Discover Scotland's rich environment and wildlife at star attractions
There is a wealth of compelling attractions dedicated to education, wildlife and the environment in and around Edinburgh, all of which provide a stimulating experience for both children and adults alike.
Dynamic Earth is Scotland’s largest interactive visitor centre and tells the story of our planet.
Avid astronomers can explore the ever-changing night sky in the UK’s only Digistar 6K planetarium.
There are guides through which visitors will learn all about the most recent space discoveries.
The centre’s Deep Time Machine allows visitors to witness the Big Bang, experience molten volcanoes and to feel first-hand the cold facades of an iceberg.
Dynamic Earth is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am with last entry at 3pm or 4pm on weekends.
Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
The world-leading Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers the chance to discover plants from around the world and explore 70 acres of maintained scenery.
The Botanics features the Rock Garden, Alpine houses, Woodland Garden, pond, the Arboretum and the Chinese Hillside.
Three regional Gardens host a distinct collection of plants to explore thanks to the different climates they experience and the unique landscape they are set in.
The John Hope Gateway is an interactive visitor centre that houses a museum, shop and gallery.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is open daily between 10am and 5pm.
Arboretum Place, Edinburgh
The National Museum of Scotland takes visitors on a trip through time, showcasing Scotland’s history from the age of dinosaurs to the present day.
Visitors can explore the earliest cultures at the Archaeology galleries, discover Earth in the Natural World display, and learn about Scotland’s international links at the World Cultures gallery.
The Grand Gallery is a stunning architectural exhibition in itself and provides a magnificent start to the museum.
Chambers Street, Edinburgh
For those keen to step aboard a more regal history, the Royal Yacht Britannia has been a royal residence for more than 40 years and has sailed some 1 million nautical miles.
It is now a top-rate attraction in Leith and visitors can learn about how the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh entertained powerful figures there, as well as how the 220 yachtsmen served on board.
Tickets cost £18 per adult; £16 for students; 9 for children aged between five and 17; or free for under-5s.
Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Bus Tours began in 1989 and have been running highly popular tours across the city since.
There are a range of multi-language tours available with insightful guides.
A favoured option for those with children is the Horrible Histories Children’s commentary narrated by Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.
It promises history with all the gory bits left in.
Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh
The Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity based at North Berwick and less than a 50-minute drive from the Capital.
The five-star visitor attraction invites people to dive in and explore Scotland’s unique marine environment at the transformed Discovery Experience.
There are a variety of exhibits, interactive live cameras on the world’s largest Northern gannet colony located on the nearby Bass Rock as well as various wildlife boat trips.
The Scottish Seabird Centre is open daily from 10am to 5pm and tickets can be booked online.
The Harbour, North Berwick
For visits to destinations further afield, Edinburgh-based Rabbie’s Tours provides day trips and longer tours of up to 17 days, from day visits to the Kelpies and Stirling Castle, to island hopping off the West Coast.
Whatever the length, passengers will gain insight of Scotland’s dramatic landscapes, ancient history and intriguing culture.
Prices depend on the length of the adventure and Rabbie’s is open Monday to Sunday, from 7.30am to 3pm.
Waterloo Place, Edinburgh
Similarly, Haggis Adventures promises an “epic road trip with new friends, where laughs are guaranteed and wild antics are inevitable”.
The team organises one to 10-day excursions from Edinburgh, allowing guests to discover lochs, castles and vast mountains across the Highlands, islands and coastlines.
There is information about available discounts on the company’s website, where all the details of each tour can also be found.
Haggis Adventures is open daily from 7.30am to 4.30pm.
60 High St, Edinburgh
0131 -557 9393
Whatever the adventure, be sure to strap in for an exhilarating experience and discover the diverse, rich history and environment Scotland’s Capital and vast landscape has to offer.
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