12 Hours In Edinburgh With Kids

We recently spent 12 hours in Edinburgh as part of Lottie’s birthday treat.  With just one day there we  had to make the most efficient use of our time (cue loads of excited planning by me) so i came up with a little ’12 Hours In Edinburgh’ itinerary.

If you happen to find yourself with 12 hours in Edinburgh to fill – then check out this itinerary for lots of fun things to enjoy.

12 Hours In Edinburgh With Kids

12 Hours In Edinburgh With Kids

7.30am – Arrive In Style

We started our 12 hours in Edinburgh with an overnight ride on the Caledonian Sleeper. Leaving London Euston Friday night, full of both excitement and tasty food from Leon, we settled down for the night in our bunk-beds before awaking in Scotland the next morning. Not only is the overnight train an efficient use of your time and money (a ticket for a family of 4 cost only £125 one-way with our Friends & Family railcard), it’s also such a wonderfully nostalgic way to travel – even being hailed by the Lonely Planet as one of the best train journeys of all time!

9.30am – Visit The Castle

12 Hours In Edinburgh With Kids

After an early breakfast we headed straight to Edinburgh Castle for its 9.30am opening ready to beat the crowds (booking tickets in advance can help speed this up even further). To fully make the most of your time here the official website has itineraries for you to follow – we chose the ‘Family Friendly’ one which gave us and the girls a great overview of the fantastic history held within the castle.

11.30am – Walk The Royal Mile

As the name would suggest, this mile long road runs from the castle, downhill, towards Holyrood Palace.


There are a plethora of tourist shops along the Royal Mile, as well as street performers and beautiful buildings, to keep you amused throughout your walk.  Our favourite of these was Fudge Kitchen– combining fudge-making demos, free samples and the best selection of fudge I’ve ever seen was a winner for me!

royal mile

12.30pm – Visit The Museum Of Childhood

Found along the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood gives families a lovely place to escape the crowds for a while. Offering free entry (donations are welcomed) this a great way to spend half hour along the way down the hill.

1.15pm – Lunch at Pancho Villa

This charming little Tex Mex resultant is located towards the bottom of the Royal Mile.  Pancho Villa offers delicious food at reasonable prices – and great service towards families which is always a bonus!  The food here is filling and served in lovely large portions, perfect if you are looking to just have one meal stop during your 12 hours in Edinburgh.

2.30pm – Climb Carlton Hill 

The best way to work off big lunch is a nice walk in the fresh air! A ramble up Carlton Hill, or Arthurs Seat if you are feeling extra energetic, is just what the doctor ordered!

Offering some of the best views of the city, Carlton Hill also houses several iconic monuments and buildings such as the National Monument, Dugald Stewart Monument, Nelson’s Monument, Robert Burns Monument and the City Observatory. It is also a fantastic place for the children to run around!

4.30 – Ride The Tram Back To The Airport 

The tram ride back to the airport costs £5 per adult and £2.50 per child and takes just under an hour from the city centre.  Taking in sights such as Murrayfield along the way, the tram gives you a great chance to see a little more of Edinburgh before you leave.

7.30pm – Fly Home

A Ryanair flight back to London cost us just 19.99 in total for the 4 of us, and we were home in just over half an hour. The perfect way to end your Whistle-Stop 12 hours in Edinburgh.






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  1. We spend 12 hours in Edinburgh a couple of years ago and loved it, we were so lucky it was a really hot sunny day, we also visited the Tattoo which was incredible such a wonderful show x

  2. Wow, what a fantastic fun packed day. I absolutely love Edinburgh and a visit to the royal mile is definitely up there with my favourite things to do, the museum looks fun too will have to try that on our next visit.

  3. It looks like you had such a lovely time! I’ve never been to Edinburgh but if I visit, I’ll keep these tips in mind. I bet your children slept well that night! #sharewithme

  4. The museum of childhood sounds great. My Glaswegian wife keeps saying we must visit “the other place” (the populace of the two rival cities not always getting along that well!!). Lots of ideas you’ve given us for when it eventually happens. #sharewithme

  5. Wow what a jam packed but fun day. The fudge making looks amazing!!! So great that you could fly back for cheap to. The castle looks really beautiful. You must have all been so tired at the end of the day. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather xx

  6. Wow, what a fab idea for a trip! I would never have thought someone would come up here for just a day, but it sounds like you had an amazing day with lots packed in. We haven’t taken the kids up Carlton hill yet, although have been on the Royal Mile numerous times and love taking the tram! I didn’t realise it’s only £20 for a flight to London, will maybe have to go the other way for a day! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  7. Lovely place I would love to visit went there once for my birthday fell ill a few hours after arrival spent the entire three days vomiting in the toilet hotel bathroom and went home sadly missed it all. Heard it’s stunning there definitely want to visit. Glad you had such a lovely 12 hours. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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