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Edinburgh Castle or Stirling Castle for 12 year old boys

Hi all:

More info need for 12 year old boys' soccer trip please! :)

We will have a partial day off (we are in Glasgow), boy will train in the morning and then maybe by 12 be ready to go for some sightseeing...

Should we take them to Edinburgh or Stirling? The parents agreed they should at least see a castle while in Scotland! We would have from about 12pm (leaving Glasgow) to 9pm I would guess (would want them back at hotel in Glasgow by 9).

We can do other things too, besides the castle... just trying to figure out which would be better for their one-shot "Scotland" experience! The reviews on both are great so I am having a hard time choosing!

Thanks so much!!
Kim

Posted by
1288 posts

Check with on the Historic Scotland website if there are any events at the castle first. Both have different events during the summer.

Edinburgh and Stirling are both similar in the lay out, a castle on the crag and the old town creeping up to it. Both have spectacular views. Edinburgh, has a couple of advantages though due to being in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Dungeons and Mary King's Close, based on the average 12 y.o having a gruesome taste in history.

Both are in or near the Old Town.

Posted by
552 posts

I've done both, and enjoyed both because they are very similar. When I was at Stirling they were having a witches and warlocks weekend and there were kids everywhere. Edinburgh castle will had actors giving some very entertaining historical presentations. If you have a car, and are in Glasgow then go to Stirling. I did it as part of a bus tour that also included a stop at Loch Lomand for a boat tour. You can take the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, it's about an hour, and the train station is at the foot of the royal mile that leads up to the castle. The advantage to Edinburgh is the numerous other sights that are in walking distance from the train station. I guess it will depend on your mode of transportation, and the location you will be leaving from. I'm not sure of the parking situation in Edinburgh, but I seem to recall that it was pretty limited. You might want to look into that first.

Posted by
1288 posts

Anita and Archemides have given good advice. My other bit would be ask the lad what he wants to see. Give him an input based on the available info.

Aged 12 I would have resented my parents saying 'let's go to the Bayeux Tapestry' yet would have voted for it hands down if given a careful choice.

The aged 12 me and the current aged me still both love the Bayeux Tapestry, but if it have been a fait accompli I would have been moaning for the rest of the year! Let the lad in the decision.

Posted by
926 posts

I would, but there are 16 lads.... not sure I could get them all to agree! They very well would probably choose to just play more soccer, but we want them to see a bit of traditional Scottish stuff... besides soccer, although that's what it's all about in Glasgow so I hear. :)

Currently leaning toward Edinburgh Castle and the Dungeon, I think they would like that. I'll take my other boy and his friend maybe to Stirling and the Bannockburn thing on a day when the brothers are busy training all day.

I may just give them an ask at practice though and see what they think....

Thanks!!!

Posted by
1882 posts

In Edinburgh, we really loved Mary King's Close, if you are taking a group, you might look into pre-booking tickets and seeing if you can get a good rate if you decide to go. The boys, and you, would probably truly enjoy the church associated with Greyfriar's Bobby. It is a story of a terrier who guarded his master day and night for years after his master's grave after he died, Bobby is also buried there. Understand that some say it is a myth but we choose to believe it. Anyway, the highlight for the boys would be the association J.k. Rawlings had with the church and cemetery while writing the Potter books, don't remember all the details but believe she got some of her character names from the cemetery. Church is in the old town, right across for the museum of Scotland. Enjoy.

Posted by
25735 posts

Can you get away from Glasgow any sooner? It would be fun for them to be in Edinburgh Castle when the 1 o'clock cannon was fired.

Posted by
484 posts

I have been to both. If I had to choose one - it would be Edinburgh. There is more "stuff" in Edinburgh castle - like the Crown Jewels and stone of destiny. There are dungeons, jail cells, war memorial, free walking tour, mons Meg cannon at 1 pm, great room with swords on display, etc..

Posted by
926 posts

oh right, I remember seeing something about the cannon thing at 1pm.... trying to see if we can maybe just get a full day off from soccer to go over earlier, then we can do Castle first (and cannon!), quick lunch (any recommendations what do with 20 people??), then the Edinburgh Dungeon maybe... seems like based on the reviews the kids would like that!

I want to to the Mary King's close too! I might need to go back over another day...

Posted by
1188 posts

Edinburgh is a real castle with lots of cool military stuff and great views of Edinburgh. Stirling is a renaissance palace with history that adults can appreciate but not as exciting for children as Edinburgh.

Posted by
1288 posts

Stirling is more than just the Renaissance palace, it has the Argyll and Sutherland regimental museum and bits that have lasted from the centuries before the Renaissance. Edinburgh castle is big, and with the Honours of Scotland, the National War Memorial, as draws is probably a better bet when combined with the juicy bits in Edinburgh.

However, on a different note Stirling and Bannockburn together form a key part of Scotland's national identity. Simply put, without Bannockburn there probably not be a Scotland in the way it is known today.

Posted by
1601 posts

I preferred Stirling. Also consider nearby Doune Castle

Posted by
5559 posts

Yikes, 16 12-year old boys and a castle that will be an adventure. I agree that either would be good. Both are on volcanoes and both have great history connected to them. One thing that I really liked about Stirling was the surrounding geography. You can actually see why the battles were fought over this bit of land that leads to the Highlands. The other thing that Stirling has is the Wallace Monument. It's another impressive tower to climb. You go up a rather tight turnpike stairway to get to the top. Great views of where the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place.

Did you notice on the link that MC gave you that you can buy the tickets in advance online? You might want too look into that as you'll be a bit pressed for time. Also, note that you cannot park at the castle for Edinburgh. The website has info. At Stirling you can park at the Castle. : ) I think that if you are at all concerned about corralling all those boys it would be easier at Stirling, but that will depend on how any adults you have with you to help!

I want to second MC's suggestion that you look on line to see what is happening that day at the castles. You probably won't have to wait until the last minute, and you could probably email Historic Scotland and ask. They really are used to catering to school kids. WhenI was at Stirling there were some great demos of kilts and swords and things and they were definitely involving kids in them whenever they were present.

Pam