Activities & Adventure 8 MINS READ

16 Fun Things to do in Edinburgh With Kids

16 Fun Things to do in Edinburgh With Kids

Activities & Adventure 8 MINS READ
A young girl marveling at Edinburgh's skyline from a rooftop terrace.

Edinburgh is a big hit for adults and kids alike. Throughout the Scottish capital, visitors will stumble upon a myriad of exciting attractions — historical monuments, lush parks, interactive museums, you name it — where the little ones can have a grand old time.

Some of the top kid-friendly activities in Edinburgh include seeing dinosaur bones in the National Museum of Scotland, going on a journey through time and space on Dynamic Earth, and meeting UK’s only giant pandas.

We handpicked the most fun things to do in Edinburgh with the kids. These top-notch attractions will undoubtedly wow everyone on your crew!

Find Places To Stay In Edinburgh, Scotland

The 16 Top Things to do in Edinburgh With Kids

See The Scottish Crown Jewels in Edinburgh Castle

The Edinburgh Castle, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Edinburgh Castle is home to countless treasures that’ll leave the little ones in awe. Perched atop Castle Rock, which has been occupied since at least the Iron Age, the castle was the home to Scotland’s most prestigious kings and queens, including Mary Queen of Scots.

One of the relics that the kids will love seeing here is the Honours of Scotland (Crown Room), the oldest Crown jewel in Britain, made of gold, silver, and precious stones.

Other highlights of Edinburgh Castle include the majestic Great Hall, built for King James IV, a massive medieval cannon called Mons Meg, and a mystical stone of destiny.

Read this guide to Edinburgh Castle before you visit this century-old landmark.

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Recommended Read: 40 Top & Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Walk Around The Edinburgh Old Town

View of the Edinburgh Old Town, in Scotland.

After uncovering the secrets of Edinburgh Castle, go for an idle stroll in the Edinburgh Old Town. Kids will love exploring the mysterious cobblestone streets of this century-old area, which is the oldest part of the city and was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Must-visit sites in the Edinburgh Old Town include the Royal Mile, a lively thoroughfare filled with restaurants, cafes, and attractions like the Edinburgh Museum.

You can also take the kids to see the majestic Scottish Parliament building, often regarded as the home of Scottish democracy, and the towering Scott Monument, built for famous Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. This monument is beautifully decorated with 64 figures representing various characters from the author’s novels and offers show-stopping views of Edinburgh.

Recommended Read: Bucket-List Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland

Meet Giant Pandas At The Edinburgh Zoo

A giant panda at the Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland.

The Edinburgh Zoo is home to 2,500 fascinating creatures from around the world. Here, expect wild encounters with lions, flamingos, porcupines, exotic snakes, rhinoceros, and Tian Tian and Yang Guang — UK’s only giant pandas.

Address: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Explore The Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a serene escape in the middle of Edinburgh. Dating back over 300 years, this artful garden is home to over 13,000 different species of plants and over 3 million herbs from around the world.

This family-friendly garden also offers spectacular views of the capital’s skyline, featuring big-name attractions such as the beautiful Edinburgh Castle.

Address: Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

Watch The Sunset From Arthur’s Seat

Sunset From Arthur's Seat, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Right next to Holyrood Palace, you’ll find Holyrood Park, also known as Queen’s Park or King’s Park. This magnificent royal park is famous for its dramatic landscape, a medley of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs, and patches of gorse.

One of the park’s most visited places is Arthur’s Seat. Sitting 823 ft above sea level, this ancient volcano is a great spot for watching the sun setting above the Edinburgh skyline.

Address: Queen’s Dr, Edinburgh EH8 8HG

Watch A Musical At The Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre

A musical play.

With a seating capacity of 3,059 people over three levels, the Edinburgh Playhouse is the UK’s largest all-seated theatre. Originally used as a cinema, the theatre is set in a landmark Grade I Listed Building artfully modeled on the Roxy Cinema in New York.

Here, families can watch a whole host of larger-than-life musical plays, including famous productions like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Wicked” and “The Wizard of Oz.” A bucket list experience for toddlers and older children!

Address: 18-22 Greenside Pl, Edinburgh

Have a Fun Day At The Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

A boy and a girl in a maze of mirrors.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions has five floors and endless wonders to discover. This camera obscura is home to several rooms, like the Mirror Maze and Magic Gallery, where visitors can marvel at over 100 illusions and live-moving pictures of Edinburgh. 

The Camera Obscura is also home to a rooftop terrace that offers visitors heart-warming views of Edinburgh.

Address: The Royal Mile, 549 Castlehill, Edinburgh

Discover The Queen’s Gallery at the Holyrood Palace

Queen's Gallery at the Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Located just across from the Scottish Parliament, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official Royal Residence in Edinburgh.

Kids will have a great time visiting the Queen’s Gallery, which displays temporary exhibitions throughout the year that are drawn from the Royal Collection.

Here, you can also see well-manicured gardens, the remains of 12th-century Holyrood Abbey, a series of lavish state apartments decorated with furniture, paintings, and historical objects, and the alluring Throne Room, boasting a pair of thrones commissioned by King George V in 1911.

Address: Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX

Go See JK Rowling’s Handprints

JK Rowling’s Handprints, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Harry Potter fans visiting Edinburgh can’t pass up the chance to see JK Rowling’s Handprints. The golden handprints of the famous British author (who lived in Edinburgh) are located in the City Chambers, just beyond the vaulted arcade.

