Edinburgh is a beautiful historic city to visit with your family. There are many sites to see and activities that will keep you all entertained for the duration of your visit. You can find amazing hotels in Edinburgh that will suit all family budgets.
Once you decide where to stay, you can start putting together a list of things to do on your trip. High on the list for most families is to take a tour of some of the nearby castles. You can save money on entry fees by purchasing an Explorer Pass. Prices for a family pass start at £58.
Who doesn’t love the idea of visiting ancient castles? In Edinburgh, there are several of them to choose from, making your visit one to remember for a lifetime. Each castle has its own story, so be ready to listen.
Set atop the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic attractions in Scotland. Your family can walk the same areas as the Scottish kings and queens of centuries past. Visit the Crown Room to see the Scottish Crown Jewels. Stop to see the Stone of Destiny, where kings were crowned for hundreds of years.
Take the time to view the castle at night. From Princes St the darkness of the mount undernearth makes the brightly lit castle appear as if it’s floating in the air. If you are very lucky you might catch a fireworks display while you are in town as fireworks are let off from the castle walls and the nearby areEn. Truly, this is one sight not to be missed.
Entrance tickets are £9.60 for children and £16 for adults. Alternatively you can explore the outside of the castle for free and enjoy the wonderful views of the city.
Mary, Queen of Scots, sought refuge in this castle in 1566 after her private secretary was murdered. Built around 1400, the castle is one of the best preserved in Scotland. It is a fantastic place to explore with beautiful grounds, many nooks and crannies and breathtaking tower views.
Admission is £5.50 for adults and £3.30 for children. Open all year round, the castle is just 3 miles from the city and can easily be reached by public transport.
Built around 1590 with several extensions added in the late 1800s, Lauriston Castle was the home of Sir Archibald Napier. It overlooks the Firth of Forth. You can see the beautiful Edwardian décor and stroll the Japanese Friendship Garden on a guided tour.
Opening hours are Saturday to Thurday at 2pm from April through October and weekends at 2pm November through March. The castle is open by guided tour only (lasting approximately one hour) but there’s no need to book in advance, unless you have a group of more than 10 people. The garden is open April through September from 9am – 8pm and October through March from 9am – 5pm. Family tickets are just £12.50 if you want to enter the castle, whilst admission to the gardens is free.
Visit this home of one of the most powerful families in Scotland, the Douglas Earls of Angus. The castle has endured for three centuries and has survived three separate sieges in its lifetime. You can take in the breathtaking view that overlooks the Firth of Forth and enjoy the wildflowers that bloom around the grounds.
Admission is £5.50 for adults and £3.30 for children. Open from 9.30 – 5.30 between April – September and from 9.30 – 4.30 between October – March. Getting to Tantallon Castle requires taking a train and a bus but on a nice day it’s well worth the mission to see this amazing piece of history and the stunning cliff top location.
This stunning castle was first built in the 14th century, the home of nobles for more than 200 years. It was first the home of the Crichtons and later the Earls of Bothwell. Its styling makes it look as though it belongs in the Mediterranean rather than the Scottish countryside. Crichton Castle is only open between April and September from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. Tickets are £4.50 for adults and £2.70 for children.
Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century by the Crichton family and was intended to serve as a garrison fortress and prison. You can take in the view of the Firth from the towers of the castle.
Admission is £5.50 for adults and £3.30 for children. Opening hours vary depending on the time of year so check in advance.
This beautiful castle was built 700 years ago and looks exactly like those drawings of castles you probably drew as a kid, right down to the remains of the moat and the large arched entrance. Can’t you just picture the portcullis waiting to drop in that doorway to stop invadors and arches in those windows and atop those battlements?
It offers visitors beautiful scenery and gardens. It is the home of the world’s longest herbaceous border. It is also where you can see some of the oldest castle fragments in Scotland, the de Vaux towers that date back to 1240. Tickets are £5.50 for adults and £3.30 for children.
The castles around Edinburgh are sure to delight everyone in your family. Take time to explore some of the most impressive structures in history during your holiday. If you want to splurge a little for this trip, you could even stay in one of the 4-star hotels in the countryside that provide a modern twist on what it would have been like to be a rich lord living in one of these castles or manor homes. Even if it’s just for a night or two!