The Blog

43 top ideas for a family day out in Scotland this summer

Amy Robertson - View Comments

Summer has arrived in Scotland and that means lots of daylight hours to fill, so you’ll need plenty of ideas to keep the wee ones busy!

We’ve put together a few suggestions for fun things to do in Scotland with kids, as well as some great events to attend across July and August. From brilliant beaches to fun farm parks, and from Highland games to on-the-water adventures, we declare that boredom will be banished this summer!

Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire

Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire

1. Things heating up? Then make a splash and join in with an inflatable fun session at Stonehaven Open Air Pool. On 8 July, head to the Stonehaven Folk Festival Aqua Ceilidh, where you can enjoy dances including the ‘Splashing White Sergeant’ and ‘Drip the Willow’.

2. Watch white horses come crashing in and race down rolling dunes at Balmedie Beach, just north of Aberdeen.

3. Make your way to the magical Crathes Castle at Banchory on 25 July for the ranger-led Crathes Children’s Walk, where you’ll learn all about the cute, small and furry inhabitants of the grounds. Or, experience some tree-top adventures at Go Ape!

Argyll & The Isles

A SeaFari Adventures trip to the Corryvreckan whirlpool, Argyll

4. Hop on a ferry (or fly!) to the Inner Hebrides to enjoy the many delights of the Tiree Music Festival (13 – 15 July) – it’s one of the most family-friendly festivals around.

5. Brace yourself for a fast-paced Seafari Adventure! Departing from Easdale, near Oban, daily RIB trips run to the impressive Corryvreckan, the world’s third largest whirlpool!

6. Step into some storybook magic and follow the Gruffalo Trail through Ardkinglas Woodland, near Loch Fyne

7. Discover the prehistoric landscapes surrounding Kilmartin House Museum in Mid Argyll, dotted with ancient burial mounds, cairns, stone circles and artworks dating back 5,000 years.

In and around Aviemore

A wildcat at the Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig, by Kingussie, Highlands

8. Fill your day with countless thrilling adventures, from runaway timber train rollercoasters to aerial assault courses at Landmark Forest Adventure Park at Carrbridge.

9. See snow leopards, Scottish wildcats, red pandas and even a polar bear at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie.

10. Time travel hundreds of years into the past at the open air Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore and discover how early Highland people lived and worked.

11. Head to Loch Garten Osprey Centre at Abernethy to catch a glimpse of the resourceful EJ, a magnificent female osprey who bravely protects her nest.

Isle of Arran

Kayaking in Brodick Bay, Isle of Arran

12. Paddle power! Skirt the shorelines of the Isle of Arran and have a go at kayaking with Arran Adventure.

13. Perched on the dramatic peak of Goatfell, Brodick Castle is made for explorers with gardens, woodland trails and hills to discover.

In and around Dumfries

Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries

14. Feed the animals, fly down the astroslide, or row around the boating pond at Mabie Farm Park at Mabie, near Dumfries.

15. Try pond dipping or go on a bug hunt at WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, or why not do some gardening for wildlife?

In and around Dundee

16. Fill a basket with delicious summery berries and go fruit picking at Charleton Fruit Farm, near Montrose, before hitting the adventure play area.

17. Get up close to some wild critters at Camperdown Wildlife Centre, near Dundee, and meet donkeys, lemurs, the European brown bear and many other furry friends.

In Edinburgh & The Lothians

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

18. In East Lothian, get an adrenaline rush as you try cable wakeboarding at Foxlake Adventures near Dunbar, or head to the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick for a programme of summer events.

19. Soak up culture in the capital and experience events taking place during the Edinburgh Festivals across the summer. Boogie along to the musical offerings at the Jazz & Blues Festival or watch incredible street performers dazzle audiences at the Festival Fringe.

In and around Falkirk

The Falkirk Wheel

20. Head to the The Helix for outdoor events for all ages, including Under the Trees: Summer Fun Sessions, Outdoor Theatre: The Midnight Gang and The Big Picnic.

21. Experience a day out on the tracks with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends at Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway on 28 & 29 July and 8 – 9 September. Be sure to book tickets in advance!

22. At the Falkirk Wheel, explore canal paths on a Segway, roam around the canal basin in a buoyant water walker, hire an electric boat, or go paddling in a canoe.

