What European destination for an 11 year old to explore?

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  • What European destination for an 11 year old to explore?
  • qwerty
    Member

    My wife and 11 year old would like to head into Europe in the school summer hols for a long weekend / 1 week away. Flight from Bristol. Where would you recommended? He’s not been overseas before. Thinking along the lines of cultural city, but open to all input.

    Ta

    legend
    Member

    Would somewhere exploring the great outdoors not be better? e.g. the Ardeche? Would’ve thought a week in a city would bore an 11 year old to tears

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Barcelona if you want heat, Amsterdam if not. Both have plenty to keep you occupied, I guess it’s what you mean by culture though.

    atlaz
    Member

    Luxembourg is tiny, has loads of stuff to see (including buggering off to France, Belgium and Germany for war stuff if that’s his thing) but is eminently do-able in a long weekend. I think we have half a dozen museums in the city, all the EU stuff, forests and rivers to explore etc and lots of people speak English so being here is pretty easy. That said, it’s a small city and a small country so may not be what you’re looking for.

    Another top choice for me would be something like either Lyon or Bordeaux as they’re easy to get to from the UK and just great cities and a good immersion in French culture.

    Vienna for top pastry and classical culture.

    Depends what sort of ‘culture’ you’re after. Booking tickets for the opera or just mooching around a bit looking at pretty buildings?

    This reminds me of the “But we took you to stately homes…” threads on mumsnet. πŸ™‚

    To be fair to the OP, he knows his lad better than us – at 11, I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than trudging around a city. I’d just prefer to be playing out somewhere.

    IHN
    Member

    Fly from Brizzle to Copenhagen, but stay in Malmo (easy to do, train goes straight from airport across the Olesund bridge to Malmo)

    Why do this? Because…

    – Malmo (Sweden) is an ace town, with a great central square surrounded by restaurants where you can sit outside and eat reindeer burgers
    – Lots of stuff to do (hire pedalos on the river, mess about in the parks, beaches on the waterfront, hire bikes to ride out and along the waterfront for miles)
    – It’s a LOT cheaper to stay there than in Copenhagen but you can still do a day trip(s) to Copenhagen by taking the train over the awesome Oresund bridge
    – Tonnes to do when you’re in Copenhagen, obvs, it’s a capital city.
    – Everyone speaks English
    – You get two countries for the price of one

    stevextc
    Member

    If he’s never been abroad before then it probably doesn’t matter as much where as making best use of the time?

    I know Paris well, having lived there for 7 years but you could apply this to most major cities.

    If taking a 11yr old to Paris (I’ve got a 7yr old) … there are a few cool things… presuming castles are tireless you have Verseilles at one end and Vincennes at the other which is also close to the science park so easily combined for a whole day.

    You can take the batobus (water bus) in the middle part… this goes past the Jardin des Plantes which also has a small Zoo and to the Eifel Tower (which I guess you have to see).

    For a scary experience you can go to the catacombs ….
    You could take a day trip out to Disney…

    There are of course the various museums … if into football the PSG stadium etc.

    Apart from Disney and the Eiffel tower most of that stuff would apply to many places. Paris in August is cheap as most Parisians tend to leave!

    Rome is also cool, but you might want to like Roman history and its a longer flight.

    petec
    Member

    Lisbon. It’s great

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I was thinking exactly the same as Bravissimo. As an 11 year old lad, getting marched round some random European capital city, dragged round museums and having the significance of old stuff pointed out to me sounds absolutely crap!

    Can she not take him to Alton Towers? That sounds about a squillion times more appealing to my inner 11 year old. I’m sure he’d thank you more for that, than looking round the palace of versailles.

    Why not ask him where he fancies? I bet Alton Towers is higher up the list than Copenhagen πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    The trade is for anything that appeals to the adult there needs to be something for the young un. And no more than two activities per day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) – with plenty of eating and souvenir buying the rest of the time.

    My vote is long weekend (4 days) if it’s just one destination. Or slightly longer and arrive in city A and leave from city B (with a train ride in the middle – e.g. arrive in Amsterdam and head home from Paris).

    Oh, and get him involved in planning the trip.

    mogrim
    Member

    I’d say either Rome (gladiators and pizza!) for a long weekend, or somewhere like Girona (nice town, small medieval villages to explore, Dali, and the coast) for a week.

