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Things to do with Kids in Edinburgh - Family Days Out & Activities Scotland

Edinburgh may not be the first place you’d think of when looking to take away your kids for a few days, but it should be. 

There are more than enough activities to entertain the family in Scotland’s capital.

Normally a popular city breaks destination for people who want to see Edinburgh Castle, watch the Military Tattoo or check out the Fringe Festival.

We'll show you that Edinburgh is also filled with things to keep children happy whilst you’re on a short break.

So read on and find out what to do with your kids in Edinburgh.

What is There to do in Edinburgh With Children?

  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • Deep Sea World
  • Alien Rock
  • Camera Obscura & The World of Illusions
  • Time Twisters Indoor Adventure Centre
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Museum of Childhood
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Gorgie City Farm
  • Scottish Seabird Centre
  • Royal Botanic Garden
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Midlothian Snowsports Centre
  • Ocean Terminal Softplay

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is the largest and most exciting wildlife attraction in Scotland, committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, conservation and environmental education.

Set in 82 acres, the zoo is home to over 1000 different animals including dogs, lions, wolves, anteaters, bears, sea lions, monkeys, deer, birds and the only Koala bears in Britain amongst their huge collection of wonderful creatures.

You can meet each of the wonderful animals in the beautiful parkland setting on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Zoo Penguin Parade

They have some wonderful attractions for you to experience, plus you can also enjoy a wide range of visitor facilities and things to do including masses of events and daily activities throughout the year for kids of all ages.

This includes the penguins, which take part in a parade every day at 2.15pm where they stroll round the park accompanied by a zoo keeper who will talk the crowds through the penguin’s daily life.

Open every day of the year (apart from Christmas Day) from 10.00am and last entry is one hour before closing time (which varies at different points throughout the year).

Address: 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS Tel: 0131 334 9171

Deep Sea World

Deep Sea World is a spectacular Underwater Safari that allows you to explore the thousands of species of marine life found at Sea.

It has many different areas such as the Amazon area, where you’ll see Piranhas amongst the other creatures found in the Amazon River and the Krakatoa area with many different coloured fish including the Yellow Saffin Tang, the Blue Damsel and the Green Chromis.

There are also other zones such as Lake Malawi, the Rocky Shores and the UK’s longest underwater viewing tunnel that allows you to come within inches of the majestic Sand Tiger sharks.

If you’re feeling daring, you can go diving with the sharks (although you have to be a qualified diver), and even kids can get in the shark tanks, with the added protection of a metal cage so they are never in danger.

There is also the amazing seal sanctuary and amphibians area which guests can visit.

Deap Sea World

Open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Deep Sea World is the perfect family day out with easy parking, a relaxing Café and a well-stocked gift shop.

Address: Battery Quarry, North Queensferry, Fife, KY11 1JR Tel: 01383 411 8800

Alien Rock

Alien Rock was Scotland's first dedicated indoor climbing centre and has been providing a fun, exciting and friendly venue for indoor climbers since 1994.

It is an indoor climbing centre with over 200 different routes for all difficulties, including an overhanging roof so you’ll be upside down as you scale the course.

Indoor climbing is suitable for almost all ages and abilities from the complete novice to the experienced climber, whether you visit individually or as part of a group of friends.

For total beginners, there’s also a separate area so each can get used to climbing properly first before hitting the bigger walls.

Alien rock climbing

Address: 8 Pier Place, Newhaven, Edinburgh, EH6 4LP Tel: 0131 552 7211

Camera Obscura & The World of Illusions

Camera Obscura & World Of Illusions is a fascinating and highly amusing way to see Edinburgh and learn about its history. This unique experience has delighted and intrigued adults and kids for over 150 years and is a great way to view the city of Edinburgh.

From inside this mysterious Victorian rooftop chamber, using a huge mirror and lens, you can see Edinburgh from top of a tower with live moving images of the city projected onto a viewing table through a giant periscope.

The friendly guide will entertain you while telling stories of Edinburgh, past and present, in an engaging and informative way.

Most visitors are truly amazed at how, in this age of high technology, a simple array of mirror, lenses and daylight can produce this incredible panorama. Experiencing the Camera Obscura is like stepping back in time!

There’s also the World of Illusions, a separate area with a magic gallery; x ray your hands, swim in a virtual fish tank, look through giant kaleidoscopes or check out the light fantastic area with holograms, 3d pictures and a science and nature exhibition.

Address: Castlehill, The Royal Mile, EH1 2ND Tel: 0131 226 3709

Time Twisters Indoor Adventure Centre

Time Twisters Play Centre is far more than your average soft play centre.

It offers a completely unique experience for both kids and parents.

It has state-of-the-art play facilities, unique Ancient Egyptian-themed environment, lots of comfortable seating, superb quality tea and coffee and a healthy café that serves a range of tasty, freshly prepared meals and snacks.

