Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Things to do in Edinburgh with the kids this summer, come rain or shine

30 June 2015

The schools are breaking up again for summer, so now is the perfect time to head into Edinburgh for a fun family day out. Thankfully, there is plenty in your city to keep the kids amused, no matter what the weather - from pop-up markets, ghoulish attractions and beautiful beaches (of both the indoor and outdoor variety!). So read on to discover some of our favourite family activities for 2015:

For sunny days

Edinburgh enjoys some beautiful sunny days during the summer, so it would be a shame to spend them inside glued to the TV or computer games. Instead, why not get out and spend the day with your family? There are some great outdoor events and attractions this year, so get out there and have some fun in your city!



This charming pop-up market has transformed the top of Princes Mall into a relaxing shopping and family destination. The Bubbleparc offers fun physical activities such as the bungydome and the bubblepod, and there are regular 10 minute shows for kids in the Showbox area. Meanwhile, Mum and Dad can have a browse of the cute and quirky craft market, or enjoy a bite to eat from one of the foodie stalls.

Boxsmall runs this summer from 19th June – 31st August 2015, open daily from 10am to 7pm. You can find it on the Princes Mall Roof Terrace, EH1 1BQ.

Dinosaurs Return! at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo T Rex

Edinburgh Zoo is always a firm favourite with families and kids big or small. This summer there are some prehistoric additions to Zoo’s usual line-up of penguins, pandas and pelicans. Their latest exhibition, Dinosaurs Return!, sees a collection of amazing animatronic dinosaurs take up residence at the Edinburgh Zoo hilltop in their own specially designed landscape. Visitors will learn more about these fantastic beasts and about the extinction threats that many of our planet's animals face today. Try to catch one of the Daily Dino Talks to learn more about the Zoo’s Dinosaurs.

Entry to the Dinosaurs Return! exhibition is included with zoo admission. The exhibition is not time-ticketed so there is no need to pre-book a time slot. Edinburgh Zoo (website) is located at 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS.

Farmer’s Helpers Workshops at Gorgie City Farm

Gorgie City Farm Goats

Animal-mad kids will love getting their hands dirty at Gorgie City Farm, which is running Farmer’s Helpers workshops Monday-Friday over the summer holidays. Attend to the ducks and chickens, the cows and ponies or the goats and pigs, and get insight into what it’s like to be a real farmer!

Farmer’s Helpers Workshops are suitable for kids aged 8-12 and will run from 29th June – 7 August. Booking ahead is essential. You can find Gorgie City Farm (website) at 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh EH11 2LA.

Portobello Beach

Portobello Beach

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 and other nearby beaches on our website.

Tennis in the Meadows

Meadows Tennis

[Image Credit: Edinburgh Leisure]

If your family caught tennis fever during Wimbledon and are feeling at a bit of a loss now the tournament is over why not take to the courts yourselves. Head over to the east end of the Meadows and practice your swing on their acrylic courts. Book a court as a family or if you have a future Andy Murray or Heather Watson on your hands why not sign them up to the ‘Tennis in the Parks’ coaching programme, available for 3 to 18 year olds – information on how to sign up is available on the Edinburgh Leisure website.  

The Meadows tennis courts are open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday during July and August. To book a court call 0776 6774529, Racket hire is free from the attendant. Book for Happy Hour between 4pm and 5pm Monday to Friday and take advantage for their promotional price of £4 per court. For further information visit the Edinburgh Leisure website

For rainy days

Pouring outside? Never fear, there are still plenty of indoor attractions to keep the little ones happy this year. With lots to see and do, there is no excuse for boredom in Edinburgh!

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura Vortex Tunnel

With 6 floors of interactive fun, Camera Obscura is an ideal spot for an extended break from the rain. Your mind will be boggled and bamboozled by the attraction's many optical illusions and experiences. You can even take a tour of Edinburgh indoors with their, over 150 year old, camera obscura which projects live moving images of the city onto a viewing table through a giant periscope. If the rain does decided to stop though you can head up to their rooftop for incredible views over the whole of the city.

The best part about visiting Camera Obscura this summer is that it’s open from 9am to 9pm throughout July and August and their all-day tickets allow you to come and go at your leisure throughout the day!

Visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions (website) at Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2ND.

Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth

Just because the weather isn’t great outside it doesn’t mean you and the kids can’t go on an adventure. Venture down to Dynamic Earth and go on a journey through time to see the evolution of planet Earth. You’ll come across a series of fantastic 4D exhibits, experiencing the heat of a bubbling volcano, the chill of polar ice and the humidity of a tropical rainforest.

This summer Dynamic Earth is also hosting Tropical Adventures. As well as meeting some new characters in Rainforest, you can strike a pose with fun props and animals in the ‘Snappy Valley’ photo booth, dig for creepy crawlies in the ‘Spider Pit’ and try to outrun a virtual crocodile on ‘Croco-Mile’.  

Dynamic Earth (website) is open from 10am to 6pm during July and August. Find it at Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.

Escape Edinburgh

Escape Edinburgh

If you’re up for a challenge, give Escape Edinbrugh a go. This exciting escape game will find you in a mysterious room with just 60 minutes to get out.  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 and are suitable for children aged 10 and over. Find Escape Edinburgh (website) at 1 St Colme St, Edinburgh, EH3 6AA

Ocean Terminal’s Indoor Beach

Ocean Terminal Indoor Beach Logo

Even when the rain is pouring outside, you can still feel the sand between your toes at Ocean Terminal this summer. With a beautiful scenic location overlooking the water and the Port of Leith, you can at least imagine you are in a nice summery retreat!

The Indoor Beach will run at Ocean Terminal (website) from the 27th June to the 9th August. You can find it onthe first floor of the shopping centre which is on Ocean Drive, Leith EH6 6JJ. 

Real Mary Kings Close

Mary Kings Close

Escape the rain and explore the grisly history of Edinburgh at The Real Mary King’s Close. Listen to mysterious tales of our underground city’s past from characters that called this place their home – including Merchants, Poets and “Foul Clengers”!

The Real Mary Kings Close brings Edinburgh's history to life through its atmospheric location and vivid storytelling. But be sure to keep an eye out, as you never know who may be lurking in the shadows...  

The Real Mary Kings Close is at 2 Warriston's Close, High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PG. Please note that this attraction is not suitable for the under 5s. Want to explore even more of your city? Take a look at our tours page for even more options. 

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Edinburgh this summer. Still looking for more ideas? Head to This Is Edinburgh to discover even more things to do in the city over the summer holidays.