Ten of the best family days out for Easter

Make the most of the school holidays with our pick of the best Easter activities for all the family.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 11:47 am
Updated Friday, 23rd March 2018, 11:48 am
Stroke one of Gorgie City Farms Easter chicks on Good Friday. Picture: Neil Hanna

Horse around on Easter Saturday

Let the kids horse around over Easter weekend with a trip to Musselburgh Racecourse for their famed Easter Saturday raceday on March 31. It’s arguably one of the biggest social events of the Easter weekend and this year the racecourse has added family entertainments and free entry for children to its line-up.

As well as an Easter spectacular of first-class racing including the £100,000 Queen’s Cup highlight, a number of food and drink packages and music from Funk Wagon, for those wanting a family day out, there’s now a host of family entertainments to keep even the most energetic of youngsters entertained.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There's lots of family entertainment laid on at Musselburgh Racecourse's Easter Saturday meeting. Picture: Ian Jacobs

A dedicated Kids Zone will cater for children of all ages, featuring a variety of fun fair rides, all free of charge. As well as the ever popular face painting and game stalls, the Easter Bunny makes a return for 2018 and will be celebrating the holiday weekend with little racegoers, handing out chocolate eggs for those looking for a sweet treat. There will be an Easter Egg hunt too for those looking to have their own win on Easter Saturday.

Tickets cost £25 (raceday price £30), with children under 17 admitted free. For more information on available packages and to book visit: www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk

Sail away for Easter

Escape the city, enjoy the great outdoors with some family time on board a Maid of the Forth sightseeing cruise from South Queensferry around the Forth. The hugely popular family-owned company launches its 2018 season on Easter Sunday. Dogs are also welcome on board.

Enjoy a sighseeing cruise on the Maid of the Forth. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Soak up the sights of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife and get up close to the three bridges on a 90-minute sightseeing cruise. Maid’s open top deck is also ideal for spotting the abundance of marine life to be seen such as the local grey seals, porpoises, dolphins and even the occasional Minke whale. Refreshments are available on board with a fully stocked bar situated in the lower deck.

A 90-minute cruise costs £14 adults, £7 child (five-15), and under-fives free. A family ticket costs £35. Visit: www.maidoftheforth.co.uk

Ramble around Inchcolm

Or why not get off your Maid of the Forth cruise and explore the historic island of Inchcolm, located just four miles from the Forth bridges and Queensferry Crossing. Ramble around the monastic abbey, explore the trails, relax on the beach with a picnic and spot the seabirds. And then there are those spectacular views.

The Science Festival has activities galore for inquiring young minds. Picture: Toby Williams

A three-hour Inchcolm Maid of the Forth Landing Trip which includes the price of Historic Scotland entry costs adult £20, child (five-15) £10.60, under-fives free. A family ticket (two adults and three children) costs £54.50.

Easter escapes at Hopetoun House

Venture to Hopetoun House in South Queensferry and take part in their Easter weekend activities which run until Monday. Drop in from anytime from noon-4pm and take part in the exclusive Easter activities including trail hunts, hidden treasure searches and craft creation. Also, make the most of the grounds with a walk to enjoy quiet woodland corners and the spring garden before refuelling in the hidden gem that is Stables Kitchen. This impressive restoration of the 18th century Adam stables has created a comfortable and cosy eatery, complete with table service. Grounds entry fee £4.75 adult, £2.95 child. Visit http://hopetoun.co.uk/

Country park egg hunt

There's lots of family entertainment laid on at Musselburgh Racecourse's Easter Saturday meeting. Picture: Ian Jacobs

Easter is not, well, Easter without an egg hunt so head to Dalkeith Country Park for just that. The resident rangers have hidden hundreds of eggs throughout the adventure park for kids to find and swap for the chocolate variety at the Eggs-Change station. This is available from Friday, March 30 until April 2. Little ones might prefer a pop-up Easter Bunny Footprints Trail whilst the whole family can take part in a range of Easter games, from bunny hop racing to egg rolling and the egg and spoon race. Free face painting is also available. Activities are free with entry to Fort Douglas. Visit www.dalkeithcountrypark.co.uk

Edinburgh International Science Festival

During the Science Festival which runs from March 30 until April 15, the City Art Centre is transformed into a science playground for little ones packed full of workshops, shows and interactive events. From Science Mini Cinema where kids can observe the world in more detail, interactive Splat-tastic workshop for slime creation, Dig Up a Dinosaur to a Blood Bar and Mini Mechanics. The National Museum of Scotland’s children’s programme is also worth a visit. For specific events, dates, timings and any costs visit https://www.sciencefestival.co.uk

Get arty at Jupiter Artland

Shortlisted in the prestigious Museum of the Year Awards 2016, Jupiter Artland, just outside Edinburgh near Wilkieston, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Explore the grounds and artworks, finding hidden gems and quirky treats. As part of its Easter programme, on April 6 and 13 kids between three and five can enjoy outdoor art sessions including craft activities and outdoor play taken by leaders who specialise in Montessori and Forest School methods. Booking is essential and costs £12.50 per session. Visit https://www.jupiterartland.org/

Gorgie Farm

Enjoy a sighseeing cruise on the Maid of the Forth. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

This iconic Edinburgh working farm is getting the little ones involved this Easter with an exclusive Good Friday event. Kids can collect eggs from real chicken coups before decorating them, pet hens, bunnies and other small animals. Face painting is also available. The education garden, herb and sensory garden and small playpark are also worth a visit. For times visit www.gorgiecityfarm.org.uk

Sea time at Seabird

Escape the city and venture to North Berwick and the Scottish Seabird Centre, which is taking inspiration from a whole host of superheroes, with shows for big kids and little ones alike. What’s for Snack?, the interactive puppet show ideal for ages two-plus is back by popular demand as Craig the Crab enjoys singalong fun. Older kids (age six-plus) are invited to attend Avengers: Animal Division. Professor Egghead returns, showing audiences how animals can defend themselves from attack in weird and wonderful ways from exploding ants to squirting octopi and spitting birds. The audience will decide who is the best Animal Avenger. Visit www.seabird.org for details of what shows are on when. Adult £8.95, child £4.95, family tickets £25.

Duck racing

The Almond Valley Heritage Centre’s famed annual duck race returns for Easter, from March 30 to April 2. Venture to the popular Livingston-based farm, museum and discovery centre to see hundreds of plastic ducks navigate their way along the mill lade and down the waterfall to the finishing line. Visitors can also enjoy the springtime trail to hunt for eggs, craft stations and meet the newest arrivals at the farm. Home to farm animals, pets and poultry, regular handling sessions are also available throughout the day. Entry is £8.50 for adults and £6.50 for children. Visit www.almondvalley.co.uk

The Science Festival has activities galore for inquiring young minds. Picture: Toby Williams