Family holidays in Scotland
It might not be the largest country in the world, but what Scotland may lack in square milage it more than makes up for in diversity. This is a nation whose terrain is as varied as its culture; an undulating landscape that begs to be explored. From the unspoiled beaches that flank the West Coast to the snowy peaks of Ben Nevis, Scotland is a natural beauty. While there’s more than enough here to keep adults entertained, the kids haven’t been forgotten about either; there are sandy beaches, play centres and adventure trails for the kids. If you’re plotting a family getaway in Scotland, your best option is to rent a property for a few days. This will give you a chance to explore the area fully before unwinding in comfortable surroundings each evening. Browse the HomeAway Holiday Rentals website and you’ll find a selection of spacious Scottish properties that are designed for family living. Check out our round up of family destinations and you’ll see why Scotland has so much to offer.
Take a trip to Scotland’s islands and you’ll find miles of unspoiled coastline where locally-caught seafood is served alongside the finest Aberdeen Angus beef and Stornaway black pudding. The Three Chimneys, situated on the uppermost tip of the Isle of Skye, serves scallops, shrimp and cod, delicately cooked to preserve their natural flavours. Before dinner, take a walk along the seafront and watch the kids crab-fishing off the end of the harbour. Alternatively, drive up to John O’Groats – the mainland’s most northerly point – and then on to the Orkney Islands where beached wrecks and stone age settlements await.
While Scotland is famed for its natural beauty, it’s not all picturesque fishing villages and snowy mountains. Head to the city and you’ll find pleasures of a more contemporary nature. Glasgow is packed with an array of activities to occupy the kids, while adults will relish the shops, bars, museums and galleries. With its interactive exhibits and workshops, the Science Centre is sure to fire their imaginations. Elsewhere in Scotland’s largest city, Lagoon Leisure Centre, the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre and Jurassic Jungle soft play area ought to be enough to occupy a rainy day.
Edinburgh is one of those places where you don’t have to look too hard to find stuff to do; cast your gaze across the capital and you’ll instantly be mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the monuments, steeples, battlements and volcanic outcrops that lend Auld Reekie so much of its character. The whole family will enjoy a visit to Edinburgh Castle, an iconic structure that watches over the city from its lofty vantage point. For those who are feeling brave, a trip to the old dungeons or a ghost tour through the city’s backstreets is the way to go. Edinburgh’s also stocked with modern attractions to occupy kids and adults alike, from Gambado indoor play centre to the plethora of department stores, boutiques, bars and restaurants that cram the city centre. Bored? Not in Edinburgh. Not a chance.
If your idea of the perfect holiday involves getting away from it all, have you considered taking the family to Arran? Situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland’s most southerly island is about as far away from it all as you can get without having to produce a passport. It may only measure 19 miles from end to end, but the Isle of Arran crams a lot into a very small space. Book into a holiday rental on the island and then prepare to explore the varied terrain on foot. From the charming fishing cottages that flank the rocky coast to the seven golf courses that are scattered across the Isle, Arran is the perfect holiday retreat for those who love the outdoors. Whether splashing through the waves or picnicking on the beach, the kids are sure to have a great time – just like their folks.
Looking to fire your children’s imagination? Then take them for a trip to Scotland’s Most Creative Place – St Andrews. This sleepy Scottish town encapsulates everything that’s great about the Fife coastline: breathtaking views, world class golf, sailing, fishing and fine dining. Kids’ amenities include St Andrews Aquarium which, amidst its collection of sealife, boasts a family of meerkats. What they’re doing in an aquatic centre is anyone’s guess, but rest assured – the kids will love them. With horse riding, a castle and museum – not to mention ample shops, pubs and cafes – St Andrews is positively packing. How will you choose to spend your holiday in this ancient Royal Burgh?