Six activities your kids will love in Edinburgh
Just imagine, you're all booked up for Edinburgh. You've got your adult whisky time planned and that must-see trip to Edinburgh Castle booked but you're still looking for something special and fun for the whole family - that's where this blog comes in!
1. Dynamic Earth
Dynamic Earth is a little difficult to describe but it's for good reason that their website states "A visit to Dynamic Earth is like nothing else on Earth". Dynamic Earth is an incredible educational experience, teaching children and adults alike about this wonderful planet we call home.
Upon arrival at Dynamic Earth, you'll travel back to the beginning of time in their Time Machine to witness the Big Bang before travelling through volcanoes, polar ice caps and deep oceans then returning gradually to modern day. There are so many interactive exhibits and experiences that make it a great afternoon out for all ages.
Tickets cost £15.95 for adults and £9.95 for children. Dynamic Earth is very central and easy to find, situated just behind the Scottish Parliament.
2. Edinburgh's Underground Secret
Did you know that people once lived beneath Edinburgh? Under Edinburgh's streets, there is a whole labyrinth of streets, tunnels and vaults where Edinburgh's poorest once lived. Although many of these streets were forgotten for centuries, a lot have recently been unsealed and provide a great insight into how people once lived. For those feeling brave, there are sections which are rumoured to be haunted and ghost tours are common throughout.
Today, you can visit many of these underground vaults and streets by taking tours. The majority of these are usually a mix of supernatural and historical tours so be sure to check with the company which of their tours are age appropriate to avoid any unwelcome scares.
City of the Dead tours have won multiple awards for their tours of Edinburgh's underground city and run both daytime and evening tours. Despite the supernatural theme, many of their guides are historians who are extremely knowledgeable while keeping everyone super engaged.
For those wishing to avoid the supernatural, the Real Mary King's Close offers historical tours which are excellent for all ages offering you the chance to meet the some memorable characters who lived in the close.
3. Dean Village
Dean Village is a former.. (yep, you guessed it).. village which has became part of Edinburgh as the city has grown over the centuries. It has retained its local village feel and is absolutely picturesque. If you're looking for a quiet relaxed area to take an afternoon family stroll, look no further.
4. Edinburgh at Christmas
Now, obviously this one is season dependent but Edinburgh's Christmas market, running from November to January, is not to be missed. There are so many family friendly Christmas activities running throughout the city, they're often the perfect way to spend an evening in Edinburgh. Just be sure to wrap up!
In Princes Street Gardens, Santa Land springs up. You'll find the usual Christmas market stalls selling delicious traditional food and sweet treats from across the world, gifts, and knick-knacks. For the kids (and kids at heart), there is also a variety of fun rides, Santa's grotto, a Christmas tree maze and, occasionally, real reindeer!
Heading out of the gardens, you'll be able to ride the Big Wheel to enjoy panoramic views of the city. Plus, over in St Andrew Square, you'll find a large ice rink where you can rent skates and glide to your heart's content.
If you can, it's worth staying for Hogmanay - New Year's Eve in Scotland. Celebrations start early with a torchlight procession through Edinburgh Old Town on 30th December before everything really begins on the 31st. Expect street parties, fireworks, ceilidhs and concerts - there's a lot of reasons Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the best cities to be in to bring in the New Year.
5. Camera Obscura
Back to an activity available all year round - Edinburgh's Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is a fabulous day out. Founded way back in 1835, this was actually Edinburgh's first visitor attraction.
The Camera Obscura is spread across five floors with tons to do. There are over 100 interactive optical illusions and exhibits for the whole family to play with and the view of the city from their rooftop terrace is incredible. This is also a great place to learn more about the city through their virtual tours and historical photographs.
Adult tickets cost £16.50, tickets for children (over 5) cost £12.50 and children under 5 visit for free! Visit their website to find out more.
6. Harry Potter in (and out of) Edinburgh
For all the Potterheads out there, no trip to Edinburgh is complete without visiting the various sites in the city associated with the famous boy wizard.
If you don't fancy doing the research and exploring yourself, The Potter Trail is an amazing resource. They offer free Harry Potter themed walking tours which take you around the city to the places most often associated with the series, including places which inspired locations in the books - such as Diagon Valley, the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and, bonus, you'll learn even more about the world of Harry Potter en route.
If that isn't enough, consider taking Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express Highland Tour north to Fort William. This one day tour takes you through the beautiful West Highlands, going through various Harry Potter film locations en route, and includes a steam trip journey crossing the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. There's also full commentary during the trip so you won't miss a thing. You'll be able to get out and stretch your legs multiple times throughout the journey and there are endless photo opportunities.