Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Family Activities this Summer in Edinburgh

27 July 2016

School's out for summer! Thankfully in Edinburgh there are plenty of great activities and events taking place throughout the summer months to keep school holiday boredom at bay. From tours to new museum galleries and workshops, there's something to keep the whole family entertained.

Take a look at our round up for events and activities to start planning your family's summer of fun:

Explore 10 New Galleries at the National Museum of Scotland

NMS The Catwalk In The Fashion And Style Gallery Photo Peter Dibdin NMS Website 500X210

[Image credit: Peter Dibdin]

Always a popular choice with families, the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street just got even better with the recent opening of ten brand new galleries! The kids will be awestruck by the planes hanging overhead and will be able to get stuck into some hands on learning, with plenty of interactive exhibits in the Science and Technology Galleries. They'll be inspired by the many beautiful items in the colourful Art, Fashion and Design Galleries, featuring works by world famous artists and designers, including Piscasso and Paolozzi.

Look out for the museum's regular and free family workshops and activities, including crafts, demos and object handling. Find out what's coming up this summer on the Museum's website

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF, website

Have an Out of This World Experience at Dynamic Earth

Our Dynamic Earth Outside

Boldly go to Dynamic Earth to be a part of their Summer Space-Tacular Days from 14th July to 14th August. Your little space explorers will find out all about what it takes to be an astronaut, learn about how these inspiring men and women live and work in space, and take part in astronaut challenges. They'll also take part in activities to see what makes space rockets take flight before donning their own space suit and striking a pose in front of the green screen to have their photo taken on board the International Space Station. All activities run from 10am to 4.30pm and are free with entry to Dynamic Earth.

From 6th August, the festival season will come to Dynamic Earth with their very own Fringe show Sonic Vision. This family-friendly 3D experience will blend vivid environments with high-energy music in the spectacular 360° ShowDome. Tickets for the show are available on the Dynamic Earth website

Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS, website   

Meet the Wicked Women at The Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh Dungeons Wicked Women Credit Facebook 500X210

[Image credit: Edinburgh Dungeon Facebook]

You'll come face-to-face with Mary Queen of Scots and host of ghoulish ladies at The Edinburgh Dungeon this summer. A historical figure who has often divided opinion, surrounded by rumours, scandals and murder, you'll get to decide for yourself if Mary Queen of Scots was indeed a Wicked Woman...

Be on the look out for other Wicked Women while you venture through the Dungeon, including the vengeful Green Lady and ferocious females of Sawney Bean’s cannibal clan. The spooktacular Wicked Women will be in residence at The Edinburgh Dungeon until 29th August.      

31 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF, website 

Go Behind the Scenes on the BT Murrayfield Stadium Tour

Murrayfield Experience Stadium View 500X210

Walk in the footsteps of sporting greats on the recently relaunched BT Murrayfield Stadium tours. Your family will be able to see where their rugby heroes prepare for the games in the players dressing rooms and the legendary pitch where they play. Other highlights include 'The Bill McLaren Press Gallery' - dedicated to the great man who was known as the voice of rugby - and the historic trophy cabinet.

BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, EH12 5JP, website  

Discover the city on board the Rabbie's Edinburgh City Tour

Rabbies City Tour With Bus Credit Rabbies Website 500X210

[Image credit: Rabbie's]

All aboard Rabbie's new convertible tours buses to learn more about Edinburgh and its great history. Enjoy a comfy seat as you journey around Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, an UNESCO World Hertiage site. As you pass by some of the city's most famous sights, you'll hear more about them from the audio guide Rabbie and stories from some of Edinburgh's great historical characters.

The Edinburgh City Tour departs hourly from 9am to 7pm on Waverley Bridge.  

Rabbie's Office and Cafe is at Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG, website

Be Active on an EMF Running Tour  

Run Tour National Monument 500X210

[Image credit: Edinburgh Marathon Festival - Edinburgh Running Tours]

Get kids off the couch on an Edinburgh Marathon Festival (EMF) Running Tour around Scotland’s historic capital city. Learn about the history, characters and the scenery of the city while also getting in some exercise. If you’d like to find out more about one of the closes and alleys of the Old and New Town of Edinburgh, your knowledgable guide will be able to explain all.

The tour will start off at the Scottish Parliament before making its first kilometre up to Calton Hill, through parts of the Old and New Town of Edinburgh before you finish up at the Historic Scotland Education Centre. Perfect for visitors and locals alike! 

Tours cost £27.50 per person and include. The minimum age for the tour is 10 and anyone aged 10-15 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information and to book, visit their website.

Enjoy a royal experience at The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace Of Holyrood Kids With Crowns Credit Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016 500X210

[Image credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016]

Make sure you pop into the Palace of Holyroodhouse this summer as they'll be hosting some great events for the whole family to enjoy. From the 16 July to 2 September 2016 for the very first time the Palace of Holyroodhouse will have a Family Pavilion in the royal gardens throughout the summer, where you can dress up in garden party attire and enjoy a mini tea party.  It's the perfect way for children under 10 years old to join in and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday.

