Family-friendly events at the Edinburgh Festivals

Friday, 19 July 2019

When you think about the Edinburgh Festivals, the idea of taking little ones along to experience it may not be the first thing that springs to mind.

Renowned for music, arts, circus and comedy there’s usually a lot you hear that isn’t appropriate for delicate ears. But did you know there’s another, really family friendly side to the festivals taking place during August? We’ve picked out a few events that sound brilliant for the younger members of the family.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival with the GruffaloLet’s start at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, taking place in Charlotte Square from 10th until the 26th of August. The Book Festival Village is free to enter and always has a wonderfully chilled out atmosphere. There are loads of books to browse and plenty of space to sit in the sunshine and read.

Events take place all day covering hundreds of different stories with incredible speakers and the best thing is, there’s tons of free stuff to enjoy as a family. There’s storytelling, craft making, songs and rhymes. Some events require you to pre-book but they don’t cost a penny. There are lots of paid-for events with top children’s authors including Julia Donaldson, Chris Hoy, Francesca Simon and hundreds more.

Click here to see if your child’s favourite author is appearing.

Closest station: Haymarket – 15 minute walk

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Baby Loves Disco, The Jam House – selected dates

While you can stroll around Edinburgh and come across many music performances from acapella groups to opera to soulful strumming on guitars, one event that caught our eye was Baby Loves Disco.

A disco for babies and parents. A genius idea!

Us adults can relive the good old times of nights out, great tunes and lots of laughs. But this one’s even better because you don’t have to stay out late and pay for it the next day. With sessions from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm you can have all the fun without the late night. And did we mention there’s cocktails available too. For the adults obviously. The little ones can enjoy complimentary healthy drinks and snacks.

In terms of the music, their listing doesn’t mention Baby Shark which is always a bonus and instead says songs from the eighties, nineties, noughties and now will be played. There’s sure to be some popular kids songs in there too. All the music is played at a baby friendly volume and there are different areas for the little ones to chill out in if it all gets too much. There’s face painting, inflatables, bubbles, musical instruments and competitions. It sounds like something really fun and a bit different to do on a weekend. The event runs on 10, 11, 18, 24 and 25 August.

If a baby disco is more your idea of hell than heaven, take a look at all of the other amazing family-friendly events taking place throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe here. There’s circus, magic, songs, theatre and more.
Closest station: Edinburgh Waverley – 10 minute walk

The Free Festival

A day out at the festival doesn’t need to cost you anything. There’s a whole side of the Fringe Festival dedicated to free events that everyone can enjoy. And there are loads of brilliant sounding events for families. From improvisation comedy to animal balloons to food science, you certainly won’t get bored. A couple that we really like the sound of are:

Science Magic: Play with your food

How many times as a parent, have you uttered the words, “don’t play with your food?”. Too many to count? In this comedy science show, playing with food is actively encouraged but all in the name of science. The best part is, you won’t have to clean up the mess. Although the listing does say that the kids can recreate it when they get home. Maybe just distract them with another show afterwards?!

Suitable for ages: 5+
Where: Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters
When: 1 – 25 August
Time: 12:00 and 13:15

CeilidhKids at the Fringe

You’re never too young (or old) to partake in a spot of ceilidh dancing! As soon as the music kicks in, it’s impossible to keep your body still. The workshop is aimed at kids aged between three and seven and covers some of the basic dances but if you just want to clap or tap along, that’s quite alright. It sounds like a really fun, energetic event for the whole family to enjoy together.

Suitable for ages: 3 – 7
Where: Venue 170 - The Counting House Ballroom
When: 1-14, 16-19, 21, 23-25 August
Time: Times vary, please check here.

We hope you have a brilliant family day out at the festivals! Don’t forget, four kids can travel for £1 each on a Kids for a Quid ticket when accompanied by a paying adult.

Want to find out more about what's on at the festivals and get travel advice?

Visit our festivals webpage