Edinburgh is a beautiful city offering a host of activities to keep even the most jaded family amused. It is also quite simple to find reasonably priced hotel rooms in Edinburgh without too much difficulty, making it an attractive UK family destination, and with more and more families now planning events, activities and holidays around a strict budget, finding things for the family to do for under a tenner is easier than you might expect.
Here are just five ideas to get you started, but with a little time and effort, you will easily be able to track down more attractions offering free or cheap access.
1. Take a walk alongside the famous Water of Leith, joining at any part along its route and exploring the surrounding areas.
This river originates in the Pentland hills to the south-east of the city and winds its way through the surrounding countryside and many hidden parts of Edinburgh before it reaches the Firth of Forth, where it continues to the North Sea.
With pushchair-friendly pathways, families can join the walkway at any point along its 24 mile length, making it an activity that can be dipped in and out of. You will find yourself exploring some of Edinburgh’s industrial history, as the river helped to support the textile industry.
The tidal part of the river where it joins the Forth helped to build Edinburgh’s future, as the waters were deep enough to serve as a port, making the city very much a global player.
2. The Museum of Childhood on the High Street is a fantastic day out for the whole family and best of all, it’s completely free! Adults and children alike will be mesmerised by the toys and displays. You can listen to a 1930s class of schoolchildren being taught lessons, or visit the Victorian street to see how children used to play.
Parents will get nostalgic over Dinky and Corgi cars, while children will be thrilled by traditional amusements such as spinning tops and early examples of dolls houses.
3. Head for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on Nicolson Street to visit the Surgeon’s Hall Museums, with free entry.
Visit the three specialised museums the Pathology Museum dedicated to diseases, the History of Surgery which details advances in medicine including the development of anaesthetics and the Dental Collection.
You can try your hand at keyhole surgery, learn everything you ever wanted to know about eyes and study some terrifying early dental equipment, guaranteed to amuse and entertain children whilst educating them at the same time.
4. Older children will enjoy a visit to the Scottish Parliament buildings, the seat of Scotland’s government. Because this is a working building, access can be variable, but generally the parliament building is open to the public from Monday to Saturday.
Entry is free and you are welcome to explore the Debating chambers, the public areas and even join in a free guided tour. Free day tickets are sometimes available to attend debates and committee meetings.
5. Climb Arthur’s Seat for some spectacular views across Edinburgh. Set in the city’s famous green space of Holyrood Park, this landmark hill was the site of an Iron Age fort.
Feed the geese, ducks and swans on St Margaret’s Loch, admire the basalt formations known as Samson’s Ribs and walk along the Radical Road for spectacular views of Holyrood House.
Enjoy all of these activities and your wallet will barely notice that you’ve managed to have fun and learn plenty of new things whilst having plenty of good old fashioned family fun along the way.
Photo Credit: Bert Kaufmann