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    Edinburgh attractions and things to do (merged)
    • #1
    • 7th Mar 05, 1:59 PM
    Edinburgh attractions and things to do (merged) 7th Mar 05 at 1:59 PM
    We are off to Edinburgh for a week at Easter - self catering apartment in the city centre (old town)
    Have three kids (11, 9 & 3)
    Its about 8 yrs since we last went but we did the castle and a natural history museum.

    Would like to take them to lots of interesting places but don't want to get ripped off on lots of entry fees etc. Any ideas?

    My hubbies birthday is while we are away so I'm going to send the older ones off with him one night on a ghost walk as he's always wanted to do one - any suggestions as to best?

    Also any family friendly fun eating places to recommend to me?


    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 01-08-2006 at 3:39 PM.
Page 2
  • Felix
    Theres the Castle, Dynamic Earth, Brittania, the Zoo, Holyrood house, Mary Kings Close, Edinburgh Dungeons, the Vaults.
  • Party_Animal
    There used to be a really good eating place for kids called Fat Sams. Don't know if its still there. Burgers and live music.
  • Felix
    Wheres that?
  • VixxAnn
    Thanks everyone - been and back now!
    Just back from our break in Edinburgh - five fantastic days - cannot wait to go back.

    All your tips came in very handy - won't list every thing we did but to mention a few places we visited...
    - Luca's in Morningside (for a fantastic breakfast on my hubbies birthday!)
    - toy museum (they loved it!)
    - ghost walk (my hubbie & eldest son only!)
    - lots of clothes shops (me & daughter only!)
    - Zoo (thanks for the tip on the bus re. hill - phew!)
    - Arthurs seat (cheated and drove half way up first!)
    - Botanic Gardens (earlier today when it was fantastically sunny)
    - Royal Britannia Yacht (yes expensive but thoroughly enjoyed it)

    oh and lots lots more, plus general looking about and tremendous amounts of eating - gosh I feel fat!

    Its 8 years since my last visit and 15years since I used to live there but I'll make sure its not so long until we go again
    • budgetflyer
    • By budgetflyer 25th Mar 05, 7:03 AM
    • 5,835 Posts
    • 3,747 Thanks
    It was a "capone" themed american diner. Its no longer there anymore.
    • soon2bjobless
    • By soon2bjobless 25th Mar 05, 7:12 AM
    • 416 Posts
    • 1,208 Thanks
    Try Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile (free) and Museum on Chambers street - again free - my dd loves all the stuffed animals!!

    China China - all you can eat chinese buffet - 5.99 until 5pm - next to the Playhouse.
    Kondo'ed 76 items from wardrobe, 4 carrier bags of books
  • Gremilex
    This may be too late as I expect that you are already in Edinburgh.

    Here is a link to a voucher that you can print for 3 Chinese restaurants that have afternoon buffets. One of them is just up from Waverley train station.
    Two for the price of one.
    Check the conditions though, upto 19:30, not Friday and Saturday and you have to buy a drink.

    I would recommend checking out Tantallon castle which is just down the coast a bit. They filmed shoebox zoo there.

    Also Craigmillar Castle is great for the kids.

    There is also a fair with a very large big wheel at Murrayfield this weekend.

    • g33za
    • By g33za 28th Mar 05, 11:53 PM
    • 698 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    interestingly enough im going there for work purposes and apart from the castle theres nothing else i can think of im sure there's loads though
  • Edinburghlass
    Lots of good ideas here so to keep it current it has been moved across here and I am going to make it a sticky.
    Last edited by edinburghlass; 29-03-2005 at 9:47 PM.
    • Xh2oX
    • By Xh2oX 1st Apr 05, 6:16 PM
    • 45 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    Also back from three fantastic days in Edinburgh...worn out now!
    Did most of the above.. only let down was the dungeon - expensive waste of money! sorry but hubby and i thought the same. Camera obscura was fantastic not sure if it was mentioned above. 10 year old loved the odd things there!

