We had 10 days in Edinburgh and we loved it! It’s such a charming city, with a very Harry Potter feel to it. So we’ve decided to share the best of Edinburgh, Scotland, for kids!
Even though we caught a huge snowfall that kept us locked in the house for 2 days, we still managed to have loads of fun. It’s definitely worth to visit Edinburgh with the kids!
In just 10 days, we couldn’t definitely find all the places to visit in Edinburgh because there’s just so much! We tried our best so keep reading for more!
Where to stay in Edinburgh with kids
The best place to stay in Edinburgh, well, I’d say it’s the Old Town. One could argue, because, yes, Stockbridge is also great, and Leith is stunning BUT the convenience of the Old Town just beats them all, in my opinion.
We rented this apartment through Airbnb and it was great. It was just 2 minutes walking to the train station, around 10 minutes walk to the Royal Mile, and it’s super close to many restaurants, convenience stores, and well, everything!
The only problem was that the gas was pre-paid, and it runs out quite often so we had to go out and recharge it a few times. It was very annoying when we found out it’d ended at midnight and there was nowhere open to recharge it, and we couldn’t even recharge online.
It could use a manual for the tenants for sure, but other than that, we have no complaints!
And if you’d rather a hostel or a hotel, find more options on the box below!
Best things to do in Edinburgh with kids
We had to choose amongst the many Edinburgh tourist attractions and it was not easy. We also had to take a few things off the list due to the snow storm that made it impossible to go out sightseeing. But we did quite a few things, so keep reading!
Walk around the Old Town
Just because it’s stunning and it’s very worth it! Take your time, enter the many souvenir shops around, have a coffee (or a drink) in the cafés and restaurants, but take your time walking and taking in all the very old continent feel of the town. You just can’t miss it! Plus, walking around is one of the best free things to do in Edinburgh!
Well, one may think this is a market, but it’s actually a neighborhood. It’s filled with lovely cafés and restaurants, little shops, and it offers great views of the Castle. We passed it quite a few times and it was lovely every single time. What a beautiful place! It’s definitely one of the best things to see in Edinburgh!
Walk the Royal Mile
OK, super touristy but you have to. At least once. Walk slowly, stop often to look around at all the wonderful buildings, watch the men playing the bagpipe, talk to the locals around you, try samples at the restaurants, take photos. Really take your time to enjoy it!
While you’re there, don’t miss at least one of the closes. They’re incredible and full of surprises!
Walk the Water of Leith walk
At Dean Street Village, this short walk, suitable for small kids and even strollers, is stunning. It’s full of people walking their dogs, lovely views all over, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Edinburgh.
We walked it on a frosty morning and, even though we were cold and tired (and, well, we’re not morning people), we all finished it refreshed and happy because, how could we not?
Definitely, pay a visit to Carlton Hill
Even though the stairs were covered in snow (and very, very slippery), and everything else, really, was under 2 inches of snow, it was very worth it! It has the Parthenon, a beautiful tower, and the best views of the city! Of course, it doesn’t often get that lovely snow coat, but I’m pretty sure it’s gorgeous all year long.
Visit one of the weekend markets
There are many markets going on every weekend in the city. We only visited Stockbridge Market because, well, we arrived on a Saturday and forgot to check (we were also very tired) and the following week everything was off due to the snow.
OK, so Stockbridge Market happens every Sunday in Stockbridge (right by the bridge) from 10 am to 2 pm. It’s full of food stalls, and some clothing and accessories stands. It was there that we fell in love with the delicious Scotch Egg – don’t miss it!
If you don’t know, it’s boiled egg rolled into yummy things – that can be pork, vegetarian things, haggis, and a lot more.
It’s one of our favorite Edinburgh activities!
Watch a movie
The UK isn’t famous for its lovely weather, and during winter, things do get even more complicated. We used one of our bad weather days to go watch a movie.
Odeon Cinema isn’t the best movie theater in the world, but it was good – except for 2 things: there was an alarm going on (not inside the movie room, thankfully) and it was highly disturbing AND they charge extra for blockbusters, varying from 50 pence to 1,5 pound per ticket.
Visit Edinburgh Castle – we didn’t
It was too expensive and we didn’t find the Explorer Pass before we left Edinburgh. But you should visit it! Get the Explorer Pass and visit it!
If you’re not getting a pass, make sure you buy your entry online so you don’t have to line up for too long.
For the Harry Potter fans…
Of course, the Greyfriars Kirkyard
A cemetery may not be your family’s favorite activity and it isn’t ours either BUT we just couldn’t miss it. We visited it and, along with us, around 5 groups wearing Harry Potter cloaks and wands. Seriously, every single Harry Potter tour was there at the same time as us.
OK, so it’s said that JK Rowling had the ideas of the names for the series at this Cemetery. Visit it and try to find as many character names as you can! We found Tom Riddel and McGonagall.
