A huge thank you to everybody who has contributed above. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to reply. We now have a much clearer idea of what to look for and I will update the thread in due course.
Hi I have just joined this excellent forum on behalf of my daughter, aged 11. She has shown an avid interest in astronomy for the past couple of years, inspired by her engaging science teacher. My wife and I are confident that the interest is beyond a temporary fad, so much so that we would like to buy her a telescope for Xmas, which we think she will use regularly. Both of us know diddly squat about astronomy (sorry!). We have both separately spent much time researching the subject online, but apart from some very basic common-sense tips, we have ended up confusing ourselves. This is therefore an unashamed begging plea for help - any tips and advice would be very helpful. Specifically for: 1) Telescope and mount - budget around £150, although we could stretch to £200 for the right one. We live in the countryside with a patio and large garden at the back of our house. We anticipate that she will use the patio table to mount the equipment. She is primarily interested in planets, although we think that she will also want to investigate DSOs when she "gets into it". Ease of use is important - she won't mind spending a little time setting things up, but unfortunately she can lack a little patience for preparation generally. A go-to telescope sounds ideal to us, again for ease of use. Are there any downsides? Portability might be useful if she wants to take the telescope with her on holiday (we caravan in the UK). We don't mind second-hand, if this will get us more bank for our buck. 2) Software, books and other resources. She has an android tablet (Lenovo Yoga Tab 3), so it would be useful if she could use a decent resource on this in tandem with the telescope. For example, is there any software that would allow her to capture an image of what she finds through the telescope (or is that totally off-piste)? 3) Any useful accessories that her grandparents and other relatives could buy her for Xmas. Total budget around £100. 4) Any local groups (we're in Wiltshire, UK) that we could seek out for events and peer-support (as well as this forum, of course). 5) Anything else that I will undoubtedly have missed. As I said, any help would be very gratefully received. Many thanks in advance.