We look at the most relaxing cafes in Edinburgh that are just as perfect for babies or toddlers, as they are for mum or dad.

Toots, Cameron Toll

(227 Gilmerton Road, EH16 5UD)

Picture: Toots

This is a secret haven of a play cafe hidden away at the top of a rugby club behind Cameron Toll. It’s in a white building beside Inch House and you’d never expect the surprise inside judging from the outside.

Possibly one of the most relaxing places to go with small children in Edinburgh, they have a huge selection of toys, lots of tables around the play area and they do baby’s messy play sometimes too.

The toasties are delicious, there are lots of sweet treats for exhausted parents in need of a pick-me-up and they do healthy toddler tapas with a huge selection of choices. Open during the week only.

Leaf and Bean, Morningside

(12-14 Comiston Rd, EH10 5QE)

Picture: Leaf and Bean

Leaf and Bean on Morningside’s Comiston Road has its own dedicated children’s area at the back.

It’s hemmed in by a handy stable door so bolting babies and toddlers can’t escape, which is most useful for having a proper conversation with friends. They have some great toys in the play area and the food is delicious, with delightfully enormous portions.

Hemma, Holyrood

(73 Holyrood Rd, EH8 8AU)

Picture: Trip Advisor

Hemma is tucked down the back of the Royal Mile near the Scottish Parliament. It is part of the small Swedish coterie of restaurants and bars that also own Akva and Sofi’s. The cakes, always served hot, melt in your mouth.

The food here is in a league of its own. Downstairs there is lots of space for prams and a wicker basket full of Swedish-themed toys. Just don’t sit near the spiral staircase.

Brandon’s, Canonmills

(1 Canonmills, EH3 5HA)

Brandon’s is brilliant for a blood-orange margarita on a Friday evening, baby tucked under one arm. This is really more of a pub but they do fantastic brunches and lunches too so you can go at any time of day.

There are booths at the back so your little one can tumble around on the benches and investigate the old suitcase toy box, filled with entertaining things to play with.

It’s one of the few pubs that won’t blink an eye at a baby there for dinner. The tapas is very tasty and there are simple foods like scrambled eggs and delicious home-made breads to tempt little ones.

Scottish Parliament Cafe, Holyrood

Picture: www.visitparliament.scot

This is one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets. There is free child care on hand at the Scottish Parliament creche where you can park your baby or toddler for up to four hours while you enjoy the delights of the Scottish Parliament, including the cafe. The cafe is quiet haven for catching up on some work or when you need a wee break from it all.

The creche is the only public creche of its kind in Europe and they run activities and art sessions.

Victor Hugo, the Meadows

(26/27 Melville Terrace)

Picture: Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo is a proper old fashioned French cafe and deli with fancy hot chocolate with chilli or salted caramel and to-die-for melty croissants with your favourite French cheese and cured ham.

The cakes are perfect. There are two parts to Victor Hugo, the main cafe and deli and another seating area with table service next door which is small, cosy and quiet, perfect for a snoozing baby. There’s an enormous sofa to rest your weary legs.

Summerhall, the Meadows

(Summerhall Pl, EH9 1QE)

Picture: Kim Traynor/Geograph

Summerhall Cafe is a huge open space with lots of toys and running space for toddlers. The slightly cafeteria feel is outweighed by the comfy sofas and very laid back atmosphere.

They have plenty of toddler friendly food on the menu such as macaroni cheese and baked potatoes. Just watch your little one doesn’t get their mucky paws on the artisan arts stuff for sale in the gift shop right beside the cafe. Nearby is the fantastic playpark at the Meadows.

Skylark, Stockbridge

(42A Hamilton Pl, EH3 5AX)

Picture: Skylark Facebook

Skylark Cafe in Stockbridge has a wonderful smoothie list that will be sure to get some vitamins into your little one. They also stock the scrumptious Bearded Baker’s bagels. In the back is a cosy den full of toys and small seats for children to sit and play and feel fully immersed.

The baby changing facilities are always well stocked and are conveniently close to the play area.

The Planet, Portobello

(39 Baileyfield Road, EH15 1NA)

Picture: The Planet

This Portobello gem has a dedicated soft play area with a ball pit but it’s not so enormous that they’d get lost. There are bouncy castle play sessions, arts and crafts and dressing-up outfits.

They do home made cakes and scones and speciality coffee as well as lunches. Best of all it’s free for babies under six months.

Turtle Dove, Corbiehill Road

(31 Corbiehill Rd, EH4 5BQ)

Picture: Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove is a dedicated play cafe with loads of events from face painting to baby yoga and music sessions. It’s very homely and there is no time limit on how long they can stay and play.

There’s a menu designed especially for children and plenty of healthy snacks. For a summery treat they have Luca ice cream in the freezer.

About The Author

Claire Daly is a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh. She writes for The Scotsman, Scottish Woman and Made magazine. She comes from a family of chefs and especially enjoys puddings, unusual drinks and locally sourced produce.

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