The best of Edinburgh, Scotland, for kids

Edinburgh (Scotland) is, by far, one of the prettiest cities we've ever seen. Its colonial buildings, castles, parks, monuments, colorful streets, everything is perfect. It's a perfect place to visit with kids! Click for more!

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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!

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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.

Edinburgh is a lovely place, and when it snows, it's even prettier. Find out the best in Edinburgh (Scotland) with kids by clicking here!

We were out and about when the first snow storm came around. The sky was blue and it was lovely at 10 am, but then, at 4 pm the city was like this. As Melissa said, ‘Hogwarts, is that you?’.

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!

If you’re new to Airbnb, click here to get a discount on your first booking! We receive a discount on ours too!

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!

Edinburgh is a great place to walk around and just get lost. Even during winter and with kids. There's just too many beautiful things everywhere. Find out more!

Waling The Water of Leigh walk, we saw this. Isn’t it a dream? I just love it. If it wasn’t so cold, I’d have stayed there for ages.

  • 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!

  • Visit Grassmarket

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!

Carlton Hill is a stunning place in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has some of the best views of the city. Click for more!

This is the Parthenon at Carlton Hill. And 3 out of the 6 of us. It’s worth the visit, just choose a day when the snow is either fresh or nonexistent. The stairs are scary when they’re frozen

 

  • 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?

The Grassmarket area is lovely, with some great views of the Edinburgh Castle, and lots of restaurants! It just couldn't go wrong - being one of the must visits in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Grassmarket area and my kids after arguing over a block of snow. As if there weren’t enough snow blocks around them for both… #parenting

  • 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!

Harry Potter fans will love Victoria Street in Edinburgh (Scotland). It's said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. We visited it a few times with our kids - find out more about it here!

Well, my friends, it truly is. Victoria Street, the inspiration for Diagon Alley. I LOVE 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.

Our Harry Potter fan kids had lots of fun at Greyfriars Kirkyard. This is a must for families in Edinburgh!

Greyfriars Kirkyard here – it may not sound like a fun family day out but it was, really. And I’m terrified of anything spooky. Just go when there’s light. 🙂

 

  • 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.

Scotch Eggs are readily available in Scotland, but the best we've tried were at Stockbridge Market! Pay a visit, you won't regret it! To know more, click along!

The famous in Scotland, Scotch Eggs. LOVED IT! Must learn how to make it.

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!

  • 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!

Oh, you can see Greyfriars Kirkyard from the window!

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!

The Elephant House is full of Harry Potter fans and a fun place to eat in Edinburgh. Click to know more!

No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without this. Well, not for a Potterhead, anyway.

 

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.

  • IJ Mellis

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.

Any walk around Edinburgh is bound to bring up surprises, and the views are always stunning! Click to find out more!

The comment in my family was: ANOTHER STATUE OF A DUDE ON A HORSE? Then it went on to: this dude has a fancy hat…

  • Cafe Nero

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.

  • Burger UK

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.

A paper glued to the pedestrian light button saying 'press the button to check if you are dreaming'. Well, Edinburgh is certainly dreamy!

Would you press it? I didn’t, but my kids did and they were expecting a little shock or something – nothing. Or maybe they were bluffing so I’d go and do it. No, thanks.

  • 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!

  • Scotch Eggs

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!

The Context Museum, in Victoria Street (Edimburgh, Scotland) is a must for Harry Potter fans! Click to know more!

Harry Potter fans go crazy inside this little shop at Victoria Street – I mean Diagon Alley. The Context Museum is just too good to be true.

 

  • Haggi

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.

  • Whisky

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!

Edinburgh, in Scotland, is beautiful when it's sunny, cloudy, rainy, or snowy. It's beautiful whatever the weather. Click to know more!

Everywhere we looked, everything was beautiful. That’s Edinburgh for me: where everything is beautiful.

  • 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.

You can see everything we did in Glasgow here!

  • Linlithgow Palace

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!

  • Stirling Castle

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.

  • Loch Ness

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?

If you're visiting Edinburgh (Scotland) with kids, click to know all there is to know!

The city was stunning covered in white snow but it was very wet, cold, and slippery. Not my favorite weather, to be honest. What about you? PS: this is not a black and white photo.

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.

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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
  • $ ~ $$$
  • Child-friendlyness
  • Best local transport option
  • Safety
  • Do we recommend it?
  • Edinburgh / Scotland
  • 3 days
  • $$$
  • Perfect!
  • Walk – but the trains are excelent
  • Super safe
  • YES!

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