How to do Edinburgh with kids this weekend?
August 17, 2016 3:06 AM   Subscribe

We will be in Edinburgh for the weekend, but not specifically for the Fringe. How should we (four adults and three young kids) plan for this?

We are not going to Edinburgh specifically for the Fringe, but will be there at the same time (bad planning!)

We managed to wrangle an AirBnB in the Old Town, but I'm worried about getting around the city, eating, etc. with three toddlers. Should I be booking restaurants? (And which ones?) Making any other plans? Is there Fringe-related stuff that might entertain kids so young? Any other know-how that might make the weekend go smoothly?

posted by heavenknows to Travel & Transportation around Edinburgh, Scotland (6 answers total)
Just got back from Fringe, though not with kids. There are kid-oriented shows during the day. Get the free Fringe app and you'll be able to see what's on, what's near you, what's free or half price, etc. You can book tickets on the app as well.
posted by dywypi at 3:27 AM on August 17, 2016

The Old Town is tiny and walkable (though very crowded) during the festival. It's better to get around by walking if you can but the Old Town does have steep hills which might be hard on small children who aren't in pushchairs. The city centre is not car-friendly and it's very hard to park. Buses are cheap and frequent but very crowded during the festival and only really have room for two pushchairs max. Taxis are easy to find in the city centre and not over priced. Restaurants will be crowded and you might be wise to book anything much grander than a cafe.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:54 AM on August 17, 2016

Basically it's just really really busy. I'd book anywhere you want to eat that will let you ahead of time. Also expect that it'll take a bit longer to get from A to B than normal and that any tourist sites will be really busy.

There are plenty of fringe shows aimed at kids - you can filter for them here. Also, the Book Festival is on which has a lot of kids events.

If you do want to avoid the crowds you don't really have to go very far out of the centre. The zoo, Dynamic Earth and Gorgie Farm are all kid-friendly things still in the city but out of the worst of the crowds.

Feel free to PM me if you have any more specific questions.
posted by neilb449 at 4:34 AM on August 17, 2016

For food, check out both Hemma and Akva - both are very family-friendly and nearby (Hemma is closest to the old town). I know Akva best, it's enormous so even if things are busy, you're likely to not run into much trouble getting food and they have a kid's activity area. I'd definitely book ahead for any restaurant in the old town or new town.

There are definitely fringe shows for kids - the website has a whole category for them!

In terms of getting around with four adults and three children, you're looking at walking (which is probably easiest - Edinburgh is pretty compact!), buses, or taxis, but given your group size i think you'd need two.
posted by ukdanae at 4:38 AM on August 17, 2016

It's incredibly crowded. Booking restaurants would be advised. If you travel by bus you'll need to collapse your buggies due to the crowding. Also please have exact change, the buses don't give change and the locals will hate you for being that tourist who causes delays by trying to pay with a £20 note. There is a Lothian Buses app that is great for getting directions and track buses. Walking is also fine but lots of steep hills and again with the terrible crowds. Lots of events for kids at the book festival and the fringe in general. Also recommend the zoo which is an easy bus ride from the city centre.
posted by maybeandroid at 5:23 AM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Live in Edinburgh, have toddler. Couple of points to add to above:

- Buses: hellish at this time of year, but then so is every other form of travel. Definitely get the app if you are travelling by bus, & would recommend also getting day tickets rather than buying individuals each time. There are pushchair spaces but they are usually packed with standing people at the moment for city-centre bus services, so recommend folding pushchair beforehand and/or going without if possible. (I take mine in a carrier.) Under 5s will travel free with that number of adults; adult fares are £1.60 single (flat fare across the city), £4.00 all-day.

- Zoo is great although fairly pricey. it has been busy lately but will be getting quieter now as Edinburgh schools started back today. If you are doing that I recommend booking tickets online in advance anyway - and if you want to see the pandas, book that in advance too rather than chancing it on the day (it doesn't cost extra, they just limit the numbers). Do not get any toddler hopes up about seeing a panda, though - you can only view part of the enclosure at the moment, and the pandas are not always viewable at the best of times. But there's lots else to see! Edinburgh zoo is on a hill, which can wear out toddler legs; I find this to be a feature rather than a bug but ymmv.

- Other things my toddler likes in Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland (huge, lots of space for sprinting about); Botanic Gardens (free entry although there's a charge to get into some of the glasshouses); parks (Inverleith Park next to the Botanic Gardens is nice); walking along the Water of Leith; the beach at Cramond (and Portobello, but Cramond is often quieter). Our Dynamic Earth is good (although warning, involves lifts/darkness/shaky things if your toddlers are not fans of these); it has a Soft Play, which is free with a ticket, or a small charge if you aren't going to see everything else.
posted by Catseye at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

« Older Thoughtful, personal horror fiction   |   It seems unhealthy to me, but what do I know Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.