When you're looking for ways to entertain the little ones, playdates are a great option - the little ones get to spend time with their friends, giving you a chance to rest while they burn off some excess energy. Edinburgh has plenty of venues ideal for days out with the kids, so here are five of the best spots for your next playdate.
On the top floor of Leith’s Ocean Terminal (pictured above) you’ll find this excellent soft play and café venue. With huge windows overlooking the Royal Yacht Britannia and great views across the Firth of Forth, it’s a piece of playdate heaven. Little tykes can go wild in the huge soft play area, which is helpfully split into areas for babies, toddlers and bigger kids. Then they can get busy making their own (fake) pizza thanks to La Favorita’s in-house toy pizzeria, complete with plastic pizza and cardboard takeaway boxes. If that’s not enough, they can even hone their shopping skills with an indoor play-market stoked with plastic veg, meats and trolleys to boot, courtesy of Craigie's Farm. There’s also a daily programme of activities for parents to make the most of, as well as seasonal parties that you can dress your little ones up for. The café's range of tasty sandwiches and cakey things will also go down a storm. If they could just speed up the service a bit for food and drinks, it would be a playdate 10/10.
Floor E, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith.
Having been on the Stockbridge eating block for a while now, The Pantry recently upped the family friendly ante by adding a fab play area - and, thanks to its gated location at the side of the eatery, mums and dads can chomp down on some tasty scran or sweets while their little monkeys go crazy. There are high chairs a-plenty and ample room for prams too, so the kids are welcome to get in on the eating action. It also boasts a farm shop and even offers fun classes like baking and pizza making. Sign us up!
1-2 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge.
This farm, shop and cafe in South Queensferry has got it all going on. You can pick your own seasonal fruits and meet the pigs and chickens. It’s also a butcher, bakery, deli and working farm rolled into one - not to mention its huge outdoor play area complete with swings, a climbing frame and slide. It's a great place for your kids to go wild, explore and use up lots of that never-ending energy. And you can all enjoy the super-tasty food – wholesome, fresh and ready to eat. The hot breakfasts are especially hard to beat, especially the giant sausages, served up daily.
West Cragie Farm, South Queensferry.
Jenn invites you to ‘eat, play and party’ at this family cafe, a creative space carefully designed to spark imaginative play. At the front, a lovely, bright café welcomes you in with fresh food and sweet treats, with a range of play areas to suit all kiddy ages to be found further in. Jenn's also boasts a fine selection of musical toys and books, as well as an impressive dressing up box for girls and boys. Little adventurers will love boarding the pirate ship and there’s a bus to hop on too. If all the fun and excitement becomes a bit overwhelming there’s even a quiet corner for drawing, complete with a big chalk board. Look out for the giant Iggle Piggle too - just one of your kid’s favourite characters who can make an appearance at Jenn's legendary parties.
31 Corbiehill Road, Davidson Mains.
Your wee terrors will quickly be having loads of fun in this Morningside soft play centre and café, housed within an old church. The jingly-jangle-jungle is home to several aptly themed rooms. Bush babies is for the little ones (check out the water pool with fab floating balls), while the Tiki Tots room is for ages four and up (watch them go wild on the coconut tree swing), plus a Berry Room that's great for parties. There’s also a fab café on site if all that running about makes the little ones hungry.
1A Nile Grove, Morningside.
Looking for more family-friendly things to do? See ten of Edinburgh's best family-friendly eats.