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3.0 out of 5 starsGiving Your Children the Keys to the City
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 April 2011
Although I don't actually have children myself, I ordered this book having recently moved to Stirling, in the hope that it would provide some interesting ideas for things to do on a day out. Though we haven't tried all of the various attractions featured, it certainly has been useful for trips to Edinburgh.
Each attraction gets a two page spread that, to be honest, is mostly taken up with pictures and not a lot of text, the book being aimed at children of around 7-11. There's plenty of emphasis on things to do, though attractions include castles, museums, and parks.
Information about each attraction is fairly minimal - for instance, they're categorised according to budget, but exact prices aren't given because these would soon go out of date. They do provide opening hours, including where appropriate seasonal variations, and addresses (physical and online) though, which allows you to check the necessary information for yourself. I should add also that there's no proper map. There's enough indication of roughly where things are that you can plan to see two or three nearby attractions in the same day, but presumably it's assumed that adults will have a 'proper' guidebook or at least map for navigation.
I think this would be most use for a family planning a holiday in or around Edinburgh, as you could give this to the children in advance and help them plan what to go and see. It also has gold star stickers that allow them to rate attractions afterwards, though I don't suppose it will have much lasting value after the occasion. Unless, of course, you visit Edinburgh again! (3* mainly due to that somewhat limited shelf life for most people; though I think it's probably worth it to improve a holiday.)
4.0 out of 5 starsQuite a fun guide - a decent way to involve kids in their holiday
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 March 2011
This is colourful and easy to read. Its also surprisingly comprehensive as a guide (I'm from Edinburgh - they have more things on their list than I'd have expected from a kids guide book). Light on detail, though that is presumably not what kids want, but covers a lot. This includes all over Edinburgh, both the surrounding area and the centre - broken up normal guide book style into geographical sections. As you would expect it covers obvious tourist centres (the Castle, the Royal Mile, Arthurs Seat etc.) plus some less obvious stuff such as Dark Ocean and Alien Rock climbing centre. It does miss stuff, e.g. the hugely impressive EICA near Ratho, or Jupiter Art Land, or Leith Waterworld, or Dynamic Earth - all of which I reckon kids would really enjoy. Its got nice brief summaries and short I-Spy style list of things to look out for. There are sickers at the back to use when you see things on the list. The book has a nice style to try to get the kids interested.
For parents, this probably suits ages seven to tenish. Six is too probably young (but there are enough pictures to interst someone being helped to read it), early teens probably too old. Unsurprisingly the detail in not enough to use as your only guide! The text is very "up" (virtually every second sentence ends with an exclamation mark) and it might over sell some places - the Castle, for example I reckon is not very child friendly but is quite expensive and I can't really see a seven year old enjoying the Modern Art Gallery. Some stuff is quite far out of Edinburgh (i.e. Falkirk Wheel and Stirling Castle) and everything will need checked for opening times (not included by and large). But if you are needing to get your kids involved in their city break this is quite a good way to do it.
5.0 out of 5 starsSuper guide, great for kids and adults alike!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 March 2011
I ordered this as I am thinking of planning a family break to Edinburgh, and find that the kids often complain about the places we take them on family weekends! I have a nine year old and a 16 year old. I looked through the book first and was really impressed. It's got a page of stickers at the back so the kids can sticker any pages they like the look of, and then build up a list of places they would like to explore. There's lots of little facts and bits of info about all the various things to do written in a "Horrible Histories" lively and funny style. There is useful guidance about the cost of each activity or place, and info on opening hours as well. The whole thing is planned around the various areas of Edinburgh so you can plan to visit nearby places day by day through your visit, which I thought was clever. I also liked the pages at the back with "Top 5" places like swimming pools and parks. I have to confess I learned a lot about Edinburgh from this guide and have found several attractions I hadn't heard of that I now want to visit (kids allowing!). There is a small section about the Edinburgh Festival, but if that is what interests you, this might not be the book for you. I think even if your kids don't like this book, and mine did, you will still find it worthwhile to have. Other guides are available including London and the Lake District.
5.0 out of 5 starsA much needed addition to guidebooks
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2011
I was deeply impressed with this guidebook, there are websites where you can find out what's on for children in cities and towns but this colourful little guide is just so much better as it is both about children's activities and written for children themselves.
