There are definitely some holidays were I feel more like a Redcoat from Butlins than someone taking a break. The daily request of ‘What are we doing today?’ never fails to heap the pressure on to come up with something fun that won’t be met with moaning. Whilst days spent pottering in the garden and chilling out in the pool are nice, there is definitely a finitude to that (according to my kids!). Thankfully, Edinburgh has so many child-friendly options so today I thought I’d bring you my top fifty!
We’re members of both The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland as there are so many great options in and around Edinburgh. Here’s just a few of our favourites:
1) Craigmillar Castle – best views over Edinburgh
2) Bannockburn – the most interactive for older children
3) Edinburgh Castle – it has so many elements that this can provide entertainment on multiple days
4) Blackness Castle – for Outlander fantasies and places to explore
5) Dirleton Castle – for the best gardens to stretch your legs
6) Tantallon Castle – for the best sea views.
7) Crichton Castle – because we pretend we actually own it
8) Newhailes – for the best kid’s play area
9) Gladstone’s Land followed by The Georgian House – for learning about the history of Edinburgh
10) Inveresk Lodge Garden – the prettiest garden’s we’ve found
I would love it if my kids were happy to just go on long walks, but my gang definitely prefer to have something ‘to do’ – once again, Edinburgh really does come up trumps:
11) Jump In – our favourite trampoline park and just next door to Newhailes
12) Foxlake – loads of exciting options for all the family
13) Dunbar Swimming Pool – for families with swimmers and non-swimmers
14) Xcite Livingston – for kids who like flumes and rapids!
15) Clip n’ Climb Ratho – one to book ahead for but the kids love it
16) Alien Rock – book onto a parent/child belaying course to learn the ropes
17) Climbing Arthur’s Seat – you can drive up a fair way for the easier option!
18) Hi Climb, Hi Ride and Hi Fall – a whole host of new climbing options at The Centre Livingstone
19) Explore Lauriston Castle – or even have a game of croquet!
20) Take a boat trip out to Incholm – and climb to the top of the Island
Everywhere in Edinburgh feels pretty ‘cultural’ to me as there really is a piece of history on every street. But it cannot be ignored that there are some amazing museums and art galleries with loads for kids:
21) National Gallery of Modern Art – with daily events for kids through summer
22) Museum of Childhood – newly renovated in Spring 2018
23) National Museum of Scotland – it really is unbeatable
24) National Mining Museum of Scotland – to learn about another side of life in Scotland
25) National Museum of Flight – for interactive displays and planes a-plenty
26) Royal Yacht Britannia – British Royalty complete with children’s trails, games and fudge!
27) Holyrood Palace – to see where the Queen stays in Edinburgh
28) Jupiter Artland – a place to explore with lots to look at
29) Hang out at The Book Festival – here’s a few of our top picks
30) Catch a show at The Fringe – we’re delighted Monski Mouse is returning for another year!
Rainy Day Options
Whilst I’d like to think that Edinburgh is always blessed with sun and fair temperatures year round, that’s really not the case. There’s already loads of indoor activities above but here’s a few additional ideas:
31) Dynamic Earth – best interactive museum around
32) Head to the Central Library – aside from the books, spend some time building Lego models to be displayed in the front window
33) Paint your own ceramics – perfect gift for birthdays etc but also just fun
34) Grab lunch at The Pantry – and let the kids play whilst you drink coffee
35) Chill out to Jazz on a Sunday – with the best pizza in town
36) Water of Leith Visitor Centre – and don rain suits to explore along the water
37) Take the tram to the airport and spot some planes
38) Camera Oscura and World of Illusions – always a popular one for whole family
39) Deep Sea World in North Queensferry – head over the bridge and see some sharks!
40) Take a train on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway – but look out for their special themed days too
Given that we are having a run of good weather and because it sometimes can be nice in Edinburgh – I thought I’d finish with some of our favourite options for good weather:
41) Edinburgh Zoo – with some extra tips for enjoying your day
42) Explore North Berwick – we love the paddling pool on the beach!
43) Play on Yellowcraigs beach – beautiful sandy beach for playing
44) Make the most of Edinburgh’s parks – The Meadows is pretty awesome!
45) East Links Family Park – a farm themed activity park
46) Conifox Adventure Park – footgolf, trampolines, go-karts? What’s not to love?
47) Explore Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens – and it’s free!
48) Take a boat ride along Linlithgow Canal then play in the park by the Loch
49) Get the bikes out and explore Edinburgh’s Cycle Network
50) Discover Geocaching and follow the trail of Burke and Hare
What else would you add to this list? I’d love to keep adding new ideas or activities to our list and discovering everything Edinburgh has to offer!
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