Address: City Chambers, 253 High St, Edinburgh

Marvel At The National Monument of Scotland

The National Monument of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The National Monument of Scotland will immediately transport the kids to ancient Greece. Designed between 1823–1826 and left unfinished in 1829, this national memorial was built to honor the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.

Located on top of Calton Hil, one of Edinburgh’s most famous sunset spots, the National Monument of Scotland was modeled upon the Parthenon in Athens. Kids will absolutely love climbing up the monument’s massive columns!

Address: Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5BN

Tour The Eerie Edinburgh Dungeons

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Dungeons

Want to learn gruesome Edinburgh history facts? Then don’t pass the chance to tour the Edinburgh Dungeon. During this 70-minute, interactive walk-through experience, you’ll discover some of the most significant events of Scottish history through scary (but fun) live actor shows, theatrical sets, spectacular special effects, and thrilling rides.

Address: 31 Market St, Edinburgh

Have a Picnic in The Princes Street Gardens

 Princes Street Gardens, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

When the nice weather descends, do as the locals and head to the Princes Street Gardens. Located in the Old Town from the New Town, gardens encompass over 37 acres of lush grounds, perfect for an outdoor picnic.

Bring your towel and snacks, and find a glorious spot for a relaxing afternoon amidst nature!

Go to the Princes Street Gardens, perfect for jogging, biking, or escaping the urban sprawl. Then, take off to Edinburgh’s main shopping street: Princes Street, lined with tempting boutiques and the ultimate destination for laid-back self-indulgence.

Address: Princes St, Edinburgh

Explore The Real Mary King’s Close

Photo Credit: Real Mary King’s Close

Thrill seekers will have an exciting time visiting the Real Mary King’s Close. Located under buildings on the Royal Mile, this historic underground street has had a reputation for being haunted since the 17th century, with several paranormal investigations taking place.

Real Mary King’s Close is now an award-winning attraction and can be accessed only through guided tours.

In the company of an expert character guide based on a former resident of Mary King’s Close, you’ll hear about the real people who lived and worked on these age-old closes and get a unique glimpse of the day-to-day life in 16th and 17th-century Edinburgh.

Address: 2 Warriston’s Cl, Edinburgh

See Dinosaur Bones At The National Museum of Scotland

A dinosaur skeleton at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The National Museum of Scotland is the perfect place to take the children on a rainy day. Regarded as one of the best Edinburgh museums, this stellar institution is home to dazzling international collections of science and technology, natural history, world cultures, and Scottish art.

Treasures like dinosaur bones, Viking artifacts, mini Lego installations, and the real Dolly the sheep (the first cloned mammal ever created from an adult cell) will keep older kids entertained for hours.

Address: Chambers St, Edinburgh

Check The Interactive Exhibits At Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Dynamic Earth is the ultimate place for a fun-filled day with kids. This state-of-the-art family attraction takes visitors to learn about the history of planet Earth through an array of interactive exhibits.

Hop on their Deep Time Machine to witness primal forces of nature, like the Big Bang, and must-see present-day marvels, such as the Aurora Borealis.

Address: Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh

See The Iconic Greyfriars Bobby Statue on George IV Bridge

Greyfriars Bobby Statue on George IV Bridge, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Want the kids to meet Scotland’s most famous dog? Then, take them to the George IV Bridge. Here, they’ll find a bronze life-size statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding his owner’s grave, John Gray.

The dog is well-loved throughout the country, and his story has been immortalized through several books and films.

Address: Right by Greyfriars Kirkyard at 26A Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh

Hear Scary Tales At The Haunted Edinburgh Vaults

A creepy man in an underground vault.

Described by the BBC as “possibly one of the most haunted places in Britain,” the Edinburgh Vaults are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Daring families who are not easily scared will enjoy exploring these dimly lit vaults on a guided tour.

During the walk-through experience (not suitable for younger kids), you’ll hear murders, witches, and the people who inhabited these supposedly haunted vaults.

Address: 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR


Is Edinburgh suitable for kids?

Yes, Edinburgh is an excellent place for kids. The city has parks, interactive museums, and historical sights for all ages.

Is Edinburgh good for a family holiday?

Yes, Edinburgh is a wonderful family-friendly destination. Visitors will find various attractions and experiences that cater to everyone, from younger kids to adults.

What are the Best Things to Do with Kids in Edinburgh?

The top things to do in Edinburgh with kids:

  • See The Scottish Crown Jewels in Edinburgh Castle;
  • Walk Around The Edinburgh Old Town;
  • Meet Giant Pandas At The Edinburgh Zoo;
  • Explore The Royal Botanic Gardens;
  • Watch The Sunset From Arthur’s Seat;
  • Have a Fun Day At The Camera Obscura & World of Illusions;
  • Discover The Queen’s Gallery at the Holyrood Palace;
  • Go See JK Rowling’s Handprints;
  • Marvel At The National Monument of Scotland;
  • Tour The Eerie Edinburgh Dungeons;
  • Have a Picnic in The Princes Street Gardens;
  • Explore The Real Mary King’s Close;
  • See Dinosaur Bones At The National Museum of Scotland;
  • Check The Interactive Exhibits At Dynamic Earth;
  • See The Iconic Greyfriars Bobby Statue on George IV Bridge;
  • Hear Scary Tales At The Haunted Edinburgh Vaults.

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