For six different areas of Edinburgh, beginning with west and east central, you are invited to do something, for instance, Explore an Underground Street ... in Mary King's Close. Each activity is given a double page spread which gives fascinating facts about the activity, top tips, jokes, other things to include in your visit, photo opportunities, and a 5 star sticker scoring section with gold stars included at the back of the book. In the bottom right of each page is address information, dates and time, a coding system showing whether the place has a shop, is good for wet weather, and whether there are height restrictions and a pricing indicator from FREE through £(cheap as chips), and ££ (cheap as fish and chips) to £££ (not cheap at all). At the end of the book are a set of top fives (top five places to swim, run around etc) and a parent page.
Completely recommended, everything you need for a holiday that allows you to stay within your budget and find the hidden free gems of Edinburgh.
A great colourful book aimed at children with enquiring minds. It contains 48 suggestions for visits and/or activities in and around Edinburgh. I come from Edinburgh and can vouch for the fact that there are loads of things to do, but there are many in this book that I was not aware of.
Each suggestion is on a double page, with colourful pictures, a short description and some associated information, including contact details / web address. What little text there is, is written in a child-friendly format with explanations of concepts that might not be familiar, and there are a few jokes / fascinating facts / top tips thrown in for good measure.
The book is broken down into area chunks so you can focus on the 8 or so activities that are closest together. There are some "top 5" selections at the back for matters of particular interest and a very brief section for adults. The book does not include boring details of "how to get there", which could be a problem if you have not done your homework, but there are addresses and phone numbers, which will do, if you are stuck.
In summary - a great book, packed full of ideas to make the most of your time. You can just hand it to your child and ask them to plan out your trip.
5.0 out of 5 starsHow come nobody thought of this before?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2010
Ignore the ghastly cover illustration - the contents of this book are excellent. This guidebook to Edinburgh and its surroundings is aimed directly at children and encourages them to to make their own decisions about what to see and do. Each of the 48 attractions has its own double-page spread and there is just the right amount of background information on each. The book features a very wide range of destinations including castles, parks and beaches to appeal to all youthful tastes. 'Stuffier' places like galleries and museums are also included, but as an Edinburgh resident I can confirm that the authors have taken care to select the ones which will appeal most to children. 41 of the attractions are in the City itself, but 7 are further afield, including Stirling Castle (better than Edinburgh Castle in my opinion) and the Museum of Flight, which features Concorde. Children can rate each attraction afterwards using the sticky stars provided.
For parents there is a guide to opening times and admission costs, where relevant, and web addresses for further information.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat fun for families featuring old favourites and hidden gems
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2010
For a really different take on visiting Edinburgh and the surrounding regions, you can't get much better or quirkier than this book. All the obvious sights are included (the castle, Holyrood and so on), but some 'everyday wonders' are also to be found here - experiences like 'walking between the waves' on the Crammond sea path - which are well worth a little trip out of the city centre for. And in fact the book is great for this - as well as the city centre focus, there are lots of interesting recommendations outside the immediate confines of the centre which will appeal to families.
It's not at all patronising - the style is a little like the excellent 'Horrible Histories' range - and even adults can have fun using it to explore! It's nice that you learn a bit about the history of the region as you use the book, too. The peelable star stickers are a great idea for tracking how you're notching up the sights in the book - a nice interactive touch. Thoroughly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat ideas and much needed, but need an adult guide alongside
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 November 2010
Just a pity this arrived the week after a trip to Edinburgh!
This is a great resource, packed with things for kids in Edinburgh, and a very necessary addition to those of us trying to visit a town and still keep the kids happy. The authors have most certainly identified a gap in the market.
The one small drawback is that it only describes the kids activities and there is little or no information about the place it's recommending. Sometimes this is of no importance - for instance visiting the ice rink. Other times, such as playing children's games at Georgian House, it would be very nice to know what else the house offers and whether its worth struggling onto 2 buses to get there. So you really need a grown up book too, but then you've probably already got one if you are doing this kind of trip.
So an easy 5 stars, and can't wait to get back to Edinburgh to try it out.
5.0 out of 5 starsIf only it weren't snowing now ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 December 2010
I've lived near Edinburgh for nearly 10 years and our kids are now old enough to appreciate visiting more of the local attractions.
We didn't grow up here so we've never really been sure where to take them. until now.
This book is great. It's a comprehensive, well-written summary of places to take kids on the weekends or holidays. For the places i have been to the text is accurate. For the rest, well, ... I only wish it wasn't snowing just now so that we could go visiting.