Are you planning on visiting Edinburgh, the lovely Scottish capital, with your family?
Then you’ll be pleased to know that there is certainly no shortage of awesome things to do in Edinburgh with toddlers!
From quirky museums, ancient castles and beautiful beaches to quaint cafes, tranquil parks and countless activities for kids – you can find all the best Edinburgh attractions in this guide. We’ve chosen a selection of indoor and outdoor activities, free and paid.
Let us know which are your top toddler days out in Edinburgh!
- Best Toddler Days Out In Edinburgh
Best Toddler Days Out In Edinburgh
The most popular paid tourist destination in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle, which is a view you certainly can’t miss as it’s perched on a prehistoric volcanic rock. But don’t worry — it’s still accessible with a pushchair.
Explore Edinburgh Castle’s rocky ramparts and prepare to take in the loveliest cityscapes from its ancient gun holes.
The Scottish crown jewels, armour and weaponry on exhibit inside the Great Hall, as well as Mons Meg — one of the biggest cannons on the globe from the Middle Ages — are among the top attractions for children.
A guided tour is included in the castle ticket or you can just wander around the area at your own pace.
One of the city’s most popular family-friendly activities is visiting Edinburgh Zoo, home to the only giant pandas and koalas in the UK.
This popular zoo, which houses over 1,000 rare and endangered species and is situated among 82 acres of rolling grassland, is a terrific place to take toddlers when visiting Edinburgh.
There is plenty of room for the youngsters to run around, and the animals are all well cared for in roomy enclosures.
Don’t miss the spectacular penguin parade, which takes place when the King, Gentoo, and Rockhopper penguins emerge from their enclosures and accompany the zookeepers along the parade path.
National Museum of Scotland
The magnificent Edinburgh National Museum of Scotland is among the ten most popular tourist attractions in the UK and among the top twenty most frequently visited galleries and museums worldwide. And it’s free!
One of Edinburgh’s top activities with kids is visiting this fantastic, interactive exhibition space, especially on a gloomy day.
Over 8,000 artefacts are on show at the museum, encompassing everything from world culture and robotics to transportation, science and the environment. Some of the objects date back to the time of the dinosaurs!
But don’t worry; there will be plenty of engaging, hands-on activities to keep the kids occupied.
Children will particularly enjoy the Animal World gallery, which is crammed with plush animals, as well as the Adventure Planet, to explore an oak tree’s roots for creepy crawlies and dig for old dinosaur bones.
Don’t miss the life-size T-Rex skeleton on display!
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions is located on the Royal Mile, next to the castle.
The Camera Obscura presentation projects real-time moving pictures of Edinburgh onto the viewing table, which allows you to move people around and even steer vehicles over the paper bridges. It’s really a fantastic way to learn about the city and its history!
The World of Illusions houses the Magic Gallery – where your hands will shine as if you are in an x-ray machine, or you can see clones of yourself in a huge kaleidoscope.
Additionally, there is the Light Fantastic exhibition, boasting astonishing holograms (beware of the monster tarantula!) and the Illusion Lab, which is full of mind-blowing optical illusions. Make your way through the mirror maze if you dare!
Toddlers and young kids will love exploring all the cool stuff here.
Dynamic Earth takes you on a visually fascinating voyage through time, beginning with the Big Bang and ending with the spectacular Aurora Borealis.
Dynamic Earth offers a 4Dventure, a 4D film adventure, taking you on a journey from the Arctic all the way to the heart of a tropical jungle, bringing you up close to a great white shark, a rhinoceros, and a scorpion!
Also, make sure to check out the ShowDome, Scotland’s first 360-degree dome cinema, which provides a truly mesmerising experience while screening educational movies all year round.
This is a great activity for combining fun with education for your little ones.
Did you know that Edinburgh has a dormant volcano in the city centre?
Climbing this ancient volcano is possibly the greatest activity in Edinburgh for kids of all ages. Arthur’s Seat is a member of Edinburgh’s seven hills and can easily be accessed from Edinburgh City centre.
