As a family we are huge fans of the United Kingdom – some of our favourite travel memories are from the time we spent through England. So when planning our most recent trip, we knew the UK would feature and since we had not explored Scotland as a family, it was an easy choice to make. Starting in Edinburgh we had scheduled four days and were delighted with just how much fun there is for kids to do in this remarkable historical city.
Surely the most recognisable tourist attraction in Edinburgh or dare I say Scotland, Edinburgh Castle sits perched high up on the rock hill of Old Town and has a remarkable presence that is quite enchanting to children. Ok, and adults too. We hired the audio guides to assist with our children taking in some of the historical significance of this castle, and also let them explore as there are plenty of stairs, hidden passages and interesting artefacts to see. We loved exploring the dungeons, admiring the stain glassed windows and reading all about the times of war and refuge.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a parade celebrating an anniversary of the queens coronation whilst we were there.
Tip – Book skip the line tickets or get there right on opening time to avoid the crowds.
Explore on foot
Edinburgh is quite a compact city. Divided into Old and New Town and it is a lovely city to walk around. If you have energetic children, head to Arthurs Seat and Carlton Gardens which flank the Palace of Hollyrood Park (the Queen’s residence when she visits Scotland). The children loved exploring the many narrow streets or“tunnels” as they liked to called them that took us down stairs or up stairs, and through to hidden parts of the city.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the succession of streets and roads that leads from Edinburgh Castle down to Hollyrood Park. Called the Royal Mile given it’s length (I believe they call it a Scottish Mile) and the significance of ending at Her Majesty’s Residence. This street is fabulous to walk up and down, get a glimpse of Scottish culture with the quintessential bagpiper on the corner setting the scene with a musical flare.
Tip – Get a pass for the hop on hop off bus to help you get from place to place.
We visited two museums whilst in Scotland and loved them both. The first was the Museum of Childhood, a collection of toys, educational material, clothing and more dating from over 100 years ago. It was so lovely to show the children what toys children had previous generations ago, and then of course to feel that nostalgia as we could share with them the toys and games of our own generation. You can find this Museum on 42 High Street, Royal Mile.
The next museum was the National Museum of Scotland which has four incredible floors full of natural science and engineering. From planets, stuffed animals, automobiles, decorative arts, cultural collections, mechanics and fashion this interactive museum was a great way to spend a few hours learning and having fun.
You can find this museum at 18-20 Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
Tip – Both these museums are free of charge.
Harry Potter mania
My children are only just getting into Harry Potter so it was a great opportunity to get them a little more excited. We were staying on the same street as the Elephant Cafe that J.K Rowling began writing this incredible series of novels. There is lots of Harry Potter hype in Scotland as you can imagine, so it was easy to get catch the Harry Potter Buzz.
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