October breaks…it’s child’s play at The Chester Residence

If you think that Edinburgh is a couples’ destination – think again! Families are well catered for in the city, with an endless amount of activities for children…and the young at heart.

With the schools just returning after the summer break, many families will now have their sights set on the October holidays. The Chester Residence is the perfect base for families and groups: our two-bedroom apartments sleep up to six people, have plenty of bathrooms and – above all – oodles of space!

We also boast a fantastic location right in the heart of the historic New Town, meaning we are within walking distance of major attractions. If you’re planning on coming to Edinburgh with younger members of the family, take a peek at some of our favourite activities for children. Remember, you don’t have to be a child to enjoy them!

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Not only is this one of the finest visitor attractions the city has to offer, Camera Obscura is also Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction having opened its doors at the top of the Royal Mile in 1853. Step inside and you’ll find five floors packed with over 100 interactive exhibits aimed at boggling your brain! Want to shrink like Alice in Wonderland? Get lost in an incredible mirror maze? Flit into a different reality with holograms? You can do it all here. However, the jewel in the crown is the camera which lends its name to the attraction. It’s an incredible piece of engineering – virtual reality from the Victorian era!

Gorgie City Farm 

The countryside comes to the city at this amazing visitor centre - a fully operational farm a 30-minute walk from The Chester Residence. You’ll get the chance to see traditional farming methods and how they are used to care for pigs, cows, chickens, sheep and goats, and also learn more about the cultivation of fruit and veg crops. One of the highlights is the Pet Lodge where you can get up close and personal with small domestic animals. Gorgie City Farm is free to enter, but donations will help to keep it running.

Harry Potter Tour

Put your best food forward and enter the magical world of Harry Potter on one of the city’s many walking tours taking in sites linked to the boy wizard’s story. Author JK Rowling found the inspiration for her books while living in Edinburgh and tour guides are happy to introduce us muggles to the place where it all began. As well as seeing the café where she penned the first tale of Harry and his Hogwarts pals, many tours take in the real-life Diagon Alley and the final resting place of He Who Must Not Be Named. There are many different tours to choose from but give The Potter Trail a whirl. It was one of the first, and it’s free.

Dynamic Earth 

Want to go on a journey through space and time? Well you don’t need to fast forward to the future – the technology already exists at Dynamic Earth. You can hop in a virtual time machine and speed back to the moment the big bang happened, experiencing everything from the searing heat of volcanic eruptions to the ice-cold environment of the polar ice caps. As well as the 4D adventure, the 360-degree ShowDome cinema is not to be missed. You won’t catch the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but the action on screen will be unlike anything you have seen before!

BobCat Alpacas 

For a completely different experience, head to BobCat Alpacas at the foot of the Pentlands Regional Park on the outskirts of the city. You can not only see these loveable, inquisitive creatures up close on a farm visit, but take them out for a walk! Yes, that’s right – a walk! Once you return from your 90-minute trek in stunning countryside, you will visit the ‘mum’ alpacas at the farm. If you get the timings just right, there may even be some babies to fuss over.

Wojtek the Bear

No visit to Edinburgh should be complete without stopping off to give Wojtek the Bear a wee cuddle. This monument in Princes Street Gardens is in memory of a beer-drinking bear – a fully fledged member of the Polish army – who saw action in WWII. Rescued and adopted by Polish troops while they were based in the Middle East, Wojtek was famed for helping them carry ammunition at the Battle of Monte Cassino. His regiment was billeted to an army camp in the Scottish Borders and when it was demobbed, Wojtek moved to Edinburgh Zoo. He happily lived out his days there until he died in 1963 at the grand old age of 21.