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

Get ready for a wild and wacky adventure in Edinburgh, as recommended by the city’s coolest critics – the kids themselves! They’ve picked 50 of their absolute favourite things to see and do in the capital, and there’s something for everyone. From visiting the magical Chocolatarium to exploring the enchanting Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, there’s something for every family to enjoy, no matter your budget. And to make it even easier for you, we’ve picked our top 10 favourites to go into detail about. So, pack your bags, put on your adventure hats, and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Zoo, Giraffes

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is a top visitor attraction that’s perfect for animal lovers of all ages. With over 1,000 animals, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Watch the penguins paddle, the chimps chat or say hello to Ginger, the red panda. There are plenty of fun and interactive experiences for kids, including animal encounters, keeper talks, and even the opportunity to be a zookeeper for the day! So why not come and spend a wild day with the family at Edinburgh Zoo.

Mercat Tours, Family

Mercat Tours

Are your kids brave enough to explore the spooky side of Edinburgh? Look no further than the Gory Tour by Mercat Tours! Led by a knowledgeable guide with a passion for storytelling, this tour takes you on a thrilling journey through the city’s spookiest locations and back in time. Discover the secrets of the Old Town, delve into the haunted underground vaults, and learn about the ghosts and ghouls that once roamed the streets of Edinburgh. But don’t worry, this tour is tailored to be family-friendly so there’s no need to fear any nightmares. With plenty of interactive storytelling, it’s a fun and engaging way to learn about the city’s dark and mysterious past. So, why not give your family a spine-tingling adventure they’ll never forget?

© Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh
A woman and man in a Mirror Maze at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh,© Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

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 experience the full blend of entertainment, education, and mind-bending experiences, including a swirling light vortex; maze of mirrors; and the chance to swap noses with a friend. See yourself grow, shrink and stretch; play eye-spy with city viewcams; and mess with your mind with brilliant visual effects. Then, step outside onto the Rooftop Terrace and enjoy the best 360⁰ views of Edinburgh.

Botanic Garden view sun bathers

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

For those seeking some fresh air, 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. The garden boasts a vast collection of plant species from all over the world, as well as beautiful glasshouses and outdoor gardens to explore. Kids will love discovering the exotic plants and wildlife, as well as the opportunity to run around and play in the wide-open spaces.

If the weather is kind you can enjoy an ice-cream or why not have a picnic. This stunning oasis in the heart of the city, is perfect for a family day out!

Edinburgh Castle, kids sitting on cannon with parents standing beside them

Edinburgh Castle

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 and getting close to the Crown Jewels or delving into the castle’s storied past through interactive exhibits, audio guides and thrilling live performances by costumed characters. The Castle is also home to Mons Meg, a cannon built in 1449 capable of firing a stone ball up to 3.2km (2 miles). Earmuffs at the ready as the famous 1 o’clock gun is fired over the city at 1pm on the dot from the castle ramparts.

Boy and girl standing in front of a globe.

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 space, exploring the history of the planet and the forces that have shaped it. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, such as the earthquake simulator and the chance to step inside a tropical rainforest. Travel to the beginning of time in a time machine, watch the big bang from a spaceship, take a walk through millions of years of evolution, journey from the Arctic to the equator, immerse yourself into a full dome technology movie theatre at the planetarium, and so many more unforgettable experiences at Dynamic Earth!


The Chocolatarium

The Chocolatarium is a true paradise for chocolate lovers of all ages! This experience is not only a delicious treat but also a fun and educational adventure for the whole family – from discovering the history and science behind chocolate to making your own chocolate bars and decorating truffles. The Chocolatarium’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide visitors through the process, making it a stress-free and enjoyable experience for all.

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

With interactive exhibits and engaging displays, kids will love exploring the National Museum of Scotland’s diverse collections, from the prehistoric creatures to the interactive science exhibits. The museum also offers family-friendly activities, such as workshops and storytelling sessions. Visit the museum during one of their monthly ‘Relaxed Mornings’, where you can explore the museum without the noisy interactions and videos. These inclusive sessions welcome families with autistic children, individuals with autism, those living with dementia or mental health challenges, and anyone else with sensory needs or a preference for a relaxed atmosphere, along with their families, friends, and caregivers. And the best part? admission is free! So, bring the whole family and discover the wonders of Scotland and the world.

Portobello sandy beach and sea as backdrop

Portobello Beach

This sandy stretch of coastline is just a short distance from the city centre and offers plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages. There’s lots of space to build sandcastles, fly kites, or simply relax and enjoy the fresh sea air. Even when it’s cold, there are still plenty of things for kids to enjoy, from the amusement arcade to the indoor swimming pool and Turkish baths at the Victorian-era Portobello Baths. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of cafes and ice cream shops along the promenade.

Edinburgh Bus Tours, open top bus

Open-top Bus Tours

Hop aboard one of the open-top bus tours and embark on a journey through the city’s historic streets and scenic landmarks.

Edinburgh Bus Tours offers a unique way to explore the stunning city of Edinburgh. Enjoy beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat, and more. Families can hop on and off at various stops along the route, providing a fun and exciting way to explore the city’s top attractions. Knowledgeable guides provide entertaining commentary, sharing fascinating stories and insights into Edinburgh’s past.

Bright Bus Tours offer vibrant and engaging sightseeing experiences, allowing visitors to explore the city’s attractions in style. With comfortable buses and lively commentary, they provide a journey through Edinburgh’s rich history and captivating landmarks. Whether it’s your first visit to Edinburgh or you’re a local looking to rediscover the city, an open top bus tour promises an exciting adventure for the whole family to enjoy together.


Kaspa’s Edinburgh

Kaspa’s Edinburgh is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. This dessert parlour specializes in a mouthwatering array of treats, including sundaes, waffles, crepes, and indulgent milkshakes. Whether it’s a celebratory occasion or simply a sweet craving, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Kaspa’s.

Volcano Falls Edinburgh

Volcano Falls Adventure Golf

Volcano Falls Adventure Golf offers an exciting and family-friendly activity in Edinburgh.

Nestled within a tropical-themed setting, Volcano Falls Adventure Golf takes players on a journey through lush landscapes, winding waterfalls, and, of course, erupting volcanoes.

Families can putt their way through fun holes, navigating obstacles and hazards while enjoying the lively atmosphere. With multiple courses to choose from, ranging in difficulty levels, Volcano Falls caters to golfers of all ages and skill levels.


Chihuahua Café

For dog lovers, the Chihuahua Café in Edinburgh offers a fun family-friendly experience where visitors can enjoy delicious refreshments as well as adorable chihuahuas! Nestled in a cozy café setting, families can relax and unwind while being surrounded by these charming and friendly little dogs. Children and adults alike can spend quality time cuddling, playing, and taking photos with the furry residents.

Looking for even more family-friendly fun in Edinburgh?

Explore our Local Kids’ Guide to Edinburgh

If you’re planning your family-friendly trip to Edinburgh, you can download our mobile-friendly Local Kids’ Guide to Edinburgh here, or if you’d prefer a hard copy, you can download a print friendly version of the guide here, which can be coloured in throughout your visit.

Kids activity guide

Will you visit all 50? Share you fun with us #ForeverEdinburgh