    Just to mention Ibis hotel....great value and great breakfasts... now on diet!
    Thanks to all who gave ideas!
    • Jazzy_B
    • By Jazzy_B 16th May 05, 3:29 PM
    • 1,752 Posts
    • 1,245 Thanks
    Before you pay to any attractions, check out the leaflets in any touristy places. We managed to get money off, or free child places, for several places like Dynamic Earth and Camera Obscura. My 9 and 7 year old loved Camera Obscura, but their favourite place was the fudge shop, which we visited several times.
    • maggiesoup
    • By maggiesoup 19th May 05, 3:15 PM
    • 589 Posts
    • 121 Thanks
    If you buy your main shop at Tesco, be sure to swap the Clubcard vouchers for Days Out as their value multiplies by 4! i.e. If you get a voucher for 2.50 you can get 2.50 off your next shop OR 10 towards Days Out Vouchers for you and the kids during the summer.

    There are dozens of places to go & things to do around Scotland (pick up a booklet in any of the larger shops) or call Tesco free and get them to send you a booklet.
    • toozie
    • By toozie 18th Jun 05, 11:44 PM
    • 3,249 Posts
    • 5,904 Thanks
    Edinburgh Pass or Should I pass it?
    Managed to book 4 nights in Edinburgh at the end of August with my Tesco Deals, so I'm well pleased, because I haven't actually forked out any money for accomodation!

    Just wondered if you lot think The Pass is worth the money. Scanned over the site, and there seems to be quite a few places we'd be interested in. The 3 day pass includes a Bus Pass, but I'm sure I could buy a Bus Pass cheaply enough?

    Daughters are 14 & 15, one is very interested in ghosts and ghost walk's (like the one in York?). Hubby will be happy at a Whisky Demonstration, I would like to see the Royal Yatch, and us girls do like shopping! We all like wierd things, like puzzle houses, illusions etc.It will be hard to drag the girls round more than one small museum-although I will try.

    The 'eating' sticky has given me some good tips, would I be able to send for The Silver Card, and is it worth buying for 4 days? we are just B&B in our hotel.

    The girls love Pizza Hut, I know we'll have to go there once, hopefully I'll have some Lunchion Vouchers from Pinecone to spend there by then. I have signed up to a site-5/something or other-mentioned on eating sticky, which gives you a discount at the Pizza Hut (Princes St?) if you book. Although I didn't think Pizza Hut took bookings. The other meals I would like to eat at lesser known (or not High Street) places.

    Any help would be gratefully appreciated.............

    Thank you in advance
    • Anne_Marie
    • By Anne_Marie 19th Jun 05, 2:39 AM
    • 2,080 Posts
    • 3,436 Thanks
    Edinburgh Pass
    Edinburghlass will be the best to advise you possibly on the Edinburgh pass.
    As to the silvercard, got one myself and it more than paid for itself immediately when we ate at Frankensteins. If your girls are into ghosts/!!!!!ish things, they will love Frankensteins, and the menu is good, wide variety - suggest you book in advance, just in case. Unless it has changed, you have to phone to get silvercard. Lady I spoke to was a gem, sorry cannot remember her name, but did tell her I had been recommended by a member of this site, and advised her to look us up.
    National Museum of Scotland is our favourite, something for everyone there, no matter how against history/museums they are. The millenium clock is amazing - your girls will love it, even if they don't want to go round and see anything else. Best of all museum is free. They do always have a fee paying exhibition on too, but last time we were down it was dinosaurs, and my daughter has outgrown the fascination with them.
    Greyfriars Church and graveyard is worth a visit - being a total coward, have only done that in daylight!
    Just few steps away is a shop called "Joe's" -which has funky jewellery and other bits and pieces, starts off really cheap. Keep heading round on same side and shop on corner which does all kind of clothes for teenagers - can't remember the name of shop, sorry. It isn't cheap, but has different things.
    Fiscals is really good and cheap for food - they serve food there all day, which we love, as often find us having late lunch at 3pm or whatever. Staff are absolutely brilliant and very helpful. They have comfy settees which is much appreciated after plodding about all day, and drink prices are extremely good, whether it be soft or the hard stuff. If couple of you are drinking wine, suggest you buy a bottle, even though you won't drink it all, might be cheaper than having 2 glasses each. They have "specials" on various bottles of wine. Soda water and lime really cheap, and just what you need as thirst quencher!
    Loads of good shopping for weird stuff in Cockburn Street (pronounced Coburn), which is just off the Royal Mile - or just up from Waverley Station from Princes Street end. Loads of other good shops Grassmarket area.
    Edinburghlass will no doubt be able to help here - I know where I want to go/get there, just don't know street names too well, and although I can get there, my explanations are truly bad, so I have been told! Will ask my daughter names of "cool" shops for you to visit, but won't be until Tues/Wed, so will post back then.
    In the meantime, if you can hint at your family's shopping preferences, someone will point you in the right direction.
    Also during summer, Royal Mile and other areas have loads of stalls selling jewellery and goodness knows what else - never have the chance to find out what else!
    Great wee sweetie shop in St Mary Street. This is just off Royal Mile and opposite city centre Travelodge. Old fashioned sweets galore, wonderful chocolates, Edinburgh rock - don't really have a sweet tooth thank goodness, but just had to get a quarter of this and that! Kept seeing sweeties from the past and had to have some. Wonderful lady was refusing to sell me anymore! Am sure she didn't believe that I really don't eat many sweets - I did share them all around when I got home, just not my fault that hardly anyone wanted to try the plain/dark chocolate ones! No idea what they are missing out on - and not telling them!
    You will have a great time in Edinburgh. Just set yourself up with a map - don't buy one, loads free at hotels, make sure everyone is wearing comfy footware, and get walking!
    P.S. You might get bother with suggesting comfy footwear to your daughters - only going on my experience about 3-4 years ago. No matter what you say, they will wear what they want. Some cushioned elastoplast is a must, so advise buying in advance - keep some in handbag!
    • toozie
    • By toozie 19th Jun 05, 8:06 AM
    • 3,249 Posts
    • 5,904 Thanks
    Great info Anne_Marie...I'll work backwards with your post!

