Walking around the Royal Botanic Garden, I remembered how much I love Edinburgh. I always say I’m not a city person (I live in a cottage that backs onto fields currently full of frolicking lambs), but if I ever did return to city life it would be in Edinburgh. Beautiful, charming Edinburgh, with its history etched into the streets and buildings like lines on an aging face. Enchanting Edinburgh, with its iconic castle perched above Princes Street Gardens; a watch guard over the city. It welcomes me back each time, pulling me into its open arms.
In the past a weekend visit to Edinburgh would usually involve lunch or coffee at Valvona and Crolla on Elm Row, a walk along George Street to browse the shops, maybe a trip to Stockbridge or Bruntsfield (my favourite areas of the city). Recently, however, a weekend in Edinburgh centred around family-friendly activities as I now have a six month old son.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
We headed first to the Royal Botanic Garden as we were staying with friends in a self-catering apartment nearby (which made life much easier). I have spent many an afternoon walking in the gardens but never before had I noticed quite as many prams. A green haven tucked at the bottom of Broughton Street, it is an ideal place for families with paths snaking around the large expanse of garden, and a number of ponds, Glasshouses and rockeries. It is a beautiful place to walk with a pushchair and you can usually meet a cheeky squirrel as they dart on and off the path. We sat in the Chinese Pavilion while my friend’s son enjoyed freedom from his buggy, and I thought how lovely it would be to have this on your doorstep. I can imagine my son in the not too distant future chasing after the squirrels and trying to get closer to the ducks.
National Museum of Scotland
Another fantastic place for families is the National Museum of Scotland. Recently refurbished, it is another free attraction and a hotspot for families. As well as a number of brilliant exhibitions and displays, there are interactive sections for children to explore. Although my son was too young to do anything other than stare out from his pushchair, it is a great place to stroll around. (And the restaurant on the lower floor is lovely). If you want to visit both the Botanic Garden and the Museum of Scotland, the number 23 bus runs between the two.
As my son grows, we will visit other popular attractions for families such as Dynamic Earth, Camera Obscura, Edinburgh Zoo, and of course Edinburgh Castle, as well as the many parks and gardens. And I look forward to seeing the city anew, to discovering Edinburgh’s beauty and charm all over again but this time through the eyes of a child.
Emma Gibb is a confirmed Scotland-lover and writes for Embrace Scotland self catering.