During our visit to Edinburgh we had to visit the newly opened Fort Douglas within Dalkeith Country Park and we were very impressed. It was very busy as it was the first weekend of the park opening and the summer holidays but there was plenty of room for the children to play.
As you enter the main gates of Dalkeith Country Park you walk through a wooded walkway which the girls thought was a real adventure and were skipping and singing as they were so excited to get to the new Fort Douglas area.
The path is well sign posted and is about a 10 minute walk from the main gates.
But there are some fantastic views of the country estate.
The park’s owner, the Duke of Buccleuch, has invested a staggering £7 million transformation and redevelopment which features a new retail, food, drink and wellbeing space, named Restoration Yard and the new wooden adventure playground named Fort Douglas.
The new Fort Douglas adventure playground was what the girls were interested in. There were turreted treehouses, suspension bridges, slides, climbing walls and secret tunnels.
Fort Douglas has two amazing play zones: one that’s perfect for children up to the age of five and another for six to twelve year olds. The older play areas are marked with a blue age 6+ marking.
The main entrance to Fort Douglas is via a bridge over the River Esk with a kid sized tunnel that runs from one side of the bridge to the other.
As you walk across the bridge you enter the main walkway which leads to Fort Douglas complete with plenty of adventure playground style obstacles!
My daughters loved the incredibly tall wooden treehouse in Fort Douglas, complete with stairs, slides tunnels and rooms to explore.
One of my daughter’s and (husband’s) favourite parts of Fort Douglas was the giant slide which takes you from the top of the fort to the bottom.
To get back up to the top you could either climb up a rope net.
Or overcome the challenge of a climbing wall.
There was also a rope bridge which was also lots of fun, but it was really wobbly!
There is also a toddler area featuring a wooden carved duck family, swings, miniature train and smaller treehouse-style den.
All little adventurers need to be accompanied by an adult and there is a wooden cabin selling refreshments. There are also bathrooms in the Fort Douglas Cabin. Dogs are permitted in the Country Park but dogs are not allowed to go into Fort Douglas.
We only went to the adventure playground but there was also archery and zorbs. Rolling Haggis.com who offer zorbing for all ages . It is freedom to run and roll around whilst inside a huge inflatable zorb. There is a £5 charge per person for 5 minutes.
We spent a great couple of hours with the children here and it was a great place to catch up with friends. A day visitor pass is £1 per adult. However, this is refunded if you purchase anything in Restoration Yard or Fort Douglas which I thought was really good value.
The Restoration Yard is set in a beautiful courtyard and features two floors of shopping and a glass-walled restaurant space situated in the park’s restored 18th century stables and courtyard. There is a wellbeing lab on the first floor, which will offer courses in mindfulness and emotional healing.
The store has homewares and accessories, health & beauty and arts & crafts. There was also furniture, lighting, jewellery and a food hall.
There was a very elegant and upmarket charm to the venue.
The restaurant and café was to a high standard and we enjoyed a lovely sandwich priced at £1.50, tea and a gorgeous selection of cakes and biscuits. Our entrance fee was deducted from our purchase in the café.
There are 3 different car parks with lots of spaces and all signposted well.
You can buy a pass for Fort Douglas in the Restoration Yard.
- 0-2 years: FREE
- 3-5 years: £3
- 6-12 years: £5
- Adults: FREE
- Loyalty Card: 6th visit free
- 10-15 visitors: 10% discount
- 16-25 visitors: 15% discount
- 26-50+ visitors: 20% discount
There was also Primal Bushcraft & Survival Archery. Prices were:
2 arrows = £5 Time 15 minutes
25 arrows = £10 Time 30 minutes
55 arrows = £20 Time 60 minutes
This is a great place to take children and we will definitely go back. There are plans to have the entrance and exit at different locations so please check their website for details.