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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  1. Gambado Edinburgh


    Children's Attractions



    Gambado is the UK's ultimate soft play experience! 3 Level main frame, toddler frame, baby ring, 31 seat carousel and for the more adventurous our climbing wall.

  2. Rosslyn Chapel


    Churches, Cathedrals & Abbeys


    • 5 Historic Attraction
    5 Historic Attraction


    Founded in 1446, as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, Rosslyn Chapel today attracts visitors from far and wide, drawn by its unique and mysterious carvings and the beauty of its setting.

  3. Blawhorn Moss


    Nature Centres & Reserves


    West Lothian

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

  4. Archerfield Walled Garden


    Parks & Gardens


    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction


    Archerfield Walled Garden is set on the site of a former Victorian kitchen garden, you can also visit our deli/farm shop - open seven days a week.

  5. Seashore Gallery




    East Lothian

    Seashore Gallery is located in the small historic fishing village of Cockenzie & Port Seton, home of world renown artist John Bellany. The gallery overlooks the Firth of Forth and is on the John Muir Trail.

  6. Peter Potter Gallery





    Peter Potter Gallery, hailed as the 'jewel in the crown' of East Lothian is a contemporary gallery showing visual art and craft exhibitions.

  7. Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction


    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.

  8. Gradings

    North Berwick

    Welcome to Tantallon Arts & Crafts Studios, North Berwick, East Lothian.

  9. Arniston House


    Historic Buildings & Homes



    Arniston House is a magnificent William Adam, Palladian style mansion house set in acres of beautiful parkland just 11 miles from Edinburgh. It has been home to the Dundas family for over 400 years. We invite you to come and visit us.

  10. Gradings

    • 5 Museum
    5 Museum


    Head off on a journey of discovery at this former airfield and explore the history of aviation from the First World War to the present day.


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