With the Scottish school summer holidays upon us, trying to find things to do for the whole family can be difficult, especially in Edinburgh where there seem to be different things on all the time. To help, we’ve pulled together a guide to the top ten things to do in Edinburgh with kids. It’s also worth checking out sites like This is Edinburgh which give full details of particular events coming up in the city.
Doodles is Edinburgh’s first ‘do it yourself’ informal ceramic workshop, located in Marchmont, just around the corner from Gladstone Apartment and Roseneath Apartment. It’s ideal for all the family as everyone can get involved, creating things like mugs, plates, bowls, eggcups and lots of things in between. The real creativity starts when the paint brushes come out. Definitely not just for children!
Dynamic Earth is situated right beside Arthur’s Seat and next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Children will love the interactive exhibits, technology, and the 4D experiences telling the story of the history of planet earth. It also holds an impressive 360-degree full dome film theatre, as well as exhibits on things like space and the rainforests of the world.
Museum of Childhood
The Musuem of Childhood is situated on the Royal Mile and was the first exhibition of its kind to focus on the history of childhood. Kids will be fascinated by the childhood toys of the past and it will be a great trip down memory lane for adults too. The museum is also interactive and kids can dress up in costumes from the past!
Gorgie City Farm
Situated to the west of the city centre, Gorgie City Farm is a haven if you like animals. Children (and adults) can visit, pet and sometimes cuddle the friendly animals. It’s also a community-led charity offering practical hands on experience in looking after farm animals, and there is also the chance to meet Mrs Murdoch, the farms oldest tortoise (born in 1956!).
The National Museum of Scotland
Probably one of Edinburgh’s most visited tourist attraction. Renovated in recent years, The National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street has much to keep young visitors amused, with lots of interactive displays designed to bring the exhibitions to life. It’s more than just a history of Scotland, there are also exhibitions about space, wildlife and much more to keep the whole family entertained.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre
Also located on the Royal Mile, The Scottish Storytelling Centre allows children to discovery the history of Scotland through the art of storytelling. For those who like a hands-on approach to learning there is an interactive story wall which helps bring things to life. Here they can also learn about the story of Edinburgh legend Greyfriars Bobby. The venue plays host to numerous events throughout the year.
Located at the top of the Royal Mile, near to Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura is an exhibition housed over 6 floors. One of the exhibitions allows you to become a giant and spy on passers-by in the street below by way of a periscope projected on to a viewing table. There are also great views from the rooftop which offer panoramic view of the city and beyond on clear sunny days.
Undoubtedly the most iconic attraction in Edinburgh, the Castle is definitely one of the whole family. There’s lots to explore, from the Great Hall, Royal Apartments, and Crown Room to the stone vaults that were used to house prisoners over the centuries. The Castle plays host to a number of events throughout the year so worth keeping an eye on their website.
The Real Mary King’s Close
Suitable for families with slightly older children (aged 9+), The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground streets and caverns which had been hidden below the streets of Edinburgh for hundreds of years. The guided tours will lead you under the streets where you’ll find out more about the history of Edinburgh (great for locals and visitors alike).
The Edinburgh Treasure Trail
Another good one for the whole family to enjoy. The trail is self-guided and the whole family must work together to solve clues and find the secret long lost treasure. The route is over 1.75 miles and has a clear route (so difficult to get lost), but families can take the route at their own pace and soak up their surroundings. Clues will appear on plaques and monuments, so keep your wits about you.
If you’re in Edinburgh longer than a few days and want to escape the hustle and bustle there are a number of attractions a short drive, bus or train journey from Edinburgh. Please take a look at our Useful Links to find out more about things to do outside of Edinburgh.