Edinburgh has no shortage of things to entertain a family, regardless of age, budget, the weather or time of year there is plenty to do.
In fine weather there are plenty of fun walks around the city, scrambling up Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill is a great way for children to burn off some energy and explore.
For indoor activities the water-slides and flumes at Leith Waterworld (Tel: 0131 555 6000) are a real treat. The Royal Commonwealth Pool, Dalkeith Road, Tel: 0131 667 7211 has an Olympic size pool as well as a soft play area for little ones.
For anyone visiting the capital with smaller children an invaluable guidebook is Edinburgh for Under 5`s available from city bookshops and tourist information centres. Includes categories on places to stay, eating out and hints on transport and places to visit.
The Camera Obscura and World of Illuminations on Castle Hill is very popular with children who will find it amazing and captivating. www.camera-obscura.co.uk
For budding zoologists Edinburgh Zoo is the perfect day out. Children will find all their favourite animals as well as the world famous penguin parade and a hilltop safari. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk
During the Edinburgh Festival the city streets are full of performers, and on Fringe Sunday in Holyrood Park there are children’s shows, workshops and entertainers. The Edinburgh International Science Festival each April features over 200 events including shows, tours and workshops. www.sciencefestival.co.uk
In early June the Children’s International Theatre Festival is Britain’s biggest performing arts festival for children with enthralling shows, workshops and performances at venues throughout the city. www.imaginate.org.uk
All of the cities museums and galleries are free and are very welcoming to children; many have special exhibitions and workshops for visiting youngsters.
At Christmas time Edinburgh is a magical place for children with kids shows a ferris wheel and ice-rink, stunning Christmas lights and a giant Christmas tree at the top of The Mound. www.edinburghscapitalchristmas.org
Our Dynamic Earth
A great day out for the kids and adults alike. With erupting volcanoes, earthquakes and tropical rainstorms this really is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about the natural extremes of our planet. Built to celebrate the millennium, Dynamic Earth, within its truly futuristic building explores our natural landscape from the spectacular Big Bang to the modern day and beyond. Geology is brought vividly to life. For younger explorers Ocean Commotion is a sensory and interactive play area for budding seafarers! Brilliant audio guides are available to highlight interesting facts and explain the different zones. The shop has a fabulous range of gifts that are both exciting and educational. The foyer café is fully licensed and the perfect spot to recover from your explorations.
Our Dynamic Earth is at Holyrood beside the new Scottish parliament.
On site parking is limited and charges apply. Any open top tour bus or any `Holyrood` bus service will bring you to Dynamic Earth.Opening hours are 10-5pm daily April- October and 10-5pm Wednesday to Sunday November – March.Tel: 0131 550 7800
On a sunny day this long sandy beach is ideal for sandcastles and ice creams. Portobello was once where the whole of Edinburgh would go for a seaside excursion to escape the city-centre bustle. Children can paddle, collect shells or visit the amusement arcades along the promenade.
Portobello is just half an hour from the city centre and several buses go to Portobello from Princess Street.
Public transport information is available by calling free-phone Traveline tel: 0800 232323.
Gorgie City Farm
Great for younger kids and animal lovers. This miniature farm is an excellent place to meet farm animals close-up with goats, pigs, ponies and hens. There is also an organic vegetable garden, play area and café. Entrance is free and the farm is open 9.30-4.30pm.Catch Gorgie Road buses from Haymarket and Princess Street.
Tel: 0131 337 4202.
Not for the very small or easily scared Edinburgh Dungeons explore the cities grim past on a tour including body snatchers, torture, and terrifying screams.
Truly gruesome gifts are available from the aptly named Shop of Horrors.
Less than 2 minutes from Princess Street the dungeons are open seven days a week excluding Christmas day.
Tel:0131 240 1000 www.thedungeons.com
Scotland’s national aquarium is only half an hour from the city centre in North Queensferry and perfect family fun for a rainy day. A moving walkway circles beneath the main aquarium where sharks, eels, rays and shoals of fish swim together. A highlight is the shark feeding sessions when visitors get to watch divers feeding these awesome creatures. The foyer houses the smaller tanks containing a stunning array of sea life everything from seahorses to starfish. A series of shallow pools allow the children to touch and handle some of the sea life and ask questions of the well-informed staff.
A large shop and café are also onsite.
Deep Sea World is open daily from 10am. Tel: 01383 411880