Country parks near Edinburgh to take the kids

by Harry

Well, Covid is still kicking about then. Kinda hoped it would have done one by now, truth be told. Didn’t someone once mention injecting bleach? I don’t know, I don’t really pay attention to stuff. I’d much rather be outside playing with the kids and the dogs, which has been made a lot harder recently. However, we’re still allowed exercise so why not do it somewhere beautiful? There are loads of country parks near Edinburgh to take the kids. Wide open spaces, plenty of room to social distance and acres of ground for kids and dogs to go running until they get hungry again. Sounds good, right?

So if you are in or near Edinburgh, you might be looking for some places that you can travel to for just this purpose. Country parks in Scotland are all magnificent places to take children and dogs. Obviously, make sure you keep in the rules. And if you are reading this when the Coronavirus pandemic is over and our alien overlords have finally taken form and enslaved us, then bully for you.

Dalkeith Country Park

This has got to be one of the best country parks in the area. It’s got everything. Fantastic woodland walks, lovely river walks, and large fields for doggy walks. There’s a whole shopping experience to be found in Restoration Yard, with a restaurant, coffee bar and craft shop. There’s even a wellness space but honestly, I don’t know what that is. If it’s as good as the rest of the stuff here, it’ll be brilliant though. 

For kids, the highlight of Dalkeith Country Park has to be Fort Douglas Adventure Park. This is like an outdoor gymnasium but with woodchip instead of mats and instead of hairy PE teachers shouting at excited kids it’s other excited kids shouting at them It’s great fun. When we took our two (one was a baby the other was 2 years old) they were both perhaps a bit too young to fully get the most out of it – although much fun was had.

There were kids of all ages and they were running up nets, down slides, in huge treetop houses and playing on swings. There’s also park benches for picnics and a place for parents to base themselves as their children pretend to be pirates/lumberjacks/dinosaurs.

Vogrie Country Park

Have you ever wanted to sit in some really really REALLY massive chairs? 

And have you ever wanted to sit on a stupidly big bicycle?

Well if you have answered “HELL YEAH” to both of these questions, then I’ve got something special for you. And it’s called Vogrie Country Park. It has all of these things!

Of course, it has more than just that (as if you care). But there are great kids playground areas, and one specifically for toddlers. There are 105 hectares of woodland to get lost in and have adventures. There’s also an 1876 Victorian mansion which you can go inside. I’ve never been in though, but I’m sure it’s lovely. We did get a hot chocolate from the cafe once, and it was cracking.

There are also some designated and covered barbeque areas that you can book out. I haven’t done that either, but I’m willing to bet it would make for a fantastic birthday party location. Country parks near Edinburgh like these Midlothian parks are really super, and Edinburgh residents are well-advised to make more use of them!

Beecraigs Country Park

I’ve been going to Beecraigs Country Park since I was a little nipper. You would think by now I would be able to spell it correctly, instead of cutting about calling it “Beescraig Country Park”. You can’t insure for stupidity, I suppose.

Anyway, I love this place. It’s got plenty of forest to explore, a small loch, and a red deer herd that you can see in the fields. They are protected behind big fences, so dogs should be okay along here. They also have Highland coos which are always beautiful. 

There is also a big play area for kids, a large sandy enclosure with playground equipment. They have one of those huge climbing ropes that look like a pyramid. I always thought it was from the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 but I’ve seen no evidence online to support my spurious claim. Maybe it’s been updated since then. Actually, I hope it has. It’s made of rope. I’m sure it has.

We’ve also taken the caravan here and we’ve stayed over. It’s a lovely area to do this, if that’s your fancy. 

Roslin Glen Country Park

Roslin Glen Country Park is one of those spaces you can just park up and straight away you’re on an adventure with the kids. There’s loads of forest to explore, bridges to cross and rivers to splash in. 

It’s also pretty close to Rosslyn Chapel. You know, the place where, I think, Jesus was born? Or no, wait. Jesus got drunk there, I think. Oh I don’t know, ask Dan Brown or Tom Hanks. It’s pretty famous these days and is quite fancy. It’s open to visitors (not dogs)

Braidburn Valley Country Park

This little park is really lovely. It is what it says – a valley, with a pretty stream running along the bottom. It’s pretty much wide open for kids to go running up and down the sides, and dogs are popular here too. It’s 11 acres, which surprised me as it doesn’t look like it, but I suppose it is rather long. Okay ‘facts’, I’ll let you have this one. And you can see in this blog’s header image that it is, indeed, a long park!

me and the Bouz at Braidburn Valley Park

I really recommend Braidburn Valley Country Park to anyone looking for country parks near Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic walk any time of year and has a smooth path for accessibility to all. 

Holyrood Park

This isn’t so much a country park ‘near’ Edinburgh as slap bang in the middle. You can’t write a blog about great parks to take kids and not mention Holyrood Park. I mean, it’s got an extinct volcano in it, for goodness sake. 

It doesn’t take long, once you walk towards here, to think that you are in the Highlands. Dip down into the valley and you could be hundreds of miles away. Climb to the top of Arthurs Seat and you’ll feel like you’ve climbed a mountain. It’s stunning views all round. 

It’s great if you are a geology nerd, a history nerd or a wildlife nerd. If you like them all (a what-I-call Awesome Person) then you can spend all day here. The kids might get bored, but we’re not doing it for them, are we?

Parks and Recreation

Make the most of your time outdoors at one of these amazing country parks near Edinburgh. And in Edinburgh, too. Let the kids run wild, and enjoy the fresh air and crinkle of leaves beneath your feet. It’s magical.