October holidays in Edinburgh: 10 family-friendly days out to choose from

A shark exhibit at the Sea Creatures exhibition. Pic: submitted
A shark exhibit at the Sea Creatures exhibition. Pic: submitted
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The October holidays begin next week and there's plenty on offer in the capital for a family day out.

Whether it's educational or fun (or both) then you and the kids will be covered. Why not try out one of these 10 suggestions...

A pumpkin patch: Craigie's Farm Shop and Cafe Facebook

A pumpkin patch: Craigie's Farm Shop and Cafe Facebook

Pumpkin picking

Why not head out to Craigie's Farm in South Queensferry where you can pick your own pumpkins for carving this Halloween?

Traditionally it was a turnip, but these days pumpkins have become a Halloween staple in most houses. Although available in most supermarkets, it's more fun to pick your own.

As well pumpkins, you'll be able to pick your own apples for dunking or some seasonal vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and leeks.

For more details visit the Craigie's Farm website or follow updates on their Facebook page.

Design a Dinosaur

After the roaring success of Designosaur this summer, Edinburgh attraction Dynamic Earth is bringing dinosaurs back into the digital age for October half term.

From this Saturday, visitors will have the opportunity to design their very own dino, choosing everything from colour to camouflage, before having it brought to life before their eyes.

Youngsters will be able to use an iPad to build their personalised dinosaur and even snap a selfie with their monstrous creation using clever mixed reality technology.

The activity will run between 10am and 4pm throughout the holidays.

For more details and to buy tickets visit here

Kids eat free at YO! Sushi

Why not stop in at the Japanese street food and sushi favourite YO! Sushi restaurant in Princes Street and take your kids for free?

Lasting from Oct 15th to Nov 2nd, katsu-crazy kids will be able to grab a starter, main and drink for nothing and indulge in mouth-watering classics such as creamy avocado maki, tender chicken katsu bao buns and tangy veggie yakisoba noodles. And for those with a serious sweet tooth, desserts such as the gooey chocolate pot and delicious custard-filled pancake doryakis can be enjoyed for just £1.50!

The offer is valid all day and conditions state that, for every free children's meal, the adult must spend £10 or above.

Edinburgh Zoo

Always a popular choice with the kids, Edinburgh Zoo provides plenty of fun year-round for all the family thanks to its exotic range of animals from lions, monkeys and koalas to penguins and giant pandas.

It's open from 10am to 5pm throughout October but remember, as t's heading into the colder and stormier time of year, make sure the zoo is definitely open before you go.

Visit: 134 Corstorphine Road, EH12 6TS, www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/

Cramond Island

Located on the outer reaches of the city, Cramond Island is a tidal island located on the Firth of Forth. The small grassy island is home to World War II fortifications and is connected to the mainland by the Drum Sands, a concrete pathway accessible at low tide and dotted with anti-submarine pylons.

Cramond Island is one of Edinburgh’s fascinating geological oddities, but it's worth keeping an eye on the tide as you make the crossing to make sure you’re not stranded on the other side.


National Museum of Scotland

From the moment you step into the vast white Grand Gallery, the National Museum of Scotland is a museum with seemingly endless possibilities of exploration and discovery. The central gallery connects the building’s more historic wings which include memorable exhibitions such as Dolly the Sheep, medieval capital punishment equipment and the wonderfully eccentric Millennium clock tower.

The museum is also running an activity series during the October half term covering the big issues of wildlife conservation, renewable energy and recycling.

Visit: Chambers Street, EH1 1JF, www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/

Operation Earth

This is the final chance for budding environmental scientists to join in Operation Earth to investigate the planet's air, land and oceans. It's being run in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council to help the whole family find out more about how scientists are working to understand our changing planet.

You'll be able to come in for lots of hands-on activities such as sampling the wildlife in the indoor meadow, exploring the microscopic world or taking to the skies by using the drone simulator software.

The events will take place inside the Dynamic Earth building from Oct 14th-17th and Oct 20th-21st and run from 10am to 4pm.

For more details and to buy tickets visit here

Sea Creatures: Life Beneath The Ocean

In a Scotland first, this exhibition will provide a close up glimpse of the cross-sections of creatures from the deep sea.

More than 200 exhibits are on show including 50 ethically sourced, real-life specimens of animals including whales, dolphins, stingrays and even a giant squid. Alongside the many full-body exhibits is a host of smaller displays, including the lung and eyeball of a minke whale, a whale’s kidney, the egg of a king penguin, a sea lion’s heart and shark’s teeth.

The painstakingly preserved displays use the same plastination process developed by Dr. Gunther von Hagens and made famous by artist Damien Hirst, replacing fluids and soluble fats with resins and allowing us to view incredibly accurate ‘cross-sections’ of the creatures. The exhibition is brought to the UK by Culture Event Creative in partnership with the Scottish Association for Maritime Science.

It is taking place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston in Edinburgh until October 18th and is open from 10am till 6pm daily throughout half term. Ticket details can be found here with a ‘last chance to see’ offer of a 50% discount. You can enter the discount code LASTCHANCE50 for 50% off standard prices.

Royal Botanic Gardens

If the weather is good enough, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the ideal place to enjoy a family picnic. Yes, even in October.

The winding paths and steps of the rock garden are great for the kids to explore and any leftovers from your picnic can be fed to the ducks.

Visitors can discover a history dating back nearly 350 years, learn about the plantings and walk around 70 acres of beautiful landscape. The spectacular glasshouses are home to 3,000 exotic plants from around the world.

For more details visit the website

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

According to their website, EICA is Europe’s largest indoor climbing arena and can be found in the western outskirts of the capital.

There are hundreds of climbing routes for adults and older children to try out but there are also good facilities for younger children. Scrambles Softplay has comprehensive zoned areas for babies, toddlers and younger children (up to 10 years) managed by friendly, caring staff with a lovely cafe to watch all the fun.

Rock Tots Play Room and Cafe is the biggest in Edinburgh with every toy and activity any under-5 could wish for - even a huge bouncy castle.

Visit: South Platt Hill, Ratho, Newbridge, EH28 8AA, 0131 333 6333, www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/venues/edinburgh-international-climbing-arena