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Group of boys to Edinburgh

Hi all:

My son's soccer trip (12/13 year olds!) is approaching and I got some great advice from you guys last time I asked! :) So based on that advice, we are planning to do the Castle (seeing the 1 o'clock gun!), hopefully a late lunch, then the Edinburgh Dungeon.

A couple more things I hope you can help with:
1. About how long to tour the castle do you think? Keeping in mind that they are pre-teen boys.. I want to time to to see the gun.

  1. Looking at the castle website, they have a "Family-friendly" itinerary - has anyone followed that? Not sure what the highlights will be for the boys.

  2. Any suggestions of a pub/restaurant that could take 25-30 of us near the castle?

Thanks!!
Kim

Posted by
926 posts

Also, another thing... the Military Tattoo starts the night we will be there - we will be gone well before it starts, but is that whole day going to be crazy? We may be able to move the touring day to Thursday... but not sure....

Kim

Posted by
2515 posts

I think you would need at least 2 hours at the castle just depnds what folk are interested in , been a few year since I was there but the One'o'clock gun is always a highlight.
As to pubs that might be a bit difficult as there are very strict laws about kids being in pubs and not all wu=ill allow under 18's in but there are loads of places that should be able to cater for you.
This link will give you some ideas
http://www.royalmileedinburgh.com/Where-to-eat.html
there are also places on George IV Bridge and in the Grassmarket that may be able to cater for you , they are withing 5 minutes or so walk of the castle.

Posted by
2515 posts

I see you will be there during the height of the tourist season, I would add on a bit more for touring the castle and add a bit more time to get there mainly due to the crowds.
There is Jimmy Chungs Chinese buffet restaurant on Waverley Bridge about a minutes walk from the Dungeons,don't know if that is suitable .
It is so difficult to recommend any place as at that time of the year as the city is so busy and many places just don't take bookings.

Posted by
13 posts

It's not just the Military Tattoo that starts on the 7th, that day marks the official start of the Fringe Festival as well. The city will be packed already, as some shows start previews the 5th and 6th, and many theater companies (like mine) will be already clogging up the city along with increased tourists. The crowd queuing for the Tattoo is a pretty efficient system, given how many people are moved into place through a tiny entranceway, and as you say, you'll be long gone before that.
I'm sorry to say that in 3 trips to Edinburgh, I have yet to visit the castle, but I keep swearing that this is my year! However, you might want to take the boys along the Royal Mile on the 6th or 7th to see some of the street performers. Most 12 year old boys are decently keen on fire jugglers and street acrobats.

Posted by
926 posts

ooh exciting and scary!! I didn't know Fringe festival started then, I thought it was later!

I'm guessing you have been? How crazy will the Royal Mile area be that first afternoon - like 1-4pm. It would be cool to see some street performers - do they just pop up? A little worried that it might be too insane though....

Kim

Posted by
13 posts

My automatic thought was "too crazy? pshaw!" But it's probably worth mentioning that I'm a professional theater artist, and so my tolerance for "crazy" may be higher than yours. On the other hand, you seem to be traveling about with 30 pre-teen boys, which speaks volumes of your tolerance. As best I can describe it, the Fringe on the Mile is a crowded pedestrian-only area of the street, where groups of artists, some costumed, some not, try to hand out flyers and advertise their shows. (Your soccer boys are just young enough to largely fly under the radar of many sales attempts.) There are also a few street stages set up, where every 20 minutes a new act is scheduled. These can be plays, singers, dancers, etc. There is an area with vendors selling various arts and crafts and Fringe souvenirs, and various costumed figures hoping to catch a spare quid for posing for pictures with tourists. Then there are street acts that do seem to just pop up--these are your jugglers, your stuntmen, your acrobats. It's all pretty family-friendly, like a street fair. When the weather cooperates, it's some prime people watching, and you can catch snippets of acts from all around the world.

Posted by
1291 posts

There is always the food court in the Waverley shopping centre, so back through the station and half way up the step to Princes Street which might appeal.

