The summer holidays are a fantastic time to explore and enjoy all that Edinburgh has to offer with your kids. From historical landmarks to exciting sports activities, there is something for everyone. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of 101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh, categorized into sections for your convenience. Whether you’re looking for free activities, historical sites, rainy day options, sports adventures, or age-specific attractions, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh: Free Activities

1. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden and explore its beautiful landscapes.

2. Take a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway, spotting wildlife along the way and explore Stockbridge.

3. Enjoy a picnic in Princes Street Gardens, overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

Two children stand in front of the Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens. The right hand image is of the gardeners cottage from CBBC.

4. Explore the National Museum of Scotland and discover its fascinating exhibits.

Two of the galleries in the National Museum of Scotland

5. Explore the all of Edinburgh’s play parks, we’ve got an A-Z here with some coffee shop hints too.

6. Take a stroll along the iconic Royal Mile and discover some of the secret gardens and closes.

7. Enjoy the stunning views from Calton Hill

The view on the left is from the top of Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Many buildings can be seen in the distance.

8. Splash around in the Water of Leith and discover the Colinton Tunnel.

9. Go on a free Harry Potter trail and discover more about magical places in Edinburgh.

10. Head to the edge of the city and explore some of the amazing outdoor spaces for kids around Balerno.

11. Go on a spontaneous treasure hunt in your local area in Edinburgh.

12. Take a trip out to see the Kelpies and enjoy the Splash Park at Helix Park.

A girl looks at the camera and sticks her tongue out. In the background are two large statues of horse heads - called the Kelpies.

101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh: Historical Sites

13. Embark on a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle and learn about its rich history.

14. Discover the secrets of Mary King’s Close, an underground street frozen in time.

15. Explore the imposing Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Queen in Scotland.

16. Take a trip to the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel, known for its intricate carvings.

17. Step back in time at the Museum of Edinburgh and learn about the city’s past.

18. Explore the fascinating Surgeons’ Hall Museums

19. Visit one of the many Historic Scotland Castles – such as Craigmillar Castle – which also has a great playground near by.

20. Discover some of Edinburgh’s Histories and Mysteries – such as Greyfriars Bobby

21. Delve into some of Edinburgh’s Secret Tunnels and discover what lurks below!

22. Take a child-friendly city tour of the Historical spots along the Royal Mile.

Rainy Day Options

A boy looks through binoculars at the view of the Royal Mile Edinburgh

23. Visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions for a mind-bending experience.

24. Spend a day at Dynamic Earth, an interactive museum exploring the wonders of our planet.

On the right is the outside of Dynamic Earth. It looks like the entrance to a large tent. On the left is a alligator that is on display at Dynamic Earth.

25. Get creative at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and get a wee pick-me-up at Cafe Milk.

26. Take shelter at the National Museum of Flight, where aviation history comes to life.

27. Enjoy a movie at one of the city’s family-friendly cinemas, such as the Odeon at Fort Kinnaird.

28. Explore some of the best bookshops in Edinburgh for kids – there’s a lot to choose from!

A girl holds a coffee in a bookshop on the left. The right image is the front of the Portobello Bookshop as a girl is walking in the door.

29. Jump, bounce, and play at Jump In Trampoline Park

30. Edinburgh has a lot of child-friendly Art Galleries but here’s some tips for making them more entertaining.

On the left is the main gallery from the Edinburgh Portrait Gallery. It is a mosaic of people in different colours over archways. On the right a girl stands on the balcony looking below.

31. Conifox has an amazing outdoor playwark but one of the biggest (and cleanest soft plays) – with an added toddler imaginary play centre too.

32. Step on board Edinburgh’s Royal Yacht Britannia – not only does it have children’s trails but there’s a fudge kitchen on board!

33. Head outdoors anyway – it’s rare that it doesn’t rain at some point each day in Edinburgh! Just take a waterproof layer and here’s some advice for the other seasons.

101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh: Sports Adventures

34. Play a game of crazy golf at Paradise Island Adventure Golf.

35. Improve your bowling skills at the St James Centre’s bowling alley.

36. Go for a family swim at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

37. Have a blast at Ryze Edinburgh, a massive indoor trampoline park.

38. Let the kids burn off the extra energy by smacking some golf balls at Melville Golf Centre.

39. Enjoy a day at Yellowcraigs Beach.

40. Discover one of our favourite play parks – here’s some of the best park parks in Edinburgh.

41. Try your hand at climbing bigger walls at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.

42. Learn to Wakeboard at Foxlake, Dunbar (or head to Wildshore in Dundee). Katie started learning when she was 7 so here’s a few tips from her.

43. Learn to Ice Skate at Murrayfield – doesn’t really matter what the season is as they also have roller skating!

44. Go horse riding at Mortonhall Stables.

Adventurous Activities

45. Experience the thrill of Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park, with its treetop adventures.

46. Take a family hike up Arthur’s Seat and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

47. Go on a kayaking or paddleboarding adventure along the Union Canal.

48. Explore the underground depths of Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious network of tunnels.

49. Visit Clambers, an indoor adventure play center with slides, climbing frames, and more.

50. Find a new Outdoor Swimming location and get the kids in too!

51. Try the inflatable park at Foxlake, Dunbar or test your courage their obstacle course. Sadly the zip trail closed due to storm damage but they’ve got a host of new things since we wrote this post.

