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Things to do in Edinburgh

At first glance Edinburgh doesn’t seem to be kid-friendly but the castles, parks and many attractions will spark the imagination of kids. Myths, legends and stories and kings and queens will come alive as you visit the many historic sites. Together with that there are lots of modern, fun attractions.

Edinburgh Castle

Kids love castles and this is one of the finest in the country. The castle is in the middle of the city and looks down on the Royal Mile from Castle Rock. Today the 900 year old castle houses the Regimental Museum the National Museum of War and is open to the public to explore.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

This is a five level tower which houses many hands-on optical illusions as well as an historic camera obscura which creates a 3D image of the city. Visit the roof top observation deck as well.

The Real Mary Close Kings Close

Teens will love the guided tour through this 17th century lane which runs beneath street level. Costumed guides tell about the history of the place, the lives of the people who lived here and some spooky tales.

Edinburgh Dungeons

Actors recreate scenes from the most famous murders and tragedies which have taken place in Scotland’s history. 11 shows come alive in the dungeon chambers as you are led through by a guide. (Recommended for kids over 8 but no official age restriction).

Museum of Childhood

See a vast collection of antique, old and new toys including 2,500 toys, 10,000 books and a 21 room dolls house. There are dress-up areas, puppet shows and kids activities.

Our Dynamic Earth

The history of the planet is revealed though interactive displays. There is a 4D theatre experience and exhibits which get the kids involved like entering the Ice Age and experiencing the Big Bang.

Gorgie City Farm

You don’t have to leave the city to pet domestic and farm animals in Edinburgh. Kids are educated in agriculture, gardening and handicrafts as well as meeting all the creatures.

Edinburgh’s Parks and Gardens

Prince Street Gardens are right in the middle of the city and offer a great break from the streets. Here you will find the Scott Monument - Kids will have fun counting the 287 steps to the observation point at the top of this monument. Once they have achieved the climb they will get a certificate for their efforts and magnificent views across the city. The Royal Botanical Gardens have gorgeous themed gardens as well as 25 historical glasshouses. The Meadows has recreational facilities as well as the Magnet Play Area with 40 playground apparatus. In Holyrood Park you’ll find the famous Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano which can be circled or climbed. In the same park you can enjoy the swans on St. Margaret’s Loch, Salisbury Crags, Holyrood Abbey ruins and more. Braehead Park is home to Shetland ponies and a pleasant walkway along the banks of the River Almond.

Edinburgh By the Sea

Don’t forget Edinburgh is on the coast and so has several waterside attractions like Portobello BeachHMY Britannia is docked in Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal. It is the former Royal yacht and has an exciting history. You can go aboard and explore all 5 levels including the Queen’s bedroom, Engine Room and Sick Bay. In 2014 this was voted the UK’s top attraction.

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Things to do in Edinburgh