    IHN
    Member

    at 11, I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than trudging around a city

    As an 11 year old lad, getting marched round some random European capital city, dragged round museums and having the significance of old stuff pointed out to me sounds absolutely crap!

    As a 43 year old, I’d agree with you, but if that’s your idea of a city break then you’re doing it wrong.

    As an 11 year old, if I was taken on a plane to a foreign country, and we went on pedalos on a river, bike rides down a beach, playing on a beach, eating different foods, over a mahoosive bridge on a train to another foreign country, seeing towns and cities that were completely different to what I’d seen at home, hearing people speaking in a foreign language and maybe even trying to speak that language a bit myself (and the ensuing fuss that would be made of me by the locals if I did), I’d be having a pretty effing good time I reckon. And the by product, which I wouldn’t realise, would be that my outlook on life, and maybe my general curiosity, would be increased too.

    But you’re probably right, he should probably just take his boy to Alton Towers.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    You’ve been reading the Guardian Saturday supplements again, haven’t you?

    IHN
    Member

    Nope, I’m too busy exploring the world around me πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Alton Towers? πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
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    He’ll just be getting into WWII history, won’t he? In which case, what about Berlin? You can do a lot with a kid by showing him all the sites, and recounting what it must have been like.

    And Berlin would give you easy-ish access to the lakes of Mecklenburg, which would he helpful, considering as some said above, keeping him entertained in a city for a whole week could be tough!

    My wife and 11 year old would like to head into Europe

    In the meantime, considering your airport of departure is Bristol, which is in Europe already, and your end-goal is to head into Europe, you could potentially save a lot of money and stay where you are. 😐

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Subscriber

    My two are 10 and 8 and we’ve had them on four city breaks now (London, Dublin, Venice and Paris) and they’ve enjoyed them all. Just need to seek out the kid friendly stuff. They like theme parks and rollercoasters too, but that’s why they get exposed to all sorts of stuff.

    As an 11 year old, if I was taken on a plane to a foreign country, and we went on pedalos on a river, bike rides down a beach, playing on a beach, eating different foods, over a mahoosive bridge on a train to another foreign country, seeing towns and cities that were completely different to what I’d seen at home, hearing people speaking in a foreign language and maybe even trying to speak that language a bit myself (and the ensuing fuss that would be made of me by the locals if I did), I’d be having a pretty effing good time I reckon. And the by product, which I wouldn’t realise, would be that my outlook on life, and maybe my general curiosity, would be increased too.

    IHN is spot-on.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    which is in Europe already, and your end-goal is to head into Europe, you could potentially save a lot of money and stay where you are.

    Don’t worry, SR, it won’t be too long until we’re back to:

    “Dense fog in Channel. Continent cut off.”

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Doing/seeing stuff in a city in southern Europe in the UK school summer holidays would be way too hot for me. I like IHN’s idea. I’d also try and find an Airbnb in amongst the locals rather than a similarly priced plastic tourist hotel chain.

    lovechoc
    Member

    Venice. My 8 year daughter old loved it. Lots to see and do, boats everywhere and if you want a beach day the Lido is just across the water ( where you can also hire bikes ). Easy to get to and travel around is very simple.

    As a single dad and his girl we were welcomed everywhere and very well looked after, it felt very safe and we have some great memories.

    freeagent
    Member

    If you like the heat – I’d say fly to Naples – loads to do in that area…

    How about a Ryanair lottery. Wherever is cheapest when you come to book the tickets…

    Karlsruhe here we come!

    stevextc
    Member

    Fly from Brizzle to Copenhagen, but stay in Malmo (easy to do, train goes straight from airport across the Olesund bridge to Malmo)

    Due to immigration controls you now have to get off at the airport, go through passport control and reboard the train…

    atlaz
    Member

    Karlsruhe here we come!

    Karlsruhe isn’t awful. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a great place but not as bad as I’d feared on my couple of stops there. It’s also not far from Stuttgart which, as well as the expected car museums has… a pig museum. Not been but I find the concept fascinating.

    b r
    Member

    London’s got it all, and more foreigners than many foreign places πŸ˜‰

    And no need to fanny with airports/planes.

