Scotland’s capital is a unique hybrid of olden charm and urban excitement, making it the ideal spot for a family city break. We’ve compiled some of the best things to see and do during a family getaway in Edinburgh.
Possibly the Scottish capital’s most acclaimed attractions, it is essential to visit Edinburgh Castle during your stay. With tours of the castle and grounds available, learn about the castle’s history while being immersed in the beautiful surrounding architecture and scenery. There are dining facilities on site, and the castle is also host to regular events so be sure to check out their website before your visit. Prices from £17.00 per adult, £10.20 per child aged 5-15 and FREE for children under 5. edinburghcastle.scot
Real Mary King’s Close
Journey back in time and learn about the deepest and darkest aspects of Edinburgh’s history. As the city’s only preserved 17th century street, kids can learn about those who lived and died here during the times of the Plague. This eerie alleyway leads into Edinburgh’s largest underground experience and allows visitors to understand the lives of former residents in a unique and exciting way. However, please bear in mind that this tour is not suited to children aged under five and they will not be granted admission. Prices from £15.95 per adult and £9.75 per child aged 5-15, with family rates available. realmarykingsclose.com
Home to a huge variety of exotic species, Edinburgh Zoo is a must for animal lovers. Lions, chimpanzees, pandas and cheetahs are just some of their incredible residents, and kids can learn more about these extraordinary animals through regular informative talks and exhibitions. The zoo also runs various events and workshops so be sure to check out their website to see if any are happening during your visit. Prices from £17.50 per adult, £9.95 per child aged 3-15 years and FREE for children under three. edinburghzoo.org.uk
The Potter Trail
Calling all Harry Potter fanatics, this is the tour for you! As many fans of the wizarding world series will know, J.K Rowling drew much inspiration from Edinburgh for the Harry Potter books. This magical tour of Edinburgh shows you the locations which inspired many of the scenes and characters of the series, as well as locations where J.K Rowling wrote. Featuring where Lord Voldemort is buried, a trip down the street which inspired Diagon Alley and see the school which inspired Hogwarts. What’s more is it is completely FREE! pottertrails.com
The Edinburgh Dungeon
Learn about the city’s history in a spooky and eerie way in The Edinburgh Dungeon. Spooky actors, scary sets, special effects and thrilling rides make this underground experience one you’ll never forget. Learn about Mary Queen of Scots brutal execution, scream through Cannibal’s Cave and squeal at the gory sights which lie in the Anatomy Theatre. Fear aside, this is an experience not to be missed. Kids must be aged five and up. Prices from £14.00 per adult and £12.00 per child aged 5-15 years. thedungeons.com/edinburgh
Museums and exhibitions
Edinburgh’s exciting variety of museums and educational exhibitions is sure to prove wrong any misconceptions that museums aren’t for children. The Museum of Childhood is a free-entry journey into the lives of children who lived years ago. Kids can learn about the toys and entertainment enjoyed by children in yesteryear, so enjoyment is guarantee. Dynamic Earth is one of Edinburgh’s top attractions and is dedicated to the story and history of planet earth. Through exciting and interactive exhibitions and displays, kids can learn about how the earth has evolved and become what it is today. Other popular museums include the Museum of Edinburgh and The National Museum of Scotland. For information on a variety of Edinburgh’s museums see edinburghmuseums.org.uk. For Dynamic Earth, prices start from £15.50 per adult and £9.75 per child. dynamicearth.co.uk
Parks and play areas
Edinburgh has no shortage of parks for families to explore and run amuck in. Inverleith Park is a great one for families. As well as gardens and ponds, there are fields for playing sports, a children’s playground a boating pond and much more. The Meadows park also has sporting pitches and children’s playground and is also regular host to events such as circuses, Edinburgh Festival and the Meadows Marathon. The Yard is a brilliant choice as it is inclusive of all children including those with disabilities, with lots of outdoor play areas and a gorgeous sensory garden. Dalkeith Country Park has some amazing play areas among lush scenic woodlands and walkways, ensuring hours of entertainment.