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
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
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!
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.