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Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Winchester, United...
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Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

We will be in Budapest from 4th - 7th of June with our two girls. They have never been on a city break before and tell me that they don't like sightseeing. The plan is to introduce them to culture without them noticing!

We want to go to a spa, although haven't decided which one, and will probably go on a 'hop-on-hop-off' bus tour (with boat trip included?). We would welcome other suggestions and it would also be useful to know of anything that would be best avoided!

We are staying at the Marmara Hotel, Nagy Ignac Utca 21. Restaurant recommendations would be appreciated too.

Thanks very much.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

The Children's RR would be a good choice. (Just as much fun for adultd, incidentally).

How about the zoo?

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2. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

The zoo is pretty good. Go up to szentendre and then take the boat back.

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3. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Oh, and there is this amphibious bus that drives off into the river.

Winchester, United...
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4. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

We probably wouldn't go to the zoo because we live near a wildlife park and have been there countless times. I'll have a look into the Children's Railway though.

Can you think of anywhere that wouldn't necessarily be in the children's section of a guide book that the kids would probably enjoy? What about spas / pools? We chose Budapest over Rome because we promised the girls that they could spend an afternoon swimming!

Thanks for your help.

Budapest, Hungary
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5. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

The Gellert Hotel spa used to have a children's section, though from memory (mine are now 30/26) it is for smaller children. Szechenyi is always a good bet for a spa, or the Palatinus on Margit Sziget (Margaret Island), though avoid Friday..

The children's railway is basically a narrow guage railway staffed by children (except, for some bizarre reason, the driver !), it is easily reached by bus and is a very pleasant trip through the woods in the hills of Buda. You can either do a return or catch the bus back to town from the other end. The railway cost a ridiculous amount of money to build, and was a hidden scandal at the time (my father-in-law had some connection to it as a young architecture student): the children involved before 1990 were naturally good little communists, though hopefully they are chosen on merit nowadays.

Our children always loved the libego, a chair lift into the hills, with some amzing views from the Erzsebet Kilato a 5 minute walk from the top. Takes about 20 minutes bottom to top. To get to the kilato (lookout point) turn right as you come out of the libego: you may have to pay to go into the tower, though it used to be free.

A nice round trip might be to catch the bus up to Normafa, take the train to the end, then come back as far as the station down the hill from the top of the libego (think the station is Janos-Hegy) then walk up to the libego and take it to the bottom - but have a look at the kilato first.

The American ambassador's house is near the bottom of the libego,always a large soldier on duty outside: you can get a bus back to town 200 yrds down the road from there.

Szada, Pest, Hungary
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6. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Hi Carolyn,

I have kids of similar age and I can tell your kids won't be bored and want to stay an additional week at least...

At first: use the public transport: yellow trams, metros, red trolley buses are not only effective way of getting around but adventures for the kids. (Sadly there is no discounted tickets for them.)

A few highlights for kids:

- The zoo: not only animals, but beautiful art-noveau buildings, pleasant walks.

http://www.zoobudapest.com/english

Just go a few 100 metres to beginning of Podmaniczky street (Bajcsy-Zsilinszky street corner) and take trolley bus #72, it stops just before the entrance of the zoo. Or take the tram 4/6 at Nyugat station to East for 1 stop (Oktogon) and change to M1 (yellow) towards Széchenyi fürdő. M1 is the oldest line in Europe out of England, made before 1900, with lovely small stations (people call it "pocket metro").

- Palace of miracles: technical stuff for kids, interesting plays showing them some science

http://www.csodakpalotaja.hu/english

Take the tram 4/6 on the boulevard to Buda.

- Train museum: an old loko garage used as an open-air musem. Many steam locos, waggons of former luxury trains, models, etc. Kids can drive a real diesel locomotive and you can try a hand-cart also.

http://www.mavnosztalgia.hu/en/menu/103

Best to go there by train from Nyugati station, just 200 metres from your hotel. Trains leave 10.20, 11.20, 13.20; backwards 13.28, 16.28

- Childrens railway, as oddone recommends. It goes on the foresty hills of the Buda, a good possibility to use the biggest selection of vehicles and have fresh air in the forest. An enjoyable circle:

--Take bus no. 291 from Nyugat station (goes every 20 minutes at least), go to the endstation. If you go on Sat or Sun, you can go by tram to Széll Kálmán tér and take a cabrio bus (…old-ikarus.hu/jaratok/…index.html)

-- take the chairlift; go up to the lookout tower

-- walk down to Children railway stop called János-hegy and take it towards Széchenyi-hegy (www.gyermekvasut.hu/english/chrw_home.php)

-- from there you can go down by cogwheel train; there you can take a tram to Széll Kálmán tér, where you can catch the tram 4/6 to your hotel.

