October half term holidays in ScotlandEnjoy an autumnal Scottish escape
It's fair to say that come October, the weather's not exactly pleasant; and in Scotland, we seem to bear the brunt of it. That said, even the potential for wind, rain, shorter days and darker nights can't detract from Britain's autumnal beauty. There's an understated charm in kicking your way through whirling leaves, playing conkers with the kids, and sitting by an open fire at night; you may have trouble getting one started outside, but that's why having your own lodge, complete with fireplace, will do the trick.
If you fancy taking a break, but don't want to subject the family to flights, then October half term holidays in Scotland could be perfect. HomeAway has a wide range of Scottish rentals this far north, from apartments in Edinburgh to chalets in the Cairngorms. And in Scotland, there's scope for all kinds of holidays: from exciting city escapes and activity holidays in the countryside, to laid-back family breaks in cosy cottages by the sea.
But before you start booking, why not check out five of our favourite destinations?
Five of our favourite Scottish half term retreats
October half term breaks in Ayrshire and Arran
For families looking to enjoy outdoor activities, Ayrshire’s a spot-on destination. Wonderfully rural, it’s a region seemingly made for cycling and hiking: the verdant mountains and vast forests are littered with marked trails. On cool autumn days, you’d be forgiven for thinking the coast is off limits; but sheltered as it is (the shores of the Isle of Arran in particular), it’s a great place to try something new like kayaking. Why not see the Arran Adventure Company for guided tours? Keep your eyes peeled, and you could even enjoy encounters with some of the region’s curious marine wildlife.
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October half term breaks in Dundee and Angus
Dundee’s usually overlooked in favour of Glasgow or Edinburgh, but this up-and-coming city has plenty to offer in October. Sitting on the east of Scotland, it’s not the typically rugged idyll pictured in Scottish postcards; but its outskirts boast pretty beaches and small, unspoiled fishing villages. It may be a bit too chilly to bathe in the waters of Broughty Ferry beach, but it’s never too cold to enjoy fish and chips by the water, before visiting the local castle. Too wet for walks? Head to Dundee’s Science Centre to learn all about the five senses.
October half term breaks in Edinburgh
If placing yourself amidst Scotland’s wilder landscapes doesn’t appeal, Edinburgh’s a great spot for a city break. Alongside the staple must-sees of the Old Town such as the castle, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Mile, there are dozens of family attractions. Spend a day at Edinburgh Zoo (spotting the resident pandas is in high demand, so book in advance!), or enjoy an afternoon at the expansive Museum of Scotland, learning all about the animal kingdom through its interactive displays. Rare spot of sunshine? Walk along the beautiful Water of Leith, taking in the unspeakably pretty Dean Village.
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October half term holidays in Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries is packed with family attractions, but Galloway Forest Park and Mabie Farm are surely two of the best. At the former, there are some 300 square miles to explore on foot or by bike: the heather-laden hills, dotted with picturesque lochs and burns, are inhabited by wild goats and native red deer. If you’d rather treat the kids to a close animal encounter, Mabie Farm will tick all the boxes: grab a bag of feed and pet the Shetland ponies and Highland cows, all before taking a ride around on the ‘Choo Choo Express’.
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October half term holidays in Argyll
Take a lodge in or near Argyll, and you could take the 20-minute ferry ride from Tayinloan, on the Kintyre peninsula, to Ardminish, on the Isle of Gigha. Known as ‘God’s Isle’, this serenely beautiful and virtually untouched piece of paradise is a great spot for a day out: stroll amidst the Achamore Gardens, or spot seals off the coast, before taking the kids for some fun in the play park. After you’ve explored its history and ancient relics, head back to Tarbert just 20 miles north, where you can enjoy delicious local produce: smoked salmon, venison, black pudding and - of course - whisky are all Argyll menu specialities.