Fife

Culross Palace and Garden

22. Bring your sense of curiosity to the Crail Festival, from 18 – 28 July, where there are crabbing competitions, ceramics and crafts workshops, fossil hunting, junior golf and a sandcastle building competition.

23. Explore the fascinating Royal Burgh of Culross, one of Scotland’s prettiest 17 – 18th century villages with its fabulous ochre-coloured Culross Palace which features tiny rooms, mysterious passageways and intricately painted ceilings.

In and around Fort William

The Nevis Range, the Highlands

24. Take the gondola up the Nevis Range and try some great outdoor activities, including whizzing down the ZoomTrax 40 m tubing slide – it’s free!

25. Kids and adults will both have a ball navigating the tree-top obstacles at Nevis Range Tree Adventure at the edge of the Leanachan Forest. A great day out for adventure seekers.

In and around Glasgow

New Lanark Visitor Centre

26. Journey back to the 1820s at the New Lanark World Heritage Site. Learn about the people who worked at the mill in times past and take a family hike out along the woodland path to the beautiful Falls of Clyde.

27. Take a dip in the salt waters of the Gourock Outdoor Pool. There’s a kids’ pool, diving boards and the water is always heated to a comfortable 29˚C!

28. Let your hair down at Mugdock Country Park near Milngavie on 27 – 30 July for the small and quirky Mugstock, a family-friendly music festival.

In and around Inverness

Highland dancing at the Inverness Highland Games, Inverness

29. Enjoy the buzz of Inverness Highland Games on 21 July. As well as traditional spectacles and family fun, there will be piping competitions and heavy events to look forward to.

30. Try to spot beautiful dolphins frolicking in coastal waters from the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, near Fochabers.

In and around Loch Lomond

31. Does a competitive spirit run in your family? Then head to Loch Lomond Highland Games on 14 July and take part in the children’s race or the tug o’war.

32. Walk to the waterfall, try to spot red squirrels from the special squirrel hide, or fly across the forest canopy on one of the UK’s longest zip wires at the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, east of Loch Lomond in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

Orkney

Midhowe Broch, Rousay. Image © Max Fletcher

33. Look out for Orkney’s annual agricultural shows for a great insight into life on the isles. You can see stock showing, judging, show jumping, a variety of stands, stalls and much more. The shows end with the grand Orkney County Show in Kirkwall on 11 August, where the finest animals, arts, crafts and entertainment can be enjoyed.

Outer Hebrides

Family fun at the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Isle of Lewis © Leila Angus / BrighterStill

34. Voyage to the Isle of Lewis for Hebridean Celtic Festival on 18 – 21 July, where as well as Celtic, world and roots music, there’s plenty on for kids, including a circus skills workshop and a kids’ zone!

Perthshire

Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, Kenmore, Perthshire

35. Delve into archaeological wonders at the Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, a thatched roundhouse built in the shallows of the loch. Learn about ancient Iron Age techniques with several events during the summer.

The Scottish Borders

Glentress, near Peebles, Scottish Borders

36. Hit the waves and try surfing at Coldingham Bay with St Vedas Surf School, suitable for kids aged eight and above.

37. Experience pedal power at 7 stanes Glentress mountain biking centre, near Peebles, where you can hire bikes and get tuition and tips before hitting the graded routes.

In and around Stirling

Blair Drummond Safari Park

38. Got what it takes to lead an army on the battlefield? Put your medieval military tactics to the test in the interactive 3D Battle Game at the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre.

39. Earn your stripes at Blair Drummond Safari Park and learn about endangered species with  summer events.

40. Add a splash of educational fun to the summer holidays with a family-themed itinerary and activities at Stirling Castle.

41. Discover musical treats for the whole family at Doune the Rabbit Hole from 13 – 15 July in the glorious surroundings of Cardross Estate.

Shetland

St Ninian’s Isle

42. Get in touch with Mother Nature at the Shetland Nature Festival, held 28 July – 5 August, where you can get up close to comical puffins or try to spot orcas out at sea.

43. Stroll across the beautiful tombolo to St Ninian’s Isle, a natural sandy causeway, and maybe even have a paddle along the shoreline!

If you can manage more than a few of these, then you definitely deserve an ice cream!

Explore more of Scotland during the Year of Young People 2018 with exciting activities, events, festivals and more, and share your experiences with us using #ScotlandIsNow

Looking for more inspiration for things to do with kids in Scotland? Then browse for things to do for families and search for great events.