Spa: the famous spas in Budapest are not very children friendly. You can use Széchenyi (a few steps from the zoo), or head to Aquaworld, which is a big adventure but out of the city:

http://www.aqua-world.hu/en

To get there take the M3 (blue metro) till Újpest-Központ, and change to bus 230. There is one bus per hour, approx. at hour 30. (Buses come from the centre)

For informal lunches with the kids I suggest ie. the U26 just right from the train station building (Eiffel square). They have 3 course menus for 1650.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/bisztronomia/app_117784394919914

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7. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Absolutely, take them to Szechenyi Bath house. And take a look at Margaret Island: tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g274887-d276…

Guildford, Surrey
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8. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Me and my brother first went to Budapest when we were 9 and 7 years old and we were never bored. I am actually taking my 7 month old daughter for the first time in two weeks time. For swimming I would highly recommend Palatinus on Margit Sziget like the person above has suggested. It is a large outdoor lido with a range of different pools (depths and temperatures vary) there is also a wave machine that goes on every hour. It used to be really powerful but a few years ago was redone so is now less powerful and can no longer cue a hangover but is probably a lot safer for children. Also on the island you can hire bikes, pedal cars and what I would describe as a Chucklevision Bike. They are great fun and a good way to get children around the whole of the island so that the adults can take a look at the ruins, gardens ect. If you get off the number 26 bus at the last stop on the island near the hotels, cross the road and walk up the incline you will see where to hire them. The 26 bus also stops right outside of the swimming pool.

We used to love the cog railway and children's railway as described by the people above. If I remember rightly there is a good ice cream shop near the last stop.

St Stephen's Basilica is very impressive. You can scare the children by taking them to the room at the back where they have his hand on display in a glass case. You can also take the lift or walk up lots of stairs to the top of the Basilica for good views over the city.

My mum used to walk us up Gellert Hill a lot to tire us out. I've no idea on the directions up the hill but part way up there are a selection of slides built into the hill. I'm presuming they are still there they were in 2004. Once you get the children to the top you can then do a bit of sight seeing yourselves.

Me and my brother used to enjoy going up to The Castle District. It's quaint and oldy worldy with it's cobbled streets which appealed to us, I don't know if your children would like that or not. They might enjoy running around on the Fisherman's Bastion (charges apply) up there though whilst you look at the gorgeous views over the city. To get up to the Castle District you could take them up on the Funicular to add a bit of interest to the journey there.

It's getting very touristy but Sir Lancelot's Restaurant is great fun for any age and I'd recommend ordering the soups that come in a bread loaf. Okay Italia is generally a safe bet with children, there are a couple throughout the city now. If your children like McDonalds and keep nagging to go in one then take them to the one at Nyugati Train Station which also has a McCafe inside that serves coffee and cakes.

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9. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

I believe the Hungarian National History Museum has some good interactive exhibits for children, or Budapest Puppet Theatre or the circus might be good options. Unfortunately, I didn't do any of these things whilst I was there, but they seem like they may appeal.

If you buy the transport passes from a metro station- 24 hour, 72 hour, or 7 day, you can use the metro, trams, buses, and trolley buses within the city limits. The M1 metro line is quite amusing as it plays a tune as it pulls into each stop (I was entertained at 24, so I'm sure they would be)

A good place to stop for a treat is'Coffee and Cake' which has beautiful cakes as well as home made ice cream. welovebudapest.com/en/cafes-bars/the-cake

I'd agree with the cog railway/ children's railway and chairlifts suggested by others.

Winchester, United...
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10. Re: Visiting with children, aged 11 and 6 - any advice please!

Thank you all for the advice. We are really looking forward to our trip.