If you’re thinking of visiting Edinburgh with your children or moving here as a family, there are plenty of reasons why you should. Here are our top five
1. Lots of green spaces
If you think of Edinburgh, you’ll probably picture Princes Street, the main shopping district that’s blessed with stellar views of the castle and usually rather packed with tourists. That might be off-putting if you’re planning to visit or move to Edinburgh with a pushchair or young children to hang onto. But step away from Princes Street and you’ll find plenty of places to spend time with your children where they can run around and enjoy themselves in the fresh air.
For loads of open space in which to play games, have picnics and barbecues, head to The Meadows in the Old Town area; for walks and spectacular views, the best place to visit is Holyrood Park, which is home to Arthur’s Seat.
If you’re shopping and need a quick break, Princes Street Gardens is easy to reach, located between Old Town and Princes Street: it’s also a concert venue, so it’s worth checking what’s on while you’re there. Other green spaces of note are the Royal Botanical Gardens and Carlton Hill.
There are plenty of good and outstanding schools to choose from, especially in the areas that are already popular areas for families to live (see 5, below). Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about choosing to live in Edinburgh with your children is that in Scotland, Higher Education is fully funded by the Scottish Government. If your children are small now, you may not be thinking about universities but you’ll be glad you made the decision to move here when the time comes…
3. Friendly locals
Families who move to Edinburgh find that the locals are welcoming and friendly, and there’s a real sense of community - especially amongst local families. Joining toddler groups or having a chat at the school gates will be sure to help you settle in and find lifelong friends for you and your children. If you’re just visiting, Edinburgh is famous for its warm welcome - the city relies heavily on tourist income and while they have a vested interest in making visitors feel at home, it is simply in their nature to be friendly and helpful.
Edinburgh has a wealth of history to explore. If you’re just visiting, perhaps the best way to explore the highlights with your children is by going on the self-guided Edinburgh Treasure Trail
, a 1.75 mile planned route around the city taking in local sites and monuments whilst solving clues.
If you’re planning to move to the area and have more time to explore, there’s a wealth of museums including the National Museum of Scotland (including hands-on exhibits and areas designed just for children), the Museum of Edinburgh (which features detective trails, a storytelling corner and regular pop-up exhibits so there’s always something new) and Dynamic Earth (an interactive museum exploring the history of Earth, complete with a 360-degree dome cinema).
5. Nice areas for families to live
As a capital city, house prices in Edinburgh are naturally more expensive than in other areas (though not as expensive as those found in London). There’s an abundance of housing to rent if buying is not feasible for you at the moment. But whether you’re buying or renting, there are certain areas in and around the city that are generally popular amongst families, mainly because of their good schools and other child-friendly amenities.
Amongst these are Stockbridge (within walking distance of the centre; close to the Royal Botanical Gardens), Morningside (excellent schools), Bruntsfield (good for open spaces thanks to Bruntsfield Links park) and Corstorphine (home to Edinburgh Zoo). Other areas that are lovely to live in but a little more affordable include Newington, Polwarth and Shandon.
Edinburgh is a great place to live and visit if you have children of any age. If you’re thinking of moving to the area and need somewhere to store your household contents so that you can get your new home decorated and ready before moving in properly, we have three stores for you to choose from in Edinburgh