This article has been written with the support of ScotRail.
Kids go free: days out in Edinburgh
A family day out needn't cost an arm and a leg, though severed limbs are not uncommon at Edinburgh Dungeon
When the weekend rolls around, it's easy to feel stumped for things to do locally, especially late in the school holidays. Or maybe you're experiencing a wet day on the west coast while Edinburgh enjoys a bit of sunshine, and you want to get in on the action.
A hassle free 50-minute train ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh will deliver you at the doorstep of some entertaining and hugely interactive activities. The Edinburgh Dungeon and Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, for instance, are both just short walks from Edinburgh Waverley Station so getting there is easy. And with ScotRail's special Kids Go Free ticket, up to two kids travel free with each adult.
Visiting the Edinburgh Dungeon
Torturers, Burke and Hare, Sawney Bean: the Edinburgh Dungeon is one of the city's grizzliest and best attractions. For families around Scotland it's just a short train ride away and handily located right next to Waverley Station. Plus one child gets free admission when you show your Kids Go Free ticket.
Each show at the Edinburgh Dungeon offers an 80-minute journey through some of the bloodiest, darkest episodes in Scotland's history. Expect 360-degree theatrical storytelling with appearances from historical characters like Agnes Finnie and the Foul Clenger … the more gore the better, that's what we say.
And if you're a theme park-loving family, you'll love the two underground rides. The Dungeon's main show changes regularly so even if you've been in the last few years, there's bound to be something new for you to see next time.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Next, head over to the Royal Mile to the city's Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Don't be tempted to skip over the attraction in favour of the Castle: this quiet, unassuming venue is one of the best family attractions in the city. And a child also gets free admission here when you whip out your Kids Go Free ticket.
Founded in 1835, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions moved to its current location on Castlehill in 1852, making it the oldest purpose-built attraction in the city. Two storeys were added to the original tenement with 'Short's Observatory' occupying the top room, featuring the original Camera Obscura telescope where visitors can take a tour of the city featuring miniaturised humans. It's an amazing experience, even in today's VR world.
The five floors of interactive exhibitions below the Camera Obscura feature the Magic Gallery of optical illusions; one of the biggest hologram exhibitions in Europe, Light Fantastic; puzzles galore, games, a mirror maze and, of course, the vortex tunnel.
Once you're done soaking up the mind-bending fun of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, you should still have time to walk down the hill and hop on a train home for dinner. Haste ye back!