We love Edinburgh! It is such a fantastic family-friendly city with so much to do! Steeped in history, the city is easy to navigate and neatly separated into Old-town and New-town, with its centre dominated by the majestic Edinburgh Castle. You certainly won’t be stuck for activities! Here’s our list of great FREE Things to do in Edinburgh with Kids.
Situated on the famous Royal Mile, this is the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood. It has 21 rooms containing more than 2,000 toys and games from days-gone-by. From early Steiff Bears and Corgi cars to 1980’s Barbie dolls, this is a beautiful collection and a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
What a view! At 251 metres high, Arthur’s Seat is a gentle climb, and provides great views of Edinburgh. Rumoured to be named after the legendary King Arthur & the setting of Camelot, this extinct volcano is a busy attraction. Though it is very safe, make sure you follow the signs and watch that the little ones stick with the proper route.
“If feeling energetic Arthur’s Seat has amazing views!” Lynda S.
Situated on Chambers Street, The National Museum of Scotland has it all, from Geology to Vikings, Romans and the Industrial Revolution! It’s really great for kids with lots of interactive galleries to keep all ages’ busy, free tours and Family Footprint Trails!
“You could spend a whole weekend there and still not see it all! It’s fab!” Gillian S.
A Kids-go-free ticket means up to two kids can travel for free on the train with each adult, anywhere in Scotland! Off-peak, every day and no need to book in advance! Making this deal even sweeter, kids get FREE entry into a number of Edinburgh’s top attractions (including Edinburgh Zoo and Camera Obscura) when you show your rail ticket at the entrance. For real train enthusiasts, Waverly Bridge is a great place to stop and watch the trains.
“My kids love watching the trains on the bridge in Princes Street Gardens. ….The drivers always beep and wave.” Ailsa H.
Edinburgh has a host of beautiful gardens and parks including The Meadows, Blackford Hill and Pond and Princes Street Gardens, all ideal for a summer picnic! West Princes Street Gardens has a play-park and lots of benches where you can take in views of the stunning Edinburgh castle.
If visiting in the winter, Edinburgh’s Christmas is a spectacular event in St Andrew Square and East Princes St. Gardens featuring a beautiful Spiegeltent, ice skating, Christmas markets and rides, including the Big Wheel with fantastic views over the city.
Spending a weekend in Dublin with the kids? Check out our Weekend in Dublin infographic!
Cramond’s promenade links to its landmark causeway – a great walkway over the River Forth to Cramond Island. During high tide, the causeway goes underwater, so make sure you check the signs displaying tide times so you don’t get stranded! A fun day out, pack some bread crumbs to feed the ducks and swans along the River Almond.
If the tide is in pay a visit to Cramond Kirk, built on the site of a Roman fort.
One of Kirsty R.‘s favourtite free things to do in Edinburgh with kids is the beach, so why not leave the city behind and pay a visit to Portobello Beach? A gorgeous sandy stretch of beach well within the city limits and perfect for a kid’s day out, a picnic or a leisurely walk or run! Take the No. 26 bus if you don’t want to worry about parking.
Free to visit, Gorgie City Farm is a lovely community run initiative to educate inner-city kids about farming & food production. A carton of animal feed is just 20p and kids can safely get close to the animals and hand-feed sheep and pigs. The farm is especially great for little ones. Take your time and talk with some of the farm workers who are happy to share information on how the farm is run and the animals.
“Lots of fun! My boys love it!” Roisin F.
9. The Botanics
Just a 15 minute walk from the city centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens are an oasis of calm with 70 acres of trees, shrubs and lush gardens. If it’s wet, you can take refuge in the warm, balmy Victorian Palm House. Enjoy guided garden walks from the John Hope Gateway entrance or tour the exhibitions in Inverleith House. One of Pamela C.‘s family favourites, the garden regularly hosts cultural activities with music, stories and crafts. There is also a restaurant onsite.
Attend a free lunch-time talk or view a wonderful collection of art (including Scotland’s favourite painting, The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch) as well as world-class temporary exhibitions. There are plenty of regular family activities, trails and cool, creative workshops such as ‘Make your own masterpiece’ and ‘Portrait detectives.’
What is on your list of favourite Free Things to do in Edinburgh with Kids? Please let us know in the comments below!
A big, big thank you to all the brilliant Edinburgh Mums who helped us put this post together!!