Though with a group of boys you may want to not mention, though possibly you will see it, the tradition of spitting on the Heart of Midlothian outside St Giles. The looks you get for do so from tourists ;-)

Posted by
926 posts

OK I think it will be good! We have about 15 boys and probably about as many parents... so I think we will all start at the castle, I'll tell everyone about 1 o-clock gun, give them a list of restaurants/takeaways in the area, and meet back at the dungeon around 4pm! Do you think about 2.5 hours is a good amount of time to eat, and wander around? That way people in smaller groups can split up, check out the festival if they want, or explore less crazy side streets if they want.

As for pubs, I guess kids aren't allowed in some - even in the day? Where can parents grab a beer? Do they have stands in the streets like at some fairs? (We will be needing some beer I suppose by day 6 of this trip! Haha!)

Oh and being from San Francisco, the kids are used to crazy and chaos, so I think they will love it! Showed my son some pictures and he was into the street performer idea!

Thanks!
Kim

Posted by
1251 posts

Kim, It's been awhile since I was in Edinburgh(about 5 years). My memory isn't what it use to be, but I seem to remember that the during certain parts of the year the One O'clock Gun does not fire on a daily basis. Hopefully I'm wrong and someone can set me straight.

Also on a side note. There is a restraunt called Oink, that I found delicious.

Posted by
926 posts

Oh good I did see Oink! I put that on the list. Good idea for food court too, thanks!

MC - going to PM you a Glasgow question!

Thanks!

Posted by
1291 posts

Got your PM, raise you a reply!

For pubs and children, the licensing rules have changed over the years and pubs needs to be specially licenced for children to enter now. It usually depends on whether or not they serve food. Getting a beer in the street is highly unusual as increasingly city centres have bans on drinking alcohol in public places, I would imagine Edinburgh is one of them.

Posted by
2515 posts

If you are splitting up into smaller groups you should not have any problem. most of the restaurants will serve alcohol so adults will be able to have a drink with their children it is just pubs that you might have a problem. If going into a pub with Children get an adult to go in first and check with staff to save any embarrassment.
There may be some Pop up bars in some areas especially those attached to Fringe venues again check with staff to make sure children are allowed in the area.
The whole alcohol and children thing in Scotland is a total minefield and bar owners have to jump through so many hoops to get a license to allow children in they just don't bother.

Posted by
926 posts

Aaah interesting. I emailed one of the pub/restaurants in the area and they allow children in if eating before 8pm. But good to know we better check all of it in advance.

How do we know if it's a "pub" or a "restaurant"?

Kim

Posted by
2515 posts

that's often hard to tell as well but if you go to a pub usually there will be a separate area for drinking and eating and restaurants will be set up just for eating.

Posted by
5561 posts

Kim, You're going to have such a great time! The Fringe street theatre is wonderful. I know your boys will enjoy it. Two and a half hours is okay to eat and wander the castle, but it's not ample, so you might want to suggest that the kids or parents check out the website first so that they get to things that they really want to see. For example, the Prisoner's of War exhibit includes American Prisoners! (Here's a link to a teacher resource on that exhibit.)

I wish we could post pictures here. I would share the one I had of a man in a camouflage kilt making balloon animals! Then there were all the young women with the date and time of their event written on their backs!

Pam

Posted by
926 posts

I am getting excited about it!

We can really arrive any time as we will have a private bus bringing us to Edinburgh and dropping us off. I figure if we leave Glasgow around 9am, we should be on the ground ready to roll in Edinburgh by 10:30am.

I figure Castle from 10:30-1 o' clock gun? That will be 2 and half hours. I figure we will pack some snacks to make it to lunch later - or people can eat there at the cafe.

Then we will have from like 1:30 until...? For street shows, lunch (probably something pick-up) and wandering around.

I can book the Dungeon at any time - I was thinking 4, done around 5:30, back to Glasgow around 7. Or maybe I should push it a bit later? Do you think we would want more than 2.5 hours for eating/wandering around?

Thanks all!!

Kim