Are you looking for great things to do with kids in Edinburgh? Scotland’s northerly capital remains a beautiful place to visit across all seasons. The medieval architecture and Grand Castle look even more magical with the snow in the Winter. However, you may need a few indoor options for entertaining the kids if the weather is wet. Edinburgh’s reputation as one of the UK’s finest cities is well deserved- the Scottish capital attracts thousands of visitors to its historic streets each year. Tourists flock here to explore its medieval history, grand architecture and modern, dynamic atmosphere. Enjoy world class drama at the famous Fringe festival in the summer, or visit in the quieter months to soak up the city’s culture, minus the crowds.

Therefore, BabyBreaks has done the hard work for you and researched the Best Kids Activities in Edinburgh:

 1. Edinburgh Castle

Top of our list has to be Edinburgh’s Castle. Dating back over 1,000 years and looking over the city from its rocky point. Most importantly, highlights include the Scottish Crown Jewels and the medieval Mons Meg Canon which is fired at 1pm each day (Monday to Saturday). In addition, there are a wide range of special events throughout the year too. Check the website for more information.

Address on Google Maps

Opening Hours: Open daily 09:30 – 17:00

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2. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

First opening in 1835, this tourist attraction has been entertaining Edinburgh visitors for centuries. So it is certainly one of the best kids activities in Edinburgh. Today there are five floors of interactive optical illusions, where technology and magic meet. For example, kids will love the fact they can shrink themselves like Alice in Wonderland or get lost in the Mirror Maze. After that, they can climb up to the rooftop terrace for amazing 360 degree views. They will be able to see The Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth.

Address on Google Maps

Opening Hours: Open daily from 09:30. Closing times vary depending on season, click here for more info.

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3. National Museum of Scotland

A great museum offering a mix of ancient history and cutting edge technology. The National Museum of Scotland is well-know for being fantastic for kids. Its guided tours, workshops and themed exhibitions, encourage learning by doing. So it’s guaranteed to spark their imagination. Meet dinosaurs in the Natural World, robots in Science and Technology and mummies in Ancient Egypt!

Address on Google Maps

Opening Hours: Open daily 10:00 – 17:00

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kids activities in edinburgh - things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: National Museum of Scotland

4. Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth is one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions and a guaranteed hit with the kids. It tells the story of our amazing planet through an immersive tour. You can feel the heat of a bubbling volcano or touch the icy cold of the arctic. Moreover, come face to face with dinosaurs in the rainforest! Certainly a really unique and fun experience for all ages.

Address on Google Maps

Opening Hours: Open daily 10:00 -17:30

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things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: Dynamic Earth

5. Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World

Please note that this activity is still CLOSED to the public

Admire exotic butterflies at the world’s longest running indoor butterfly house. The tropical rainforest environment is home to a huge array of flora and fauna, including reptiles and fish.So get the kids involved in the daily handling and feeding sessions. Maybe you’ll even cure a snake or spider phobia for yourself!

Address on Google Maps

Opening Hours: Open daily 10:00 – 17:00

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6. Palace of Holyroodhouse

The official Scottish residence of Her Majesty The Queen ,this 16th century palace stands against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat . As well as stunning rooms and antiques to admire, they offer a great programme of family activities, like storytelling and face painting. And lastly, the grounds are a fantastic place to let the little ones loose on a summer’s day.

Address: Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh. EH8 8DX

Opening Hours: 09:30 – 16:30  but check the website as some days it is closed for royal functions.

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Palace of Holyrood House

7. Museum of Childhood

Please note that this activity is still CLOSED to the public

This interactive space focused on childhood life, learning and play is a fab day out for the kids. It displays toys and games from across the generations, as well as having dedicated zones for little ones to get involved in activities.

Address: 42 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TG

Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm

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Museum of Childhood - things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: Edinburgh Museums

8. Soft Play

Love it or hate it, soft play is one of the best kids activities in Edinburgh on a rainy day. As with most major cities, Edinburgh has a fair few to choose from. You can head for instance at Tumbles Soft Play in Portobello – a pretty little seaside suburb where you can peruse the cafes shops and beach if the weather brightens up.

things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: Ocean Play Centre

9. Trampolining

Trampolining is always a hit with young kids, and it’s a great way for parents to get some exercise too. As well as being loads of fun! In Edinburgh you can choose to go to Gravity Trampoline Park or Jump In Trampoline Park. Both have dedicated family or toddler sessions, so check their websites to see which suits you best.

Source: Gravity Active Entertainment

10. Scottish Storytelling Centre

A fantastic venue celebrating Scotland’s storytelling culture, from one-off performances to seasonal events for Burns Night, Halloween and Christmas. There is plenty to inspire all ages, from children’s story times with famous authors to poetry writing workshops.  This is certainly one of the most charming and unique kids activities in Edinburgh.

Address: 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm

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Bedtime Story
Source: Pexels

11. Royal Yacht Britannia

Frequently voted Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction, this is one you mustn’t miss. Her Majesty The Queen’s official yacht for over 40 years, this floating palace is steeped in history. The kids will love hearing the tales of life at sea, and getting involved in fun activities like treasure hunts. Or why not book a special children’s tour to really pique their interest?