52. Try bouldering at Eden Rock and stop for a snack (or three) at the Secret Herb Garden.

53. Head out to Perth to visit the Leisure Pool there. Since Leith Water World closed, that’s your best option for flumes and rapids. The ‘full moon’ slide is actually quite full on – think a steep drop in the pitch black with strobe lighting!

54. Take a surfing lesson with Coast to Coast – they now have a purpose built venue (with showers!)

55. Test your strength at Ninja Warrior – the main course was too tough for me, but I did enjoy hurtling over the inflatable bit!

101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh: For Toddlers

56. Have a fun day out at the Edinburgh Zoo, spotting animals from around the world.

Two pictures of penguins at Edinburgh zoo.

57. Visit the Gorgie City Farm and get up close with friendly farm animals.

58. Play and learn at the Museum of Childhood, which has a dedicated toddler play area.

59. Enjoy interactive storytelling sessions at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

60. Follow the Fairy Trail at Archerfield Walled garden.

61. See what’s on through July, including toddler sessions at Holyrood Palace.

62. Jump on board the Bo’ness Steam Train – we’ve been for their special ‘Santa’ days but also just throughout the year. They have an engine shed with lots of climb on too!

63. Discover the Land Sculptures at Jupiter Art Land (it has a good cafe too!)

64. Head out to the countryside and discover Vogrie Park – they have a miniature railway running in the summer.

65. Discover Lauriston Castle – wide paths, loads to explore, and lots of space to run around and make noise – or even build dens in the wood.

66. Craigies Farm is super popular for Fruit Picking and it has a new(ish) indoor play area for smaller children.

67. Have a day out with Scot rail and discover Linlithgow Canal Centre.

A girl stands with her hands on her hips in front of a canal boat.

68. There’s a few good soft play options that are still option – but I would always recommend the Edinburgh Leisure options as always found them the cleanest with the best cafe options!

69. For any fire engine enthusiasts, then the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage is a great option. Loads of engines with some dressing up opportunities.

70. Thankfully, the Turtledove Cafe in Davidson’s Mains is back open and there’s LOADS on each week.

71. For crawlers/bum shuffling I would recommend Joy Tots on Ferry Road.

72. Little Plaza has also been a very welcome addition to the Edinburgh Scene. Aside from being great for babies, they offer language classes for children and some fab after-school activities too.

For Pre-Teens

73. Go on a ghost tour of the city’s haunted spots and hear chilling tales.

74. Enjoy a game of laser tag at Laser Quest Edinburgh.

75. Take a boat trip to Inchcolm Island and explore its ancient abbey.

76. Join a pottery workshop at Doodles Ceramic Workshop and create unique pieces of art.

77.Try a magical afternoon tea at The Department of Magic.

78. For anyone with a sweet tooth – try an afternoon at Edinburgh’s Chocolatarium.

A girl stands with a red umbrella outside of the Edinburgh chocolatarium. The on the right is a display of chocolate bars from inside the shop.

79. Head out to the Falkirk Wheel – the boat ride is good but the water park is ace!

80. We recently headed up to St Andrew’s for the day to do some geocaching and spent some time at Craigtoun Park – complete with boating lake.

81. Sit in a coffee shop whilst your pre-teen explores the St James Centre. They are likely to run into hoards of their school pals in Hollister. Follow them at your peril – the eye rolling is immense.

101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh: For Teens

82. Try your hand at indoor wall climbing at Alien Rock.

83. Go for a bike ride along the Union Canal towpath.

84. Explore the Surgeon’s Hall Museum, known for its medical curiosities.

85. Join a street art tour and discover the vibrant graffiti scene in Edinburgh.

86. Attend a live music gig or concert at one of the city’s music venues.

87. Solve puzzles and mysteries at The Department of Magic Escape Rooms.

88. Hop on board one the city bus tours – we’ve reviewed Bright Bus before – but have also heard great things about the Ghost Bus tours for pre-teens and teens.

89. Visit the Edinburgh Dungeons – the concept is half history and half horror.

90. Visit the penny arcades in Portobello – aside from being a nice beach and having a bunch of cool coffee shops – in my mind the arcade is fun no matter your age.

91. Classes book up FAST but the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School offers one day up to week-long courses for teenagers.

92. Take an e-bike tour round the city – we’ve got a Rad Bike and it’s the best way to travel (with a good boost!)

Instagram spots in Edinburgh - the best hot chocolate on the left with many marshmallows and on the right are the colourful buildings of Victoria Street.

93. Find the top 10 Instagrammable Spots in Edinburgh – thanks to My Little Wildings for this one!

Events and Festivals

94. Check out the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.

95. Attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival and meet favorite authors.

96. Join in the celebrations at the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.

97. Check out some living history this August – at Dirleton Castle.

98. Experience the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacular display of music and dance.

99. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and grab a pizza while you enjoy the music.

100. Join in a Ceilidh at the St James Centre – it’s free but booking is advised!

101. And finally… the best news – Nick Cope is back for the Fringe Festival this year!

Edinburgh offers an abundance of exciting activities and attractions for families to enjoy during the summer and I hope that within these 101 things to do with kids in Edinburgh you’ll get some ideas. But please do check back through the summer as I’ll be busy posting reviews and other events that are happening through July and August!

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