Edinburgh, SCOTLAND – Did you know that Scotland has the highest number of natural redheads on the planet? They’re said to comprise about 13% of the population — not counting Merida, the ginger-tressed heroine of of the Disney/Pixar movie “Brave.” And of course, since redheads rule this particular roost, one would expect “Brave”-themed events for kids to enjoy during a visit to Edinburgh. But you’re on your own in that regard. Instead, here are a few fun finds to keep the family busy and happy when vacationing in this marvelous town.
1. Kids will get a big thrill out of a visit to Edinburgh Castle, built in the 7th century. The castle attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. Be advised: It’s daft to think you can leisurely walk over to the castle and gain immediate access. Be smart and order your entrance tickets online, or at least drop by the castle in the late afternoon when the lines are generally not as long. We made the mistake of arriving at the castle in the early afternoon and were greeted at the gate entrance with a whopping long line as rain drizzled down. Now we know better, and will save on waiting time by pre-ordering our tickets.
2. A photo opportunity awaits at one of the handful of original telephone boxes that are still left in Scotland. One can conveniently be found at the entrance gate of Edinburgh Castle. So take advantage of the chance to get a shot. You won’t find many other telephone boxes around town.
3. Ride a double-decker bus anywhere around Edinburgh. Why? The views from the top deck of the bus can’t be beat. There are several gorgeous and historical buildings in the city of Edinburgh and the double-decker bus is a great and inexpensive way to see them. Best bet: Purchase a 24-hour bus ticket at such a remarkable savings that you will wonder how the city can even offer the discounted fare.
4. Once a year, for a full five weeks in the late summer, Edinburgh holds the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival. Since 1947, this arts festival has been an incredibly popular and distinguished event, renowned throughout the world. Sad to say, we missed this year’s edition due to the timing of our visit. But there were other treats in store.
5. We discovered what life was like on board a floating royal residence by experiencing one of Scotland’s most unique visitor attractions: The Royal Yacht Britannia. This seagoing home to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years has sailed over 1,000,000 miles around the world. The ship is now berthed in Edinburgh, allowing visitors to tread the royal decks and learn about the yacht’s history.
Bagpipes and kilts aside, Edinburgh has loads of family-friendly attractions on offer. For more Scottish travel treats, see our post on the Highlands, coming soon.