Holyrood Park, which includes the volcano, is only a quick stroll from Royal Mile and Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s residence while she is staying in Edinburgh.
The breathtaking vistas from the summit are truly worth the long hike up the 251-metre slope.
However, if you’re travelling with younger kids who can’t handle walking uphill, you can also get a cab (or drive) up to Dunsapie Loch on the opposite side of the Seat – making it much shorter 15-20 minute-walk to the top!
LOVE Gorgie Farm
Perhaps not the most popular or famous tourist attraction in Edinburgh, but a great one for tiny tots nonetheless, is the LOVE Gorgie Farm.
At this urban farm (previously known as Gorgie City Farm), toddlers can get up close and personal with a range of farm animals – a fantastic treat for those accustomed to city life.
Parents can enjoy a cuppa at the lovely café when the little ones are done exploring, too. Plus there’s a brilliant outdoor play area.
The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena
Europe’s biggest indoor climbing arena is just outside Edinburgh and is a great option for rainy-day activities for youngsters in Edinburgh.
These indoor parks were developed in an abandoned quarry and are one of the best indoor Edinburgh kids activities.
Adrenaline enthusiasts (and older kids) will be thrilled to discover that there is an aerial adventure course which is 30 metres above the ground, and bouldering, in addition to the climbing wall.
The Scrambles soft play area of the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena includes its own mini climbing wall for the very little ones, as well as the Rock Tots Playroom, which includes dress-up, bikes, trikes, a bouncy castle, games, and puzzles.
Once your kiddos have used up their energy, they can recuperate in the cafe before heading to Honey Pot Ceramics for some fun art and crafting!
The Scottish Storytelling Centre
At the Scottish Storytelling Centre, you can take a break from touring and relax while listening to a magical tale.
The arts centre hosts many activities all year long, but the Storytelling Court also has an interactive Story Wall.
You can learn more about Greyfriars Bobby as well as other well-known Scottish figures like Nessie and Wee Willie Winkie, and you can hear snippets from some of Robert Louis Stevenson’s well-known stories.
There is a bookstore in the historic John Knox House (be on the lookout for the hidden dragon’s nest!) if you feel compelled to pick up a book to take home.
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is a stunning and distinctive green space in Edinburgh’s city centre, and enjoying a picnic here is one of the very best things to do with kids in Edinburgh (as long as it’s not raining, of course).
Edinburgh’s gardens are separated into two parts – West and East- with acres of magnificent rolling lawns on both sides, ideal for strolling about on a sunny day or enjoying a leisurely family picnic.
The playground, which also has the greatest view of Edinburgh Castle, is located in the far western corner.
The East Garden is transformed into a magical Christmas Winter Wonderland with a magnificent market, fairground activities, an ice skating rink, and a Big Wheel during the holidays.
During the Edinburgh Festival in the summer, a carousel is also set up here, as are numerous temporary bars — something for all the family!
If you want some fantastic views but your little ones can’t manage the climb up Edinburgh’s volcano to the top of Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill is a great alternative. It’s a much shorter climb to the top, but you’ll still enjoy a stunning view of the whole city.
If you’re keen on exploring Edinburgh to the fullest, you’ve got to check out the historical monuments perched upon the hill, too.
The fantastic seaside suburb of Portobello is just a short bus or taxi ride from the city. If you and the kids are feeling brave, take a dip in the North Sea. Otherwise, set up a blanket and simply enjoy the sand!
There are loads of quirky shops and eateries to enjoy in Portobello, too. Reds is aimed especially at the younger generation, with an expansive kids’ menu and a soft play area inside, too.
Dalkeith Country Park
This fantastic country park is absolutely packed with fun things for little ones and their older siblings alike.
The Fort Douglas Adventure Park has slides, climbing frames, tunnels, bridges, and plenty more to tire out your toddler. When they’re finally finished playing, head over to the Restoration Yard restaurant, or pick up a gift there for family back home.
It’s located outside the city centre although only a 5-minute drive from the Edinburgh city bypass, so it’s easy to reach.
Looking for another location? Check out our Days Out section for more ideas.