Accompanied minors: can my kids come in?

Edinburgh is a great city for kids. Jam-packed with family friendly cafes, playgrounds and free attractions, there is something to satisfy even the fussiest of toddlers. Kids editor Ruth Cameron Dawkins gives the benefit of her experience

feature (edinburgh) | Read in About 3 minutes
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Published 21 Jul 2011
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Places to Eat

Like any city, Edinburgh has its fair share of chain restaurants that cater to families: Pizza Express is probably the best, serving good food in a relaxed setting, and providing high chairs, a great value children’s menu, balloons and crayons to keep everyone happy (Branches on Lothian Road, North Bridge, George IV Bridge, Queensferry St, Holyrood Rd, Deanhaugh St).

However, there is also an abundance of smaller, independent places that are great for families with young children. In the West End, the Traverse Bar Café (Cambridge St) provides an informal atmosphere and plenty of space for pushchairs. The Good Seed Bistro (Dalry Rd) and Bar Roma (Queensferry St) are both renowned for friendly staff, who positively welcome younger customers.

In the New Town, Hendersons and Urban Angel (both Hanover St) both provide a great selection of healthy dishes with the emphasis on vegetarian, organic, locally sourced ingredients. Pushchair access is slightly tricky, but staff are always available to help with the steps. Joseph Pearce’s (Leith Walk) is another favourite, with a specially created children’s corner packed with wooden toys.

On the Southside, Double Dutch (Marshall St), Peter’s Yard (Simpsons Loan) and the Scottish Storytelling Centre (Royal Mile) are all great places to stop for a coffee and a light snack. For a more substantial meal in a relaxed setting try the bistro at Hotel du Vin (Bristo Place), or head for some great Italian food at Papilio (Bruntsfield Place). Pushchairs will need to be folded at Papillio, but the warm welcome more than compensates.  


Places to Visit

Edinburgh is well provided for in terms of the parks and playgrounds dotted around the city. The excellent Meadows Playground (corner of Buccleuch St and Melville Drive), has enough to amuse children of all ages. The recently refurbished playground at the west end of Princes St Gardens is also very popular. If you’re just looking for some green space to let your kids run around and burn off some energy, then Bruntsfield Links, Calton Hill Park, Inverleith Park and Leith Links are all good options. 

In the centre of town, The Museum of Childhood (Royal Mile), National Museum of Scotland (Chambers St) and Our Dynamic Earth (Holyrood Rd) are all good bets to keep kids happy on rainy days.

And if you’ve had enough of the festival crowds and want to escape for a while, Gorgie City Farm, Portobello Beach and the Royal Botanic Gardens will all provide some quieter entertainment without breaking the bank.