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Child Friendly Hidden Gems to visit in Edinburgh

Updated: Mar 12

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track child friendly locations scattered around Edinburgh.

Whether you're looking to explore the sights of Edinburgh, or discover hidden gems perfect for picnics, this guide will lead you to some of Edinburgh's best-kept secrets, ensuring a memorable and family-friendly experience for all!

Here are some of our favourite hidden gems in Edinburgh which are child friendly, however we do recommend doing your own research, as each child is different.

So grab your walking boots, pack your picnic (or a change of nappies!), and get ready to explore the hidden gems that await you and your little ones in the captivating city!

Image of Plodda Falls in Scotland

1) Dean Village

Dean Village is a spectacular place, offering you the beauty of an outdoor inside Edinburgh. The mixture between building style, architecture, colours, nature, and birds singing really is breathtaking.

The kids will really enjoy the little walk all across the village along the water of leith pathways. The place is open all year long, and you can spend as much time there as you'd like.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Dean Village

1) Where is Dean Village located?

Dean Village is nestled in a picturesque valley along the Water of Leith, just northwest of Edinburgh city center in Scotland. It's easily accessible by foot, bicycle, or public transportation.

2) What is the history of Dean Village?

Dean Village has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it was home to grain mills powered by the Water of Leith. It served as an industrial hub for centuries before undergoing urban renewal efforts in the 20th century, transforming it into the charming residential area it is today.

3) Is Dean Village open to the public?

Yes, Dean Village is open to the public for exploration and enjoyment. Visitors can stroll along the scenic Water of Leith Walkway, admire the historic architecture, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this hidden gem in Edinburgh.

Image of Dean Village in Edinburgh, Scotland

2) Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle is definitely one to be visited; even if it's just to walk around, there is a lot of space, fields and beautiful nature which we're sure the kids will love!

The castle itself is not huge from the outside, but it is truly a part of the history. There is also a lovely cafe to have a rest and some food!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Lauriston Castle

1) Where is Lauriston Castle located?

Lauriston Castle is situated in the Davidson's Mains area of Edinburgh, Scotland. It overlooks the Firth of Forth and is surrounded by beautiful grounds, making it a tranquil escape from the city.

2) What can I expect to see at Lauriston Castle?

Lauriston Castle is renowned for its stunning Edwardian interiors, including period furniture, artwork, and exquisite collections of ceramics and glassware. Visitors can explore the lavishly decorated rooms, stroll through the landscaped gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and coastline.

3) Is Lauriston Castle open to the public?

Yes, Lauriston Castle is open to the public for guided tours, exhibitions, and special events. Visitors can discover the fascinating history of the castle and its former inhabitants, as well as participate in workshops, concerts, and other cultural activities hosted on the estate throughout the year.

Image of Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland

3) Jupiter Artland

Jupiter Artland is a selection of stunning art installations located in a secluded area – almost like a nature retreat away from the hustle and bustle from Edinburgh. It really is the perfect way to spend a day exploring and admiring the views!

The concept is brilliant and inspired and quite honestly it's a lot more than just the above. There is wildlife and animals to be found and other more sinister taboos, so get exploring!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Jupiter Artland

1) Where is Jupiter Artland located?

Jupiter Artland is located just outside Edinburgh, in the village of Wilkieston, West Lothian, Scotland. It's easily accessible from Edinburgh city center by car or public transportation.

2) What can I expect to see at Jupiter Artland?

Jupiter Artland is a unique outdoor sculpture park and art gallery set within 100 acres of woodland and meadows. Visitors can explore a diverse range of contemporary artworks and installations created by renowned artists, as well as enjoy landscaped gardens and natural features.

3) Is Jupiter Artland suitable for children and families?

Yes, Jupiter Artland welcomes visitors of all ages, including families with children. The outdoor setting provides ample space for children to explore and engage with the artworks, and there are often interactive installations specifically designed for younger visitors. Additionally, the park hosts family-friendly events and workshops throughout the year.

Image of Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh, Scotland

4) The Water of Leith Walkway

You can easily spend the whole morning on The Water of Leith Walkway in Edinburgh, exploring this beautiful and peaceful trail that takes you on a journey through some of the city's most picturesque scenery.

