Edinburgh for Kids - Attractions & Activities for Families

Our guide to the Top 16 Things to do in Edinburgh for kids...

1.Camera Obscura, Castlehill, The Royal Mile, 0131 226 3709
The Camera Obscura show is a fascinating and highly amusing way to see the city and learn about its history. This unique experience has delighted and intrigued adults and kids for over 150 years. From inside this mysterious Victorian rooftop chamber, you see live moving images of Edinburgh 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!

2.Our Dynamic Earth 112 Holyrood Road, 0131 550 7800
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 rain-forest 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 tip of the iceberg – and they even have a real one of those too, sitting beneath the magical Aurora Borealis!

3.Clown Around Unit 2+3,109 Restalrig Road, Edinburgh, EH6 7NY Tel:0131 553 7676
Located in the heart of East Edinburgh, just off the Leith Links. Clownaround is a small family run business opened in 2003 catering for kids from 0-10 years who like to think of themselves as the hidden gem of childrens activity centres with that extra personal touch. Open 7 days from 10am – 5.45pm (last entry being 4.45pm)

4.Time Twisters Play Centre – Unit 5 Catalyst Trade Park, 2B Bankhead Drive Edinburgh EH11 4EJ Telephone: 0131 308 2464
TimeTwisters is far more than your average “soft play” centre. It offers a completely unique experience for both kids and parents; with its 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; there are plenty of things to do so you and your kids will be sure to enjoy the stay.

5.Alien Rock 8 Pier Place, Newhaven, Edinburgh, EH6 4LP, Tel: 0131 552 7211
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. Indoor climbing is suitable for almost all ages and abilities from the complete novice to experienced climber, whether you visit individually or as part of a group of friends.

6.Deep Sea World Battery Quarry, North Queensferry, Fife, KY11 1JR Tel:01383 411 8800
Deep Sea World is a spectacular Underwater Safari. You can experience the UK’s longest underwater viewing tunnel, mysterious coral reefs, majestic sharks and the amazing seal sanctuary. 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.

Deap Sea World

7.Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood 42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG Tel: 0131 529 4142
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. Free Admission. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm, Sundays in August, 12pm to 5pm

7.Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World Dobbies Garden centre, Melville Nursery, Lasswade, EH18 1AZ, T: 0131 663 4932
Enter the tropical rainforest paradise and discover the Tropical Rainstorm Experience – what a tropical rainstorm is like 1st hand, Fish Feeding, Animal Handling – Join the experts and get the chance to handle tarantulas, snakes and millipedes, PLUS many other fascinating daily occurrences such as: Leaf Cutter Ant Parade, Glowing Scorpion Display, Working Honey Bee Hives (Seasonal), Beady Eyed Iguana, Tropical Gardens. As well as seeing all of these incredible creatures and having an unforgettable time, you’ll also be helping to support the conservation of threatened species and habitats throughout the world.

8.Edinburgh Castle Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG 0131 225 9846
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 – a wealth of treasures!

9.Gorgie City Farm 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2LA 0131 337 4202
Established in the late 1970’s and opened officially in 1982, Gorgie City Farm is known by several generations of visitors. The farm, with it’s 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.

10.Edinburgh Zoo – 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS tel: 0131 3349171
Edinburgh Zoo is the largest and most exciting wildlife attraction in Scotland, committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, conservation and environmental education. In just one day, you can meet over 1,000 wonderful animals in our beautiful parkland setting on the outskirts of Edinburgh. 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. Open every day of the year – even Christmas Day! – from 9.00am Close at : April-September 6.00pm, October and March 5.00pm, November-February 4.30pm.

11.Scottish Seabird Centre The Harbour, North Berwick, EH39 4SS 01620 890 202
In a stunning location overlooking the sea and sandy beaches, you’ll enjoy a great day out at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick with its exciting Discovery Centre and amazing live cameras, Gift Shop and Cafe with open decking over the sea. Only half an hour from Edinburgh, the Centre is open all year. The Nature Photography Exhibition featuring 100 stunning photographs is now open daily until February 2010. There have also been regular dolphin sightings all year – and otters have been spotted close to the Seabird Centre.

12.The Royal Botanic Gardens – 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR 0131 552 7171(
Refresh your senses and explore the riches of the green kingdom at one of the world’s finest botanic gardens. Journey through warmer climes in the Glasshouses or discover contemporary art at Inverleith House… there’s something for everyone!

13.Murrayfield Ice Rink Riversdale Crescent, Edinburgh 0131 337 6933
Great leisure activity for all ages. Keep fit and learn at your own pace at a variety of sessions to meet all levels of ability. Learn to Skate sessions with free tuition from our resident qualified coaches.

14.National Museum of Scotland – Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF Tel: 0131 225 7534
The National Museum of Scotland is a landmark building in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. The collections tell you the story of Scotland, its land, people and culture. The exciting Royal Museum Project is now underway with around half of the museum complex currently closed, including the Victorian main hall. Visit the website to find out more about the plans to transform the site into a world-class venue, re-opening in 2011. There is still plenty of things to see and do! They cover life, the universe and everything in it. Some exhibits are millions of years old, others less than a decade.

15.Midlothian Snowsports Centre Hillend, Biggar Road, 0131 445 4433
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 we’ve got something to satisfy every level of ability and because the slopes are artificial you can enjoy snow sports all year round.

16.City of the Dead Ghost Tour 40 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh 0131 255 9044
The City of the Dead Ghost Tour is the “best ghost tour in Edinburgh by far! In fear of ruining this fantastic tour for those who intend to go on it, we will not go into details, but we will say the storytelling is captivating. A good mixture of historic, funny and ghostly tales set by the dramatic skyline of night time Edinburgh! And a truly terrifying ending which we're sure the kids will love!

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