School Trips to Edinburgh

Scotland’s historic capital city provides a unique learning experience for students of all ages, full of quality sights, landmarks and activities. That means there’s a lot to consider when planning your ideal school trip to Edinburgh.

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Parliament and the winding streets of the Old Town are all stunning attractions that offer fascinating insights for students of sociology and psychology. Our specialised psychology trips are tailored to suit your group’s requirements and may cover a range of topics, such as sleep disorders or mental illness.

You also don’t have to look far to find areas of stunning natural beauty. Arthur’s Seat,  Holyrood Park and the lavish features of the Royal Botanic Garden are all memorable sights for any primary school day trip.

Edinburgh’s location makes it a very popular, year-round destination for schools in the Midlands and North of England. It’s an ideal alternative for schools that are not in the vicinity of London but who are still looking to give their students a taste of a cosmopolitan city.

Take a look at our most popular options below, or get in touch today for more expert advice on planning your next Edinburgh school trip.

Learn more about our Edinburgh school trips

Primary School Trips & Tours

Primary School Trips & Tours

Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, full of fascinating museums, enchanting history and heritage. It’s an ideal destination to give primary school groups perhaps their first taste of a remarkable capital city.

Learn more about our primary school trips to Edinburgh here

Psychology & Sociology 

Psychology & Sociology 

A psychology & sociology school trip to the Scottish city of Edinburgh is undoubtedly a year-round destination that offers great value.

Learn more about our psychology & sociology trips to Edinburgh here

 


Edinburgh highlights - our groups love...

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a powerful national symbol, and part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage site. Here, you can see the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, Mons Meg, and the One O’Clock Gun. You can even visit the National War Museum of Scotland and experience life as a POW in 1781.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Learn about the palace’s history, from its medieval foundations to its present day use by the Royal Family. Following an introductory talk, find out about the lives of famous residents including Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria. Workshops are available for KS2 / P4-7 too.

 

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, science and technology, art and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is an excellent place for a panoramic view of the city and beyond. Students can explore the wonders of light and illusion, experiment with various hands on optical illusions and tricks.

 

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia

Discover what life was like on board The Queen's floating Royal residence. Your group will first explore the Britannia’s Visitor Centre, before stepping aboard. Here your group can learn about the history of Royal Yachts, view displays and historical photographs of Britannia's captivating past.

The Real Mary King’s Close

The Real Mary King’s Close

Just off the historic Royal Mile, at the Real Mary King’s Close, your students will see an historically accurate interpretation of life in Edinburgh from the 16th to the 19th centuries. You’ll get to witness the highs and lows of 16th century living, visit the home of a grave digger’s family to discover the truth about the plague epidemic of 1644-46, and enjoy ghost stories as your guide reveals dramatic episodes and extraordinary apparitions from the past.

 

Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth

Witness the Big Bang, feel an earthquake and even get caught in a tropical rainstorm. Dynamic Earth tells the unique story of our planet’s past, present and future, and allows your pupils to explore the ever-changing nature of the physical and biological processes that continue to shape the planet. This interactive tour includes interactive voting pads and smartboard technology, and your pupils will handle specimens in the workshop.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is the largest and most exciting wildlife attraction in Scotland. In just one day, pupils can meet over 1,000 wonderful animals in a beautiful parkland setting. A visit to Edinburgh Zoo isn’t complete without a trip to see the giant pandas!

Educational Workshops - ideal for psychology groups 

Visit this fantastic zoo. Tailored educational sessions are available - options include 'Adaptations', 'Primate Behaviour' and 'Evolution'

Sleep Assessment & Advisory Service 

Sleep Assessment & Advisory Service - ideal for psychology groups 

These informative 90-minute sessions are delivered by an expert and can focus on a range of relevant study themes, which can be tailored specifically to your group’s requirements. Suggested topics include sleep disorders (insomnia, sleepwalking and narcolepsy), dreaming (including Dement & Kleitman research), the brain during sleep and mental illness and sleep.

 

Murder & Mystery Walking Tour 

Murder & Mystery Walking Tour - ideal for psychology groups

Led by your tour guide, hanged highwayman, Adam Lyal, students will be given a spine-tingling insight into Edinburgh’s darker side, with costumed characters including infamous body-snatchers, Burke and Hare.

 

Edinburgh school trip experts

Each year, hundreds of primary school & psychology students visit Edinburgh with our help. Members of our team regularly visit Scotland's capital to really get to know the ins-and-outs of the area, from logistics and attractions to our range of accommodation. Your dedicated Tour Co-ordinator will use their knowledge of Edinburgh to create an itinerary that’s tailor-made, perfectly timed and meets your exact school travel needs. They’ll be able to share their first-hand experience, suggest options you might not have considered and give you insight into the feedback other teachers have given us too.

Planning your first school trip?

If you're planning your first school trip, our essential guide will take you through each step of the process.