Address: Ocean Dr, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

Opening Hours: Open daily 10 am – 3:30pm

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Royal Yacht Britannia
Source: Royal Yacht Britannia / Facebook

12. Edinburgh Dungeons

This is one older kids are sure to love, and any adults who like a bit of fun and gore! Aimed at ages 8 and over, this underground visitor attraction brings the city’s darkest history to life. Listen to ghostly tales by costumed characters as you make your way through the theatrical sets.

Address: 31 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DF

Opening Hours: Open daily 11am – 4pm

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Edinburgh Dungeon - things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: GetYourGuide

13. A Trip to the Theatre

As a city famed for its performing arts festival, you’ll be pleased to know Edinburgh has plenty of theatre shows suitable for children. The Edinburgh Playhouse and The King’s Theatre are two of the biggest theatres, offering big name shows like The Lion King Musical and Paw Patrol live.

things to do with kids in edinburgh
Source: Kings Theatre

14. Doodles Ceramic Workshop

Doodles welcomes all ages of children from babies to teenagers, who are keen to unleash their inner artist. And adults too of course! First you choose a piece of pottery from hundreds of items. Next, select your colours before painting the rainbow. And finally add your finishing touches with glitter, stamps, stencils or etching. In addition there are special children’s workshops and events throughout the year. So make sure you check the website to see what’s on.

Address: 27-29 Marchmont Cres, Edinburgh EH9 1HQ

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30am – 6pm / Sundays 11am – 6pm

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Source: Doodles Ceramic Workshop

15. Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

Europe’s largest indoor climbing arena is built in a disused quarry on the outskirts of Edinburgh. For little ones there’s a fab soft play area complete with its own mini climbing wall. As well as a playroom complete with a bouncy castle, ride on toys and games. In addition, older kids and adults can tackle the advanced climbing walls or nerve wracking aerial assault course.

Address: South Platt Hill, Newbridge EH28 8AA

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am – 10pm / Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm

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Climbing Wall Edinburgh things to do with kids in edinburgh

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16. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

One of the world’s leading centres for the study and conservation of plants, this popular tourist attraction has loads to see and do. Explore 70 acres of perfectly preened landscape, the ten beautiful Glasshouses (dating back to 1858) and fine artwork at Inverleith House gallery. The kids will love running around the different areas, from steamy tropics to arid desert, and discovering all about the exotic plants.

Address:  Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 4pm

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Source: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

17. Edinburgh Zoo

Home to the UK’s only Giant Pandas, Edinburgh Zoo give the kids a chance to get up close to over 1,000 rare and endangered animal. Spread over 82 acres, you can meet koalas, monkeys, pelicans and snakes, to name just a few. Don’t miss the amazing Tiger Tracks – a see through viewing tunnel where tigers will walk right over your head! A must do when in Edinburgh for Under 5’s.

Address: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Edinburgh EH12 6TS

Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 4/6pm (dependent on season)

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18. Princes Street Gardens

In view of the Castle and separating the Old Town and New Town, Princes Street Gardens are one of the most popular green spots in the city. Divided into East and West, they attract dog walkers, city workers and families in search of some calm and tranquillity on the midst of the capital. The perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day.

Address: Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HG

Opening Hours: 24/7

19. Portobello Beach

Fancy escaping the city for a day? Just a couple of miles away is a beautiful sandy stretch of beach, in the popular suburb of Portobello. Many locals head here in the summer, but we think it’s equally as beautiful in the cooler months too. There are some nice cafes and shops to mooch around after you’ve had your fill of building sandcastles.

Getting there: Regular busses (numbers 26, 44 or 45) operate from Edinburgh city centre to Portobello beach, taking less than 30 minutes.

Address: Portobello Beach, Edinburgh, UK

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20. Gorgie City Farm

Little ones will love this small, family run city farm where they can interact with goats, lambs, chickens and even a tortoise! There’s also a small playground and some fruit and vegetable gardens – you can purchase the fresh, organic produce at the end of your trip.

Address: 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh EH11 2LA

Opening Hours: Daily 09:30 – 16:00

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21. Harry Potter Walking Tour

Enjoy a Harry Potter themed walking tour across Edinburgh. See the city where JK Rowling found inspiration for Hogwarts, her famous characters, and discover the place where she wrote the books. Have your Harry Potter trivia tested with an audio-visual quiz, and earn points for your house.

Find out which Hogwarts House you’re in, and whether you’re a pure blood, a muggle, or a squib. Visit the Grave of Tom Riddle in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and pass JK Rowling’s golden handprints outside City Chambers. See all this and more on a magical 2-hour guided tour.

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HP walking tour
Source: GetYourGuide

22. Edinburgh Zoo Giant Lanterns

This is the third year of the Giant Lanterns event which continues to dazzle and delight.  For 2019/20, the Giant Lanterns return to Edinburgh Zoo with over 600 brand-new lanterns. This year they are all themed aroud the Lost World, so expect dinosaurs and prehistoric marvels galore. Great for dino mad kids! If you like the sound of this, then you should also have a read of our review of the Jardin des Plantes light sculpture display in Paris .

