The school holidays are almost upon us, the weather is cold, and parents across Edinburgh might still be frantically planning how best to fill their children’s week.

Help is at hand, however, in the shape of The City of Edinburgh Council, who have reminded The Reporter of a wide variety of entertaining and educational activities for children and young people.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture & Sport Convener, said:- “The challenge of filling a child’s week, particularly at this time of year, is not to be underestimated, which is why I would encourage parents to try something different during the mid-term break.

“Between the Council and our partners, we can offer children of all ages and interests a wealth of exciting and rewarding activities, many of which are free.”

The Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantastic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane. Admission is free.

Meanwhile, just down the hill is the Museum of Edinburgh. Housed in the beautifully restored 16th Century buildings on the Canongate, it is the city’s principle museum of local history. Again, admission is free.

The museum’s newest attraction is Foundation Edinburgh. Watch the City’s dramatic history unfold in only 17 minutes – from the volcanic creation of Arthur’s Seat in prehistoric times to events today. Ticket prices are £4 (adults), £3 (concessions) and £2 (children).

For those with an arty disposition, the impressive City Art Centre on Market Street currently has three FREE exhibitions –  The Derek Williams Collection; Wilhelmia Barns-Graham, A Scottish Artist in St Ives; and Scottish Art in the 20thCentury – each running until 24 February.

There are also two themed drop-in family workshops – on 9 and 16 February – which will explore different aspects of art and encourage children to put it into practice. These events are free but must be booked in advance. Call 0131 529 3963 or email

The City’s 28 community libraries are, of course, open for borrowing – and much more besides. for further details or contact your local library for details of special half-term events.

But what if spring comes early? Where better to enjoy the breathtaking views of Edinburgh than from atop the tallest tribute to a writer in the world, the Scott Monument in East Princes Street Gardens? And at 287 steps high, it’s not bad for the calves either. Equally impressive is the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill. Admission for both is £3.

Edinburgh has another 140 parks aside from Princes Street Gardens and the new digital service Edinburgh Outdoorsprovides a unique way of exploring each and every one of them. The beautiful grounds of Lauriston Castle, laid out by William Henry Playfair in the 1840s, are also well worth a wander.

Finally, Edinburgh Leisure has a range of dedicated holiday activities for ages 3-13 years running throughout next week at venues across the city including Ainslie Park, Craiglockhart, Drumbrae, EICA Ratho, Gracemount and the Royal Commonwealth Pool. Visit for further details.