What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

6 Free Things to Do with Children in Edinburgh

Dancing goats

Edinburgh has been named one of the best places to bring up children, and it’s not hard to see why our beautiful city would top the list. Edinburgh is compact and easy to get around, we’ve got many gorgeous parks and outdoor spaces, museums and galleries, festivals and events – not to mention the beaches and countryside right on our doorstep. We’ve listed six of our favourite free things to do with kids in and around Edinburgh.

Gorgie City Farm


For over 30 years children in Edinburgh have loved visiting Gorgie City Farm and its endearing residents whilst learning about farming and food production. The farm boasts a range of different animals, such as sheep, pigs, goats, chickens and a cow. There’s also smaller animals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, tortoises and a snake. There’s also a play park and picnic tables for visitors to use.

Gorgie City Farm is open seven days per week from 9.30am to 4.30pm in the summer months. Unfortunately the farm is under threat of closure and needs more funding to be able to keep going. You can help save the farm here.

Magnet Play Area in the Meadows

Magnet play are the meadows

You might find it difficult to drag your kids away from this fantastic play park located in the lovely Meadows Park in Edinburgh’s Southside. There are 40 individual items of play suitable for all ages and abilities, including slides, scramble net, tyre swing, drag ramp and water play unit.

The Meadows is one of Edinburgh’s most popular open spaces with cafes nearby, large grassed areas to relax or play games on, picnic tables, barbeque areas, tennis courts and toilets. The park is especially pretty in spring when the cherry blossom trees that line the pathways turn pink – it’s a great spot for taking photos!

Royal Botanic Garden


The Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is such a peaceful yet exciting place for the little ones. Feeding ducks and squirrels, visiting the tropical greenhouse, discovering interesting plants and wee pathways are all activities kids will love to engage in.

If you get hungry there are several cafes to choose from, or why don’t bring your own picnic and sit down on one of the many immaculate lawns? Just be aware that you might have to share your food with some curious squirrels!

The garden is open from 10am to 5pm from March to September and for shorter hours during the rest of the year.

National Museum of Scotland


For those rainy, cold days that are inevitable here in the north the National Museum of Scotland is a place that never lets you down. There are so many things to discover that you might want to reserve a good few hours for your visit! A highlight for kids is the Natural World Galleries where you can bump into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, explore how animals communicate and have fun in the interactive Adventure Planet gallery. There’s also a fun interactive play area on the first floor that younger kids will enjoy as well.

The Balcony Café and Museum Brasserie have special treats for children if they get peckish. If you go up to the 7th floor roof terrace you’ll see amazing views of Edinburgh, all for free!

The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm with a few exceptions during Christmas. 

Secret Herb Garden


This lovely place is a bit outside the city centre, so you need to take a car or bus to get here. It’s worth the trek though, for both adults and kids! The Secret Herb Garden is just what the name implies, but also a lot more than just a place to buy herbs and plants.

There’s an antique furniture shop and a café where you can get a light lunch or a homemade cake that you can enjoy in one of the many seating areas tucked away amongst plants and greenery inside the green house. There are several tricycles and other toys for the kids to entertain themselves with, as well as chickens and a few hogs to get to know – and plenty of space to run around!

The Secret Herb Garden is open every day between 10am – 4pm.

Portobello Beach


Summer is almost here, and if you’re travelling to Edinburgh with children over the summer months make sure you pay a visit to Portobello beach, situated only a few miles form the city centre and easily reached by bus. The kids will love exploring the beach, building sandcastles or playing in one of the play parks.

There are several charming cafes, independent shops, fish and chips shops and ice cream vendors to choose from on the promenade and Portobello High Street if you feel like a bite to eat.

Stay in one of our child friendly self catering homes

Several of the apartments we let are suitable for babies, toddlers and older children. Here are a few of our child friendly flats that are available for short term let throughout the year:

Leamington Terrace

Leamington Terrace Dickins

Right next to Bruntsfield Links and a short walk from the Meadows and that amazing play park we mentioned earlier, this lovely two bed flat has one double bedroom and one bedroom that can be either a twin or a double. There’s also a cot and a high chair in the flat if you have smaller children.

West Silvermills Lane


This comfortable flat situated near the beautiful Botanic Garden and Inverleith Park in Stockbridge is perfect for a family of four with one double and one twin bedroom. A cot and high chair are also available and there’s a lift and secure parking.

Take a look at all our holiday lets here.

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