Edinburgh for Under Fives: 15th edition hits shelves

The Secret Herb Garden is one of the top recommendations in the new book. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The Secret Herb Garden is one of the top recommendations in the new book. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SUN glinting off the rocks, the gannets soar off the headland as the family settles down to a picnic lunch on the otherwise deserted sandy beach. Soon they can resist no longer and parents and children race off for a paddle in the tempting water.

Sound idyllic? Yes. But where would you find such a quiet and unspoilt place close to Edinburgh? It turns out, deep inside John Muir Country Park, Dunbar. It’s these hidden gem summer day destinations that the less intrepid among us might not discover with a demanding little person in tow. But help is at hand in the shape of the new Edinburgh for Under Fives guide. The trusty parent bible is now in its 15th edition, offering parents the best of Edinburgh and 
surrounding areas.

Edinburgh is a wonderful city for babies and toddlers and the feedback we get is that more venues are catering for the littlest family members, whether in changing facilities, special menus and, increasingly, even dedicated play spaces.

Kirsty Nicholls

It’s written by and for parents and carers and includes hundreds of tried and tested child-friendly locations.

The parent reviewer of John Muir Country Park takes their kids to the quieter northern end, away from the play park, where the family’s favourite beach lies, beyond the rocky area – perfect for investigating rock pools.

And in the quirky, personable style that characterises the reviews, they add: “Now we always take a towel and dry pants for all our children as they can’t resist the sea here!”

It’s for such useful tips, and other reviews that point out baby-change locations, nearby cafes and easy parking, that the book has become a firm favourite with many new mums and dads. Just knowing that another parent has visited a venue and judged it suitable can make a day out with a baby or toddler that much less nerve-wracking.

Editor Kirsty Nicholls, mum to 17-month-old Jack, says she couldn’t have put the guide together without her dedicated team of volunteer researchers.

She says: “Edinburgh is a wonderful city for babies and toddlers and the feedback we get is that more venues are catering for the littlest family members, whether in changing facilities, special menus and, increasingly, even dedicated play spaces.”

Edinburgh for Under Fives was first printed as a pamphlet in 1987, when a group of mothers involved with the NCT parenting charity decided to put together a guide for parents who still wanted to get out and about in the city.

It was such a success it was reprinted the same year, and since then has been expanded and updated every two years. Money from sales is ploughed back into the next edition and used to support the work of the NCT in Scotland.

The latest edition is set to launch at the Meadows Festival tomorrow in the Kids’ Area, where little ones will be able to enjoy taster sessions of activities such as Lingotot, Jo Jingles and Little Crafters, and music will be provided by Jerry O’Regan, of Little BigSongs.

• The guide costs £9.95, including 365-day access to regularly updated web content. A digital edition is priced at £5.95 for a year or £3.95 for 30 days. More info: http://www.efuf.co.uk/