fun things to do with kids in edinburgh scotland - family travel   Travel for Kids


edinburgh castle
From Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh spans centuries of Scottish history, and continues to this day, as the capital of Scotland. It's a city that captures the imagination (J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books in Edinburgh cafes), and is best explored on foot with kids. Traveling around Edinburgh, cobbled streets and narrow lanes lead into unexpected places, where a dog, unicorns, Mary Queen of Scots, fairy cakes, and the Stone of Destiny await.
Edinburgh Photo Album
  Edinburgh Castle
  Royal Mile
  Old Town
  New Town
  Palace of Holyroodhouse & Abbey
  Arthur's Seat - Holyrood Park
  Edinburgh day trips

Look for unicorns Unicorns are a central theme of the Royal Arms of Scotland. As kids run around Edinburgh, see how many unicorns you can find. There are plenty to see around the Palace of Holyroodhouse, also in Edinburgh Castle, in St. Giles' Cathedral, on the Mercat Cross.


Fun food


Kids will have fun with sweets in Edinburgh. In shops look for old fashioned sweets (also the gift shop at the National Museum of Scotland) – sour plooms, black and white humbugs, iron brew creams, fried eggs, saltire (blue and white like flag of Scotland), butterscotch, pan drops, Edinburgh rock. There's also Haggis Poo – chocolate covered raisins, and Nessie Poo – toffee on the outside, a raisin inside.


Stop into Clarinda's Tea Room for delicious scones, and other classic pastries such as fairy cakes, rockbuns, shortbread, toffee crisp and lemon crunch.




There's no end of shops where kids can pick up a kilt, including boys (the local guys wear them all the time), tartan purses, shoes, scarves and tams. There's also adorable teddy bears in kilts and handmade sweaters. If your family is of Scottish ancestry, pick up clan coats of arms.

family hotels apartments edinburgh scotland

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Edinburgh, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels and apartments rentals, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore.

Edinburgh family hotels & apartments
family tours edinburgh

Take a two hour family walking tour to explore winding lanes of Old Town Edinburgh and visit the National Museum of Scotland, with fascinating characters and stories of Edinburgh's history:

    Edinburgh Time Travel for Kids
family travel tools edinburgh scotland

A super way to get to know Edinburgh is to ride around the city in a hop on – hop off bus. 24 stops around the city, including Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Bobby, Princes Street Gardens, and more, plus a special Horrible Histories kid's audio commentary. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and you can board the double-decker bus anywhere on the route, stops are marked on the streets.

Edinburgh Hop On Hop Off Bus
kids books edinburgh scotland
This is Edinburgh childrens books  

Take a trip through Edinburgh, up Waverly Steps to Princes Street, visit monuments, gardens, bridges, the Castle, Holyrood Palace, plus fun facts (clan tartans, Scottish dress, famous people from Edinburgh). Fabulous, fun illustrations bring the city to life, this is a classic.
(Picture book)


Mary Queen of Scots and All That
Allan Burnett, Scoular Anderson

Biography of Mary Queen of Scots, crowned as a baby in Stirling Castle, childhood in France, returning to Holyroodhouse to rule as queen, bad behavior by her husbands, kidnap plots and mysterious murders, and finally a date with Elizabeth I's executioner. Good for older kids. (Illustrated chapter book)


Mary Queen of Scots
You Wouldn't Want to Be Mary, Queen of Scots  
You Wouldn't Want to Be Mary, Queen of Scots!
Fiona Macdonald, David Antram

Humorous, handy tips for Mary, Queen of Scots, "a ruler who really lost her head" – you're a teenage widow and queen of Scotland, but people are plotting against you, try to avoid being kidnapped and locked up (she didn't), and don't conspire against Elizabeth I (she did). (Picture book)


Queen's Own Fool
Jane Yolen, Robert J. Harris

Young Nicola joins the court of Mary Queen of Scots, to entertain the queen with poetry and songs. At Holyrood Palace, Nicola and the Queen are embroiled in treacherous politics, the Scottish lords rebel, the king is murdered, and Mary Queen of Scots becomes a prisoner in Lochleven castle. (Chapter book)

For teens: The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots


Queen's Own Fool: A Novel of Mary Queen of Scots kids books edinburgh
edinburgh kids adventure The Chaos Clock  
The Chaos Clock
Gill Arbuthnott

In Edinburgh, time is coming unstuck by Chaos, and powerful forces are concentrated in the National Museum of Scotland. Can two kids obtain the hoard of ancient bronze weapons and stop the monkey in the Millenium Clock, before it's too late? Wonderful local color, and perfect to read before you visit the museum. (Chapter book)


Anne Forbes

Under the hill in Holyrood Park lives Arthur, a young, inexperienced dragon, and the MacArthurs, who guard the firestones. Two kids on summer holiday, a power hungry magician, shape-shifting pigeons, this is a super fantasy adventure, filled with Scottish magic and lore. (Chapter book)

The adventure continues in: The Wings of Ruksh, to the final book in the series, Dragon Seeker


Dragonfire edinburgh kids fantasy
kids books edinburgh dog Greyfriars Bobby  
Greyfriars Bobby
David Ross

Heart-warming story of Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye terrier that adopts an old shepherd, Auld Jock, as his master. When Auld Jock dies and is buried in Greyfriars churchyard, Bobby ignores the "No Dogs Allowed" sign. (Chapter book)


Edinburgh Unlocked
Colin Chisholm, Katherine Hardy

Delightful kids' guide to Edinburgh, with lots of insider secrets, fascinating facts and the nitty gritty to plan your visit. Where can you wield a broadsword, explore an underground street, clamber over a castle, fly a kite in the city center, and more? (Guidebook)


kids guidebook Edinburgh Unlocked
(More children's books on other Scotland pages)
travel for kids | | edinburgh
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