We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
577 posts
30 reviews
Save Topic
London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Hi all - We're looking ahead to next year's vacation, and trying to choose between London and Edinburgh with our 7-year-old. I've been to London before, but I was solo and childless then, so it'll be a different experience.

A few points of reference as far as interests, etc:

All of us are interested in history, and our son has a pretty good tolerance for museums as long as the content appeals to him (e.g., he's fascinated by science, technology, industry and natural history but would be bored in an art museum). He's not terribly excited by things like cathedrals, but would do OK for a little while.

At the top of his wish list: a medieval castle with all the trimmings that kids imagine when they picture castles (moat and drawbridge, suits of armor, dungeon, battlements, weaponry, etc.). We've visited Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria, which he loved.

We all like outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and boating.

We'll be getting around exclusively by public transport. I know the Tube in London is fantastic; I'm a little fuzzier about how extensive Edinburgh's system is.

After a week in either London or Edinburgh, we'll be flying to Munich, Germany, which we have already visited and loved. So ease of getting there from the UK is a consideration.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Ossett, United...
Level Contributor
2,946 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

London.

OK, that's not strictly advice, so not really helpful.

I'm a very proud Scot but for sheer buzz of the excitement of living history, London every time.

The bus service is fantastic too, great view from the upstairs for a small boy too!

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
33,574 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Tower of London, Imperial War Museum...

... All specific London museums.

As for Edinburgh, it has the Castle and an extensive (though for most visitors hardly needed) bus system

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
22,644 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

London if only because it sounds as if he'll be in heaven if you take him to the Tower. Also try and do a river trip (Duck) and if the weather's fine a park or two. St James's is partic good for children but be careful of the pelicans.

london
Level Contributor
2,359 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

There are flights from Edinburgh to Munich, as well as from London to Munich. So not too much of a concern.

London has the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, which are sure to please. Not so great for hiking and biking with a 7-year-old but plenty of walking between sights.

London can keep you busy for a week with public transport whereas for Edinburgh you'd likely want to travel further afield either on a guided tour (ugh), or using a rented car.

I assume you are planning to visit Neuschwanstein, which is impressive if not medieval. Also Bavaria is good for the outdoor activities, whereas London is less so. Lots of outdoors near Edinburgh.

London has Windsor Castle (easily reached by train just outside London), the Tower of London, Edinburgh has Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle not far away. Numerous interesting castles within 90 minutes or so of London - Hever, Dover, Leeds, Bodiam.

If I was visiting Scotland I'd get a car and go for a more rural experience. In London stay in the city and forget the car.

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
577 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Thank you for all the tips! Looks like London may have the edge. As a follow-up question, I keep hearing mixed reviews of Warwick Castle (paradise for kids, overpriced and a little hokey for adults). Any opinions on whether that would be a good castle destination for us, through a 7-year-old's eyes?

We actually skipped Neuschwanstein during our last visit to Bavaria. We may or may not give it a try this time around...to be honest, we'd be more interested in the gorgeous natural setting than in touring the interior.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
588 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Have you posted this question on the Edinburgh forum too (I looked and couldn't find it) - if not you're not going to get very balanced opinions.

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
577 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Hi Hazeywazey - thanks for the reminder - I'm about to post it there now.

London
Destination Expert
for Verbier
Level Contributor
3,087 posts
307 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Hampton Court Palace has an amazing kids programme - actors who immerse the kids in the castle experience. Perfect for that age. It's a palace vs castle - less fortified. But old palace. Hope that counts!

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
577 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

Thanks JT14! I have been to Hampton Court and I adored it. It's definitely on the list of possibilities. I'll take care not to mention the "P word" (palace) in my son's earshot - for some reason, he equates that with Disney princesses. :-)

london
Level Contributor
2,359 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: London or Edinburgh for a family with 7-year-old boy?

I agree about the natural setting at Neuschwanstein. We got there around 2pm and bought tickets for both castles on the site. They were timed tickets and we had a 7- and 9-year old so spent most of our time going to and from the castles. The castles were nice on the inside but we decided it would have been better to skip the minor castle (forget the name, sorry), and spend the time on the lake instead, or drinking beer alongside it, the setting is very nice.