    We'll probably all be in trainer's or flaties, so we're OK there, thanks for the tip!
    We'll definately visit the sweetie shop, I'd prefer a bag of crisps, but Hubby and girls luuuuve sweets.

    The girls love different/funky shops, and will have quite a bit of their own dosh (both got summer jobs) and any hip shop would do for them. I prefer bargains ie Boots tarting, Primark, Wilkinsons etc, or maybe seconds shops. I also love rummaging in charity/second hand shops, but these type of places are usually a bit out of the main (posh) shopping center's in big Cities, aren't they. But remember I'll have my trainers on, and can walk miles! Hubby Likes computer/music shops/ and probably anywhere that does wine/whisky tasting!!

    We'll definately take a walk round the church you mentioned, daughter who loves ghostly tales also loves graveyards (do you think I'm going to have trouble in the future??!!) And go for a meal at Frankensteins.

    Edinburghlass painted out on another thread that it if there was no parking facilities at the hotel, the cheapest, safest place was Airport parking, then catching a bus to town. Could anyone enlighten me further, on parking costs, distance from airport to Princes St, bus costs etc? Thank you.

    I've just looked at the Edinburgh Pass (EP) site. The Pass gives you free unlimited travel on any Lothian bus inc. airport transfers..which answers the one of the above questions if I buy the EP.
    The places we'd possibly be interested in which are free after buying the EP are:
    Codies Witchery Tour (there are two different tours-I think)
    Camera Obscra & World of Illusions
    Edinburgh Dungeon
    Dynamic Earth (girls might be bored here-hubby would like it) 24.50 for family ticket on their site.
    The Zoo
    Glenkinchie Distillery
    Hopetoun House (we'd have to go in the car??)
    Mercattours Tours (Couldn't read about this one as the site was down)

    The EP also save 2 each on the Edinburgh Bus Tour, and give lots of % off different shops and foodie places-although not the one's Anne_Marie mentioned.

    The EP would cost 40 each for 3 days (160 in total), so we'd have to save over 160 in enterence fee's/bus rides/and money off in various places. But I suppose It's easily done.

    Sorry to go on...but it's great to get all this info before we get there. Don't think We'll manage all we want to do in 4 days, the girls (and me) will probably want a full day round the shops too. I can't wait now!!

    Thanks toozie
  • Edinburghlass
    First of all I know nothing about the Pass, lol, being a resident but if you would get free entry to all those attractions you would probably get your money's worth depending if you have the time to do them all.

