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8 Fabulous Family Weekend Breaks in Scotland

Old Town Cemetery, Stirling

Whether it’s a day at the seaside, outdoor fun or exploring fascinating museums and incredible castles, we have some great suggestions for how you can enjoy the perfect family weekend.

Here are just some of the destinations across Scotland which will please children and big kids alike.

Edinburgh & Stirling:

City Days Out

The restored Great Hall of Stirling Castle

Edinburgh is packed with intrigue for visitors of all ages. From Harry Potter fans to history buffs, expand your horizons in Scotland’s capital. Trace the story of our planet from the Big Bang to the present day at Dynamic Earth, Scotland’s largest interactive attraction set against the dramatic backdrop of Arthur’s Seat. Afterwards, head down to Leith to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia. Discover what life was like onboard this glamorous vessel. See The Queen’s favourite rooms and explore life below deck. Don’t leave without trying the delicious scones in the Tea Room.

With its magnificent castle and perfectly compact Old Town, Stirling is a joy to explore for even the smallest legs. Perched high on a volcanic crag, the castle has been carefully restored to appear as it would have done in the mid-16th century when the Stewart monarchs and a young Mary, Queen of Scots lived here. Marvel at the vast Great Hall and ornate royal chambers alongside the cavernous Great Kitchen where armies of servants would rustle up legendary banquets. Just north of Stirling is a farm that’s home to Argaty Red Kites, the only red kite feeding station in the UK where you can watch these magnificent birds of prey soar and dive.

Explore Edinburgh

Explore Stirling

 

Aberdeenshire & Ayrshire:

Beach Breaks

Surfing lessons with George Watt Surf School, Fraserburgh Beach

Sometimes all you need for the perfect family weekend is a sandy beach. If you’re dreaming of spacious golden sands, the award-winning Fraserburgh Beach is the place to be. Located where the Moray Firth meets the North Sea, paddleboarders can explore the shoreline and calm shallows while surfers can tackle the waves on blustery days. An hour’s drive away is Aberdeen Beach. Here the waterfront offers all the ingredients for a classic seaside weekend with an amusement park and Ferris wheel, restaurants and cafés, and the Beach Leisure Centre which has an indoor swimming pool.

Pack up you buckets and spades and head to the beaches of the Ayrshire coast. Try the lovely, secluded beach which lies at the bottom of the cliffs below Culzean Castle. Surrounded by lovely woodlands, spend hours rock pooling at low tide or take guided tour of the mysterious sea caves nearby. An hour’s drive north along the coast is sprawling Seamill Beach backed by grassy dunes overlooking the Firth of Clyde. Here you can enjoy a picnic or a long weekend. Check into the luxurious Seamill Hydro Hotel or one of the cottages at Coalhill Farm for some quality family time.

Explore Aberdeenshire

Explore Ayrshire

 

Perthshire & The Cairngorms:

Glamping & Highland Adventures

Cycle the trails at the Skills and Fun Park of Comrie Croft near Crieff

Craving an adventure? You can’t get more family-friendly than a weekend of eco-camping. Pick somewhere like Comrie Croft in Crieff which offers a range of accommodations spanning Nordic-style Kata tents to cosy converted farm steadings. Explore an extensive network of bike and walking trails and nearby attractions like Aughingarrich Wildlife Centre. Those with small children might prefer a hotel stay at the Crieff Hydro Resort which boasts Glen’s Adventure Park. Little ones can play hide n’ seek in the timber fort replete with slides and plenty of nooks and crannies. There’s also a climbing wall, zipline, peddle karts, supervised mini off-roaders and a bouncy castle.

The Cairngorms National Park offers endless possibilities for a family weekend break. But with such a vast area to explore, it can be difficult to pick a spot to base yourselves. Consider Badenoch and the surrounding area, a historic region brimming with family-friendly attractions. Start at the Highland Folk Museum, a living history museum which brings to life traditional Highland life from the 1700s onwards. Explore around 30 original buildings including a school house where kids can get a shocking taste of childhood pre-smart phones and iPads. There’s also Highland Wildlife Park, home to Europe’s largest tiger enclosure, as well as gentle waymarked routes like the riverside Wildcat Trail which takes its name from the indigenous wild cat known to roam the Newtonmore area.

Explore Perthshire

Explore The Cairngorms

 

Shetland & The Isle of Bute:

Island Escapes

The Marble Hall of Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute

The northernmost place in Scotland might not seem like the obvious choice for a long weekend break, but Shetland is more accessible than you might think. Loganair operates flights to Shetland from all the major Scottish airports. Alternatively, you can hop on a dog-friendly NorthLink Ferry at Aberdeen with its Viking-themed children’s play area. Once here, arrange a face-to-face with the world-famous Shetland ponies. Get to know them on a beach hack with the Shetland Pony Experience, based just a 20-minute drive from Lerwick. You can also meet seals and seabirds on an exhilarating boat tour from Lerwick which will take you around the towering sea cliffs of Bressay and Noss. At the end of the day, head north to the cliffs at Eshaness or far south to Sumburgh Head. In each location, you can rest your head in cosy accommodation inside the lighthouses.

With an idyllic coastline, splendid Victorian promenade, Gothic halls and one of Scotland’s most charming touring routes, the little Isle of Bute has a huge amount to offer families. Start by stepping inside the majesty of the Mount Stuart, a 19th century mansion with a breathtaking interior straight out of a fairy tale. Spend a leisurely afternoon at Ettrick Bay, wandering its sandy beach and stopping by the tearoom for a bite to eat. If you feel up to it, you can even cycle part of the Bute section of the Coig which takes about an hour to circle by car (22 miles). Along the way, linger over the tranquil bays and beaches, and rolling low-lying hills.

Explore Shetland

Explore the Isle of Bute

 

Looking for more inspiration? Find out more about family holidays in Scotland.

 

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