City guides United Kingdom Scotland
Things to do with kids in Edinburgh
The historic city of Edinburgh is brimming with old castles and fascinating sights that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Kids love Edinburgh's spooky aspects; the castle alone could fill a whole day with excitement.
An outing to the Royal Yacht Brittania or a visit to the many animals at the Edinburgh Zoo can be appreciated by the whole family. A picnic and Frisbee session in the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden for some fresh air and sunshine is another lovely way to spend a day. For an educational excursion, visit the Museum of Edinburgh to soak up the history of this famous city, or venture to Our Dynamic Earth which will astound the little ones and get them thinking about their place in the grand scheme of things.
When skies are grey and outdoor attractions are not an option, take the kids to discover some aquatic animals at the Deep Sea World Aquarium, or make use of indoor playgrounds such as the one in Edinburgh Park, Happy Castle Play Centre or Time Twisters. Another real highlight for kids (and often their parents too) is the Edinburgh Dungeon.
Like the London and York Dungeons, the Edinburgh Dungeon gives a graphic and spine-chilling look into Edinburgh's history. The dungeon employs every trick in the book to scare the …
Like the London and York Dungeons, the Edinburgh Dungeon gives a graphic and spine-chilling look into Edinburgh's history. The dungeon employs every trick in the book to scare the life out of its visitors, and it does a pretty good job of it. But behind the scary masks and gruesome make up, it also offers an educational and interesting look at history, which makes it a fun way for children of all ages to learn. The Dungeon is a thrill-filled journey through a thousand years of Scotland's most dramatic and bloody history, and is very funny as well as frightening. The tour takes about 80 minutes and includes 11 live shows and two underground rides as well as incredible sets, disturbing sounds and disgusting smells. Visitors will come face to face with some sinister characters, including serial killers Burke and Hare, cannibal Sawney Bean and Scottish hero William Wallace, among others. Although a huge highlight of a visit to the city for kids, Edinburgh Dungeon is also very popular with adults and nobody will judge you for showing up without children. Booking online not only gets you a discount, it allows you to bypass the often-lengthy queues at the entrance, and is therefore highly recommended.
Address 32 Market Street
Opens Open daily. Opening hours vary, but are generally from 10am to 5pm. Check the official website for details.
£16.50 (adults), £12.60 (children under 15). Concessions available. Note that tickets are cheaper if purchased online.
Featuring a wonderful variety of cute and exotic animals, children will be absolutely thrilled with a visit to the Edinburgh Zoo. It also offers younger visitors a Kids Zone where …
Featuring a wonderful variety of cute and exotic animals, children will be absolutely thrilled with a visit to the Edinburgh Zoo. It also offers younger visitors a Kids Zone where they can do puzzles, meet new additions to the zoo, find out about wildlife in their own back garden and more. A must-see is the penguin parade, held each day at 2.15pm. Another huge attraction of the Edinburgh Zoo is its Giant Panda enclosure, but note that visitors must book a time-slot to see these magnificent animals as they are kept largely out of the public eye. More than a thousand animals are housed in the zoo, in a lovely parkland setting.
For those young visitors keen to meet some marine life as well, Deep Sea World, Scotland's national aquarium, is located just 20 minutes outside the city, and is the perfect place for a fun-filled family outing on a rainy day. Children can view marine life such as sharks, eels and rays from one of the world's longest underwater tunnels, watch seal pups play, and even get to watch a shark-feeding session. There are a series of shallow 'touch pools' for younger tots to touch and handle some of the sea life, such as starfish and sea urchins.
Address 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh
Within walking distance of Waverley and Haymarket train stations
Opens 9am to 6pm April to September; 9am to 5pm October to March; 9am to 4.30pm November to February.
£16 (adults), £11.50 (children aged 3 - 15), free entry for children under 3.
The Museum of Childhood
When travelling to Edinburgh with children, a trip to the Museum of Childhood is an absolute must and a favourite with both adults and children. It contains wonderful displays, fea…
The Museum of Childhood
When travelling to Edinburgh with children, a trip to the Museum of Childhood is an absolute must and a favourite with both adults and children. It contains wonderful displays, featuring toys from the past and present from all around the world, as well as displays about other aspects of childhood, including school, sports, health and holidays. The toys fill five floors and all the classics are here, including model railways, hundreds of dolls and exquisite doll houses. There are also more original and unexpected toys, including ones made at home when money was too short to buy.
While children enjoy playing with the toys, adults will enjoy the feelings of nostalgia at seeing their favourite childhood playthings. Many of the antique toys are kept safely behind glass, but there are some fun interactive exhibits including a puppet theatre, Lego, books and a dress-up section. There is also a delightful museum shop filled with toys, books and games. There is no restaurant or cafe in the museum, but there are many lovely places to eat nearby as the Museum of Childhood is on the Royal Mile.
Address 42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Within easy walking distance of Waverley rail station
Opens Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 12pm to 5pm
Free, but donations are welcome
Our Dynamic Earth
Situated at the foot of Edinburgh's beautiful Salisbury Crags, this science centre is a fabulous attraction for children of all ages and adults alike, and aims to educate and inspi…
Our Dynamic Earth
Situated at the foot of Edinburgh's beautiful Salisbury Crags, this science centre is a fabulous attraction for children of all ages and adults alike, and aims to educate and inspire visitors to think about our planet and its evolution. Our Dynamic Earth takes visitors on a journey through planetary events like the Big Bang, the history of Earth with dinosaurs and prehistoric landscapes, fascinating natural phenomena like the magical Aurora Borealis and volcanic eruptions, and current important issues like climate change and population growth.
Featuring a number of changing exhibitions, there's always guaranteed to be something new to discover upon each visit to Our Dynamic Earth. Most of the attractions are interactive and many are positively thrilling as well as educational. Take a spin in the G-Force space ball, and explore the many wonders of the world in which we live. Our Dynamic Earth will delight adults as well as children, and is a wonderful Edinburgh attraction for a rainy day.
Address Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh
Within walking distance of Waverley rail station
Opens Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5.30pm (November to March), open daily from 10am to 5.30pm (April to October), open daily from 10am to 6pm (July and August). Last admission is always 90 minutes before the closing time
£15 (adults), £9.50 (children aged 3 - 15). Concessions, special deals and cheaper online prices available.