Interested in some of the stranger objects from the Royal Collection? Then make sure you head along to the Weird and the Wonderful event taking place every Tuesday at 11am and 3pm. Here you will be able to discover objects that decorated The Queen’s official homes: Holyroodhouse, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Looking to find out more about the famous Royal Garden Party? Book yourself a place on the Family Garden Party Tours taking place every Thursday at 11am, 12pm and 2pm. Find out how the staff get ready for the annual garden party to which The Queen invites 8,000 guests. You’ll be able to also join in with the hunt for the hidden corgis as well as dress up and discover the delicious food that is served on the day.

Find out more about all the Palace of Holyrood House activities on their website.

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, website

Explore the city at the Museum of Edinburgh

Museum Of Edinburgh

A must see museum for all that have an interest in the city of Edinburgh. This summer, stroll along to the Museum of Edinburgh to experience their fun and interactive Learning Space. Expect to find crafts to explore, detective trails, replica objects and a storytelling corner in the heart of the museum.  Have fun exploring the colourful galleries and learn how the people of Edinburgh have lived over the years.  

The Museum of Edinburgh also hosts family drop-in sessions with events such as Gorgeous Glazes and Clay Treasures, and Family Storytelling sessions which this summer features Come Awa, the Fishy Stories from the Creel. More information about the sessions can be found on their website.

The museum is free to enter but donations are welcome. No need to book, just drop in.

142-146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD,website

Be and adventurer at Lauriston Castle

Festival Of Museums Lauriston Castle Edinburgh 500X210 
One of Edinburgh’s hidden gems - Lauriston Castle, situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh near Cramond, provides exquisite gardens and beautiful views over the Firth of Forth.

Lauriston Castle is the perfect summer activities location for the whole family. Pop along and experience their family sessions which includes Magic Painted Light Catcher, Harry Potter’s School of Magic and Wizardry, Pirate Treasure Hunt, Fun with Fabrics and Upstairs/Downstairs. The prices and times do vary and you can find out more on Lauriston Castle’s website.

2 Cramond Rd S, Edinburgh EH4 6AD, website

Get creative at the City Art Centre

City Art Centre

Home to The Edinburgh International Science Festival, the City Art Centre also host exhibitions and family events, making it the perfect place to explore while you are in the city centre this summer.  Look out for their family sessions which include Exploring Still Life (30 July), The Magical Garden (13 August), Watery Landscapes (27 August) and Dreams (10 September). All sessions will be taking place from 2pm-4pm. More information can be found on the City Art Centre’s website.

Learn about art in a fun way with the City Art Centre’s ArtSpace, the creative hub where families can create wonderful art together. The space is packed with plenty of textures and materials for you to let out your creative juice. Look out for their summer exhibition Paper Trail: Drawings, Watercolours, Prints in ArtSpace, where you can explore some of the many ways that artists create works on paper. With plenty to explore head down to Market Street and find out more!

2 Market St, Edinburgh, EH1 1DE, website 

Let your imagination run free at the Museum of Childhood

Museum Of Childhood Interior

The Quirkology Youtube channel creates videos about magic, illusion and science and this summer the Museum of Childhood will be putting on an exhibition to explore these themes of curiosity and creativity to reflect the video channel. Come along and be spellbound!

The Museum of Childhood will also be hosting family drop in sessions which includes Summer Picnic (30 July), A is for Apple (27 August) and Home Sweet Home (24 September). All sessions are drop-in and will run from 10.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 3.30pm with artist Lindsey Hamilton. Find out more information about the session through the Museum of Childhood website.

42 High St, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG, website

Step Back in Time with Costume Performances by Edinburgh Living History

Museums Costume Performance Credit Facebook 500X210

[Image credit: Museum of Edinburgh Facebook]

Experience a real-life costume drama performance this summer with the help of Edinburgh Living History, who will be interpreting the history of Edinburgh Museums this summer. Catch performances such as ‘The Suffragettes’ and ‘Eighteenth Century People’ at the Museum of Edinburgh, and ‘Edinburgh Stories and Poems’ at the Writers’ Museum. Come along for some drama and humour! All performances are free but donations are encouraged, and there's no need to book.

Full details of the performance can be found on the Museum and Galleries website.

Look out for the Travelling Gallery bus

Travelling Gallery 500X210

[Image credit: Travelling Gallery]

As part of the Edinburgh Art Festival you can catch the exhibit ‘Alt-w: Blush Response’ in the custom built mobile bus ‘Travelling Gallery’. In association with the Festival of Architecture 2016 the ‘Alt-w Fund’ has commissioned a series of new works for the Travelling Gallery by artists based in Scotland and working in digital media. Come along this summer to experience this unique art exhibition venue.

The Travelling Gallery will be stopping at various locations in Edinburgh including the Assembly Rooms, Ocean Terminal and Portobello High Street. Full details can be found on their website.

Check out our Family Guide for more ideas of things to do with kids in Edinburgh>