Summer's here and there's lots to do

Share this article

MUM! I'm BORED! It's every child's favourite summertime phrase - guaranteed to have mum tearing her hair out in frustration, and dad disappearing to hide in the garden shed.

As the weeks roll by it becomes harder and harder to keep the little darlings occupied.

Yet there's really no excuse. For there's plenty happening in and around Edinburgh to keep the young ones amused - and their parents sane.

So sit down and plan ahead with our guide to school holiday fun - and make sure you banish the boredom this summer.


Pitch camp at one of Edinburgh Leisure's jam-packed Activator Camps.

Working parents can relax - the camps offer early starts and late pick up facilities - while the kids (age five to 12) enjoy week-long fun sessions at seven venues across the city, with everything from art and crafts, bouncy castles, sports, internet cafes, quizzes and games. Prices are 22 per day and 90 per week - concessions available - until mid-October.


Send them on a multi-sports course. Edinburgh Leisure's Multi Sports Camp at Craiglockhart Sports Centre for children from nine to 14 years old, offers kayaking, judo, badminton, trampolining and a range of fitness sessions for 120 per week.

In Midlothian, Penicuik Centre has mixed athletics sessions for youngsters (01968 664083), or head to Beeslack Community High for Sport Aktiv, four days of various sports or basketball and swim sessions (17.40, call 01698 673893).


Toddlers to teens can take part in Edinburgh Leisure courses at three venues - Craiglockhart, St Margaret's, and The Meadows. Prices start at 7.75 for tots' half hour sessions to 23.50 for juniors.

Try drop in tennis sessions for P3-P7 and S1-S6 at Craiglockhart, 2 per session.

Or if you prefer your tennis free of charge, the outdoor courts at Craiglockhart are free until 6pm, or play for free at the refurbished Meadows courts in evenings.


In Midlothian, Beeslack Community High will put budding chefs, aged eight and up, through their paces over three days (24, call 01968 673893). Or learn how to make a pizza the way the professionals make them. Pizza sessions at various Pizza Express venues, organised through Go4it.


Head to Vogrie Country Park near Gorebridge on Sunday, August 12 for a fun-filled festival day for laser games, music and even human table football.

Or for a more peaceful rural experience, join an environmental woodland walk at Lauriston Castle (July 5, 4) with a ranger-led study session followed by the chance to make a mobile using recycled materials.

Visit Yellowcraigs in East Lothian on June 30 for Brave Buccanneers and Salty Seadogs pirate adventures and then Port Seton on July 15 for Creatures from the Deep, a look at the tough wildlife on the rocky shores (details from East Lothian Council's summer programme).

The Edinburgh Go4It scheme has a host of adventure themed events. Send the young ones on a gorge walk through the Moorfoot Hills just outside Penicuik or orienteering in Blackford Glen. Details from Go4IT 0131 550 6824,

Finally head for Hopetoun House for pond dipping (July 1) and to join the ranger discovering the secrets of woodland creatures homes (July 15). Both free with entrance to the house.


Five-day sessions at Craigentinny Golf School teach everything your tiny Tiger needs to know about the game. Sessions run for two hours over five days, mornings or afternoons. Price 65, contact Edinburgh Leisure golf development on 0131-652 2178.


Slam dunk the summer away at Meadowbank, where eight to 12-year-olds can join a basketball camp.

Or work off energy at one of scores of gymnastics classes. Sessions at Meadowbank and Ainslie Park, times, dates and sessions vary, prices from 17.50 per week.

Head to Gracemount for trampolining camp to learn how to turn, twist and tuck like an expert. Two-hour sessions for youngsters run throughout summer holidays 40. Details from Edinburgh Leisure.

Try judo and fencing at Drummond Community High and Craigmount High, cricket at St Thomas of Aquin's and archery at the Crags Sports Centre, all part of Edinburgh's Go4It programme.


There's lots on offer for those who like to get wet. Edinburgh Leisure's Diving Camp runs at the Royal Commonwealth Pool (two hours for five days, 27) throughout summer, or brush up with swimming lessons at Ainslie Park, Dalry, Drumbrae, Glenogle, Leith Victoria and Portobello.

For a more varied watery workout, Aquavator Camps at Gracemount, Warrender and Portobello for eight to 14-year-olds offer snorkelling to aqua jetting to raft races and even lifeguard skills. Two-hour week long camps cost 40, contact venues to book. See Edinburgh Leisure for details. Craiglockhart Pond has a week long kayaking camp for children aged 8-14 years (60, 0131-443 0101).


There's a chance to get as high as you like with an adrenaline rush at the recently refurbished Edinburgh International Cimbing Arena, Ratho. Look out for the new climbing-themed play area for the young ones. Visit Go4It also offers youngsters' climbing at Alien Rock, Newhaven.

There's much to learn if you jet off to the Museum of Flight in East Fortune, for JET SET GO! a free, child friendly exhibition running until July 29.

And don't forget to book your tickets for the Museum's annual festival of flight on Saturday, July 28, with displays from Second World War aircraft and thrilling aerobatics from modern military aircraft. Call 0870 421 4299.


Meanwhile the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street has In the Jungle, a chance for younger children to investigate the world of exotic animals. It runs at the Science Zone until August 12.

Pop in on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays from mid July until August 2 for the chance to handle items from the museum's Roman, Viking and Victorian collections.


