What to Do and What’s Open for Kids in Edinburgh 2020 – We’re just back from 4 nights in Edinburgh, and this is what’s available at the date of publishing. All attractions have brought in social-distancing measures as required, from limited admittance to one-way systems etc.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
OPEN/PRE-BOOK TICKETS/FREE – The glasshouses (which usually incur a nominal cost) are currently closed but there are still acres of gardens to explore. Beautiful for all ages – our favourite spots were the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden and labyrinth, the Chinese Hillside, the Rock Garden, the Alpine House and the Demonstration Garden. rbge.org.uk
Love Gorgie Farm
OPEN/FREE/QUEUE FOR ACCESS IF BUSY – Alongside traditional farm animals you’ll find the cutest alpacas. A wee cafe is also open for refreshments.
OPEN/PREBOOK TICKETS – Although a few indoor walkways are closed the zoo was the high point for our kids. They saw giant pandas, Sumatran tigers, Asiatic lions, and more monkeys than you can shake a stick at. I loved penguin rock as you got so close to the penguins. edinburghzoo.org.uk
OPEN/PREBOOK TICKETS – The castle reopened on 1 August. Visitors can explroe the Great Hall, St Margaret’s Chapel, the Scottish National War Memorial, the One O’Clock Gun, Mons Meg (the famous medieval gun) and external areas. But current closures include the Royal Palace, Honours of Scotland (Crown Jewels & the Stone of Destiny), Fight for the Castle exhibition, Regimental Museums, National War Museum, One o’Clock Gun exhibition, Queen Anne Tea Room, guided tours and gift shops.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The grounds are open, and the children actually asked to explore Charles Jencks’ ‘Landform’ outdoor landscape art. Other sculptures piqued their interest, especially a buried man on a pavement. Dates for the gallery’s reopening will be announced the week commencing 3 August. From the SNGMA we walked to Dean Village and Cemetery (see next).
Dean Village & Dean Cemetery
This historic mill town offers an easy walk along the Water of Leith, then heading through the cemetery takes you back to the gallery of modern art where we’d started.
Another easy walk for little legs. Walk to top to explore the many monuments on the summit. Calton Hill offers fresh air and it’s v easy to socially distance.
For a more challenging walk, hike to the summit of Arthur’s Seat for fantastic views over the city.
Maid of the Forth
SAILING NOW – Slightly out of town, head to South Queensferry for a 90 minute sightseeing tour taking in the 3 bridges and views of the ruined Inchcolm Abbey on Inchcolm island. maidoftheforth.co.uk
POY Berries at Craigies Farm
Also near South Queensferry, book a ‘pick your own slot’ at Craigies and return with healthy fresh fruit. The farm shop is also open.
Edinburgh Bus Tours
To pick up the key sights, Edinburgh Tours run a mix of bus trips, including a City Sightseeing Hop On/Hop Off bus. Tickets can be bought online in advance, or contactlessly on the day – edinburghtour.com
WHERE TO STAY
We opted for self-catering accommodation where we could keep ourselves to ourselves, and keep to budget by preparing meals at home. We stayed in central, homely accommodation called the Knight Residence by Mansley, which provides 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with fully furnished dining kitchens, living rooms, and secure parking. 0.4 miles from Edinburgh Castle and 0.6 miles from Princes Street. Read a full review here, and check availability and prices here. bymansley.com/the-knight-residence
OTHER OPTIONS & DATES (as per 2 Aug 2020)
-Camera Obscura – open, pre-book tickets.
-National Museum of Scotland – reopens 19 August, book tickets online from 14 August 2020.
-Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – Grounds are open as discussed above. The Modern One building at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will reopen on Monday 24 August.
-The Scottish Gallery has re-opened by appointment only Tuesday-Friday, and for walk-ins on Saturdays from 11am-1pm.
–Scottish National Gallery will reopen on Monday 17 August.
-Dynamic Earth – opening date tbc.
Extra Info – Don’t Forget!
All the info in this blog post is naturally subject to change, so double check any info and prebook tickets as required before setting off. Be sure to follow the Scottish Governments Covid-19 guidance and regulations. Masks are prerequisites in most attractions so don’t forget them. Bring cards rather than cash as many venues offer contactless payment only. Sanitiser is available in most venues, but often best to pack your own to use, as and when you need it. Bring snacks and picnics if food isn’t as readily available as you’d like. And, remember to have a great time.