Categories > Guides and Tips
- Explore Edinburgh Zoo
- Create sweet family memories at The Chocolatarium
- Step back in time at Wild West Cowboy Street
- Embrace the seaside at Portobello Beach
- Journey through time at Dynamic Earth
- Have a blast at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
- Book a free walking tour at Potter Trail
- Roam around the historic Palace of Holyroodhouse
- Bounce at Gravity Active
- Discover the countryside charm of Craigie's Farm Deli and Cafe
You know you’re on a family trip when half the time is spent taking group selfies and the other half is trying to figure out where the youngest wandered off to. If you’re planning a family trip, our local guide lists the best family-friendly things to do in Edinburgh.
From exploring the city’s cultural hotspots to participating in fun, quirky activities, this city has it all. So, let’s dive right in and start your Edinburgh family adventure!
Explore Edinburgh Zoo
Address: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Corstorphine, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 10 AM–6 PM
Contact Details: +44 131 334 9171
Family trips to the zoo are an ultimate test of endurance as parents handle the kids’ whining, endless walking, and unpredictable wildlife all in a single day. Still, for animal enthusiasts of all generations, Edinburgh Zoo reigns as the ultimate destination.
With over 1,000 animals, you’ll have a blast being face-to-face with the most extraordinary animals on the planet. There’s no shortage of interactive experiences, and you can even experience the thrill of being a zookeeper for the day!
As an added bonus, you can bring your own picnic with yummy food and non-alcoholic drinks. We love grabbing a spot at the picnic tables and enjoying a homemade lunch surrounded by the zoo’s natural beauty.
As this family-friendly zoo is always in demand, it’s a good idea to secure your tickets early, especially during school holidays and weekends. Book at least two hours in advance to ensure a roaring good time!
In case you’re planning to eat there, do note that their restaurants, cafes, and kiosks only accept card payments.
Create sweet family memories at The Chocolatarium
Address: 3-5 Cranston St, Edinburgh EH8 8BE, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 10 AM–5 PM
Contact Details: +44 131 556 7005
Price: Truffle-Making Class
£38 per person
Recommended for chocolate lovers aged 10+
Adults – £22
Children aged 6 and over – £15
The Chocolatarium is a place where chocolate dreams come true for the whole family. There are so many interactive activities to choose from, including creating your very own chocolate bars or designing yummy truffles.
The highlight of the visit is the 90-minute Tour of Chocolate, where you and your fam can witness the magic of how chocolate is made. It’s a fantastic opportunity to revel in chocolate knowledge while indulging in mouthwatering treats in their Tasting Room.
If you’re planning to bring your car, keep an eye out for on-street parking on East Market Street. Alternatively, you can park at the Edinburgh Travel Lodge Car Park or the NCP Car Park on Holyrood Road.
Step back in time at Wild West Cowboy Street
Address: Morningside Rd, Morningside, Edinburgh EH10 4QG, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours
Wild West Cowboy Street is one of the city’s best-kept secrets where families can journey back in time to the days of saloons, cowboys, gunslingers, and showdowns.
This quirky street is rumoured to have been designed by a former Disneyland Paris employee, which would explain its authentic and detail-oriented facade. With a mock jail, saloon, and bank, both kids and adults will have a blast exploring this fun space.
Don’t forget to snap some Instagram-worthy photos to capture your moments of excitement and adventure.
For an authentic experience, visit on weekends when the businesses in the area are closed, creating a desolate and ghost town-like atmosphere.
Embrace the seaside at Portobello Beach
Address: 57 The Promenade, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2BS, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Open 24/7
Facilities: Public Toilets, Cafes, Restaurants, Volleyball Court, Swimming Pool, Play Park, Snack Vans, Shops on Portobello High Street
Parking: Joppa Road parking and Bridge Street car park
Portobello Beach is a family-friendly destination located just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre. This charming seaside suburb hosts exciting events such as the annual Big Beach Busk, international volleyball competitions, and thrilling triathlon events.
You’ll find a vibrant market in Brighton Park on the first Saturday of each month, offering fresh local produce and unique crafts to explore. For a day of fun family activities, you can enjoy sunbathing and swimming or indulge in kayaking and paddleboarding.
For sports enthusiasts, there are free-to-use volleyball areas along the promenade. And if the weather isn’t ideal for a sea swim, head over to the Portobello Swim Centre, where you can enjoy the indoor Victorian pool and even a Turkish bath.
For a more relaxed experience, avoid weekends between June and August when it’s bustling with crowds. Instead, plan your visit on weekdays or during off-peak times to fully enjoy the beach with your family.
Journey through time at Dynamic Earth
Address: Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AS, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 10 AM–5 PM
Contact Details: +44 131 550 7800
Admission Prices: Adult – £19.50
Child – Age 4-15 – £12.00
Concession Student, 65+ – £16.70
Under 4 years – FREE
Dynamic Earth is a top-notch Science Centre and Planetarium, offering a thrilling journey through 13.8 billion years of Earth’s history. With interactive exhibits like their awesome earthquake simulator, there’s no shortage of excitement.
I remember being astounded by their tropical rainforest with lifelike animatronic animals and simulated thunderstorms. Also, we loved the 4D simulator ride, where we soared above the Earth and had a thrilling crash landing in the snow.
Don’t miss the amazing planetarium shows; we even learned about super volcanoes with the voice of none other than Sherlock star, Benedict Cumberbatch!
