One thing we can still enjoy is the great outdoors in Scotland and the fantastic local country parks that can be found right on our doorstep.
From forest walks and playparks to loch side views (both on and off the water!), country parks offer the chance to escape and unwind. A visit to one of Scotland’s country parks can be just what the body and the mind needs in these times of uncertainty – the opportunity to stop, breathe in the abundant fresh air and recharge. Some of them have even been known to pop up on screen, providing a dramatic backdrop for the likes of Outlander.
Scotland is blessed with over 40 country park sites across the country, many of which are easily accessible from our cities. We’ve handpicked a small selection of some of the best, all of which have cracking views to soak up during your visit. Read on to find out more and share your own experiences.
John Muir Country Park, East Lothian
Stretching along the East Lothian coastline, with views across to the Bass Rock and Firth of Forth islands, John Muir Country Park offers the perfect coastal escape. Named after the Dunbar-born naturalist, conservationist and ‘Father’ of the National Parks in the US, it includes part of the John Muir Way, one of Scotland’s Great Trails, linking Dunbar in the east with Helensburgh in the west.
Beecraigs Country Park, West Lothian
It’s the largest of West Lothian’s three country parks (alongside Polkemmet and Almondell & Calderwood) and Beecraigs Country Park is a great day out for all the family. Explore and soak up the views of the beautiful forest tracks on foot, on two wheels or by horse, follow mountain bike trails, enjoy a fishing and boating loch and even look out for the resident deer, sheep and Highland cattle. Views across the Forth Valley are not to be missed.
Craigtoun Country Park, Fife
Covering 47 acres of open land, Craigtoun Country Park lies on the outskirts of St Andrews. Two tranquil lochs lie at the heart of the park, which includes the unique and picturesque Dutch Village, a series of ornate buildings that were added to the site in the 1920s. Free-year-round facilities include an adventure playground, a 30ft zip wire, and a lovely wooded area known as The Fairy Glen, with a range of seasonal activities include the Puffer Billy Tractor-drawn train.
Drumpellier Country Park, North Lanarkshire
Fantastic nature trails and two large natural lochs with unrivalled views are just two of the many reasons to visit Drumpellier Country Park, on the outskirts of Coatbridge. The country park also has an intriguing history dating back to medieval times. Evidence of an iron age dwelling once being on the site has inspired the creation of an iron age crannog which forms the centrepiece of the popular play area. Seasonal attractions include boating, canoeing and ranger-led walks.
Muiravonside Country Park, Falkirk
With the beautiful River Avon running through it, Muiravonside Country Park near Falkirk is a mix of lovely parkland and woodland and includes the majestic Avon aquaduct, which remains one of the largest of its kind in Scotland. With fantastic walks including a sculpture and adventure trail which make the most of the landscape, a mini demonstration farm and children’s play area, it’s a great day out for all the family.
Pollok Country Park, Glasgow
If you’re looking for a quiet sanctuary in the heart of the city, look no further than Pollok Country Park in the south of Glasgow. Perfect for exploring the gardens of the impressive Pollok House (cared for by the National Trust for Scotland), as well as lovely woodland walks, the country park also boasts fantastic fun for those on two wheels, with three mountain bike trails (green, blue and red) to test your ability!
Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Inverclyde
As well as our wonderful and varied country parks, Scotland also has three wonderful regional parks, from Clyde Muirshiel in the West, Lomond Hills in Fife and Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinburgh. One of the many stunning views and highlights in Scotland’s largest, Clyde Muirshiel, can be found in the north of the park. The beautiful waterfall of the Greenock Cut forms part of Inverclyde’s historic water catchment area. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and a scheduled monument to boot. Clyde Muirshiel also includes Muirshiel and Castle Semple country parks which are packed full of fantastic outdoor adventures.
Check out some of the more unusual things to see and do in Scotland’s country parks. Have you visited a country park recently? Why not share your images across our social channels – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?