Family days out in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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  • A mother and child examine an acrigultural exhibit at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre
    Almond Valley Heritage Centre, West Lothian
  • A family at the edge of the loch at Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow
    The loch at Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow, West Lothian
  • The main gallery of the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
    The main gallery of the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • A group take a tour of the Scottish Mining Museum
    The Scottish Mining Museum, Newtongrange, Midlothian
  • Edinburgh Zoo's female panda Tian Tian © David Fu, photographer
    Edinburgh Zoo's female panda Tian Tian © David Fu, photographer

From castles and fascinating museums to country parks, gardens and much more, come and explore the excellent range of activities for the whole family across Edinburgh & The Lothians. Enjoy a day out in the city, or head into the country and discover the great outdoors.


The fascinating displays at the National Museum of Scotland on Edinburgh’s Chambers Street will have both children and adults mesmerised for hours. Discover the natural world and explore cultures from around the globe, as well as Scotland’s story.

For a great slice of history, as well as fantastic views across the city, take a trip to Edinburgh Castle where you’ll find everything from Scotland’s crown jewels to the One O’Clock Gun. From the castle, walk about half-way down the historic Royal Mile to the Real Mary King’s Close, one of the city’s spookiest attractions. Investigate the fascinating series of underground passages with an eerie tour guide dressed as a former resident of the street and uncover the dark secrets the passages hold.

The Edinburgh Dungeon on Market Street near Waverley Station is also well worth a visit. Travel back in time and meet some of Scotland’s most famous, and infamous, characters. If you survive meeting body snatchers Burke and Hare and the cannibal Sawney Bean and his hungry family, you can visit the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions which has entertained visitors with its marvellous optical illusions since the Victorian period.

Our Dynamic Earth allows you to travel back to the beginning of our planet and watch the Big Bang from the Hubble Telescope. Witness a tropical rain storm and feel the heat of a bubbling volcano ready to erupt as the museum takes you through 15,000 million years of Earth’s history up to the present day.

Another popular attraction with families is Edinburgh Zoo where the daily penguin parade and Scotland’s very own pandas are just two of the exotic species on show.

In East Lothian, the National Museum of Flight features a wonderful collection of aircraft including Concorde and there are also some marvelous castles to explore such as the charming Dirleton Castle and the breathtaking Tantallon Castle, which is perched on the cliffs above the Firth of Forth.

Step back in time in Midlothian with a visit to the National Mining Museum at Newtongrange and find out what life was like for the miners who worked there. If you're brave enough, go and meet a wide variety of creepy crawlies and tropical butterflies at Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World in Lasswade.  

Country parks and gardens

Take the whole family for a fantastic free day out at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, where you can spend hours of fun exploring the grounds and discovering rare and beautiful plants and trees. There’s a packed programme of educational events throughout the year too which includes bird feeding days and arts and crafts.

If you fancy getting active, visit Beecraigs Country Park in West Lothian and try your hand at archery or take a boat trip out on the loch. A short distance away lies Almondell & Calderwood Country Park which includes beautiful woodland and riverside walks and a heritage centre packed with interesting exhibits.

Browse the listings for more family day out ideas across Edinburgh & The Lothians.

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106 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Gradings

    • 3 Visitor Attraction
    3 Visitor Attraction


    Cruise to the Avon Aqueduct on "St Magdalene" - a 40 seater canal boat. Departs 2:30 returns 5pm Sat & Sun. Half hour Town Boat Trips from 2 till 4:30pm. Tearoom and Canal Museum. Also charters & Hires.

  2. John Muir's Birthplace, Dunbar


    Historic Buildings & Homes


    • 5 Visitor Attraction
    5 Visitor Attraction


    The birthplace of John Muir has been transformed into a stunning Interpretative Centre highlighting the work of the man known as 'the father of modern conservation'.

  3. Jupiter Artland


    Parks & Gardens


    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction


    Set within the picturesque 80 acre estate of Bonnington House, Jupiter Artland is the brainchild of Nicky and Robert Wilson.

  4. Gradings

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    Built in the shell of the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon's School, the Queen's Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse showcases changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. Current exhibition - "Scottish Artists".

  5. Tantallon Castle




    • 4 Castle
    4 Castle


    Set on the edge of the cliffs, looking out to the Bass Rock, this formidable castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family.

  6. Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating overview of Scotland past and present though a wealth of imagery encompassing painting, photography, sculpture and film

  7. Gradings

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    Join us on a fishing or falconry day trip. We supply all transport, tackle, permits and tuition ,No experience needed. Half day trout fishing from £75pp or a Salmon fishing trip from £160pp . Check out our excellent Trip advisor reviews.

  8. Gradings

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is a unique, historic venue located in central Edinburgh. Our wonderful mix of historic and modern spaces lend themselves to any occassion from Conference & meetings to private dining & weddings.

  9. Gradings


    Stills is a centre for photography based in the heart of Edinburgh. We offer exhibitions and production facilities as well as a range of creative learning opportunities for anyone to discover, enjoy and understand photography.

  10. Gradings

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    The Royal Scottish Academy is Scotland's premier organisation promoting contemporary Scottish art.


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