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. BabyBreaks has done the hard work for you and put together a selection of the best Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh for Under 5’s.
1. 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
2. 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.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 4/6pm (dependent on season)
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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.
7. 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 .
Opening Hours: Exhibition open Nov-January from 5:30pm
8. 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)
9. 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.
Opening Hours: Open daily 9am- 5pm
10. 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
11. 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
12. 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.
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 16:30 but check the website as some days it is closed for royal functions.
13. 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
14. 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
15. 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
So if you are looking for inspiration in Edinburgh for Under 5’s, just visit our different pages for recommendations.
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