Top 10 things to do with under fives - David's List

My top ten things to do with your kids has been a team effort, my daughter and I worked on this together.

1) Time Twister

My daughter loves this place as she can climb really high and see everyone below. She loves to shout for me and then hide. I’ve yet to attempt to even climb over the hurdles and hurtle through the jungle of hanging obstructions, but there again, it’s not for adults!!

We usually go either first thing in the day or mid-afternoon (straight after school) when it’s a wee bit quieter. On a great bus route and has free parking. You can read more about it here: Time Twisters

2) WHEC Swimming Pool

The pool has been in Wester Hailes for as long as I can remember and of course is attached to the side of Wester Hailes Education Centre. We used to love the small baby/splash pool, but now “we're bigger”, I was told that I can now go to the “big” pool. 

My daughter usually goes with her granddad on a Saturday afternoon, where it can be a “hit or a miss” with how busy it can be. Depending on time of year/weather/school holidays. On a bus route and has free parking.  The website for the pool is: Pool

3) Edinburgh Zoo

Well, if you’re needing a workout, this is the place to go. Although, as a parent I find it quite expensive (yearly passes are available to purchase for both the Zoo as well as Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore), it’s still a great day out for the family. We always take a picnic and eat it at the top of the zoo hill. 

The views are awesome and by the time you have reached the top, said hi to the zebras and kangaroos, you’ll all be ready for some refreshments. 

The zoo is on a main thoroughfare route in and out of Edinburgh and parking costs £4.00 per vehicle. Changing facilities are dotted all over the site.  The Zoo's website: Zoo 

4) Vogrie Park

Vogrie Park, situated just outside Pathhead, is awesome. So many things to do on site as well as, have a wee ride on the miniature steam train which runs on Sundays (this is run by volunteers, so may not run every Sunday). Remember and pack your wellies. A mistake that I’ve made many a time and had to walk round the site with squelching footwear. 
If you are planning an educational trip, the Midlothian Countryside Rangers are on hand to help you out with pond dipping & fire building. This has to be booked prior to your visit.
The park is only 2 miles from the A68 and parking is a donation of £1.00 per vehicle. There are changing facilities on site in the big house.  Vogrie's website: Park!

5) Falkirk Wheel

My daughter loved to “zorb” on the water as well as take a ride on the “boat lift”. An amazing water/flying experience. Parking is free and there is a LOT of it. There is an onsite cafe, which isn’t too expensive as well as baby changing on site. Wellies are not required for this trip!
The wheel's website: Big Wheel

6) Saughton Park

This park is very local to us and although is on a main bus route in the west of the city, there are many cycle paths that lead to and pass the park. For me, as an adult, recently just learning the history of the park has been fascinating, especially about their rose gardens. Hearing the work of the Friends of Saughton Park who work tirelessly (voluntarily) to ensure their part of the park looks great all year round. 

The gardens are beautiful and the park is large with the feeling of having a lot of space while still feeling secure. My daughter loves the “flying fox”. I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve heard “just one more time daddy” Free parking on site and bus services pass the site throughout the day.  You can see more details here: Rose

7) National Museum of Scotland

This museum is the only museum where I have my arm pulled as soon as we walk in to the building. Dinosaurs, gyro-copters (which even sounds like a dinosaur), period costumes, space!!…..WOW, the list is endless. Not to mention the Millennium clock, which, every time I have a look at it, I spot something that I never spotted on my previous visits.
It’s hard not to run about in the building as it's so big and there's so much to see.
Due to the location of the museum, parking can be quite tricky as well as expensive, so we usually take a bus or tram and then have a wee walk to the museum. We always take a packed lunch and sit and watch the world going by from the 1st floor eating space.

Free entry, but we always give a donation when we leave in the perspex buckets based at the exit doors. Baby changing and toilets dotted around the venue and are always inspected and clean.  Their website is: Museum

8) Water of Leith Visitor Centre

The Water of Leith Visitor Centre is situated in a renovated schoolhouse by the Water of Leith. Its location under the viaduct at Longstone. There is a small free exhibition as well as a cafe. We use the Visitor Centre as a starting point on our treks. I’d suggest wearing wellies on damp days, as even on the driest of days, the walkway can still be a bit on the damp side.  The centre's website is: Water

9) Botanical Garden and Inverleith Park

We can spend almost a full day at the Botanics. From peering into the windows of the newly completed Botanic Cottage, to running about the site playing chase. There are a few onsite eateries, we tend to bring a picnic.
The squirrels are almost superhuman, and are very happy to come right up to you and say Hi.  The Botanic's website is: Green 

10) Portobello Beach

Ah, Edinburgh’s very own Daytona Beach. I have great memories as a child walking along the prom, playing in the sand, to pacing up and down the prom with my wife when we were expecting our first child as well as making memories with my children. 

I’ve experienced the “wrath” of Portobello beach on a winter’s day walking along the prom for a “brisk” walk as well as sharing an ice cream with my family on a lovely summer’s day. You can read more about the beach here: Sand

Thomas Lynch