Fort Douglas is the perfect day out with kids near Edinburgh

Looking for the perfect day out with the kids near Edinburgh? Laura Crichton of Edinburgh Life With Kids shares her 10 best adventures to enjoy in Fort Douglas.


Fort Douglas is the perfect day out with kids near Edinburgh

There won’t be many local families who haven’t discovered Fort Douglas, or made the most of the woodland trails through Dalkeith Country Park. But it’s still a place that my kids are happy to return to again and again. They often discover a new aspect on each visit. To help you find a new adventure and the best day out with kids near Edinburgh, here’s Edinburgh Life With Kids Blogger Laura Crichton’s bucket list for a visit to Fort Douglas:


Race down the Twin Slides

The best thing about the twin slides in Sky Maze is that adults can easily join in too! For some reason my kids still win every time however that won’t stop me trying. Even wet weather shouldn’t put you off. I’ve found it just means you can go down these slides even faster!


Try the new jumping Pillows

It’s hard to get my youngest off the jumping pillows – who would happily stay in this area of the park all day – and I’m always happy to buy a coffee from the kiosk that overlooks it! A new addition in 2021 they’ve proved to be a superb extra element to the park and are a great way to burn off any excess energy!

Please note the Jumping Pillows are closed over winter months for health and safety. 

Find our elephant

Fancy a safari? Ok… so it might not be Zambia but take some time find the elephant and climb aboard! This is just one example of how the park has combined imagination with activity; whether you want to go on a pirate quest or medieval battle – the park is a great place to facilitate a make-believe adventure.


Become a Duke or Duchess

Want to learn about the history of Dalkeith and capture a keep-sake at the same time? My kids can never resist popping their wee faces into these frames and becoming a Duchess or Duke in an instant! It’s a lovely way to record a day out and you can share your grins on Instagram for a chance to be featured – just use #fortdouglas or #dalkeithcountrypark


Get a bird’s eye view of the Park – climb to the top of the fort

For some reason my kids always think the top of the fort is the best hiding place (particularly when it’s time to go!) but actually – it has some of the best views of Dalkeith Country Park! It’s definitely worth the climb and there’s plenty of alcoves to sit in to admire the view.


Hang out in the Tyre Wall

Put your agility skills to the test and clamber along the tyre wall – or simply pick a tyre each and hang out! For an extra dimension I’d always advise challenging your kids to see how many tricks they can do – my daughter seems to have flipping upside down into a fine art!


Try out all of the zip lines and vote for your favourite!

No visit to Fort Douglas is complete without trying ALL the zip lines. We have a great debate raging about which is the fastest and whether it’s more fun to jump on and aim for a straight zip or to push off sideways to get an extra dimension. I figure it’ll need a lot more testing before the kids ever come to a final decision – so definitely one to add to the list!

Fort-Douglas-Adventure-Playground-Rope Bridge

Conquer Sky Maze

The Sky Maze makes Fort Douglas the perfect day out with kids because adults can play too. Yes this is definitely another one for the whole family to join in as even Grandma couldn’t resist joining in on our last visit! There always seems to be a new section to find and as a result is a wonderful place for an epic game hide and seek or chase! For wee ones the Mini Maze is also a great hit and has an array of slides to try too.


Adventure down the tunnel slide

If you’d really like to put your bravery to the test – the tunnel slide is a must! My kids took a while to build up the confidence to take this one on but subsequently called it ‘the best slide in the world.’ Undoubtably the fastest slide in the park (according to my kids) this is definitely one to hurtle down at speed!


Scramble up the climbing nets

The scramble nets provide another opportunity for the kids to race back up to the top – whilst the stairs provide a more conventional option for the adults! What goes up must come down though – and on the odd occasion when they don’t want to take a turn on the tunnel slide – my two equally like to bounce down the nets too!


Adventure through the mesh wire tunnel under the bridge to Fort Douglas

Fort Douglas itself feels like it’s grown out of the ancient oak woodland one day – with very little metal in sight and natural materials being utilised in all kinds of structures. But this feeling is definitely helped by the fact that you have to cross the River Esk to get reach it! So logically, no visit is complete to Fort Douglas with a clamber through the mesh wire tunnel under the bridge to the park – on the way in and the way back home!

For more ideas of a fun day out with kids near Edinburgh, check out more from Laura at or on Instagram.

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