6 July 2023

10 things to do in the school holidays in Edinburgh

Family Activities at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust, Jane Massey

School's out for summer! Thankfully in Edinburgh there are plenty of great activities and events taking place throughout the summer months to keep boredom at bay, no matter the weather.

1. Family activities at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Family Activities at Palace of Holyroodhouse
Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust, Jane Massey

From paintings and furniture to tapestries and jewels, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is full of fascinating objects. This summer, explore and create through a range of fun family activities.

Join in with Midweek Make: Frames for the opportunity to make and decorate mini frames using wooden craft sticks or book a place at the Abbey Strand Art Club to create your own portraits.

Events take place on selected dates from 12 July to 30 August 2023.

2. Poo Fest at Edinburgh Zoo

Yes, you read correctly – Edinburgh Zoo are running a week of animal poo-themed events and activities!

Join the rangers for an exclusive pre-opening tour and learn all about the weird and wonderful facts relating to ‘zoo doo’. Head along to Lemur Lodge to explore just how valuable animal dung really is. Don’t forgot to pick up a trail map from the admission desk and take part in the Poo Trail for a chance to win a prize.

Events run from Saturday 22 to Sunday 30 July 2023. See Edinburgh Zoo website for booking details.

3. Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park

Girl on ropes course at Go Ape within Dalkeith Country Park, Dalkeith Country Park

With three incredible treetop courses to explore, Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park takes excitement levels to a whole new height.

Climb, swing and zip through the air as you navigate the treetop adventure zone.

One course is designed for children over 1m tall, one for children over 6 years (if 1.2m+), and a third one for families with older children.

4. Mighty Oaks Holiday Club at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

This summer, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are inviting children aged 8 to 12 years old to learn more about the renowned garden’s plants and creatures with the Mighty Oaks Holiday Club

Delve deeper into this fascinating garden with a range of guided activities, including games, trails, storytelling, arts and crafts.

Clubs run over four weeks from 10 July to 04 August.

Places should be pre-booked online.

5. Pick Your Own at Craigies Farm

Craigies Farm,Little Farmers on wooden tractor
Image Credit: Phil Wilkinson

There’s no doubt that summer means strawberries. If you can’t get enough of this fruity goodness, and you’re looking for a fun family day out, be sure to head to Craigies Farm in South Queensferry.

Their Pick Your Own is a great way to get some fresh air and stock up on some delicious seasonal fruit. And there’s no limit to how much fruit can be picked!

Entry vouchers are released weekly and throughout the week depending on how much fruit ripens each day. Check the Craigies website to book your desired date.

6. See Edinburgh from the top deck

Kids go free, Edinburgh bus tours

On a bright summer’s day, what could be better than capturing the best views of the city from an open top bus?

The multi-language commentary CitySightseeing Tour lasts for around an hour and takes in famous sights such as Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Mile, all while listening to a fun Horrible Histories Children’s commentary.

Not only that, but up to 3 children (aged 5 – 15 years) go free with every paying adult!

The main departure point is Waterloo Place, but you may board at any tour stop. Tickets can be booked in advance online or from a ticket seller on Waterloo Place.

7. Discover Harry Potter in Edinburgh

George Heriots, Pentlands View

Love all things magical? From the graveyard said to have inspired some of the key characters in the world-famous books, to an assortment of magical shops where you can stock up on replica Nimbus 2001 broomsticks, Edinburgh is jam-packed with Harry Potter sights and attractions.

Why not kick off your wizarding adventure with The Potter Trail – led by a knowledgeable and entertaining guide, this 90 minute tour is not only free, but you’ll see all Edinburgh’s top Potter sights, and you may even learn a spell or two along the way!

Get a real sense of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World in our Ultimate Harry Potter Guide to Edinburgh

8. Go on a Daytime Ghost Tour

Mercat Tours, Family

A daytime tour for kids, Mercat Tours’ Gory Stories: The Kids’ Tour shows you a side of Edinburgh that others don’t see, providing an informative and fun way to learn about the secrets of our city.

Suitable for ages 5+, wander through the ancient streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town and learn about creepy characters from the past, the meaning of gardyloo (and hope you never hear it!) and what treasure could be found buried in a 19th century graveyard.

9. Explore Holyrood Park

Arthur Seat

Suitable for children aged 5 and over, join the ranger’s at Holyrood Park for a Holyrood Family Adventure

Get crafty with hands on activities and discover more about this ancient park’s wildlife, history and volcanic landscape.

Selected dates until 26 July 2023.

10. Summer at the National Museum of Scotland

Image © Ruth Armstrong

From hands-on sessions to craft projects, there’s lots going on at National Museum of Scotland’s this summer, the majority of which are free to attend.

View the full Summer at the Museum programme here >   

Events run on selected dates from 03 July to 01 August 2023.

Still looking for more ideas?

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Edinburgh this summer.


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