School's Out! Things to do with the kids in Edinburgh this summer

30 June 2021

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. From bus and chocolate tours, to ghosts and dinosaurs, there's something to keep the whole family entertained.

Take a look at our round-up of events and activities and start planning your family's summer of fun!

Kids go free at The Royal Yacht Britannia 

Children By Bell Helen Pugh

(Image Credit: Helen Pugh)

Enjoy a family day out for less at The Royal Yacht Britannia. Her Majesty The Queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years, Britannia is now berthed in Edinburgh and this summer one child goes free with every full paying adult or senior ticket purchased when quoting our Forever Edinburgh Offer.

Explore five decks with a fascinating audio tour (available in both adult and children’s versions); discover where kings & queens, world leaders & celebrities were wined & dined; visit the elegant State Apartments, then why not treat yourself to a mouth-watering selection of cakes and scones, combined with stunning views, in the Royal Deck Tea Room.

Remember to keep an eye open for Clarence the cuddly corgi and friends in the Cuddly Corgi Treasure Hunt!

Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ (Tel: 0131 555 5566)

Satellites and Science at Dynamic Earth

 Dynamic Earth Exterior Summer Time View Over To Crags

As part of the Edinburgh Science Festival (26 June – 11 July), Dynamic Earth are running a series of exciting events covering everything from family walks where you’ll learn about Edinburgh's tropical past, to outdoor workshops where you’ll discover how satellite technology is used by scientists to learn more about our planet.

Dynamic Earth is also running lots of free drop-in activities as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival. View the full schedule here >

From travelling to the beginning of time in a Deep Time Machine and witnessing the big bang, to plunging into the ocean depths in a yellow submarine, Dynamic Earth offers a range of other activities to whet your appetite for adventure this summer. A day here is certainly out of this world!

Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS (Tel: 0131 550 7800)

Summer at the Palace

Palace Of Holyroodhouse Children

Join The Palace of Holyroodhouse over the summer and prepared to get arty. Follow the Portraits at The Palace Trail and become an art detective as you discover details and hidden histories in the palace’s portraits. Or how about following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria – get your paintbrushes out and, just like Victoria, paint your own picture of Holyrood Abbey with Watercolours for Wee Ones.

While you may not be on the invite list for the Queen’s Garden Party, this is the next best thing: The Family Festival Summer Garden Party on Saturday 28 August. In a day packed with activities for all ages, make a crown fit for royalty, take part in the Royal Races and learn all about parties, sports and more in the Palace gardens throughout the ages.

Full details and booking for all these events can be found on the What's On section of The Palace's website > 

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX (Tel: 0303 123 7306)

Discover Gory Stories with Mercat Tours

Mercat Tours Summer 2018

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! 

Tours depart from Mercat Cross, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF

Get discount off Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Camera Obscura Mirror Maze

Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, has been delighting visitors since 1835. Come along this summer and experience 5 floors of interactive, mind-boggling, head-spinning, body-bending illusions.

Step into a world of colour at the Colour Shadow Wall and see yourself reflected into multi-colour, shrink yourself like Alice in Wonderland in the amazing Ames Room, and try to stay on your feet in the Vortex Tunnel! After all that, get a breath of fresh air on the Rooftop Terrace, which offers the most spectacular 360⁰ views of Edinburgh.

10% discount is currently applied to all ticket prices.

Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND (Tel: 0131 226 3709)

Kids go Free with Edinburgh Bus Tours

Edinburgh Bus Tours

On a bright summer’s day, what could be better than taking in the sights and capturing the best views across the city in an open top bus?

Join Edinburgh Bus Tours on their renowned live guided Edinburgh Tour and see some iconic Edinburgh sights, including Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Royal Mile.

Or why not join them on the Edinburgh Sightseeing Tour – with a special Horrible Histories commentary, written and narrated by author Terry Deary, it's guaranteed to have children of all ages rubbing their hands together with gruesome glee!

Up to 3 children (aged 5 -15) are free with every paying adult. See more on our offers page >   

Tours depart from St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 1GF

Take a tour of chocolate at the Chocolatarium

Chocolatarium Edinburgh

Learn about how cacao grows, how chocolate is made, and experience the tasting room. The Chocolatarium offer a 90 minute tour for anyone aged 6 and over, just off the Royal Mile.

You even get to create your own custom chocolate bar with as many toppings as you like! 

3-5 Cranston St, Edinburgh EH8 8BE (Tel: 0131 556 7005)

Experience Edinburgh Zoo After Hours

After Hours Edinburgh Zoo

Ever wondered what the animals at Edinburgh Zoo get up to after closing time? Well now’s your chance to find out as this summer, Edinburgh Zoo are opening their gates to give you more opportunities to see your favourite animals in the summer evenings.

Take a wander through the zoo and enjoy the long summer evenings. With a host of local food and drink kiosks available, you can relax to the sound of music, follow a new digital trail or simply soak up the atmosphere.

Choose from a dedicated family, adult only or member-only night, running up to 14 August.

Edinburgh Zoo After Hours further details >  

134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS (Tel: 0131 334 9171)

Dynamic Dinosaurs at Conifox Adventure Park  


Are you brave enough to step into Conifox’s pre-historic world?

Located on the outskirts of Kirkliston, only 20 minutes from Edinburgh, Conifox Adventure Park is the perfect place to have some family time and this summer they’ve got some new fearsome guests – Dynamic Dinosaurs! 

From 5 to 11 July, come and meet the Dinosaur Rangers as they introduce four dinosaurs, learn some fascinating facts and hear some wild stories in a fun-packed 45-minute show.

After all that excitement, journey around the dino area to find clues and collect a prize, before completing the day with lots of fun in the Adventure Park, with attractions including a: 9-Hole Footgolf Course, Pedal Go-Karts, Off-Road Pedal Tractors, Giant Sand Pit, Kid’s Pedal Tractor Farm and more!

Kirkliston, Edinburgh EH29 9ER (Tel: 0131 333 1444)

Hit the Beach

Portobello Beach Summer Crowds Swimming

On the days that are really sunny, you simply have to grab a bucket and spade and head to the beach! Portobello Beach is one of the most popular in Edinburgh, just a short ride from the city centre by bus.

The long stretch of beach is the perfect place to spend a glorious afternoon, and when you get peckish you can simply pop up to the promenade, which is lined with chip shops and ice cream vendors.

Read more Portobello >   

Can you Escape?

Can You Escape 736

If you’re up for a challenge, give Escape Edinburgh a go. This exciting escape game will find you in a mysterious room with just 60 minutes to get out.  Tick tock, tick tock. Can You Escape?........

As a team you must use your powers of observation and problem solving to solve the puzzles, riddles, brain teasers and identify clues in order to escape from the room before your time is up. The challenges are designed to be played by groups of 2 to 5/6 and are suitable for children aged 10 and over.

With everything from a Sherlock themed escape room to a School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

26-28 Morrison St, Edinburgh, EH3 8BJ and 54 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2BA (Tel: 07557 362 664)


As you can see, there is plenty to do in Edinburgh this summer. Still looking for more ideas? Head to our What’s On section to discover even more things to do in the city over the summer months.