Family-friendly Fun in Edinburgh

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Whether you have dinosaur-crazy tots, intrepid children craving adventure or teenagers with a passion for the past, these 10 family-friendly activities will keep your brood happy this spring.

1. Dynamic Earth

Best for: little ones 

Which four-year-old hasn’t roared like a dinosaur? If your toddler has a penchant for palaeontology, they’ll love tearing around this educational science centre. In addition to joining ice age-themed workshops and peering through telescopes, they can journey into space in a planetarium, travel in a time travel machine and feel the ground shudder as molten lava hurtles towards them.

2. Edinburgh Tradfest 2023

Best for: little ones 

Until 8th May, 2023

Little ones are in for a treat as this festival returns with traditional music, storytelling, ceilidh dances and workshops at venues such as Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. Highlights include Allison Galbraith’s Funny Folk Tales for Children on 1 May at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, which is dedicated to preserving Scottish heritage.

3. Unwind at home

Best for: little ones

After an adventurous day in Edinburgh, return to your base at The Balmoral to relax before bedtime with complimentary milk and cookies and a bubble bath. “But I’m not sleepy yet!” says your little one. We hear you – so why not encourage them to unwind with a colouring book? We also provide books, magazines, films and games upon request, and a city activities fact sheet for teenage siblings.

4. Theatre show: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Best for:  children aged 4-10

16th to 20th May, 2023

Fans of the Sherman brothers’ 1968 musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can see the stage version at the Festival Theatre – still with old favourites such as “Doll on a Music Box,” "Truly Scrumptious" and the titular tune, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

5. Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Best for: children aged 4-12

27th May to 4th June, 2023

Attracting 10,000 visitors each year, this festival opens with pop-up performances at the National Museum of Scotland. Highlights for 2023 include Udul – a one-hour farce with clowns and acrobats performing on bikes in a Mongolian yurt – and Too Close to The Sun, a 50-minute ballet with spoken word about a girl concerned about the environment. Both are suitable for over sevens.

6. 4x4 off-road experience

Best for: children aged 8 to teenagers

Audacious children will be thrilled by this off-road experience. Kilted adventure guides navigate challenging terrain in a Land Rover into the rugged hills behind the village of Luss, where you can enjoy views of Loch Lomond as your kids squeal with delight.

7. Tartan Butler Clan tour

Best for: teenagers

This one’s for teenagers with a keen interest in tracing their Scottish roots. The Balmoral’s Tartan Butler can help trace your family’s journey through Scotland and time. By scouring archives, you may unearth family secrets and find physical links connecting you to your past – whether that’s castle ruins or a local inn. Then track down your family tartan and have a fitting with the late Queen’s kiltmakers.

8. Speedboat Adventure

Best for: children aged 12 to teenagers

If your child thrives on adrenaline, take to the water and discover Loch Lomond’s picturesque islands by speedboat. Your skipper will tailor the experience to your family, so once they’ve revved the engine to the max you can stroll on the nature reserve island of Inchcailloch or explore the conservation village of Luss.

9. Spa treatments 

Best for: children aged 12 to teenagers

After a fun day out, return to The Balmoral to relax in our spa, where your offspring can enjoy a treatment designed for them – whether they want a manicure, pedicure or facial.

Discover more family-friendly ideas across Europe, from a rewilding adventure in Scotland to a big screen exploration of favourite film sets in London, Rome and Sicily.

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