 

  • Choosing your destination
  • Gaining approval from your Local Authority and/or your Head
  • Promoting your tour in school
  • Confirming your booking
  • Tailor-make your tour
  • Completing your risk assessments (including a sample risk assessment)
  • Quick reference timeline
  • Pre-tour checklist

Additional support, resources & information:

Tour planning service

Tour planning service

With NST, you’ll get your own dedicated, knowledgeable Tour Co-ordinator who’ll work with you from start to finish. You’ll benefit from their unrivalled destination knowledge, and their experience gained from working with many other groups too. They’ll tailor-make your itinerary from scratch and take care of everything for you:

  • Pulling together an itinerary that runs smoothly
  • Planning the right balance of visits every day with realistic timings
  • Pre-arranging and pre-booking your visits, entrance tickets, passes and meals


You’ll receive your final itinerary a full 4-weeks before you travel too.

FREE school trip promotion pack

FREE school trip promotion pack

We’ll support you and provide everything you need to advertise your school trip around school and to parents. Our free school trip promotion pack consists of:

  • Parents’ letter & permission slip template for you to complete
  • A3 posters to promote your trip around school
  • PowerPoint presentation templates which you can tailor to your own needs
  • Parents’ leaflets covering how NST manage safety, financial protection and details of our travel insurance
  • Online parents’ video which showcases the benefits of taking a school trip


For selected destinations, we’ll provide a trip launch web page using video footage and imagery. This web page is provided by a weblink and can be shared with pupils and parents in many ways.

Risk assessment support including preview visits

Risk assessment support including preview visits

Risk assessment plays a vitally important part in the planning and organisation on any school tour.

Our risk assessment guide aims to help you understand more about your obligations and how you can more effectively manage group safety on your next educational visit and provide you with risk assessments for your trip.

Planning first school trip

Planning first school trip

Organising your first school trip can appear to be a daunting process.  If you're planning your first school trip, our guide will help to take you through each step of the planning process, answering frequently asked questions and providing tips and support along the way.  Our helpful guide covers the following: 

  • Choosing your destination 
  • Gaining approval from your Local Authority and/or your Head 
  • Promoting your tour in school 
  • Confirming your booking
  • Tailor-make your tour
  • Completing your risk assessments (including a sample risk assessment) 
  • Quick reference timeline 
  • Pre-tour checklist 


View our essential guide to a successful school trip here

Get live updates on your group's tour location

Get live updates on your group's tour location

Locate My Trip uses GPS technology and is the easy, convenient way for your school to follow your location whilst on tour. Specifically designed to provide reassurance to both parents and teachers, NST will know where your group are 24/7. If your schedule needs to change, we’ll put plans in place to keep your tour on track. 

With Locate My Trip your group can also share photos and videos with the school and parents, via a secure link, to keep them updated on your experience whilst you’re away.

Watch our short Locate My Trip video here.

Your online school trip organiser - My Tour Manager

Your online school trip organiser - My Tour Manager

Save time and stay on track with your school trip admin with our online orgnaniser - designed to help busy teachers like you. 

With My Tour Manager, you'll be able to download FREE resources and access trip paperwork online and in one place. Your personalised checklist details what you need to do and by when, plus you'll receive fortnightly reminders too. 

What's more, you can take all your trip documents on the go whilst on your tour with our app, My Tour Manager-On-the-Go. 

Find out more and watch out short My Tour Manager video here

Free classroom resources

Free classroom resources

We've created a range of free resources and educational posters to brighten up your classroom! 

Take a look at our downloadable posters here

Why choose NST...

Here's why thousands of teachers choose NST each year...

  • Unrivalled knowledge

Your dedicated Tour Co-ordinator will use their unrivalled local knowledge and expertise of Edinburgh to create a tailor-made, curriculum-linked itinerary to meet your group’s exact needs.

  • Making it easier for you

With our online school trip organiser, travel app, free classroom posters and trip launch resources to support your in-school promotion.

  • Free group leader inspection visits

We offer a free inspection visit to your chosen destination to support your risk assessment planning. 

  • Value for money

We’re committed to bringing you the best possible value trips to help make every penny count.

  • More than 50 years’ experience

With over 50 years’ experience, with NST you can rest assured that your group is in safe hands.

  • Risk assessment guidance

Our risk assessment guidance will help you to manage group safety on your next educational trip.

  • Peace of mind

Your group’s location can be followed with our trip tracking device - Locate My Trip - plus you’ll have 24/7 support from us whilst you’re away.

  • Offsetting carbon emissions

For every trip taken, we'll plant a Maya nut tree in Peru to support reforestation, local communities & biodiversity. Plus, we'll offset an additional tonne of CO2 to guarantee carbon emission reductions. 

 

Looking for protection on your next school trip? 

Booking with a school travel company is the best way for you to protect parents’ money and give yourself peace of mind.  

 

Don’t forget – if your school arranges transport, accommodation and other services directly, you’ll be liable under the Package Travel Regulations – meaning you’ll have all the responsibilities of a travel company, both legal and financial. 

 

Financial protection from the moment you book

NST are fully bonded:

  • ABTA
  • ATOL
  • IATA

Managing safety on school trips

For your protection, NST's independently audited Safety Management System covers:

  • 24-hour emergency cover
  • Audited accommodation & transport
  • Excursions & school visit assessment
  • Group leader preview visits to assist with risk assessment planning

We're LOtC Council’s Quality Badge assured

The Department for Education advises schools to always look for the LOtC Quality Badge when choosing a school travel provider.