The trail winds along the river, passing through Dean Village and into the heart of Leith. Along the way, you'll encounter historic mills, cool waterfalls, charming old buildings (which give out serious Harry Potter feels), and plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting The Water of Leith Walkway

1) What is the Water of Leith Walkway?

The Water of Leith Walkway is a scenic trail that follows the course of the Water of Leith, a river that flows through Edinburgh. The walkway stretches approximately 12 miles from Balerno in the southwest to Leith Docks in the north, offering visitors a peaceful escape from the city into nature.

2) Is the Water of Leith Walkway suitable for all ages and abilities?

Yes, the Water of Leith Walkway is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. The path is mostly flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for walkers, cyclists, and wheelchair users. There are also several access points and rest areas along the route, making it easy to tailor your walk to your preferences.

3) What can I see along the Water of Leith Walkway?

The walkway passes through a variety of landscapes, including woodlands, parks, and urban areas, providing opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy scenic views.

Along the route, you'll encounter historic landmarks such as Dean Village, the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, and the picturesque Dean Bridge. Additionally, the walkway passes by several cafes and attractions, making it an enjoyable outing for visitors of all interests.

Image of The Water of Leith Walkway in Edinburgh, Scotland

5) Holyrood Park

Holyrood Park is free for visitors and we would say half a day is required to visit this park properly. There is a viewpoint called Arthur's Seat, from which you can enjoy the spectacular views of Edinburgh!

Whilst you're here, you can also visit Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Parliament.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Holyrood Park

1) What is Holyrood Park?

Holyrood Park is a vast public park located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. It encompasses over 650 acres of natural and historical landmarks, including the iconic Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, and the picturesque St. Margaret's Loch.

The park offers visitors a unique blend of rugged landscapes, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities.

2) Is Holyrood Park suitable for all ages and abilities?

Yes, Holyrood Park is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. While some areas, such as the ascent to Arthur's Seat, may require moderate physical exertion, there are also easier walking trails and pathways throughout the park.

Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls, picnics, and wildlife watching, or opt for more challenging hikes to take in panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.

3) What are the main attractions in Holyrood Park?

Holyrood Park is home to several notable landmarks and attractions. Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano, is one of the park's most famous features and offers breathtaking views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth from its summit. Salisbury Crags, a series of dramatic cliffs, provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing and scenic walks.

Additionally, visitors can explore the ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel, the mysterious Neolithic earthwork known as the "Henge," and the tranquil Duddingston Loch, making Holyrood Park a must-visit destination for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.

Image of Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland

6) The Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is a captivating botanical paradise that leaves visitors enchanted. The meticulously curated gardens showcase a diverse collection of plants, trees, and flowers from around the world.

The Rock Garden, with its alpine plants and cascading waterfalls, is a highlight, while the Glasshouses offer a journey through different climatic zones.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting The Royal Botanic Garden

1) What is The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh?

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a world-renowned scientific institution and garden located in Scotland's capital city. Spanning over 70 acres, it features an extensive collection of plants from around the globe, including rare and endangered species.

The garden serves as both a scientific research center and a popular visitor attraction, offering educational programs, events, and stunning natural landscapes.

2) What can visitors expect to see at The Royal Botanic Garden?

Visitors to The Royal Botanic Garden can explore a diverse range of themed gardens, glasshouses, and outdoor spaces. Highlights include the iconic Victorian Palm Houses, the vibrant Rock Garden, the tranquil Chinese Hillside, and the charming Queen Mother's Memorial Garden.

Additionally, the garden hosts seasonal displays, art exhibitions, and guided tours, providing visitors with enriching experiences throughout the year.

3) Is The Royal Botanic Garden suitable for families and children?

Yes, The Royal Botanic Garden offers engaging activities and attractions for visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families and children. In addition to exploring the varied plant collections, children can enjoy interactive exhibits, nature trails, and themed play areas.

The garden also offers family-friendly events, workshops, and educational programs designed to foster a love of nature and environmental awareness.

Image of The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known child friendly hidden gems which are scattered around Edinburgh. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Edinburgh trip even more memorable!

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