festdirectory CHILD-FRIENDLY EATS After a hard day watching shows the last thing you need is to be given the evil eye from a waitress when you ask for the children’s menu. Kids Editor and mum of two Caroline Black shares her personal choices. Camera Obscura
549 CASTLEHILL, EH1 2ND 0131 226 3709
103 GEORGE STREET, EH2 3ES 0131 225 1550
Right on the doorstep of Edinburgh Castle, this place offers first class views across the city if you’re prepared to walk up the steps to get there. But the views are only the half of it as this attraction is all about optical illusions like the mirror maze, vortex and infinite star tunnels. This place is part history lesson, part fun fair but it’s a trip that the kids will love. Make sure you bring your own camera to capture their distorted and weird looking faces in the mirrors.
Centotre’s a special place, my favourite. It’s such a gorgeous restaurant that you don’t expect them to be quite so welcoming to, and prepared for, children; but they are. Each child gets their very own little drawing and games bag when they sit down and have a different menu to choose their breakfast, lunch or dinner from. The menu is everything you’d expect from a high end authentic Italian; this is a grown up restaurant that treats kids as customers, not an afterthought.
Ratho Climbing Arena
Head a bit outside of the city centre and you’ll find a state of the art climbing facility that’s set against a giant quarry with something for all ages. There is ceramic painting, an indoor soft play area, the Rock Tots Playroom with its bouncy castle and a climbing tower for those over four years old. Or you could just sit in the café and look through their huge glass wall down onto the active people climbing, abseiling or tackling the Aerial Assault.
This is one of those places that just has a naturally good vibe, the sort of place you wished you lived near to make it your local. You can have all day brunch, lunch and now dinner in their Forth Street restaurant. Expect tasty sharing plates, juicy organic burgers, homemade soups with freshly baked breads and imaginative vegetarian specials; no specific kids menu but it’s the kind of place that you can happily pick and share across the table.
SOUTH PLATT HILL, EH28 8AA 0131 333 6333
Scottish National Gallery of Art THE MOUND, EH2 2EL 0131 624 6200
Edinburgh is lucky enough to have a wonderful choice of free art galleries and this is a particularly great place for children. It’s small enough to not bore them and has a frequently changing range of accessible collections set in the most stunning buildings and grounds. The obligatory coffee shop is better than most and, best of all, if the rain does ease up then the ground’s stunning grass sculptures, garden and land art are perfect for a wee exploration.
36 SIMPSON LOAN, EH3 9GG 0131 229 2902
121 HANOVER STREET, EH2 1DJ 0131 225 6215
16 MORNINGSIDE ROAD, EH10 4DB 0131 446 0233
Browns is a busy nationwide bistro chain that welcomes everyone through its doors, and kids are no exception. Expect a vibrant and fast atmosphere, which is great fun for slightly older children but you might find it a bit full on with small babies. They have a well-priced and good value set menu offering, amongst other things, flatbreads, fish and chips and a rather hopeful house salad; an ideal place for a pre-show pit stop.
131-133 GEORGE STREET, EH2 3ES 0131 225 4442
Technically a bookshop but it does have a child friendly café. Based in the new, rather fancy and laidback, Quartermile area of the city, it’s very close to The Meadows where children can run free or play at the gigantic play park. This is the place to go when you need to escape the chaotic city centre, sit on a big sofa, eat home baking and feel like a local.
The family behind S. Luca’s have been making ice-cream in Edinburgh since 1908 and their traditional café serves light snacks like paninis, pizza and lasagne alongside old school sundaes. Although there’s a rather steep spiral staircase to negotiate, you’ll find plenty of space to leave your buggy downstairs. This is a straight forward dining experience where the star of the show is undoubtedly the ice cream, but children love it. Go on, when was the last time you had a Knickerbocker Glory?
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Published on Jul 15, 2012