Edinburgh is a great place to visit with kids. Here are our top ten picks for places to take kids of all ages, whatever the weather and whatever your budget. Always have a back-up plan in case you head outdoors and the weather changes and remember to take your camera or smartphone to capture those precious happy memories which will last a lifetime. The list covers a wide range of places from museums to parks to places to eat and gives an indication of cost and to which age range the attraction will appeal. Have fun in this wonderful city and post comments below to let us know what you enjoyed the most.
An Edinburgh PLUSBUS ticket gives you unlimited bus & tram travel on nearly all Lothian bus and tram services, around the whole urban area of Edinburgh city for just £3 for adults and £1.50 for children. For more details check the website here
National Museum of Scotland
Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Children from around age 4 upwards will love the ‘Natural World’ galleries. Look through the arch at the eastern end of the Grand Gallery, and you’ll see a Tyrannosaurus rex peering through at you. Next to the animal galleries is ‘Earth in Space’ which will appeal to older children as it explores our place in the universe and how our understanding of it has developed.
The museum has free lockers so you can off-load bags or picnic food and if it is a fine day then head to The Meadows, a large park which is a short walk away and a good place to picnic.
Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and world of illusions
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2ND
Standard admission prices Adult 13.95, children 5-15 9.95, children under 5 free.
The camera, with its roving mirror that projects a 360º cityscape and rooftop views, makes this a great place to orient yourself if you are new to Edinburgh. As well as the camera the attraction has 6 floors of interactive hands on fun for children of all ages including a Magic Gallery, World of Illusions and 3D holograms in the Light Fantastic gallery.
Camera Obscura is very close to Edinburgh Castle, so it’s useful to combine the two visits.
The Edinburgh Dungeon
31 Market Street, EH1 1DF – next to Waverley Station
Book online to get the online saver price of 11.25 for adults and 9.80 for children.
The Edinburgh Dungeon brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. It’s hilarious fun and it’s sometimes a bit scary. Recommended for ages 8 and above. There are very dark areas and loud noises so don’t take nervous children. All children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
At the time of writing there is an offer for a combi ticket to visit the Dungeon and eat at the Hard Rock Café, so check the website for details.
Bus No. 12 from Princes Street runs to the zoo.
Online ticket prices – for other prices check here ticket prices
2 Adult & 2 Children £57.30
2 Adults & 3 Children £69.60
1 Adult & 2 Children £40.95
1 Adult & 3 Children £53.25
A great day out for all the family and children of all ages. Edinburgh Zoo is home to the only giant pandas in the UK. The female is called Tian Tian (which means Sweetie) and the male is Yang Guang (which means Sunshine). If you want to view the Pandas you have to book in advance. Entry to the giant pandas is included with your Zoo admission but is time-ticketed. Each slot is approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Check the website for full details.
Other highlights are Koala Territory which has the only Koalas in the UK, Penguins Rock and Wallaby Outback.
If you plan to eat at the zoo we recommend the Jungle food court where you can choose from a range of burgers, fish and chips and pizza. If you take a picnic the zoo has lovely gardens where you can sit and enjoy your lunch.
Queens Drive, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH8 8HG
Experience the amazing view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat – Holyrood park’s highest point at 251m above sea level – and the Salisbury Crags, world famous since their association with famous geologist James Hutton in the 1700s, which dominate the Edinburgh skyline.
As this involves a short hike uphill, it is not suitable for small children but older energetic youngsters will enjoy the walk and the view from the top. A great free day out on a fine, clear day.
Take Bus 30 or 33 from Princes Street (opposite side of the road to Waverley station) to the Commonwealth Pool, then walk a minute down Holyrood Park Road to get to the trails.
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HG
Princes Street Gardens is in the centre of Edinburgh in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. There is a play area and a Café. It is a lovely place to just enjoy the sunshine and have a picnic away from the bustle of the city centre. Suitable for children of all ages.
Gorgie City Farm
51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2LA
Free entry and open 7 days a week, 9.30 am to 4 pm in winter
A perfect family-friendly day out for young and old. See the animals or even better get involved and get your hands dirty! The farm also has a lovely café where you can enjoy a drink and some cake.
Unit 6, Fountain Park, Dundee Street, Edinburgh EH11 1AF
Open Mon-Thur 9.30am-6.00pm, Fri 9.30am-6:30pm, Sat 9:30am-6:30pm, Sun 9:30am-6:00pm
Great for dull or rainy days when this indoor soft play area really comes into its own. Lots of fun activities from a ball pit to a small climbing wall, great for smaller children who need to let off steam in a safe environment.
Prices are graded by age, 1 year £4.50, Age 2-3 £7.45 and Age 4-12 £8.45 check website for full details
Entry prices include unlimited use of facilities but in busy times sessions may be restricted to 2.5 hours. They do have special offers so check here for those
Gambado is part of the Fountain Park mall, which has a multiplex cinema and tenpin bowling centre that are also great for autumnal and winter days. Restaurants in the mall include a Pizza Hut and a Nando’s.
The Handmade Burger Company
Ocean Terminal, Le3a Second Floor, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ
An excellent family-friendly restaurant in the Ocean Terminal complex, so near the waterfront, the Royal Yacht and the Vue cinema. Special junior menu available, which includes a great money-saving deal for under 12’s. A great activity sheet available to keep the children entertained while you wait for your food. Their junior burgers are definitely full of fresh ingredients that your little ones will love.
Find out what else is in the Ocean Terminal shopping centre
4a Forrest Road, EdinburghEH1 2QN
Great comfort food and a good simple children’s menu at £3.95. Near the National Museum of Scotland, so easily combined with a visit there as an alternative to the museum café.