Edinburgh, Scotland :
Edinburgh, Scotland: The Ultimate Guide with Kids
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, home to impressive medieval structures, modern art and architecture, and a large university population that gives it its edge and eclectic vibe.
Getting to Edinburgh with Kids:
Edinburg's International Airport is well connected to flights around major ports in Europe, although often flights coming from outside Europe will connect in London. You can also fly directly to Edinburgh from Newark, and soon, Chicago and Philadelphia in the summer months.
We took a 4 hour train from London's Kings Cross station to Edinburgh's Waverly station which is conveniently located on Princes Street, centrally located between the old and new towns.
Getting Around Edinburgh with Kids:
Edinburgh is remarkably small and easy to get around. We walked almost everywhere, even up the hill to the castle. You'll find London-style black cabs all over. Buses are the other major public transportation option but frankly, if you are a family, it's worth just hopping into a taxi.
Places to Eat in Edinburgh with Kids:
- Elephant House: This quirky little cafe located in the old town delighted the children less because of its claim to fame as the birthplace of Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling started writing the series here), and more because of the hundreds (literally) of elephants everywhere. No kids' menu but they do have elephant-inspired activity sheets.
- Café Andaluz: I've never been to a tapas place with a kids' menu. That's reason enough to visit, but Andaluz's food is also very tasty. The atmosphere is festive and the sangria is sold by the pitcher. Sold!
- Thai Orchid: On your way to or from the Castle you may be lured into a touristy joint with exorbitant prices or you can feast on freshly cooked, highly flavorsome Thai food. Best tum yum soup I've had outside of Thailand and the kids really enjoyed their fried rice.
Things to See in Edinburgh with Kids:
The Edinburgh Castle: The Edinburgh Castle is the city's most iconic sight in Edinburgh and probably the most essential must-see in Scotland. The castle is easy to get to by taxi but involves a fair bit of uphill walking when you are inside. If you have a baby in a stroller you will have to leave it behind to enter some of the exhibits. Avoid the queues by buying your tickets online and don't forget to stick around for the 1pm firing of the canyon (every day except Sunday).
Scott Monument: This Victorian Gothic structure on Princes Street is 200 feet tall and has a number of viewing galleries. My 5-year old did the 287-step climb to the top and swears it was the highlight of his trip!
The National Gallery and Princes Street Garden: The National Gallery houses gorgeous works by European masters Botticelli, El Greco, Velazquez, and many more and is much more manageable than museums like the Prado and Ufficio, and it's free!
Reward the kids with a visit to the Princes Street Garden where you can stroll the beautiful grounds, frolic in the fountain, hang out in the playground, and just marvel at the Castle from below.
Places to Shop in Edinburgh with Kids:
Edinburgh has a great mix of the best of London's High Streets and quirky local boutiques. We especially loved Bonkers, 21st Century Kilts (they do kids' kilts as well!), and The Old Children's Bookshelf for a delightful range of books for the little ones.
All in all, Edinburgh is a wonderfully easy cultural and historical expedition for the whole family!
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