Days out in Edinburgh
A city immersed in history, Edinburgh makes for a great family day out. Here are our top picks for a day in the city.
Start the day off at Café Rouge
This family-friendly French restaurant, a short walk from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station and close to Princes Street, has a busy, bustling vibe and offers a dedicated kids’ menu. Why not fill up with some pancakes, patisseries, granola or eggs benedict in readiness for your family day out in Edinburgh. If it’s a bright morning, sit outside and enjoy the morning sun.
Discover the power of science at Our Dynamic Earth
Brunch at the Fruitmarket Gallery café
If you and the children are feeling a bit peckish after a few hours running around Dynamic Earth, it’s worth mentioning the café at the Fruitmarket Gallery, just outside the station. As well as offering leading contemporary art right in the heart of the city, the Fruitmarket also has one of the best cafes in Edinburgh. A great place for a quick bite to eat, grab some home-made soup, a salad or some scrumptious deli-filled rolls before getting on your way.
History and stories at Edinburgh Castle
Full bellies? Good. You’ll need it for a trip to Edinburgh Castle, of which no trip to Scotland’s capital is complete without. Linking Edinburgh’s Old and New towns and stretching out across the skyline, the castle really has to be seen to be believed. Family-friendly, you and the kids are bound to have a great time.
The Stone of Destiny - probably Scotland’s most famous relic, this stone has been used to enthrone kings and queens of Great Britain through the ages.
Prisons of War - this cavernous dungeon vault was used to house prisoners of war, including a drummer boy captured at the Battle of Trafalgar.
One o’clock Gun - make sure you’re outside the Redcoat Café by 13.00 on your visit to the castle - that’s when the One o’clock Gun is fired (not on Sundays though).
A wonderful wander down the Royal Mile
Edinburgh Castle sits at the top of the Royal Mile, so why not spend the next hour having a stroll down this wonderful thoroughfare? At about a mile long it’s only a short walk - and there are plenty of places to have a rest if you and the gang get tired.
As you walk down you’ll be walking through some of Edinburgh’s best-loved streets, including Castlehill, Canongate and the High Street. Busy and vibrant, there’s lots to see and do.
Scottish Storytelling Centre
The home of Scotland’s stories, the Scottish Storytelling Centre is an eclectic arts venue about halfway down the Royal Mile. Perfect as part of a day out with children, there’s always lots going on, be it theatre, live storytelling music or workshops. Take a look at the centre’s events listings to find out what’s happening when you visit.
Picnic in Holyrood Park
Make your way down the rest of the Royal Mile, picking up some picnic bits along the way, til you come to the Scottish Parliament Building, designed by the late Spanish architect Enric Miralles. Wander a few more paces and you’re in Holyrood Park, a lovely green space where the children can run around and explore. If you’re feeling ambitious you could even enjoy a clamber up to Arthur’s Seat.
Explore Scotland’s murky past at the Edinburgh Dungeon
Make your way back to the station for a trip to Edinburgh Dungeon. From the tale of gravediggers Burke and Hare, the plague and Edinburgh’s Great Fire, this centre sees you step into Edinburgh’s (dark) past. Full of rides, actors and special effects, the dungeon is bags of fun and, as you’d expect, rather scary. Best of all, all the stories it holds are true.
Head out of the Dungeon and walk for five minutes through the resplendent Princes Street Gardens ‘til you come to the Scottish National Gallery. Admission is free. The gallery houses some of the finest art in the world, so take in some culture before making your way back to the station.
Finish with some food and a drink
Top off your day with a trip to Contini, a family-run, award-winning eatery. It’s less than ten minutes’ walk from the gallery and after a day spent padding around town you'll be in need of some hearty fare. The kids’ menu includes pasta with tomato and mini vegetable sugo and chicken goujons with salad and roast potatoes. Tuck in before making your way back to the station.
Have a great day out with the family in Edinburgh.