clubbing"--my words not hers. We have rented an apartment in Old Town and I want them to have some mini adventures on their own--walks to stores on their own, public transit etc (we do have a compatible mobile phone). Thanks in advance.
posted by rmhsinc to Travel & Transportation around Edinburgh, Scotland (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you are in Edinburgh for a week I would definitely recommend a day trip to Glasgow. It's very different and just as vibrant as Edinburgh, and there are excellent transport links. There is a lot to see but I would recommend a trip to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which is huge and diverse, and great for all ages. You could easily spend a whole day in there.
posted by fire&wings at 9:05 AM on March 5, 2007

Rowling's restaurant is a Chinese Buffet now.
posted by the cuban at 9:17 AM on March 5, 2007

While in Edinburgh take the kids up to the top of Arthur's Seat. It is a big mountain just out side the city and it is a pretty easy hike. It might look intimidating but it is worth it.

There are also some scenic day trips you can do up to the highlands and see the lochs. Lots of nature hiking and history. Haggis Adventures has some pretty good day tours as well as 3-6 day tours.
posted by chillmost at 9:25 AM on March 5, 2007

I'm not sure if taking an 11-year-old "clubbing" is a very good idea. You might instead consider taking them to a ceilidh instead where they can do traditional Scottish dancing. Make sure you go to one where they call the dances and give you instructions. At some Scottish dances, you are expected to know all the steps in advance.
posted by grouse at 9:33 AM on March 5, 2007

I was always told J.K. Rowling wrote in the Elephant House, which is still alive and well. It's on George IV bridge (number 21, according to the website).

You can't possibly take an 11-year old "clubbing", so you must mean something different from what clubbing means in Edinburgh.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 9:41 AM on March 5, 2007

There's a wonderful old ruined castle about ten miles south of Edinburgh (preserved now by the National Trust, so safe to visit). Unfortunately I've forgotten the name -- it's thirty years since we lived in Edinburgh. I'll try and remember the name, or maybe someone here can find it, but it's much the best old castle for kids -- mine loved it at the age of your granddaughters.

Being a ruin, but still quite complete, there's much more scope for seeing things as they were back when Queen Bess and her rival Mary were struggling for power. I seem to remember that Mary was imprisoned there, but it might be imagination by now.
posted by anadem at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2007

That'll be Loch Leven in Kinross - 15 miles or so north of Edinburgh. Interestring place for bird watching too.
posted by the cuban at 10:14 AM on March 5, 2007

Here are my favourite bits of Edinburgh as I grew through those ages: On preview - you're talking about Craigmillar Castle and Cramond Island.
posted by grahamwell at 10:35 AM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No, I really did not mean "clubbing"( after all I am her grandfather"--she is much more interested in pop music/culture, celebrities etc than her older sister--She would enjoy any age appropriate popular music etc. The suggestions so far have been wonderful and we will definitely do Glasgow for a day.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:49 AM on March 5, 2007

Sorry to nag. Here's more on Culross.

Send the girls off to get some Olives and Pasta from Valvona and Crolla. Meet up and take tea in the Jenners Tea Room. Your youngest will enjoy the trendy shops on Cockburn Street. Don't forget to pack a swimming costume and visit the Commonwealth Pool. While the kids are preoccupied, sneak away to the Traverse, if only for a drink.
posted by grahamwell at 11:12 AM on March 5, 2007

If the youngest wants to see a rock/pop show, and if Granddad wants to accompany and if they allow it (all ages show or not), there might be something interesting at the Queens Hall during the time you are there. There are many diverse acts playing there. Worth just looking at the program schedule.
posted by chillmost at 11:41 AM on March 5, 2007

Fwiw the castle I posted earlier which was my kids' favorite, or 'favourite' then, where Mary stayed was Craigmillar, as mentioned by grahamwell (though she was not imprisoned there after all.)
posted by anadem at 2:19 PM on March 5, 2007

Your wife and daughter might enjoy Plasir du Chocolat on the Royal Mile - it's a lovely cafe with some amazing chocolate and chocolate dishes on offer. I believe they do a high tea, which comes with all the fripperies and dishes and is quite good fun.

If anyone's a Monty Python fan, there's also Doune Castle north of Edinburgh where the movie was filmed.
posted by ukdanae at 3:53 PM on March 5, 2007

Your thirteen year old might like this (As might you).

Here's a decent pub and cafe guide (.doc). A pint of Heavy in Bennetts Bar is the way to really 'be' in Edinburgh. The guide doesn't mention the Canny Man which, as long as you don't expect too much, you really ought to see. Enjoy.
posted by grahamwell at 5:37 PM on March 5, 2007

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