Taking the Harry Potter thing out, it’s beautiful, it really is.
And I can’t help but laugh at the face Coral (5) made when she found out that cemeteries are the places where we bury the dead.
Don’t miss Victoria Street!
If there’s a street that looks more like Diagon Alley in the world, I’d like to see it – please don’t say Universal Studios.
The cobblestone street lined with narrow and colorful shops are beautiful, oh so beautiful! On our first visit there, it started snowing and it was perfect!
While there, don’t miss the Context Museum, filled with Harry Potter stuff. It’s a shop to make every Potterhead crazy!
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The Elephant House
How not to? It was our first meal in Edinburgh and it wasn’t bad! There was a waiting line that took around 20 minutes to be seated (even though there were empty tables everywhere) but the food was OK, not too expensive, and a visit to the toilet is always worth it!
This is the café where JK wrote a lot of the first Harry Potter books. It’s filled with elephants, written messages in the table drawers and the toilets (even on the ceiling, I can’t imagine how they wrote it), and it’s actually fun!
Best Edinburgh restaurants for families
We ate out, of course, and here’s the list of the places we tried.
Stockbridge Sunday Market
We love a food market, and the Stockbridge Market was great. It’s small, true, but there’s so much packed into that square that I don’t even know where to start. First of all, try a bit of everything but don’t miss the incredible Scotch Eggs. It just is perfect – and I don’t even like boiled eggs!
Between dumplings, sausage rolls, chutneys, Scotch eggs, and curries, we even bought delicious local cheese and bread to make the best sandwiches since forever. Too bad it was closed on the following Sunday due to the snow.
This is a cheese shop. The kids couldn’t stand the smell inside, but it’s fun anyway. Angelo and I had another Scotch egg. It was good but not as good as the one from the market above. Well, it happens.
We visited the shop on Diagon Alley – I mean Victoria Street.
A cafe shop all around the UK. We liked it! Their brownies are pretty good and the sweet drinks (frappes and so) are delicious. Angelo didn’t like the coffee though.
Byron – Proper Burger
Very good burgers and shakes! I mean, we love burgers and shakes, and they’re hard to ruin, but these ones were great.
The chips were also fun and they offered some unique options, like zucchini fries – delicious! Coral (5) loved the kids’ menu with origami instructions and everyone loved counting the cows – there are many cows hidden in the place.
We had it delivered to us on one of the super snowy days. It was delicious, and they have so many strange and appetizing options! 5 in 6 of us really loved it. One kid didn’t like it and couldn’t finish the burger. He said the sauce was weird – and it wasn’t mayonnaise or aioli, but something more like a rose sauce. Still good, though.
The Elephant House
I mentioned it above, but I’m gonna talk about the food and service here.
They take their time to seat you and serve you. The food is OK, nothing exceptional, not bad. We liked it, but it wasn’t enough to go back to.
It isn’t expensive either, the regular UK price range.
Foods to try
Well, if you are in Scotland, try something regional!
They are my favorite. Boiled eggs rolled in something delicious. It’s usually crumbed pork, but we found many variations. My favorite was the vegetarian at Stockbridge Market! Yum!
Sheep’s pluck seasoned and encased in the animal stomach – though according to Wikipedia, it can be an artificial casing, sometimes.
Well, we didn’t have the courage to try it, I’m ashamed to say.
You may be wondering if I misspelled it, but no. The scotch made in Scotland is whisky and the one made anywhere else is whiskey. We’re not alcohol people, so we didn’t try it but we did buy some cute tiny bottles just as a souvenir.
Things to do Around Edinburgh
Between day and weekend trips, there are many things around Edinburgh as well! We have a full post on day trips. Click here to see it!
A day in Glasgow
Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland, and it’s only 40 minutes away from Edinburgh by train. It’s easily done! Glasgow can be seen in a day or two.
Linlithgow is around 30 minutes away by train and it’s just breathtaking. The ruins of this palace are fully explorable and a dream! Plus it’s cheap. We loved it. And after all, there’s a lake right next to it where you can rest, have lunch, or just enjoy a bit of the view and of the sunshine!
This is the main castle to visit in Scotland and it’s great. There are free guided tours there, and you can spend a full day just exploring the castle, between exhibits, living quarters (with real actors), and a restaurant.
It’s not close, over 3 hours away by car. There are many tours leaving every day, though.
How can someone visit Scotland and not try to see Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster?
To finish it…
Edinburgh is AMAZING, a lovely, lovely city.
It should be on your Scotland itinerary for sure!
The only thing is the number of smokers there. It was our first European city and we had lots of problems adjusting to it.
Since it’s a compact city, it can be toured in 2 days but I do recommend you spend a bit more to enjoy this fairytale place!
We loved it!
- City / Country
- Minimun Stay
- $ ~ $$$
- Best local transport option
- Do we recommend it?
- Edinburgh / Scotland
- 3 days
- Walk – but the trains are excelent
- Super safe