Staycation in Edinburgh


Last year the summer weather in Scotland hardly existed at all, we just seemed to have a lot of rain. Ever the optimist I’m thinking that this means this year it will be so much nicer, so a good year to pick to stay at home for a Staycation.

A staycation, especially if you treat it as a proper holiday, can be lots of fun. You get the chance to do things in your hometown that you might overlook when you aren’t a tourist and with a bit of careful planning it doesn’t have to break the bank either.

Edinburgh Staycation

With all this in mind, I’ve drawn up a handy weeklong Staycation plan for you. I’ve based it on a family of 4, in the first week of August and included any costs of the activities based on this. 

1 month before your Staycation


Look at what’s on in the Fringe and book a few of the free shows.


1 week before your Staycation


Order an introductory offer from Gousto, Marley Spoon or Hello Fresh for 4 family meals to be delivered on the first day of your Staycation. You should get an offer for around 50% off your first box (there is no commitment to buy more either) with all the ingredients and recipes for 4 meals for 4 delivered to your door. Self-catering meals for 4 nights of your Staycation for around £30, which is a great saving, and you didn’t even need to go to the supermarket. It also means you can treat yourself to dinner out for 3 of your other nights.


Monday AM


Start your Staycation like a proper tourist and go on a walking tour. New Edinburgh Tours offer a free 2.5 hour tour of the city including;


Edinburgh Castle

St Giles’ Cathedral

The Royal Mile

Old & New Towns

Mercat Cross

Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery) and Greyfriars Bobby


The original ‘Hogwarts’

William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny

National Museum

Covenanters’ Prison

Martyrs’ Memorial

The real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The Scottish Enlightenment


Their guides work hard to be interesting and informative as rely on tips after your tour is complete. They have had excellent reviews, and you might discover something about Edinburgh you never knew.

Cost – Free, but leave a tip.

Monday PM 

Time to stop for some lunch after all that walking, head to Oink on Victoria Street for budget friendly hog roast rolls and then continue your afternoon with a visit to the Museum of Childhood, where you’ll learn about children and toys from the past and can dress-up or make your own puppet show.

Cost – Free

Tuesday Am 

Take yourself to Lauriston Castle along with the kids bikes or scooters. Loads of green space, picnic benches, woods for exploring, ponds and fab views of the shoreline. It’s free too.

Cost – Free

Tuesday PM

For some crazy golf fun, take the kids to Paradise Island Golf Adventure in Livingston. A family of four can play their two courses for £30 so it’s really good value as well as good fun. On the way home stop at brand new restaurant Fork and Field in Mid Calder.

Cost – £30 

Wednesday Am 

National Play day is usually the first Wednesday in August and Edinburgh Council turns the Grassmarket into an open playground with loads of cool play stations to coincide with this. There are sandpits, mud kitchens, water play stations and musical instruments to name a few. The kids will love it and it’s all free. Pack a picnic lunch and conquer Arthur’s Seat afterwards for a great view over the city.

Cost – Free


Wednesday PM 

Mamma’s Pizza in the Grassmarket does free make your own pizza workshops for kids age 5-16. You have to book in advance, so let your kids invite some of their other friends to join them and while they are busy learning, creating and eating you can get some peace and sit and eat while they are busy.

Cost – Free

Thursday AM 

As part of Edinburgh Art Festival Jupiter Artland operates a FREE bus service on Thursdays and Fridays in August from Edinburgh, with FREE entry to Jupiter Artland also included. Jupiter Artland can be quite a pricey day out, so this is a real bargain. Once there you will have 97 acres to explore with some really beautiful landscaped art and sculptures to find on your wanders. Plenty of space for the kids to run about.

Cost – Free

Thursday PM 

Go to one of your pre-booked festival shows and treat yourselves to dinner out in Edinburgh with all the money you have saved from the free activities. For a Spanish feel to your Staycation visit Café Anduluz on George Street and share and feast on their tasty tapas.

Cost – Free

Friday AM 

Time for a day trip. Get a train from Edinburgh to North Queensferry. Kids love going across the forth rail bridge and you’ll have great views of the old and new road bridge too. Visit Deep Sea World to keep the kids amused for a good few hours. There is a lovely place in North Queensferry called The Wee Restaurant that you could visit for lunch and it’s close to the train station.

Cost – Return Train (with a family railcard) £8, Deep Sea World Family Ticket £42 if you pre-book online. 

Friday PM

If the weather is nice, (yes, I’m still being optimistic) then head to the meadows with a disposable BBQ and some tennis racquets and balls. The meadows is a fab place to hang on summer nights and you’ll always find people who want to join in with your game of rounders to make it even more fun. At the end of the meadows there is also a brilliant play park for the kids to run around too.

Cost – Free

Saturday AM 

Fit in another free fringe show before heading to the national museum for another morning of free activities. The museum is very hands-on for kids and always has a range of workshops, new exhibits and activities for children to enjoy. With five floors, you could spend the whole day here easily, don’t forget to visit the quite often quiet space of the roof garden. Head to Lothian Road after for great Mexican food at Pinto.

Cost – Free 

Saturday PM 

Before heading home, take a visit to the Edinburgh Dungeons. The Edinburgh Dungeon is an 80-minute journey through centuries of Scotland ‘s darkest history. You will laugh and scream your way round here and I always feel it adds to the atmosphere if it’s starting to get dark when you leave.

Cost – Family ticket £40 if you pre book online.

Sunday AM 

You can’t be on holiday and not go swimming so head to any of the council run swimming pools in Edinburgh this morning. Most offer free entry for kids in the summer holidays if you have an Edinburgh Leisure pass. The Commonwealth Pool or Portobello Swim Centre are good choices.

Cost – Kids Free, Adults £9

Sunday PM

If the weather is nice then an afternoon trip to the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh is always lovely. Again entry is free and there is so much space to run around or to sit and relax. Finish your Staycation off with a trip to the cinema and dinner out on the last night of your holidays. This time go Greek at Mr Nick’s inside Ocean Terminal where you’ll find the cinema too.

Cost – Cinema Family Ticket £33


Total Cost for Weeks Activities – £162



This entry was posted in Edinburgh, Featured, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *