Edinburgh With Kids

Edinburgh With Kids

Explore history, nature, and magic in Edinburgh with kids. Discover top attractions, family-friendly hotels, and insider tips for an epic Scotland family vacation.

Why Visit Edinburgh With Kids

  • Enchanting History: Castles, dungeons, and spooky tales come alive, igniting young imaginations.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Climb volcanoes, explore secret gardens, and hike scenic trails for active fun.
  • Festival Fun: Experience vibrant cultural events like the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Harry Potter Magic: Follow magical trails, visit film locations, and spark wizarding wonder.
  • Delicious Treats: From iconic shortbread to quirky cafes, indulge in kid-approved Scottish delights.

Things to Do in Edinburgh With Kids

Embark on a thrilling journey through Edinburgh with these family-friendly activities:

  • Visit Edinburgh Castle: Discover the city’s iconic landmark, where kids can immerse themselves in history with guided tours and interactive exhibits. Immerse yourselves in royal history through interactive exhibits and stunning views.
  • Climb Arthur’s Seat: Conquer this extinct volcano for panoramic views of the city, providing a memorable adventure for adventurous families. Hike Edinburgh’s extinct volcano for panoramic cityscapes and adventurous fun.
  • Explore Camera Obscura & World of Illusions: Delight in mind-bending optical illusions, interactive exhibits, and panoramic views of the city skyline at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Kids can explore five floors of interactive fun, including a vortex tunnel and a magical mirror maze.
  • See Edinburgh Zoo: Encounter over 1,000 animals from around the world at Edinburgh Zoo, including giant pandas, penguins, and koalas. Don’t miss the daily animal talks and feeding sessions for an educational experience the whole family will love.
  • Visit Dynamic Earth: Dive into the wonders of science and nature at Dynamic Earth, an interactive museum where kids can journey through time, from the Big Bang to the present day, and even experience a 4D adventure through Earth’s history.

Best Places to Visit in Edinburgh

Explore Edinburgh’s top attractions that cater to both kids and adults alike:

  • Royal Mile: Wander through this historic thoroughfare, lined with shops, cafes, and street performers, offering endless entertainment for the whole family. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Real Mary King’s Close for a glimpse into Edinburgh’s underground history.
  • National Museum of Scotland: Uncover Scotland’s fascinating past and diverse culture at the National Museum of Scotland, where kids can marvel at ancient artifacts, interactive exhibits, and even a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse: Step into the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where guided tours reveal the palace’s regal history, including its connections to Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Edinburgh Dungeon: Brave a journey through Edinburgh’s dark past at the Edinburgh Dungeon, where live actors, special effects, and thrilling storytelling bring the city’s most gruesome tales to life.
  • Arthur’s Seat: Conquer this extinct volcano for panoramic views of the city and beyond. Suitable for families with older children, the hike up Arthur’s Seat offers a rewarding outdoor adventure and a chance to connect with nature.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh With Kids

Choose from a variety of family-friendly accommodations in Edinburgh’s vibrant neighborhoods:

  • Old Town: Immerse yourself in the city’s medieval charm with accommodations near historic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile.
  • New Town: Experience modern comforts in elegant Georgian townhouses, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
  • Grassmarket: Stay in the heart of the action with lively street performers, eclectic shops, and cozy cafes right outside your door.
  • Leith: Discover Edinburgh’s maritime heritage in this waterfront district, offering family-friendly hotels and easy access to attractions such as the Royal Yacht Britannia.
  • Dean Village: Retreat to a tranquil oasis along the Water of Leith, where picturesque scenery and peaceful walks await families seeking relaxation after a day of exploring.

Best Family-Friendly Hotels in Edinburgh

Rest easy knowing your family is in good hands at these top-rated hotels:

  • Apex Grassmarket Hotel: Enjoy spacious rooms, stunning views, and a central location near Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket.
  • Novotel Edinburgh Centre: Experience contemporary comfort and family-friendly amenities in this modern hotel near the Royal Mile.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh: Treat your family to luxury accommodations, leisure facilities, and convenient access to city attractions.
  • Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre: Unwind in comfortable rooms and enjoy complimentary breakfast in this budget-friendly hotel near Princes Street.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Edinburgh: Feel at home in stylish suites with fully equipped kitchens, ideal for families staying longer in the city.