Time Twisters Adventure Centre

Offering a fun day out in a safe environment, the kids can go down slides, jump over (toy) crocodile-infested swamps, swing across snake pits, cross rope bridges, crawl through underground tunnels or simply climb over any obstacle that gets in their way.

There are plenty of things to do so you and your kids will be sure to enjoy the stay.

Address: Unit 5 Catalyst Trade Park, 2B Bankhead Drive Edinburgh EH11 4EJ Tel: 0131 639 0129

Dynamic Earth

Our Dynamic Earth takes you on a journey through our planet’s past, present and future, with interactive exhibits and impressive technology.

Beginning with the Big Bang, children and adults alike can witness the creation of the Earth, follow the planet through its evolution and even catch glimpses of its future.

From dry tundra to the bottom of the ocean, a journey through Our Dynamic Earth is exciting, fun and engaging.

Whether coming face to face with an extinct dinosaur, feeling the sticky heat of a tropical rainforest or flying over glaciers in prehistoric Scotland, Our Dynamic Earth presents all aspects of the planet we live in.

Population growth, concepts of time, and the realities of climate change are just the tips of the iceberg & and they even have a real one of those too, sitting beneath the magical Aurora Borealis!

Address: 112 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS Tel: 0131 550 7800

Museum of Childhood

Described as the noisiest museum in the world, the Museum of Childhood is a favourite with adults and kids alike.

It is a treasure house crammed full of objects telling of childhood past and present.

The museum opened in 1955 and was the first museum in the world to specialise in the history of childhood.

There are toys and games of all kinds from many parts of the world ranging from dolls and teddy bears to train sets and tricycles. Listen to the children chanting multiplication tables in the 1930s schoolroom.

Watch the street games of Edinburgh children of the 1950s, and find out how children have been brought up, dressed and educated in decades gone by.

Open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm

Address: 42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG Tel: 0131 529 4142

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle, the most famous of Scotland’s castles, includes a new Prisons of War exhibition, St. Margaret’s Chapel, the Great Hall, Mons Meg, the One O’clock Gun, the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels) and the Stone of Destiny, as well as a wealth of treasures!

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG Tel: 0131 225 9846

Gorgie City Farm

Established in the late 1970’s and opened officially in 1982, Gorgie City Farm is known by several generations of visitors.

The farm, with its animals and gardens, has always been considered as a place to visit, relax and see what is new, and of course with no admission charge, people can call in for short visits, to have lunch, or just to take some fresh air even on the most dismal winter’s day.

They are proud that the farm is welcoming and all-inclusive, open to all, and has something for everyone, whatever their background or abilities.

It is also surprising to many people to find the wide range of services and activities that can be found in such a small place.

Address: 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2LA Tel: 0131 337 4202

Scottish Seabird Centre

In a stunning location overlooking the sea and sandy beaches in North Berwick, you’ll enjoy a great day out at the Scottish Seabird Centre.

With its exciting Discovery Centre and amazing live cameras, Gift Shop and Cafe and open decking over the sea it is only half an hour from Edinburgh and it is open all year. There are also known to be regular dolphin sightings all year and even otters have been spotted close to the Centre itself.

Address: The Harbour, North Berwick, EH39 4SS Tel: 01620 890 202

Royal Botanic Garden

Refresh your senses and explore the riches of the green kingdom at one of the world’s finest botanic gardens, The Royal Botanic Gardens.

A beautiful park in the centre of Edinburgh visitors can journey through warmer climes in one of the 10 Glasshouses or discover any one of the other features including the Woodland Garden or exhibitions including the Rhododendron Collection.

Once you’ve discovered all the garden offers you can also pay the café a visit for some refreshments.

At Botanic Gardens there is definitely something for everyone!

Address: 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR Tel: 0131 552 7171

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is a landmark building in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

As well as telling you the story of Scotland, including the land, people and culture, the collections give an overview of life and the universe.

With plenty to do and see for adult and child alike the museum is a great place to spend a rainy day with the children entry is free.

Some exhibits are millions of years old, others less than a decade.

Address: Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF Tel: 0131 225 7534

Price: Free Entry

Midlothian Snowsports Centre

Set into the hillside of the stunning Pentland Hills Regional Park, Midlothian Snowsports Centre offers all the fun and adrenaline you’d expect from Britain’s biggest artificial slope!

The 2 main slopes, 2 nursery slopes, jump slope and range of freestyle features mean they’ve got something to satisfy every level of ability and because the slopes are artificial you can enjoy the snow sports all year round.

Address: Hillend, Biggar Road, Edinburgh, EH10 7DU Tel: 0131 445 4433

Ocean Terminal Softplay

This is the standard softplay area but situated with the Ocean terminal shopping mall so you can combine a little retail therapy whilst the kids are happy.

Address: 2nd Floor, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ Tel: 0131 475 9400


As you can see, there’s lots to do in Edinburgh for all the family, so if you’re planning a weekend away here, don’t worry about your kids being happy as there is plenty to get involved in!

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