Edinburgh, Scotland has loads of history and culture, but which attractions are best for children? Here are some options:
1. The Scottish Storytelling Centre
The Scottish Storytelling Centre lets kids experience Scottish culture. There is a permanent exhibit about Scottish tales from William Wallace to Katie Morag – including, of course, Long John Silver and Rob Roy McGreggor. Call ahead to learn about the monthly Family Story Circle and the Tiny Tales Events.
A bonus for the adults, the Scottish Storytelling Centre also incorporates John Knox House, the oldest house in Edinburgh, dating to 1470. The permanent exhibition explains the fascinating history of the Protestant reformer John Knox and his uneasy relationship with Mary Queen of Scots.
The Centre is located half way along the Royal Mile, downhill from the Castle and North Bridge. It is a short walk from Waverley train station and Princes Street.
2. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is to Edinburgh what Central Park is to New York City. Full of beautiful flowers and trees, it’s a great place to stroll or sit on a park bench to abbreviate a busy day of sight-seeing.
Hard to believe that the Garden was once a loch which was used as a city dump for centuries. The loch was drained in order to connect Edinburgh’s Old Town with the New Town.
There are vendors selling ice cream and snacks and a children’s playground on the West Side.
Walking along Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare of Princes Street, this green swath in the centre of the city is hard to miss. Princes Street Gardens is divided in two by a street called the Mound.
3. Edinburgh Zoo
Children have been visiting 82-acre Edinburgh Zoo since it was opened in 1913 by the Royal Zooological Soicety. The newly opened Budongo Trail is thought to be the largest chimpanzee enclosure in the world. For bird lovers, there is Rainbow Landings, home of over 40 rainbow lorikeets. For children (and adults) there are keeper talks, several play areas, and free hilltop safari rides. The Zoo is three miles to the West of Edinburgh City Center.
4. The Museum of Childhood
The Museum of Childhood has been called ‘the noisiest museum in the world’!That will appeal to your kid who claims he is allergic to visiting museums. The museum is crammed with objects that both kids and adults will fondly remember. There are toys and games from all over the world and an interesting exhibit that shows how children have been brought up, dressed and educated throughout history.
The Museum of Childhood is located on 42 High Street off the Royal Mile.
5. Edinburgh Castle
What kid wouldn’t like to see a real castle? As castles go, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most majestic. Perched atop an inactive volcano, the fortress dates from 600 AD, although it was re-built in 1578. Dramatic stories of battles, kings and queens will have your children learning history without realizing it. A guided tour is included in the general admission.
A fun event for kids is watching the firing of the cannon from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, which happens precisely at 1 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The tradition began as a means of communicating the time of day to ships in Edinburgh’s Leith Harbor. Edinburgh Castle in the middle of Edinburgh, a short walk from Waverly train station.