Written by parents and carers, Edinburgh for Under Fives (EFUF) is a popular guidebook for families covering Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.
[Picture: Clear Photography]
Packed full of ideas for things to do, days out, places to eat and places to shop with your wee ones, EFUF contains more than 1,000 listings to inspire you to get out and about with your child.
Every month on WOW247, the local experts at EFUF blog about family-friendly attractions, events, cafés and days out in Edinburgh and beyond in an essential new feature for parents. Without further ado, EFUF editor Cathy Tingle shares her top tips for January.
We’re so excited about teaming up with WOW247 to bring you our monthly top tips…
There’s a great opportunity this January to experience one of Edinburgh’s top attractions for less − for every adult that visits Our Dynamic Earth (above) until January 31, a child goes free. The attraction’s amazing interactive exhibitions are particularly good for older under 5s and the littler members of the family should have a ball in the Ocean Commotion Play Area, free to ticket holders (£2 otherwise). There’s also a lovely, bright café which is really well geared up for kids.
Renovations are currently going on in preparation for a big relaunch at Easter – so if you enjoy your visit it’s worth thinking about investing in an annual explorer pass (which costs less than two visits) to allow you to visit again when it’s done, and then to allow you entry for the rest of the year!
January is still panto season! For under 5s the ever-popular The Singing Kettle theatre company is back with its zany singalong songs, audience participation and general hilarity. Its latest production is The Magic Wishing Well at the King’s Theatre on Sunday, January 26 at 12.00 or 15.00.
Book early, and don’t forget to wear your favourite hat and bring a bucket for the well!
Place to eat
Get cosy with the kids at Craigie’s Farm Café (above). As a working farm, Craigie’s has something new and interesting to see all the year round so this is definitely more than just somewhere to eat.
The café is child-friendly to its boots with a toy box inside, a tractor to climb on outside, and (of course) plentiful highchairs and baby changing. In addition to all this, there’s a nature trail, and hens, lambs and pigs to be seen. Remember your wellies, and bring your dog if you have one – the Canine Café is a treat not to be missed!
An idea for a day out
For days out in Edinburgh you’d be hard-pressed to beat a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. Not only does it contain all the animal species you might wish to see (our favourites are the rhinos and the famous pandas) but, essentially, there are places to stop and gather yourself. The Grasslands Café is great for children – in fact it’s often the first place we head to!
At weekends only during January, the Jungle Café (complete with soft play) is open too. Then there are a number of wee outdoor play areas, which are just the ticket when looking at animals just isn’t enough and some energy needs burning off. There are places you can go if it rains, such as the Budongo Trail (where the chimpanzees live), Brilliant Birds, the Monkey House and the zoo’s new Koala exhibition.
Tickets aren’t cheap but under 3s go free. Or consider buying membership – as well as being a great day out, the zoo is a brilliant place to pop to for a couple of hours with your little ones for a quick play and a visit to the penguins.
If you fancy looking beyond Edinburgh’s borders this January, try taking a trip to North Berwick. This seaside town has a great beach with views to the Bass Rock, a super indoor attraction (the Scottish Seabird Centre), a fabulous, child-friendly café with kids’ menu and play area (Cake, 87b High Street) and a new and exciting outdoor playpark (within the Lodge Grounds Park (above)). What’s more, all of these are within walking distance of each other.
Out of season it’s fairly easy to get parking on the streets near to the sea front, but if you can’t manage this the town is well furnished with car parks.
Even better for young families, the way from Edinburgh to North Berwick is punctuated with places where you can stop and get refreshment or a nappy change, such as the town of Gullane, Merryhatton Garden Centre or the Walled Garden at Archerfield.
Edinburgh for Under Fives was started by Edinburgh NCT and has been enriching the lives of under 5s for the past 28 years. The next edition of Edinburgh for Under Fives is out this May. More info at www.efuf.co.uk.