Mid-term break: Boredom-busting ideas to keep the kids entertained during school holiday

There’s plenty of options for family-friendly days out during the mid-term break.

No parent or carer wants to hear the dreaded “I’m bored!”, and often it’s uttered barely a day or two into the school holidays.

With the mid-term break just round the corner, here are some boredom-busting ideas guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of your, ahem, little darlings.

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Kids who love history – and accompanying grown-ups – will enjoy a visit to this grand townhouse in the heart of Edinburgh.

The house was designed by acclaimed architect Robert Adam in late 1700s, and was a true statement of luxury in an era of enlightenment, for those who could afford it.

It cost the first owner John Lamont (18th Chief of the Clan Lamont) £1,800 in 1796.

The house has been magnificently restored to show a typical Edinburgh New Town house of the late 18th and early 19th century.

The fine collections of period furniture, porcelain, silver and glass reflect the Lamonts’ lifestyle, including lavish entertainment for guests, as well as the social and economic context of the time.

Lamont also employed numerous servants. The kitchen and servants’ room give a glimpse of the arduous ‘below stairs’ life of the servants, who made the Lamonts’ elegant lifestyle possible.

A visit to Dynamic Earth is like nothing else. It’s a chance to experience the primeval forces of nature as they shaped our planet, to travel through space and time and even go on a 4DVENTURE around the world.

You’ll be embarking on the interactive adventure of a lifetime – the lifetime of our planet.

Fun and educational for all the family, Dynamic Earth has events throughout the year. Check the venue’s website for details.

Edinburgh Bus Tours (kids go free)

Hop-on, hop-off, and discover the best of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Bus Tours is Scotland’s second most popular paid-for visitor attraction – and not for nothing.

They offer four great tours, with something to suit all tastes.

On the Edinburgh Tour you can explore the city center with a knowledgeable tour guide.

Take in the spectacular buildings including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament and the architecture of the Georgian New Town.

The Majestic Tour heads north of Edinburgh’s city center towards the port of Leith, with highlights including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, The Royal Yacht Britannia and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

A great option for entertaining the kids is the CitySightseeing Edinburgh tour, which covers all the Capital’s main attractions.

There’s multi-language commentary and a special Horrible Histories commentary for your children, narrated by Terry Deary himself!

Alternatively, explore further afield with the picturesque 3 Bridges Bus and Boat Tour.

Board your bus in the heart of Edinburgh for a guided tour to Queensferry, followed by a boat cruise on the Firth of Forth.

It’s fair to say this isn’t the first local castle that springs to mind, but there’s plenty to recommend a visit.

Edinburgh’s ‘other castle’, which stood a mile outside the old city walls, provided a retreat from Scotland’s capital.

Mary Queen of Scots famously used the castle as a safe haven in 1566. Ironically, its owner, Sir Simon Preston, a loyal supporter of Mary, would turn her jailer just a year later.

On a visit to Craigmillar Castle today you can climb the tower house, which is one of Scotland’s oldest houses, with fascinating features like a fine great hall and a prison.

Once up the tower, you can admire the views from the tower across Edinburgh – spotting Holyrood Park and Edinburgh Castle, among other landmarks.

Kids will love getting lost in Craigmillar Castle’s nooks and crannies.

Fancy a fun-packed family getaway? Escape the Capital and take a tour to the Scottish Highlands and Islands, with passionate local guides leading the way.

These local experts will help you discover Scotland’s history, culture, wildlife and breathtaking scenery.

Visit Loch Ness, Stirling Castle and Inverness or taste the Scottish national drink on a whiskey tour.

Tours to the more remote corners of Scotland whisk you away to the stunning scenes of the Isle of Skye, Orkney, Outer Hebrides, Isle of Islay, Shetland and North Coast 500.

Enter a world of magic and fantasy as Disney’s classic movie makes its world premiere as an exciting new musical as it flies into the Festival Theater for eight performances from February 16-20.

With the original songs by the legendary Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), including Portobello Road, The Age Of Not Believing, The Beautiful Briny and new music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, Bedknobs and Broomsticks will be brought to life by award-winning theater-makers Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison.

It’s sure to be a big hit with the kids.

King’s Theater Backstage Tour

Did you know that the King’s Theater opened in 1905 with the pantomime, Cinderella? Or that it has a stream running right underneath? Want to stand on stage and feel like a star?

This fun backstage tour is a great chance to go behind the scenes – see the workings of the theater and walk down memory lane as we chat through the theatre’s interesting history.

Tours have been adapted to current government guidance. The route utilizes the historic venue’s spacious foyers, auditorium, and stage, and has been modified to leave out some of the most enclosed spaces in the theatre, without taking away from your experience.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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