    Premier Icon tthew
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    Barcelona’s a good call, made early on. Has an ace beach as well as all the city stuff.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Barcelona’s a good call, made early on. Has an ace beach as well as all the city stuff.

    But..to quote a weather summary page:-

    August is the hottest month of the year in Barcelona and the heat rises to sweltering levels that can prove to be unbearable. It can also be very humid during this month, so the climate can be like a sauna.

    wl
    Member

    A city break with a child would need real wow factor, I would have thought. How about Venice or somewhere similarly unique and jaw-dropping. Access to beaches there too, I think.

    DrJ
    Member

    @IHN – your plan of staying in Malmo might have been a good one at one time (I disagree, but anyway … πŸ™‚ * ) but now there are passport checks on the way from Denmark to Sweden, and there can be significant delays πŸ™

    * Malmo is nice enough for an afternoon. If you want to save money on a trip to Cph, try staying a bit out of the city centre. I saw some ace places on Airbnb in the Norrebro are

    DrJ
    Member

    London’s got it all, and more foreigners than many foreign places

    And eye-wateringly expensive. I wonder how much a family holiday in London costs, all in πŸ™

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    why not let your kid choose, and plan an itinerary (from a list of options if you like (cities and types of activities), depending on how independent he is)?

    stevextc
    Member

    but now there are passport checks on the way from Denmark to Sweden, and there can be significant delays

    Yep this sucks….
    I’m in CPH a few days a month … though hotel prices in the city are not too bad in my experience… (by capital city standards)

    I like CPH but it’s less exciting (and foreign) than many other destinations but perhaps worth a long weekend.

    dragon
    Member

    A city break in the summer with an 11 year old, no thanks. Although if you must then Nice would work well, as you’ve got the city and beaches, with mountains close by etc. etc.. So bingo all boxes ticked. Day trips to Monaco and/or Cannes.

    1 week isn’t very long for a summer holiday in my book, especially when the cost of flights will be a big chunk of the cost, may as well go for longer IMO.

    DrJ
    Member

    I like CPH but it’s less exciting (and foreign) than many other destinations but perhaps worth a long weekend.

    As probably everyone knows, I am a big CPH fan, but you may be right that it’s not the place to excite an 11-year old (but Tivoli, Bakken, Louisiana, various beaches, church with a corkscrew staircase whose name I’ve forgotten, harbour and island boat trip etc. )

    Whenever people came to visit me they’d say “oh, I didn’t realise there is so much to see and do” – and though I’d like to think that was my great hosting skills, I suspect it probably wasn’t πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    CPH – https://kayakrepublic.dk/en/ Good way to see the place and do stuff simultaneously.

    qwerty
    Member

    Hmmm – lots to ponder.

    Yes he will provide input, we’re just wondering ourselves at present, Alton etc can be done anytime, he’d just like to visit another country at present & see something different to the UK.

    My mate in Melbourne says they’re welcome….

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    Another to echo IHN’s comments. What do you want your kids to expect as the norm for a holiday, wandering around a plastic theme park, or exploring other places and cultures? Completely on side with the idea of getting out in the wilds, but that can be done here for weekend breaks, camping, etc.

    I’d recommend either Oslo or Amsterdam as well. Both are easy to communicate/lot of English speakers, very child/youth friendly, with easy access to country parks/rural areas, bikes for hire and access to water parks and/or ‘urban’ beaches by train. Nothing wrong with a good interactive museum either- Oslo has a Viking ship museum. VIKINGS!!!

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    How about a taste of backpacker inter railing? Unless backpacker hostels have changed totally in the last 25 years he would see enough to make his eyes pop out!

    I’ve got a friend who is taking (by herself) her 12 and 9 year old off for the summer backpacking in Thailand and Vietnam. An experienced traveller herself which probably makes a difference as very little would freak her out and she has got a 6th sense for danger built up over the years so her charges will be well shepherded.

    avdave2
    Member

    I think I’ve been everywhere everyone has mentioned and for me it just has to be Rome, but then I’ve never quite got over reading I Claudius 25 years or more ago. Lot’s of other really great places that people have suggested but it’s only ever going to be Rome that will really grab the attention of the 11 year old in me.

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