There are heaps of child friendly things to do in Edinburgh. Whilst you’re sure to want to tick off the big tourist attractions, sometimes it’s best to get a little insider knowledge. Here are some of the best from a local mummy.
What is the best thing about Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a fab city to live in and visit. What I love most about it is that it’s a fairly compact city, easy enough to get around with little ‘suburban’ hubs (such as Stockbridge and Morningside) where you can find loads of great independent stores and coffee shops as well as the well known ones.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
I have 2!
- Dishoom on St Andrews square (Indian tapas); you can’t book (unless there’s more than 6 of you), you have to take your chances but it’s worth it when you do.
- Cool Jade (Chinese) a gem of a place situated on Corstorphine road (one of the main roads out of Edinburgh on the north side). If you’re heading to Edinburgh zoo this restaurant is directly opposite it.
Are there any child friendly bars or pubs to visit?
I define child friendly as having an outdoor space for the kids to run around! We often go to Ye Olde Inn in Davidsons Mains and The Sheep’s Heid is a lovely pub in the old part of Duddingston not far from Holyrood Park.
Are there any good places for shopping?
Multrees walk in the centre of Edinburgh if you are looking for designer clothes and accessories, George Street also has higher end high street stores whilst there are a number of great boutiques on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh off George Street.
If you are looking for great kids wear then Treehouse and Bon Tot in Stockbridge has some great kids brands as does Willow also in Stockbridge.
What do you do when you want to relax in Edinburgh?
Go for a bracing walk along Cramond foreshore
You can park in the car park and walk left along to the Cramond Falls cafe or take a right and walk along past the Boardwalk cafe. It’s great for taking the kids scooters or bikes along as it’s flat and open and the kids love it, not sure about the joggers though!
If you want something a bit more central then a walk around the Botanic gardens is lovely. There is often an ice cream van opposite the main gates of the Botanic gardens so the kids can get ice- creams/lollies and once you’ve finished your walk you can always pop across the road to Inverleith park where there is a great kids play park.
What’s the best way to get around Edinburgh?
On foot. Most of central Edinburgh is metered parking and the city centre car parks are rather pricey as you might expect! If you check the parking zones and decide where to park you can then walk from there or get a tram if you are going into the centre of Edinburgh.
There’s also quite a few Park and rides on the outskirts of Edinburgh which are a stress free way of getting into the centre of Edinburgh.
How safe do you feel in Edinburgh?
Very, although like any city you need to be mindful and watchful.
What do you wish was different about the city?
Where is the best place in Edinburgh for a coffee break?
If I’ve got the kids with me I’ll go to the Leaf & Bean, Joy Tots in Leith which is a lovely baby and toddler craft café or TurtleDove play café in Davidsons Mains which is great for babies and toddlers. One of the great things about Edinburgh is that it’s full of independent coffee shops so you are never far away from good coffee!
What are your favourite cultural child friendly things to do in Edinburgh?
We love a walk along Princes Street. Pop into the Scottish National Gallery on the mound (along Princes Street), walk up the mound and then along the cobbled streets of Edinburgh.
If you don’t fancy a walk then the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Two is great as the exhibits seem to capture the kid’s attention (we have a 16 month old and a 6 year old and both love it there).
What’s your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh on a rainy day?
Go to the Museum! The Museum of Scotland on Chambers street is free and full of amazing exhibits. My 6 year old absolutely loves it. You can easily spend most of the day there; I would pop across the road to Nandos for lunch as the café in the museum doesn’t have a massive selection for lunch!
How helpful are the Edinburgh locals?
I would say very. So long as you don’t catch people in the centre of town on their lunchbreak!
Insider hints and tips on child friendly things to do in Edinburgh?
If you are bringing a car download the Ringo app to your phone. Most of Edinburgh has on street parking, some free, some metered so if you park in the metered zones it saves you searching for change!
If you are looking for good cake then go to Mimi’s Bakehouse. There is one in Leith and one in Corstorphine, the cakes are homemade, you get massive portions and they taste delicious. Mimi’s is always a crowd pleaser if you’ve got a sweet tooth!
What’s the one thing you can’t miss when visiting Edinburgh with kids?
A trip to Craigie’s Farm Deli & Cafe on the outskirts of Edinburgh. If you visit in the summer you can go fruit picking, there’s an outdoor enclosed playground, the farm shop is fab and the food/cakes in the café are yummy.
Have you been to Edinburgh with kids? What are your favourite child friendly things to do in Edinburgh? Just leave a comment below.
For another great place to visit in Scotland you could try the Macdonald Aviemore resort, especially for one of their magical Santa weekends.