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Must See Family-Friendly Attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh's magnificent skyline (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Edinburgh’s magnificent skyline (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Edinburgh makes for a great family destination this summer. It’s an easy city to explore with the kids, after all, on account of it being compact, brimming with attractions ready to impress, and pleasantly cool even in the summertime. Auld Reekie’s, as it’s affectionately called, streets and closes (that’s Scots for alleys) are imbued with historic sights, striking architecture, underground tunnels and tantalizing viewpoints begging to be explored.

Pop in for a quick two-day visit or make the enigmatic city your terminus ad quem. And while there, make it a point to see these five kid-friendly attractions.

Camera Obscura

One of the exhibits at Camera Obscura (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

One of the exhibits at Camera Obscura (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Nearby Edinburgh Castle may draw the most crowds, but Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions may be time better spent, especially when you’re traveling with little and big kids. The popular tourist and kid-friendly attraction, located in Old Town Edinburgh right along the Royal Mile, is designed to pique the kids’ natural curiosity as well as encourage their affinity for touching museum exhibits. Expect awesome mazes, interactive items on display, curious illusions and, of course, the 19th century device that allows visitors glimpses of the city below in real time.

One of the closes in Edinburgh (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

One of the closes in Edinburgh (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Mary King’s Close
Also along the Royal Mile a few minutes downhill from Camera Obscura is the astounding big kid-friendly Mary King’s Close. The older kids will be drawn to its mystique while moms and dads will find its history engrossing. The close used to be Edinburgh’s place to be and one of its most sought-after addresses, with its market stalls selling wares of every kind. Today, now underground and buried under the City Chambers, Mary King’s Close—along with its neighboring closes and its tenement houses—has become a popular tourist attraction. And a fantastic one, at that!

Carlton Hill
Edinburgh’s skyline, whether smothered in gray or glowing at sunset, is incredible. It’s crucial, therefore, to capture it during your visit. Carlton Hill, a short and easy hike from the Royal Mile, is one of the city’s perfect vantage points to do exactly this. The historic UNESCO World Heritage Site is, in fact, one of the city’s most photographed as it provides the perfect foreground for Edinburgh’s medieval spires and rooftops. And much like most of Edinburgh, Carlton Hill also boasts its share of history. Take the kids up here on a clear summer morning or at sunset when the sky is beautifully painted.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Greyfriars Kirkyard (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

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