Edinburgh School Holidays 2018 | Day Out With The Kids

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Edinburgh School Holidays 2018: Things to do, activities and ideas

Jo Dorey

04 January 2018

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3 minutes
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A view of Edinburgh castle.

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 in 2018. Just remember though that it’s best to check the following dates with your school first, just in case!

Edinburgh School Holiday Dates

  • Spring term: 9th January - 30th March 2018
  • February half term: 12th - 16th February 2018
  • Easter holidays: 30th March - 16th April 2018
  • Summer term: 17th April - 29th June 2018
  • Summer holidays: 30th June - 14th August 2018
  • Autumn term: 15th August - 23rd December 2018
  • September Weekend: 18th September 2018
  • Autumn half term: 15th - 22nd October 2018
  • Christmas holidays: 24th December - 8th January 2019

Want to know when you’re off at the same time as your kids? Here are the bank holidays for Edinburgh:

  • New Year’s Day: 1st January 2018
  • 2nd January: 2nd January 2018
  • Good Friday: 30th March 2018
  • Easter Monday: 2nd April 2018
  • Early May bank holiday: 7th May 2018
  • Victoria Day: 21st May 2018
  • Spring bank holiday: 28th May 2018
  • Summer bank holiday: 6th August 2018
  • St Andrew’s Day: 30th November 2018
  • Christmas Day: 25th December 2018
  • Boxing Day: 26th December 2018

You’ll need to check these with your specific school but here are the scheduled Inset days for Edinburgh:

  • Monday 8th January 2018
  • Tuesday 8th May 2018
  • 13th - 14th August 2018
  • Monday 22nd October 2018

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 in 2018; 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!

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Jo Dorey

04 January 2018

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Jo is a Copywriter at Day Out With The Kids. She’s lived all over the world in places like Pakistan, Hungary and Hong Kong - these days though she loves a good, long walk and hanging out with her cat, Fergus.

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