Enjoy great family days out in Edinburgh with our entertaining list of activities to keep the kids amused

Camera Obscura Mirror Maze (1)

There's no shortage of fun activities to keep the kids amused on a family day out to Scotland’s Capital. 

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle From Princes Street

Edinburgh Castle is undoubtedly one of Scotland's top visitor attractions and is perfect for family days out. Dominating the city skyline, step inside and discover tales from our ancient past.

Kids will love exploring the castle dungeons or getting close to the Crown Jewels. The Castle is also home to Mons Meg, a cannon built in 1449 capable of blasting a 150kg gunstone for 3.2km (two miles) - a terrifying weapon by the day's standards. Ear muffs at the ready as the famous 1 o'clock gun is fired over the city at 1pm on the dot from the castle ramparts. 

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

 Camera Obscura Vortex Tunnel

Weave your way through a world of illusions, and remember, nothing is what it seems at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions!

Venture through five floors jam-packed with over 100 illusions. You’ll need at least two hours to discover them all. A swirling light vortex; a maze of mirrors; a chance to swap noses with a friend; see yourself grow, shrink and stretch; play eye-spy with our city viewcams; and mess with your mind with brilliant visual effects. Step outside onto the Rooftop Terrace and enjoy the best 360⁰ views of Edinburgh. 

The Real Mary King's Close

Real Mary Kings Close Cr Facebook

Stroll further down the Royal Mile and step back in time at one of Edinburgh’s most intriguing attractions, The Real Mary King’s CloseOnce part of the city’s most vibrant streets, this perfectly preserved close provides a fascinating glimpse into Edinburgh life between the 17th and 19th centuries.

With your guide, uncover the mysterious goings-on of its former residents as tales of murders, plagues and mysteries are unravelled.

Edinburgh Dungeons

Not for the faint hearted, a trip to The Edinburgh Dungeons next to Waverley Station will have your hair standing on end. 

A journey through Scotland’s horrible history, accompanied by a cast of former Edinburgh residents, you will scream and laugh your way through the city’s murky past. 

Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth

Discover how our planet evolved millions of years ago at the exciting Dynamic Earth

Let’s start with a bang as we journey through time and learn about our past, present and future with interactive exhibits and mind blowing technology.  A must for family days out.

Greyfriar's Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby

It’s a heart-warming tale that’s been told in books, cartoons and even a Disney film – the faithful little dog that guarded his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years.

Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier, became a local celebrity, even making a friend of the Lord Provost of the time. His memory is celebrated by a granite drinking fountain, complete with bronze cast of Bobby (which is also the smallest listed structure in Edinburgh). Just be prepared for the inevitable question – ‘can we keep him?’ – when you visit!

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh


For those seeking some fresh air then a stroll through The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in Inverleith is a great way to get some gentle exercise whilst enjoying the delightful seasonal flora. 

If the weather is kind you can enjoy an ice-cream or why not have a picnic.

The volcanoes of Edinburgh

Arthurs Seat Panorama

Give your kids something to brag about in the school playground and take them to climb a volcano during your visit to Edinburgh. In fact, if you’re feeling energetic - there are two you can go up; Arthur’s Seat and Castle Rock. Relax, they are now extinct so no need to worry about molten lava!

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo Tian Tian

Edinburgh Zoo is a top visitor attraction which can be enjoyed by all the family.  With over 1,000 wildlife animals you can watch the penguins paddle, the chimps chat or say hello to Tian Tian and Yang Guang the UK’s only giant pandas.  

With a programme of daily events you can get up close and find out more about your favourite animals.

Ghosts, Gore and Grime with Mercat Tours

Mercat Family Tour

Discover the dark side of Edinburgh with Mercat Tours! Their Ghosts, Gore and Grime tour brings tales of stinking streets, terrible tortures and ghostly goings-on to life - the perfect way to see the sights of Edinburgh’s Old Town while also learning a thing or two about our past. On this kids daytime tour you will visit some of the city’s most horrible haunts including Edinburgh's underground vaults.

To start, you’ll explore the winding closes of Edinburgh. Learn the meaning of gardyloo and hope you never hear it, grimace at the tales of Scottish witches and find out what treasure could be found buried in a 19th century graveyard (clue: it’s not gold and shiny). You’ll finish your excursion beneath the streets in Mercat Tours' exclusive Blair Street Underground Vaults with tales aplenty!

Whatever your taste, style or budget, there's something for everyone in our handy Edinburgh City Guides >