Road Trip to Edinburgh with the Kids – What We Got Up To

The North West is a truly underrated place. Up here we’ve got The Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales, Manchester, and more natural beauty that you can shake a stick at. One of the best thing about the beautiful Lancashire area is the proximity to places like North Wales and Scotland. If you have itchy feet and want to explore you can easily get in your car and drive in any direction that takes your fancy. Like taking a road trip to Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is one of the places in Scotland that we just can’t get enough of. We’ve had a few 24 hour trips due to the close proximity to home and we enjoyed the city so much that we knew that we had to take the children to have them experience the city. Our trip was short and with kids, allowances have to be made in regards to time. Even then we had a lovely 24 hours in Edinburgh on our family trip.

Are you going to be in Edinburgh for a short amount of time? Read on to find out what to do on your next road trip to Edinburgh with kids!

Road Trip to Edinburgh with the Kids - What We Got Up To
Road Trip to Edinburgh with the Kids - What We Got Up To

Road Tripping in Scotland 

When taking road trips with kids, even if it’s only a few hours from home, keeping them busy is key! So spotting the sign that welcomed us into the country was an exciting feat for them. Between that and the sheep grazing the fields they were kept quite busy until they inevitably got so bored they had a nap. We wanted them to be full of energy when we arrived in Edinburgh so we had no problem with them snoozing a bit.

The drive on our road trip to Edinburgh was so beautiful that we also wanted to fully take it in. We even decided to drive past Edinburgh initially and over the water into the Firth of Forth for a few hours. It was then that we felt something wasn’t quite right. Sure enough, we were hit with a puncture and we knew we had to find a quick solution before heading back towards Edinburgh. I went online and searched for tyres and found cheap tyres online at Fife Autocentre.

Thankfully, they sorted our tyre out really quickly and we were able to get into Edinburgh in time for an early tea.

Piries Hotel, Edinburgh

We booked our stay at the 3-star Piries Hotel in the West End of Edinburgh. The Victorian building was beautiful from the outside and the kids and I were eager to get inside. We booked an apartment as my mum in law was visiting us as well. And even though it was a short trip we wanted to have more space so we could all be comfortable and the children could comfortably play.

Our apartment was in the adjacent building right next door and was situated on the 3rd floor, which made getting up there quite a feat! As soon as we got in we got cosy in our 3 bedroom apartment. The 3 children shared the massive bedroom that appeared to have been converted from a sitting room as it had 3 single beds and more room that you can imagine. Granny got a double room and we did too. Once we got settled in we waited for my other half and went on a walk to explore the city on foot.

The day was drizzly and grey and even though we were all raring to go explore we went to have a bite at local cafe/takeaway at the corner of Cowgate and St. Mary’s. It was delicious and what our tired bodies needed after an afternoon of walking, exploring, and refereeing the kids!

road trip to Edinburgh: delicious pizza!

Our Day Exploring Edinburgh

We knew that because we had gone back to our apartment to lazy about that evening and opted for some family downtime we had to take advantage of the sunny day that lay ahead.

We were up at a decent time and were out the door way before it was time to check out. Having our own apartment was fun as everyone had their own space to chill out and unwind. We had some juice and pain au chocolate for breakfast and headed out the door.

road trip to Edinburgh: me on the sightseeing bus!

The day was stunning so we headed into the city centre and even though our car was good to go the best thing to do was to park it. We left our car and headed to Waverly Street to pick up our bus tickets and headed onto the Sightseeing bus. It isn’t super affordable frankly, but it is very convenient to be able to hop on and off. Especially on such a glorious day!

Road Trip to Edinburgh with the Kids - What We Got Up To
Road Trip to Edinburgh with the Kids - What We Got Up To
road trip to Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament

There is a lot to see but when you have kids that are so far in ages it can get a bit tricky. Our teen, who was 12 at the time really didn’t want to see or do what his then 5 year old sisters did so we did the best we could do – divide and conquer.

So, what can you do in Edinburgh with children?

It depends on your age but a road trip to Edinburgh can include –

  • Take a bus tour
  • Visit The Scottish Parliament building
  • Go to Dynamic Earth
  • Visit the Museum of Childhood
  • Walk and shop in Prince’s Street
  • See the Castle
  • Run, play, enjoy Holyrood Park
  • Visit the beach for some sunshine on Leith
  • Go to The Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Visit The Elephant House, the cafe where JK Rowling wrote some of the books from the Harry Potter series

There’s so much to do and see and our twins decided to go see The Queen’s Gallery with Granny. Our teen wanted to walk about in Holyrood Park and go to the souvenir shopping. After getting on and off the bus at different destinations, bar the Castle because everyone was too tired by then. So we all got in the car and headed off for a quick visit to the beach a few minutes from the centre in Leith.

With so much to see and do in Edinburgh we enjoyed our first 24 hours there as a family. We have vowed to go back as soon as the kids are a little older and will definitely be hitting the open road!

road trip to Edinburgh: Leith harbour

Have you ever tried a road trip to Edinburgh?

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