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.

Attractions

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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102 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Gradings

    • 4 Museum
    4 Museum

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    Home to important collections on the history of Edinburgh, from prehistoric times to the present day.

  2. Newhailes

    Type

    Historic Buildings & Homes

    Gradings

    • 5 Historic House
    5 Historic House

    Musselburgh

    This fine historic house, set in a fascinating designed landscape, is something of a time-capsule.

  3. Palace of Holyroodhouse

    Type

    Historic Buildings & Homes

    Gradings

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen's official residence in Scotland, stands at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur's Seat.

  4. Blawhorn Moss

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    West Lothian

    An oasis of open windswept moors hidden in the lowlands, Blawhorn is a site full of secrets.

  5. Peregrinations

    Type

    Kayaking

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Peregrinations is owned and run by Laura Bennitt, qualified Sea Kayak Coach and Guide, and Summer Mountain Leader. Laura offers sea kayak instruction and guiding for all levels across Scotland, hillwalking excursions and navigation classes.

  6. Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Edinburgh

    Home to Scotland’s outstanding national collection of modern and contemporary art, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art comprises two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two.

  7. Archerfield Walled Garden

    Type

    Parks & Gardens

    Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Dirleton

    Welcome to Archerfield Walled Garden

  8. Inwood

    Type

    Parks & Gardens

    Gradings

    Musselburgh

    With the backdrop of mature woodland the garden at Inwood, of which a fine Cornus contraversa variagata forms the centerpiece, sits snugly around the house.

  9. Polkemmet Country Park

    Type

    Parks & Gardens

    Gradings

    • 3 Visitor Attraction
    3 Visitor Attraction

    Whitburn

    Polkemmet Country Park is a popular 68 hectare (168 acre) Visitor Attraction near Whitburn. One of three Country Parks in West Lothian - also visit Almondell & Calderwood Country Park near Broxburn and Polkemmet Country Park near Whitburn.

  10. The Georgian House

    Type

    Historic Buildings & Homes

    Gradings

    • 5 Visitor Attraction
    5 Visitor Attraction

    Edinburgh - City Centre

    Situated in historic Charlotte Square, the Georgian House provides a glimpse of life in the New Town in the 18th centurty.

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