If you follow us on social media you will have seen our latest family holiday to Edinburgh. We are huge Scottish staycation advocates, especially with MM being so young, the flexibility and choice of activities make for the perfect family break.
I’m originally from the Central Belt of Scotland, and so remember all the school trips I used to go on to historical centres, amazing swimming pools and some of the best scenery and backdrops Scotland has to offer. Quite simply the best thing about the Central Belt of Scotland for a family holiday is just how accessible everything is. Whether you want city, country or coast… it’s all there within an hours drive, making it the perfect Scottish holiday location.
Where to Stay near Edinburgh?
We based ourselves in the Pentland Hills, at a wonderful holiday cottage near Edinburgh. Eastside Cottages is a family run set of holiday cottages, which gave us the peace that us adults so very much desired, whilst giving us easy access to the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, Glasgow and all that’s in between.
We were welcomed with scones on arrival and being surrounded by sumptuous landscapes inspired us to pack it up and make the most of the glorious weather.
We stayed in the Steading Cottage, which sleeps 4 and has the most quaint country garden, complete with BBQ (which we got to use practically every night!)
The rolling hills that surround the cottages and the amazing Scottish sunsets made for a magical time. Whilst the flexibility of such a central location meant we could go off and explore everything the Central Belt has to offer.
What to do for families near Edinburgh
There are of course the obvious tourist attractions, such as Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, The Falkirk Wheel and The Helix, but because there is so much to do… You could take this trip a few times and still have something different to do.
Animal Attractions Near Edinburgh
Edinburgh Zoo clearly needs no introduction, but we highly recommend Five Sisters Zoo, for a closer look at the animals. It’s a little easier to walk around, especially with little children and we found that you stand a better chance of actually seeing the animals up close.
There is also the Butterfly Farm, which might not have been the best idea on the hottest day of the year. Get up close to various butterflies, snakes, spiders and birds. The best thing is you can come and go as you please all day.
Tourist Attractions for families Near Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle is a must see, although I would recommend viewing it from the park below. You get a really different view and the kids will be far better entertained by the activities, music and street performers.
There is Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, which we’ve done before (and is good for older kids) but if you and your kids like the freedom of moving around exhibits then I recommend heading for Glasgow’s Riverside, where you can find the Glasgow Science Centre and Riverside Museum.
The Riverside museum is free entry and has so many interactive displays, of old transport, toys, clothes and even has an old cobbled street with shops and buildings depicting life in years gone by. It’s one of those places that has something for all ages. The Glasgow Science Centre is just an epic day out (and you will need a day!) for any budding scientists. They have great exhibits for all ages, as well as a planetarium, a cinema and various interactive demonstrations. Liv just adores science, so she was in her element!
Another place worth a visit is South Queensferry… Not only will you get a stunning view of the bridges (with excusions, should you wish to learn a bit more), but the most quaint streets and some of the best ice cream shops and bistros in Scotland. We ate at Orocco Pier, which was just stunning and the views over the water were second to none. We ever went down on the water front after lunch and had a bit of a play.
If you’re looking for a pool or water park, then I recommend heading to Coatbridge for the Time Capsule. A place I used to go to with school when I was young, this water park has flumes, a water climbing frame, river rapids and a wave pool. It also has an ice rink, which I remember used to have a woolly mammoth in the middle.
All in all, we had the best weather for a Scottish staycation and it’s a holiday we will do again as there was so much we didn’t get to do… You really are spoiled for choice in that region of Scotland.