Address: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Edinburgh EH12 6TS

Opening Hours: Exhibition open Nov-January from 5:30pm

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Giant lanterns edinburgh zoo
Source: GetYourGuide

23. Dalkeith Country Park

Just five miles from Edinburgh’s city centre, you’ll find Dalkeith Country Park, a stunning 2,000 acre estate home to Fort Douglas adventure playground and Restoration Yard – a gorgeous store, restaurant and wellbeing space in the restored stables and courtyard. The kids will love exploring the huge treehouses, zip wires and Sky Maze. There are also walking and cycling trails which will take you through the ancient woodlands and along the river.

Address: Via King’s Gate, Dalkeith EH22 1ST

Opening Hours: Open daily 7am – 7pm (individual attractions may vary)

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Dalkeith Country Park
Source: Dalkeith Country Park / Facebook

24. Craigie’s Farm & Deli

If you want somewhere not too far from the city but with all the charm of the countryside, head for Craigie’s Farm and Deli. This is a great spot when exploring Edinburgh for Under 5’s . From PYO fruit, to farm animals, beautiful woodland walks and an award-winning butcher. Meet pigs, chickens, sheep & shetland ponies. The farm cafe has a safe outdoor play area, featuring slides, swings, and tractor rides. There you can spot the playful Pygmy goats.

Address: West Craigie Farm, Queensferry EH30 9AR

Opening Hours: Open daily 9am- 5pm

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Craigie's farm shop & cafe
Source: Joanna Slesinska / Craigie’s Farm Facebook

25. Arthur’s Seat

Did you know there’s a volcano in Edinburgh?! And you can climb it too – but don’t worry, it’s extinct! At the top you will find it’s highest point, called Arthur’s Seat, and amazing views across Holyrood park and the whole city. It’s a steep climb to the top, so if you have tiny tots you may wish to put them in a sturdy baby carrier. Or you can drive  to Dunsapie Loch – from there it’s only a 15-20 minutes hike to the summit.

Address: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh EH8 8AZ

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Arthur's Seat Edinburgh
Source: Pixabay

26. Real Mary King’s Close Guided Tour

Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close, voted Scotland’s Best Heritage Tourism Experience. Discover over 400 years of history and learn about the intriguing stories of Edinburgh’s past residents. Journey through time and find out why the Close, once open to the skies and bustling with trade, came to be underground. This 1-hour character-guided tour also includes an immersive walk-through of the city’s uniquely preserved streets and spaces, all located underneath Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

Address: 2 Warriston’s Cl, Edinburgh EH3 5LG

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Real Mary King's Close
Source: GetYourGuide

27. Palace of Holyroodhouse

The official Scottish residence of Her Majesty The Queen ,this 16th century palace stands against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat . As well as stunning rooms and antiques to admire, they offer a great programme of family-focused activities, like storytelling and face painting. The grounds are a fabulous place to let the little ones loose on a summer’s day.

Address: Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh. EH8 8DX

Opening Hours: 09:30 – 16:30  but check the website as some days it is closed for royal functions.

Visit Website

Palace of Holyrood House

28. East Links Family Park

Around a 40 minute drive from Edinburgh, this 20 acres farm is a fab place for little ones to burn off some energy and get some fresh air. Won numerous awards including Best Visitor Attraction in Edinburgh, Lothians and Fife (2011 & 2016). Enjoy a train safari and indoor animal barn, bouncy castles, crazy golf, climbing walls, go-karts, a giant fortress and more! Pony rides in summer. Bottle feeding lambs in spring. Open all year round.

Address: Dunbar EH42 1XF

Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 4pm

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East Links Family Park
Source: East Links

29. The Meadows

One of the best places in Edinburgh for Under 5’s is The Meadows. This huge green space is one of the city’s most popular places for outdoor pursuits, be that dog walking, cycling or wearing out a toddler on the play equipment! The Meadow’s boasts a fantastic playground for kids, as well as large grassy areas, tennis courts and a cafe. A great spot to stop for a picnic on a sunny day too.

Address: Melville Dr, Edinburgh EH9 1ND

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Source: The Meadows

30. Cramond Beach

Want to see a different side of Edinburgh for Under 5’s? Then head to the beach! A short ride on the number 41 bus to this suburb of Edinburgh, Cramond. Enjoy the feel of an old fishing village complete with a quaint row of whitewashed houses. The small sandy beach is a popular choice with Edinburgh residents as well as tourists who head here to walk and cycle on the beachside paths. It’s ideal for a family day out or simply a relaxing stroll and offers splendid views of Firth of Forth.

At low tide you can walk across the causeway to the mysterious Cramond Island. do keep an eye on the tides though!

Address: 2 Kirk Cramond, Edinburgh EH4 6HZ

Cramond Beach

We hope that all these activities and day out ideas will help you out on picking the right things to do with your kids in Edinburgh.

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