For those coming straight from the airport, do take the time to drop off your luggage at your hotel rooms first. While Dynamic Earth does have a cloakroom facility, it is unmanned; they won’t be liable for any loss or damage to your property.
Have a blast at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Address: 549 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, United Kingdom
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM–10 PM
Contact Details: +44 131 226 3709
- Adult – £21.95
- Student with ID – £19.95
- 65+ – £19.95
- Child 5-15 years – £16.95
- Under 5s – Free
At the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Experience awaits, promising a delightful adventure for families. With over a hundred interactive elements, it’s perfect for both young and old to explore.
I remember having fun at the Magic Gallery, where we learned how to generate electricity with just our fingertips using plasma tubes and spheres. Then, the Shadow Wall amazed us by trapping our shadow in unexpected ways!
You should definitely try your hand at the light harp, where the strings illuminate as you play. Then, we recommend heading up to the second floor to Bewilderworld, where the most fun illusions await.
If you’re looking for cheaper tickets, purchase discounted tickets online. However, please note that online discounted prices are not applicable during school holidays.
Book a free walking tour at Potter Trail
Address: Tours start at the statue of Greyfriars Bobby
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 12 PM–1:30 PM
Contact Details: The Potter Trail (@pottertrail)
Admission Prices: Free but does not allow children under 7
We highly suggest going on the Potter Trail, a top-rated tour on Tripadvisor for 10 amazing years. Families can follow their robed guide and visit the cafe where JK Rowling penned the first Potter book, and learn a spell or two along the way.
We were quite thrilled when we discovered the grave of Lord Voldemort and took a stroll down the real-life Diagon Alley. We even found out which Hogwarts house we would be in – Gryffindor, yay!
These spellbinding tours, which are around 75 to 90 minutes long, are currently offered for free, but booking in advance is essential. Just bring something wand-shaped, like a pen or umbrella, to add to the magic.
If you’re a Harry Potter merchandise enthusiast, don’t miss the Diagon House, also known as Museum Context. Located on Victoria Street, this quirky store replicates the enchanting ambiance of Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
At the end of the tour, do make a cash or contactless card donation, with a suggested range of £15 to £20 per person. This will help support the Scottish Trans Alliance.
Roam around the historic Palace of Holyroodhouse
Address: Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, United Kingdom
Operating hours: Mon-Sun: 9:30 AM–6 PM
Contact details: +44 303 123 7306
- Adults – £19
- 60+ and students – £17.10
- Youths aged from 5 to 17 – £10.90
- Children aged under 5: Free
- Family pack – 2 adults and 3 under 17s – £42.50
Palace of Holyroodhouse is a family-friendly destination that’s open all year round.
You should definitely make a beeline to the Family Room where kids can learn about Scottish royal history via dress-up, storytelling, face-painting, and games.
I also suggest taking advantage of the free family multimedia tour, which offers an interactive experience for all ages. This is where you can discover unusual antique furniture, sparkling jewels, and gorgeous tapestries.
Don’t miss the Palace gardens – a beautiful 4-hectare space where the kids can run wild. Also, watch out for the Wentworth Elm, once believed extinct, and visit the Physic Garden, showcasing medicinal and culinary plants from the 17th-century.
Bounce at Gravity Active
Address: 6, Fountain Park, 130 Dundee St, Edinburgh EH11 1AF, United Kingdom
- Mon-Thurs: 10 AM–9 PM
- Friday: 10 AM–10 PM
- Saturday: 9 AM–10 PM
- Sunday: 9 AM–9 PM
Contact details: +44 330 159 5815
- Parent and Toddler – Prices from £6/person
- Gravity Rocks – Prices from £11.95/person
- SEN Sessions – Prices from £5/person
- Gravity Fitness – Prices from £5/person
- Open Jump – Prices from £11.95/person
- Climb & Jump Combo – Prices from £18.95/person
- Summer Bundle Offer – Prices from £28/5 sessions
Gravity Active at Fountain Park is an action-packed venue and is the perfect destination for an exciting day out with the kids. You and your kids can have a blast in the massive trampoline area, featuring both flat and angled trampolines.
But that’s not all – you can challenge each other on the air bags, battle beams, and volleyball courts, or try your hand at slam dunk and dodgeball. If you’re feeling peckish, Newton’s Café has you covered with a variety of snacks and drinks to refuel.
To make the most of your visit, it’s best to book online in advance. Also, do arrive around 30 minutes before your session starts to ensure a smooth experience.
Discover the countryside charm of Craigie’s Farm Deli and Cafe
Address: West Craigie Farm, Queensferry EH30 9AR, United Kingdom
Operating hours: Mon-Sun: 9 AM-5 PM
Contact details: +44 131 319 1048
Facilities: Farm, Cafe, Deli, Outdoor Play Area, Wheelchair Accessible Cafe and Shop, Accessible Toilets
One of our go-to family haunts is Craigie’s Farm Deli and Cafe, an all-day cafe deli that boasts a contemporary dining area. They serve up homemade family meals made from their own farm-grown goods.
The farm cafe is not just about delicious food, it also has a safe outdoor play area designed for kids to have a blast with slides, swings, and tractor rides.
Plus, you can go on a berry-picking adventure, picking your own fresh strawberries and raspberries straight from the farm. And, little ones (and adults!) will be thrilled to meet the friendly farm animals, from playful Pygmy goats to adorable Shetland ponies.
For food enthusiasts, Craigie’s Farm also offers tastings, demonstrations, workshops, and other tasty events. Do check their website for featured and discounted events!