    The open top Bus tour is quite expensive but it does take you round the city and you can get off an on, one of the stops is Dynamic Earth and the Parliament building nearby which looks fantastic and you can get a tour round and I believe the coffee shop is nice. We were members of Dynamic Earth when my 14 year old was younger and really enjoyed going, she went recently with a trip and still quite enjoyed it. The Bus tour is also good for 24 hours so if you do it in an afternoon you can also get on again the next day. We went to the Zoo for Mother's Day, reduced entry for me of course and we always enjoy it but I have to say as you are going to be in Edinburgh during the Festival there is so much "free" stuff going on that you may not even need or have time to visit attractions. So to be honest I think you could easily spend no money just taking in the atmosphere!

    Morningside Road is the best place for charity shops and Causewayside for bric a brac and antique shops. Have to say that Princes Street is no longer "the" place for shopping, loads of cheap book shops, mobile phone shops and tourist shops. Mainly the out of town shopping centres have take over for clothes shops. No Primark or Wilkinson sadly but large shopping centre by Britannia called Ocean Terminal with the usual BHS, M&S food shop, International, nice Baxters shop, Boots etc etc. Once again boarding Britannia is expensive but perhaps the girls could be shopping while Dad goes onboard, lol.

    As for ghosties and ghoolies, a night time walking tour from the Witchery is a must, preferably the last one when its really dark but by then the tattoo is on so I am not sure what times and where they depart from during then.
    Also the tour of Mary King's Close is a must although I haven't done it personally. I'll check in a minute as I am sure I have linked to all these websites in another post here.

    Parking, I'll pm you about later, Hopetoun House, nice enough but can be missed, lol. Edinburgh Dungeon I'm sure we get reduced ticket prices in Tescos come the tourist season, I'll keep an eye out.

    Hanging out my washing before the thunder and lightening comes, its not too far away judging by the clouds so I'll come back to this later
  • Oscar
    Going by your first post Camera Obscura is a must. Glenkinchie Distillery would be good for hubby but you need a car to get there as it is in the middle of no where in East Lothian.(East Lothian is a beautiful county though) I dont know if there any bus tours go there but certainly service buses are few and far between. I do find Dynamic Earth boring its a while since I have been but you could not spend a full day there.

    I dont know if the EP card is good value for you or not. I would price the places where you definately want to go to .If you cant find them on the net phone and ask.

    I dont use the buses much but I think you can buy a day pass for certain buses and jump on and off as you please.
  • Oscar
    Edinburghlass in right about festival time. You can spend a lot of time in the High Street watching street performers. The council now have it set out into areas where each performer gets an allocated amount of time and space and it is quite organised.
  • Edinburghlass
    Just checked through this thread here and I have linked to the Witchery Tours and Mary King's Close websites in that thread. Both these tours can be done at night so that frees up shopping time in the day!

    Judging by reports the Dungeon is expensive and a bit of a waste of money but Camera Obscura gets the thumbs up.

    Generally I would say if its only 4 days I wouldn't bother with the Pass as you would find yourselves running around thinking you have to get your 160's worth or is that just a Scottish thing I think you would find yourselves going to attractions that may not be great just because they are "free" with this pass.

    The Book Festival will be on, JK Rowling has been known to do readings there, and I have been on a school trip to it where authors talk and read from their books, much more interesting than I thought it would be and plenty geared towards the kids or teenagers.

    I'll be back....
    • Anne_Marie
    • By Anne_Marie 19th Jun 05, 10:16 AM
    • 2,080 Posts
    • 3,436 Thanks
    Edinburgh Pass
    Toozie, tend to agree with Edinburghlass on Edinburgh pass, seems an awful lot of dosh to spend, when there are so many freebies going on at that time, and having time to get round everything. It is all down to personal preference though, may be worth it for your family.
    Did a quick search for airport parking, which is definitely cheaper than parking in Edinburgh using (sorry can't do the link thing) Prices ranged from 14-40 for 5 days, so well worth booking in advance. Have used airport bus which is great, think they run every 10/15 mins or so from airport into centre (last stop Waverley Station), takes about 20-30 mins, costs 5 return for adult, 3 for children.
    Will update later if I think of anything else.
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