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Edinburgh School Holidays: Things to do, activities and ideas

Lisa O'Keeffe

7 January 2021

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Parents everywhere run on planning, whether that be packing school lunches the night before or finding a matching pair of socks in a mountain of washing. We know you already have masses on your plate so let’s make things easy (or rather, easier!) with a guide to the Edinburgh school holidays, the city’s bank holidays AND Edinburgh’s Inset days.

As well as those essential dates, we’ve whipped together a few activities and our top days out for the Edinburgh school holidays. Just remember though that it’s best to check the following dates with your school first, just in case!

A view of Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh School Holiday Dates 2020/21

  • Term Starts: 12th August 2020
  • Autumn Term: 12th August - 22nd December 2020
  • October Half Term: 19th October - 22nd October 2020
  • Christmas Holidays: 23rd December - 11th January 2021
  • Spring Term: 11th January - 1st April 2021
  • February Half Term: 8th February - 15th February 2021
  • Easter Holidays: 2nd April - 19th April 2021
  • Summer Term: 20th April - 25th June 2021
  • May Holidays: 3rd, 4th, 24th May 2021
  • Summer Holidays Start: 26th June 2021

Edinburgh School Holiday Dates 2021/22

  • Term Starts: 18th August 2021
  • Autumn Term: 18th August - 23rd December 2021
  • October Half Term: 18th October - 25th October 2021
  • Christmas Holidays: 24th December 2021 - 10th January 2022
  • Spring Term: 11th January - 9th April 2022
  • February Half Term: 14th - 18th February 2022
  • Easter Holidays: 11th April - 22nd April 202
  • Summer Term: 25th April - 30th June 2022
  • May Holidays: 2nd, 3rd, 23rd May 2022
  • Summer Holidays Start: 1st July 2022

 

Top activities for the Edinburgh school holidays

Next up, activities galore! Free time with the family is a wonderful thing but you need to know where to start, so here’s our pick for a few of the best activities in Edinburgh. We’ve made sure to choose indoor and outdoor days out too as you never can rely on that Scottish sun.

Edinburgh museums are a wild and wonderful lot, with subject matters veering from mining to childhood, instruments to transport, and they’re not just about a love for learning. Loads of them have interactive exhibits and activity trails to keep the kids busy, especially on a quiet Sunday.

Kids playing at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.

Who doesn’t love a good stomp through puddles and piles of crunchy leaves?  The country parks in Edinburgh are full of them, as well as adventure play areas and nature trails where you can see how many curious critters your tribe can spot. Just be sure to pack a picnic.

Animal-mad kids can meet all sorts of furry faces at one of the many wildlife centres and zoos in Edinburgh. They could be the famous pandas at Edinburgh Zoo or one of the majestic residents of The Scottish Deer Centre, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling.

Has your brood perfected their swing or are they all about having the sides up? Either way, tenpin bowling in Edinburgh would be a great way to play the day away, particularly with arcade games, prizes and more up for grabs. Ready, set, ROLL!

And now for something oh so splashy: Edinburgh has a pretty decent selection of swimming pools with wave machines, floaties and a few slides thrown in for good measure. There are also loads of options for swimming lessons so your tadpoles can beat their best times.

Kids leaping into an indoor pool.

Top places to visit in the Edinburgh school holidays

We promised to share our top days out for the Edinburgh school holidays, so here they are. We’ve even got a list of our favourite Edinburgh events taking place throughout the year so you’ll never be stuck for ideas.

  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions: See the city in a totally new and totally wild way with six floors full of interactive activities, ranging from a sneaky spyglass to the Magic Gallery, plus an enormous kaleidoscope you can actually stand inside. Perspective is thrown into question but one thing’s for sure: it’s fantastic fun.

  • Gorgie City Farm: Pay a visit to some of the cutest creatures this side of the border - including Mrs Murdoch the tortoise - at this community-led farm. Chickens and pigs live alongside Beck the bearded dragon and there is a lovely playpark for your little animals to run around while the grown-ups peruse fresh fruit and veg.

    A pig at Gorgie City Farm.

  • Dynamic Earth: Dinosaurs, volcanoes and polar ice caps are all part of the furniture here with an interactive tour which is sure to blow a few socks off! This is education at its very best, especially by the time you reach the full dome theatre which, with a hefty dose of movie magic, takes you on a guided tour of nature’s secrets. Simply put, it’s a winner.

  • The Edinburgh Treasure Trail: Why not use the Edinburgh school holidays to explore every nook and cranny throughout the city? Hunt down clues and see the sights on a two-hour trek where you’ll spot Scottish Parliament or take a turn past the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You’ll even pass by Dynamic Earth so team two days out in one.

  • The Yard: This is a specially designed play centre for SEN kids and young people, and is simply stuffed with fun things! Have a toot on a musical instrument, dress up in colourful costumes or kick back in the sensory room. The team are an experienced bunch and ready to show you the ropes, so get stuck in.

    A child playing at The Yard, Edinburgh.

That’s our guide to the Edinburgh school holidays this year; if there’s nothing here that you think will fit the bill, hop on over to our things to do in Edinburgh page where the options are (nearly) endless. No get out there and explore more!

 

Glasgow School Holidays | Leeds School Holidays | Hampshire School Holidays | Norfolk School Holidays | Birmingham School Holidays | Derbyshire School Holidays | Sheffield School Holidays | Nottinghamshire School Holidays | Leicestershire School Holidays | Essex School Holidays | Staffordshire School Holidays | Surrey School Holidays | Manchester School Holidays | East Sussex School Holidays | Somerset School Holidays | Kent School Holidays | Warwickshire School Holidays | West Sussex School Holidays 

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