Practicalities for Edinburgh with Kids
Here is a rundown of the practicalities of spending a week in Edinburgh with kids.
The transfer from the airport to our hotel was easy. The Airlink (bus 100) leaves every 10 min from the airport and has plenty of space for luggage. The tram also comes into the city from the airport but is more expensive, so it all depends on where you are going, how much time you have and what you want to spend.
Before going, download the Transport for Edinburgh app for your phone. The app tells you all your options for getting around. I also recommend you download the M-Ticket app, which allows you to purchase your bus tickets ahead of time. Without the app you need exact change every time you board the bus. The app also offers discounted bulk tickets which can be shared with another M-Ticket account. We got the 5-day ticket bundle (unlimited rides each day) and shared the 5 tickets between the two adults. (You will need two electronic devices with the M-Ticket app installed to do this.) The E-ticket is incredibly easy to use – just have it open to show the driver when you board. Setting everything up did take a bit of time and a wifi connection, so I suggest you do this before arriving.
I can’t begin to say how family-friendly using the buses in Edinburgh was. All the buses seemed to have dedicated pram parking and seating. We had no trouble, even when I was alone with the boys taking the bus. They also are all kneeling busses so I was able to easily (at 31 weeks pregnant) roll the pram into the bus.
Baby Gear Rental
We rented a stroller and glider board through Tom Thumb Baby Rental for the city portion of our trip. The City Mini was waiting for me at the hotel when we arrived! Perfect! I was able to leave the pram with the hotel for pickup and Tom Thumb e-mailed me to say they had picked it up. They immediately refunded my deposit as well. They have a variety of models and baby gear available. I did not love the glider board provided with the City Mini – it made it hard to walk and push the stroller. If you have longer legs a double stroller may be better than the glider board.
Our total time in Scotland was over two weeks so we hit up a dollar store (Pound store actually) and a thrift store, Barnardo’s, for some books and toys for the kids. (There are so many second hand stores in Edinburgh you should not have any trouble finding one.) Picking up a few kids’ things allowed us to travel lighter, we didn’t have to bring much with us and got rid of the junk before flying home.
Plus we found a Where’s Wally? book that the boys loved. Unfortunately, a previous owner circled all the Wally characters in the book, but our kids didn’t seem to mind.
There is a reason the country is so green. . .plenty of rain! Make room in your luggage for rain gear. We were happy to have the full supply from boots and umbrellas to coats and rain pants. The rain in Scotland can be intense. The one time I turned down the suggestion to wear our rain boots I was instantly sorry.
A great resource for planning your trip is the tourist bureau’s webpage, Visit Scotland. I also found Edinburgh for Under Fives, a webpage with tons of helpful reviews of restaurants, attractions and information. The page is geared for families living in Edinburgh but they offer a monthly pass to the webpage for £3. I wish they had an app as the webpage was a bit hard to navigate on the phone. If you’re in Edinburgh for more than a few days it is a very helpful resource.
You can find our full trip report from Edinburgh here.