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Edinburgh for Families

Perfect places for family adventures

The gardens are just beautiful and SO well-maintained!

Royal Botanic Gardens

Take some time out from your family’s busy schedule and indulge in a walk around one of Edinburgh’s most tranquil spaces. The Royal Botanic Gardens is just a short distance from the city centre and close to several aparthotels. Particular highlights include the temperate glass house and a welcoming café.

Founded in 1670 to grow medicinal plants and located just one mile from the city centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens offer a captivating day out for all ages. Boasting an impressive living compilation of plants, the gardens are world-renowned for plant science, education and horticulture. In the 17th century, the first garden was situated in St Anne’s Yard and occupied a modest area the size of a tennis court; it now spans over four sites (Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan) and is the second richest collection of plant species in the world.

As well as a picturesque picnic spot providing relaxation to a mass amount of visitors travelling from far and wide, the gardens are mainly used as a scientific institution – a dedication to describing and discovering plants and their evolution, biology and conservation. Beautifully maintained and impressively well-organised, the gardens are encompassed by ginormous glass houses – each with its own climate zone so that you can experience all areas of globe in the space of a couple of hours!

Travelling to the gardens couldn’t be easier – if you’re visiting by car, know that parking is relatively cheap and even free if you arrive during certain weekend hours. Alternatively, there are a handful of adjacent streets with available parking. The gardens are open every day from 10am until 6pm and  free to access, meanwhile the glass houses cost £5 to visit but take our word for it – they’re worth it!

Edinburgh Zoo

A family trip to the zoo is a great way to keep big and little kids entertained for the day. Located in the Corstorphine area of the city, Edinburgh Zoo is well-served with transport links. Home to more than 1,000 animals and the UK’s only giant pandas, Edinburgh Zoo is considered a world-class attraction.

Sat three miles to the west of Edinburgh city centre, the zoo is home to a vast range of exciting exotic and endangered species, including the UK’s only koalas, Sun bears, Indian rhinos, and the first Giant pandas in the UK for 17 years. An engaging events programme runs here constantly throughout the year offering educational keeper talks and hands-on animal encounters. A brand new ‘Edinburgh Zoo Mobile App’ can be found on the App Store which is designed to be your digital guide for everything – whether it be used to navigate your way around the site or to find out more information about your favourite animals.  

Little ones will be captivated by all of the parks fascinating creatures – from the waddling army of penguins at Penguins Rock to the tarantulas and poison frogs (for the brave) found within the Wee Beasties exhibition. If you need a pit stop there’s also a wide variety of eating experiences available dotted around the zoo, alongside several fun-filled play areas and a delightful gift shop.

Edinburgh Zoo is easily accessible by train, car, bus and bicycle which makes it convenient to plan your trip and decide which areas of the park to explore first. Tickets are slightly cheaper if bought online and another bonus is that children under three can enter for free. What are you waiting for? Edinburgh’s curious creatures are waiting to meet you!

This zoo is extremely clean, and well run with some beautiful animals!

Museum of Childhood

The Museum of Childhood is the first museum in the world, as the name suggests, entirely dedicated to the history of childhood. Featuring toys and trinkets from various generations and time periods, the exhibits and attractions here are certainly sure to make you smile and reflect on the great simplicity of a bygone childhood.

Highlights of the collection at the museum include: a Queen Anne Doll which dates back to 1740, a Raleigh Chopper bicycle, a Peter Rabbit soft toy and a 1905 Shoe Doll – a doll made from a shoe sole and scraps of household fabric. All aspects of British childhood from the 18th century to the present day are explored here. Immerse yourself in a child’s world of toys, games, dolls, magazines, fancy dress and a numerous amount of items relating to hobbies and pastimes.

Situated on the Royal Mile, the museum is a perfect opportunity for adults to indulge in a nostalgic showcase and teach their children about times gone by. Get involved in a wide range of hands-on activities like trying on frocks in the dressing up area or showing off your best acting in the puppet theatre. The museum, which is free to enter, was originally started by Patrick Murray who was a passionate collector of toys and childhood memorabilia. If you want to make your visit a memorable one, stop in the gift shop on your way out and pick up a childhood souvenir!

What a splendid museum, sent us right back in time to childhood. Lots to see in the museum, well worth a look.

Gorgie City Farm

If you’re looking for a thrilling day out to captivate little ones, pay a visit to Gorgie City Farm – home to an adorable array of farm animals and pets, as well as a variety of gardens. It’s a great place for adults and kids alike to visit and learn through educational hands-on workshops and tours which run all year long.

Gorgie City is a free-entry, urban city farm tucked away in the bustling streets of Scotland’s capital city. For 40 years this farm has been one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems; immerse yourself in a small piece of countryside found right in the heart of the city! Take your family to visit, pet and even cuddle some of the friendly animals they see every day in their story books. Be sure to visit Cuddle Corner, a session which involves visiting the Pet Lodge and getting up close and personal with some small domestic creatures amongst the likes of guinea pigs, lizards and rabbits. Don’t miss out on a trip to one of the farm’s most famous superstars Mrs Murdoch the tortoise – born in 1956, she is astonishingly the oldest animal on the farm!

Children can be let loose in the playpark whilst parents can take a stroll through the extraordinary gardens where you can discover the fruit and vegetable produce which the farm harvests. Afterwards, head over to the produce stall when these delectable fresh treats are available for you to take home. Even though entry to the farm is free, donations are always welcomed to ensure the future running of Gorgie City is maintained.