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Edinburgh with kids

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Welcome to part 2 of our Scottish adventure. If you haven’t read part 1, click here

It seems the Edinburgh is a word no American can manage to say. You have probably heard it pronounced rhyming with Pittsburgh. You may have heard the popular Edinboro or Edinburrow. But the Scots pronounce it Edinbruh. However, try saying that without a Scottish accent and it feels overly precious. However, you pronounce it you can be assured that someone will correct you! Why can’t we all agree to disagree?

With only 2 days in Edinburgh we had a lot of ground to cover and no earthly way to cover it all. We decided to chose things that the kids would really enjoy and found that we really enjoyed them too.

To Do:

Camera Obscura-

This museum is a multi story museum dedicated to illusion and tricks of the eye. It features a camera obscura on the top floor. The camera obscura was the most fascinating part of the museum, but the other floors offered plenty for my kids to do. The attractions included a mirror maze, an optical vortex, science displays, and lots of hands on entertainment. The camera obscura is over 100 years old, and is able to project Edinburgh on to a drum like surface in the center of a darkened room. The guide for the camera obscura was well suited to kids and let them take turns “splatting” visitors to Edinburgh castle with the use of a notecard.


Be aware, the museum has a lot of stairs and strollers need to be left at the entrance.

Tip- the View of Edinburgh from the roof of the museum were the best we saw the entire time we were in the city.IMG_0999

Palace of Holyroodhouse-

The queen’s official Scottish residence was once the residence of Mary Queen of Scots. The tour features many of the rooms that housed Mary Queen of Scots and her court. There is an audio tour for the palace, and in addition there were costumed actors in Mary Queen of Scots rooms. They were enchanting. They interacted with the guests as if we were modern day visitors to the court. The kids didn’t seem to mind this tour because they had an audio headset to play with and they raced each other to see who would get ahead to the next track first.


Arthurs’s Seat-

Upon leaving Holyroodhouse, you can easily walk to the beginning of the trail to Arthur’s seat. We didn’t have the time to climb all the way up to the top, but we did do a little bit of hiking and got a great view of the lower city.

The Real Mary King’s Close-

There are numerous Closes advertised in Edinburgh but we chose this one because the trip advisors ratings were by far the highest. A close is alleyway that is privately owned, and this one was owned by Mary King, who was a real person (hence the “real mary king” part). These closes led north and south off of the Royal Mile and as Edinburgh built upon itself many of these closes were cut off from daylight. Mary King’s close was one of those that was built on and in doing so it preserved a fascinating part of Edinburgh’s history.

The tour through the close starts at modern day street level, and you descend lower and go back in time 400 years. While on the tour you learn of many of the actual residents of the close and see how they lived in Edinburgh through various years.

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If there was one must see in Edinburgh, this would be it for us and our kids!

Tip- get your tickets as early as possible as they sell out most times by 11 am.(according to an employee)

The Royal Mile-

The Royal Mile is the main street in old Edinburgh. It runs from Edinburgh castle down to Hollyroodhouse Palace. It is a cobblestoned street with areas closed off to traffic. Restaurants, museums and shops line the street. It is a great place to shop for your Scottish treasures. My kids loved buying Campbell tartan scarves in honor of my Scottish great grandmother.


Good eats:

Meze Meze-

This is hardly a traditional Scottish restaurant, but it was close to downtown and it was delicious.

Meze is a grouping of small dishes in the Middle East and that is exactly what this restaurant serves. It is a great option for kids, as there are lots of choices, and some are very familiar (think pita bread and french fries.) The food was authentic and delicious!

Other Eats:

When we turned over the visit to Edinburgh to the kids and what they wanted to do, that included food.

Their favorites included: Shortbread, haggis, sausage rolls, and Irn Bru. All of these foods are easy to grab and go so I thought I would include it.

Shortbread– Scotland is proud of this buttery, mildly sweet cookie and they should be! It is ubequitous in every store, every gift shop, and every restaurant. And after trying multiple brands, we determined that our favorite was…Walker’s shortbread.

walkers shortbread cookies

Walker’s is available the world over so one would naturally assume that they are good at marketing and maybe not so good at baking. But those tasty cookies melt in your mouth the way other varieties just didn’t. And the great thing is you can get them at home too! Click here to order!

Haggis- is the Scottish national dish and gets a lot of teasing. It is a mixture of sheep liver, heart, lungs that is mixed with oatmeal and seasoning. If you can forget what goes into making it, it tastes like a slightly gamey sausage. My boys, loving all weird meats, took to haggis like a fish to water. Grocery store haggis was a common request, and it was ordered almost daily when we ate out.