Best Time to Visit Edinburgh With Kids

Plan your family trip to Edinburgh for the optimal experience:

  • Summer (June to August): Enjoy mild weather, longer days, and a lively atmosphere with various festivals and outdoor events, including the Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Shoulder Seasons (April to May, September to October): Experience fewer crowds, pleasant weather, and vibrant foliage, ideal for exploring the city’s attractions without the summer crowds.
  • Winter (December to February): Embrace the festive spirit with Christmas markets, seasonal activities, and cozy indoor attractions such as ice skating at St Andrew Square or exploring Edinburgh’s Christmas markets.

How Long to Stay in Edinburgh

Make the most of your family vacation with the ideal duration for exploring Edinburgh:

  • Weekend Getaway (2-3 Days): Cover the city’s highlights, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Arthur’s Seat, with a short but memorable trip perfect for families short on time.
  • Extended Stay (4-7 Days): Dive deeper into Edinburgh’s culture and attractions, including day trips to nearby destinations like Loch Ness and Stirling Castle.
  • Flexible Itinerary: Tailor your visit based on your family’s interests, whether you prefer outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or culinary delights.

Edinburgh Family Itinerary (4 Days)

Day 1: Stepping into History

  • Morning: Immerse yourselves in the magic at Edinburgh Castle, exploring interactive exhibits and learning about knights and dragons.
  • Afternoon: Stroll down the Royal Mile, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, indulging in street performers, and visiting quirky shops.
  • Evening: Journey back in time with a ghost tour exploring hidden closes and spooky tales of the Real Mary King’s Close.

Day 2: Adventures and Delights

  • Morning: Hike Arthur’s Seat, enjoying panoramic views and feeling like an adventurous explorer.
  • Afternoon: Marvel at mind-bending tricks at Camera Obscura, followed by a delicious chocolate-making workshop at The Chocolatarium.
  • Evening: Enjoy a family-friendly performance at the Traverse Theatre or wander through Princes Street Gardens with its beautiful floral displays.

Day 3: Animals and Outdoor Fun

  • Morning: Encounter majestic creatures at Edinburgh Zoo, learning about conservation efforts and animal care.
  • Afternoon: Pack a picnic and explore the picturesque Dean Village, followed by a leisurely walk along the Water of Leith Walkway.
  • Evening: Visit Greyfriars Bobby’s grave, learning about the touching story of loyalty, and enjoy dinner at a cozy pub nearby.

Day 4: Beyond the City

  • Morning: Take a day trip to Stirling Castle, exploring its grand halls and imagining yourself as royalty.
  • Afternoon: Immerse yourselves in the natural beauty of Pentland Hills Regional Park, enjoying hiking trails and scenic views.
  • Evening: Celebrate your Edinburgh adventure with a delicious traditional Scottish meal at a family-friendly restaurant.


  • Purchase the Edinburgh Family Fun Pass for discounted entry to many attractions.
  • Pack comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing for outdoor activities.
  • Consider booking family-friendly shows and tours in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Encourage your kids to participate in interactive exhibits and ask questions, making the experience engaging and educational.

Getting Around Edinburgh

Navigate the city with ease using various transportation options:

  • Walking: Explore Edinburgh’s compact city center on foot, perfect for discovering hidden gems and historic landmarks such as the Scott Monument and Greyfriars Kirkyard.
  • Public Transport: Utilize buses and trams for convenient travel between attractions and neighborhoods, with affordable fares for families using the Lothian Buses network.
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours: Enjoy a guided tour of Edinburgh’s top sights while enjoying the flexibility to disembark and explore at your own pace, with stops at major attractions including Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the Royal Yacht Britannia.
  • Taxi and Ride-Sharing Services: Opt for a quick and convenient ride when traveling longer distances or with tired little ones, with taxis readily available throughout the city center and ride-sharing services such as Uber also operating in Edinburgh.
  • Car Rental: Consider renting a car for day trips and exploring the Scottish countryside, providing flexibility and convenience for your family’s itinerary, with several car rental companies operating in Edinburgh, including major international brands and local providers.

Remember, this is just a suggestion. Tailor your itinerary based on your family’s interests, age, and preferences. Explore beyond the listed attractions and create unique memories in magical Edinburgh with kids!