You can get down in the sand in the heart of town when Princes Street Gardens becomes the venue for the Urban Beach Volleyball Tour (July 19-22).

A manmade beach will grace the gardens for a series of fun matches and volleyball coaching.

For more information or to get involved, visit


Get the kids' artistic juices flowing at the Picasso exhibition at the National Museum - with a Picasso-inspired plate decorating session (July 14) in the museum's main hall.

Or join Go4It's art sessions. Choose from the likes of Mossaic Mirrors at St Thomas of Aquin's High on August 1 - a chance to create a hand crafted mirror (3), or learn to make your own jewellery at Drummond Community High on July 18 (5). Other sessions include clockmaking, T-shirt design, accessories design and production and photography.

Head to North Edinburgh Arts Centre for Big Art Wee Hands, a workshop for children from three years upwards over four Saturdays from July 14 (4/2). Join the Summer School Art Lab at the centre with two resident artists, painting, drawing and creating. Age eight and above, 55/35. Details from

Try the Royal Botanic Garden for Art-tastic, a chance to create a Shakespeare costume, taking inspiration from the gardens, on Sunday, August 5 from noon. Free.


Footy training sessions are on offer through Edinburgh and beyond.

Edinburgh Leisure courses at Gracemount, Meadowbank and Ainslie Park run from July 2 until mid October, prices start at 6.25 daily and 17.50 for older children's weekly sessions. Or just turn up at Gracemount on a Friday afternoon for Matchplay five a side sessions from 2pm (2).

In Midlothian, pre-school children can opt for 45-minute Mini Kicker sessions (The Penicuik Centre or Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre. Cost 10), while five to 12-year-olds can enjoy half day (16) or full day (32) football roadshows at Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre, Loanhead Leisure Centre and Newbattle High School (dates vary).

Girls from 5 to 16, can kick about at the Dalkeith Juniors ground, Kings Park (July 23-26, 16).

There are also goalkeeping skills camps and Goalseekers sessions, For further details, contact Midlothian Council on 01968 664062.


Disney comes to the Edinburgh Playhouse between July 12 and 14 with two mega kids' shows.

For the older children, head for Disney's High School Musical (July 12-14, 12.50). Young ones will thrill to Beauty and the Beast (July 17-21, 30-10.50). Tickets from Edinburgh Playhouse.

Very young theatre-goers will love Tweenies - The Enchanted Toyshop at the Edinburgh Playhouse (July 31-August 1, 14.50, 12.50). Finally, thrills and laughs with Tintin, loyal dog Snowy and curmudgeonly Captain Haddock at the Playhouse (September 3 - 6). Book tickets for all shows on 0870 606 3424 / 3434.


If it's good enough for Formula 1 superstars, then go-karting has got to be good, and will provide plenty of thrills.

Check out Raceland at Gladsmuir in East Lothian (0131-665 6525) for indoor and outdoor karting. Lessons must be pre-booked, however, and children aged from eight years upwards. Head west for Racing Karts at Arrol Square in Deans Industrial Estate in Livingston (01506 410123) for karting for children aged ten and up.


Our Dynamic Earth's summer ice rink is the place to head if you want to be cool.

A synthetic ice rink at the front of the five-star visitors attraction will be open for skating from mid July to mid August.

Visitors to Dynamic Earth can skate for 1. Without Our Dynamic Earth ticket, children pay 3.50, adults 5.50.

Head inside the venue for Rock Legends, a short walking tour that tells the tale of James Hutton, the founder of modern Geology and the myths and legends surrounding Arthur's Seat. The 30-minute tour, run with Mercat Tours, operates for two weeks from July 9. Costs 1 with Our Dynamic Earth ticket, 3.50 and 5.50 without.


Scores of dance and entertainment sessions are on offer.

Learn to dance Shilpa Shetty style at Drummond Community High School between July 16 and 20. (10). Hip-hop classes at St Thomas of Aquin's High (July 16-20) and Craigmount High (July 30- August 3), 10 for five days course.

Make music and fun at Drummond Community High from July 17 to 20, with musical games, the chance to form a band and write your own rap songs. (12 for four days).

Or go pop at the same venue when professional performers pass on tips during Pop Days on July 23 and 24. Costs 5 per session. All organised by Go4it.

Learn street Dance at North Edinburgh Arts Centre's week long course (July 16-20, 30/22/10) for children 12 and up.

Clown around at its summer circus skills school (July 9-14, 30/22/10) and comedy course (55/35/20). North Edinburgh Arts Centre's (0131 315 2151).


Send the kids to the library, pick up a Big Wild Read folder and read six books from the selection of offer in order to get a certificate, medal and bookmark.

Check out East Lothian libraries for a series of wildlife-themed free events throughout the summer.

And, of course, remember to keep July 21 free - that's the day Harry Potter fans finally get their hands on JK Rowling's long-awaited final chapter - the perfect highlight to a 'wizard' summer break

• For full details, prices, times and session information on Edinburgh Leisure run events and courses, contact the relevant venue, go to, email

• For Edinburgh's Go4It programme, go to or phone 0131 550 6824.

• East Lothian Council runs a series of summer events for children. Go to or call 01620 820123.

• Midlothian Council's Why Don't You summer programme offers dozens of children's activities and events. Details at or call 01968 664083.

• North Edinburgh Arts Centre - 0131 315 2151.