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As a travel writer I’ve travelled all over the world, but the way I travel has shifted markedly since my children were born. My priorities have changed, as I have to put them first on the many breaks we take every year. I’ve taken them to stay in everything from youth hostels and simple B&Bs through to five-star hotels. There is one category of accommodation that we all love. And that is apartments. A good apartment is ideal for a family as you have so much more space. The there is the ability to prepare your own food. You also have more privacy and you don’t have to worry about other guests in the same way.

Robin's family in the private garden at the Royal Garden Apartments

Robin’s family in the private garden at Fountain Court Apartments – Royal Garden (c) Robin McKelvie

We’ve stayed in a lot of apartments over the years in Edinburgh. Where I’ve become a firm fan of Fountain Court Apartments. They have 230 serviced apartments spread across eight handy central locations. All of which have charms of their own. Take Fountain Court Apartments – Royal Garden for example. Our massive apartment had great views over the city and across the Forth. It also brilliantly offered unique private access to the gardens on Queen Street below. My girls loved running around in all that greenery right in heart of Edinburgh. They said it was their own ‘secret garden’ and it really felt like it. You’d never get that with a hotel!

Great Family Friendly Attractions

An essential for any family city break. Edinburgh bursts at the seams with attractions that have been sculpted with families very much in mind. Take Camera Obscura and World of Illusions – this multi-level riot of audio and visual trickery makes kids and adults smile, laugh and yes, snort too. It has to be seen to be believed. Children, though, love that they cannot believe everything they see here!

Other top attractions for us include Dynamic Earth. Here my girls love learning about the planet – from its first days millions of years ago through to the present. Then there is the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile. This a charmingly old-school attraction where parents and kids can see and play with toys from a bygone era. The list of ace family-friendly attractions in Edinburgh goes on and on in a city you can keep coming back to.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura (c) Robin McKelvie

Glorious Green Spaces

Edinburgh may boast some of the world’s most impressive urban architecture, but it also sports an array of tempting green spaces. These are ideal for a family city break! Top of the list for us is the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Here myriad flora and fauna from all over the world conjure up a Garden of Eden like vibe. The views to the distant Edinburgh Castle are superb, as are the hot houses – it’s worth paying to get in to experience their tropical greenery. Right in the city’s centre Princes Street Gardens appeals with the western end home to a great playground with castle views.

The McKelvie girls in Princes Street Gardens

The McKelvie girls in Princes Street Gardens (c) Robin McKelvie

Experience Living History

Let’s face it learning about history at school can be, well, a little dull. Edinburgh is a perfect example of how fascinating living history can be. The New Town dates back hundreds of years and the Old Town as far as medieval times. Both revel in tales of tall characters like Deacon Brodie. They also swim in ghosts, which really get the wee ones interested. The National Museum of Scotland meanwhile is a great place to get under the history of the city. It’s also to engage kids with various periods in Scottish history. We go back every time the kids start a new topic, such as the Romans or Wars of Independence, at school.

Wonderful for Walking

These days when many kids like nothing better than being plugged into technology it can be a challenge to make sure they are active enough. Edinburgh comes into its own here, as the city centre is easily walkable. That means you’ll have the kids walking between attractions, restaurants and your apartment without them even noticing it. If you want to push them a bit – and you’re wearing the right gear – you can tackle mighty Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s highest point. You can show your kids the whole city from up here, as well as out across the Forth and to the North Sea. Calton Hill is a much easier hill to tackle and my kids love the monuments up here.

View from Arthur's Seat

View from Arthur’s Seat © Robin McKelvie

Getting Festive

No, I don’t just mean Christmas as the ‘Festival City’ bashes along with a rich cornucopia of festivals throughout the year. Let us start with Edinburgh’s Christmas. This ace festival runs for weeks and takes over a large swathe of the centre with Christmas markets, funfair rides and even ice rinks. This year Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is being revamped so look out for kid-friendly attractions with the ambitious new company Underbelly at the helm.

Family-friendly event at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh International Science Festival

Family-friendly event at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh International Science Festival (c) Edinburgh International Science Festival

There are, of course, the famous Edinburgh Summer Festivals, which bash through in August with everything from street entertainers to famous performers. Our favourite Edinburgh festival, though, as a family is undoubtedly the Edinburgh International Science Festival. I love that the kids get in some serious learning, develop a whole host of new skills and open doors to worlds they never even thought of, all the time learning as they go. A trip there is just another reason why Edinburgh is one of the best cities in the world for a families.

Fountain Court Apartments – Royal Garden

Fountain Court Apartments – Royal Garden (c) Robin McKelvie

Further Information & Booking

To find out more about Fountain Court and to book your own serviced apartment in Edinburgh’s city centre perfect for a family break see:


*This blog comes in association with Fountain Court Apartments


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