Family trips are full of fun and Edinburgh will make it easy for you all to have a blast while you are there. There are castles and palaces to explore and parks full of lochs, moors, valleys, and mountains. They even have a volcano you can climb on.
The zoo is always fun no matter what city you are in, and since JK Rowling wrote some parts of Harry Potter there, you can take a Harry Potter tour as well. There is a bug world, a safari park, and a unique place called Camera Obscura with the World of Illusions.
Take the kids shopping at the Ocean Terminal where you can also visit the gym, museum, catch a movie, and see the Royal Yacht Britannia right there at the mall. And there are plenty of eateries in the food court. Be sure to leave your bags at a luggage storage locker in Edinburgh first.
Museums and Monuments
- Edinburgh Castle
It would be a shame to visit Edinburgh and not see Edinburgh Castle. The fortress was built in the 12th century and boasts a variety of rooms and exhibits like the Queen’s Embroideries, the Great Hall, The Stone of Destiny, and Mons Meg, which is a six-ton siege gun from the 1400s.
- Dynamic Earth
The top attraction in Edinburgh, Dynamic Earth commands your attention with a time machine, journey through space, and a 4D adventure. Experience a volcano as it explodes, plunge underwater in the yellow submarine, and you can even touch a real iceberg. See a movie at the 360-degree cinema before you go.
- Museum of Childhood
See what kids used to play with way before iPads and video games. This special house of fun has toys dating back to the 1800s with five galleries. You can even see a Radio Rex, which is a 1920s voice-activated toy. Be sure to get some souvenirs from the gift shop.
- Fort Douglas Adventure Park
Your kids can be a princess, pirate, knight, knave, or gladiator at Fort Douglas Adventure Park. They boast a huge Sky Maze with treehouses, zip lines, suspension bridges, secret tunnels, and slides. You can even climb the walls. There is a special play area for the kids under five and adults are welcome too.
- Holyrood Park
Climb to the highest point in Edinburgh on Arthur’s Seat, which is a dormant volcano. You can get some amazing pictures up there. The park also has forts from the Iron Age, medieval ruins, glens, and cliffs. Don’t miss Holyrood Abbey, St. Margaret’s Loch, and Muschat’s Cairn.
- Princes Street Gardens
This is actually two parks in one at the center of the city at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. The gardens are full of both flora and fauna with over 30 acres of beauty from the Mound to Waverly Bridge. And the loch is a mysterious medieval place to get some awesome selfies.
Other Outdoor Fun
- Blair Drummond Safari Park
Drive through this fun park to see all the big animals like elephants, rhinos, lions, and tigers. Stop along the way at the wooden fort to climb on, see a Birds of Prey show, slide down the Astroglide, and ride some rides at the Funfair. And don’t miss the sea lion show.
- Edinburgh Zoo
With 82 acres, 171 species, and over 1,000 animals to see, you need a few hours to spend here at least. Some of the popular exhibits include the Military Animals, Koala Territory and Wallaby Outback, Wee Beasties, and the Giant Pandas. Be sure to see one of the Animal Antics shows too.
- Butterfly & Insect World
All kids like bugs, right? In the first section is the Butterfly area with thousands of butterflies. The Bugs and Beasties area has tarantulas, millipedes, and frogs to name a few. The Reptile Room is home to pythons, chameleons, and lizards. And the Nocturnal Zone has infra-red light to see the creatures of the night.
Other Indoor Fun
- Escape Hunt Edinburgh
If you have never tried an escape room, it is time to try one. Step into the wild west frontier town and try to escape on a train. Or you can become a samurai warrior and defeat the evil warlord. Hang out with Thor and Loki in the Last Vikings or steal the treasure chest and escape the ship in Blackbeard’s Treasure.
- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
If you enjoy illusions, visit the World of Illusions with more than 100 interactive exhibits on five floors. Do some brain teasers, see mind-bending illusions, and get some amazing pictures of the city on the rooftop terrace. Bewilderworld is especially fun with a mirror maze, spinning tunnel, and light tricks.
- The Edinburgh Dungeon
Not for the faint of heart, but many kids will love Edinburgh Dungeon. Meet the worst witch from Edinburgh, Agnes Finnie, see the torture chamber, creep quietly through Cannibal’s Cave, and watch a dissection in the Anatomy Theater. They even have two exciting rides to enjoy.
Eat and Shop
- The Royal Mile
Take the kids to the Royal Mile and let them run off some of that energy. Dozens of shops and eateries are tucked into the attractions where you can get some unique souvenirs. But don’t miss the Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays when in Scotland or Parliament Square on High Street.
- Ocean Terminal
Shop until you drop at Ocean Terminal. Let the kids make their own stuffed animal at Build a Bear Workshop, check out some cool toys at Toytown, and get some souvenirs at Britannia Gift Shop. The kids will also love the Zoopa Cannon, Surf Rider, and Ball Pool at Oceanplay Softplay.
- Waverly Mall
The Waverly Mall has a plethora of great places to browse like Anime Republic for trading cards and other anime fun. Or if you are shopping for some new games, the place to go is Game. Then you can stop for some Rainbow Bubble Tea or grab a bite at McDonald’s. Stop at Greggs and have pastries for dessert.
Whether you and the family are in town for just a couple of days or you have a week or more, you will find a lot of culture, fun, shopping, and food. Try some of the local foods like bangers and mash or beef haggis. And do not forget to take a lot of pictures to share on social media.