Sausage rolls- might be the world most perfect portable food. Browned and seasoned sausage encased in a flaky pasty. Not only is it delcious it is quiet inexpensive. I don’t think we ever paid more than a pound for a sausage roll and they were easy to grab and go at any bakery we passed.


Irn Bru- Affectionately called Scotland’s other national drink, it is the bestselling soft drink in Scotland. You will be able to find this everywhere! It is a bright orange soda and has a very unusual flavor. I would describe it as a mix between orange soda and root beer, but that’s not completely accurate. It is a taste that is hard to describe. My little guy thought it was the best thing ever, the rest of us were not big fans.

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Edinburgh is a great city to visit with your kids! They will love Real Mary King's Close, Holyroodhouse, and the Camera Obscura. #scotlandtravel #edinburghtrave #familytravelYou can fit a lot of fun into 2 days in Edinburgh. Visit the Royal Mile, Mary Kin'gs Close, Arthurs Seat, and Camera Obscura. #edinburghattractions #todoinedinburgh



  1. August 25, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    This would be a great trip for me. I love experiential adventures like Camera Obscura, exploring history and have been known to munch on a sausage roll or two.

  2. August 27, 2018 / 12:25 am

    I’ve never heard of closes but it sounds incredibly interesting! I didn’t know there were underground alley ways in Edinburgh – I’m trying to plan a trip there next summer so I’ll add this to my list! I’m also adding the hike up to Arthur’s Seat as I love hiking and the views must be incredible.

    • travelswiththecrew
      August 27, 2018 / 12:33 am

      I wish we could have hiked Arthur’s Seat more but the kids were done for the day!

  3. Anja
    August 27, 2018 / 11:07 am

    Edinburgh is high on my travel wish list and I’m always curious to read what other travelers have to say about it. Is that beautiful landscape photo from Arthur’s Seat trail? Ha, it’s cool that your boys don’t mind trying out local delicacies (I would try all of them as well, they look delicious!).

    • travelswiththecrew
      August 27, 2018 / 11:40 am

      The weirder the food is, the more my boys want to eat it! I’m not sure why. That is the Arthur’s Seat trail in the landscape. Isn’t it gorgeous?

  4. lahale1915
    August 28, 2018 / 3:23 am

    What a great opportunity to experience Edinburgh with your family. Our family would love the Camera Obscura. We love to learn about history, so a tour of Holyroodhouse Palace would work for us. I like the idea of the close and getting to step back in time. Good for your kids to be brave and try haggis. Although, I would prefer a handful of sausage rolls.

    • travelswiththecrew
      August 28, 2018 / 4:04 am

      I would prefer a handful os sausage rolls any day!

  5. August 28, 2018 / 4:59 am

    Edinburgh is a place I always wanted to visit. Thanks for giving all the useful information about the city. Camera Obscura sounds interesting. Will defintely visit this place.

  6. August 29, 2018 / 5:56 am

    A cousin of mine has been gushing about her trip to Edinburgh and convincing us to plan a trip. The pictures show how lovely the city is. Arthur’s seat sounds great and we will surely include that in our itinerary. Sausage rolls? Yes, please.

  7. cynthiagraner
    August 30, 2018 / 3:49 am

    When I saw your picture of the cast in the Mary Queen of Scots tour, I really wanted to go there but I really, really wanted to wear that outfit for a day! Or, at least an hour. 😉 Fun that your kids made a race out of the tour – anything that engages is likely to be remembered, so that works!

    • travelswiththecrew
      August 30, 2018 / 4:16 am

      They Mary Queen of Scots actor was really remarkable. She kept the guest engaged and learning. It was one of my favorite things from the trip!

  8. August 30, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    I just love Edinburgh! My last visit was very short, literally like a day trip from London. I will be going back very soon to meet my sister and looking up these places to see there has made my list longer 🙂 Arthur’s Seat trails looks fascinating and would love to try all the eating suggestions! Already visualizing walking on the Royal Street!

    • travelswiththecrew
      August 30, 2018 / 12:32 pm

      I think eating is one of the best parts of traveling! I hope you have fun!

  9. August 31, 2018 / 4:33 am

    Edinburgh is such a great city to explore in general, but especially with your family! We actually saw most of these places. However, I missed out on the Camera obscura and would love to go back 🙂

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