Elie beach

Families

A 4-Day Break in Fife and Dundee for Families with Young Kids

Fife and Dundee & Angus are ideal for a few days away on a quality family break. You could base yourself in a seafront cottage, a self-catering lodge in a country estate, or perhaps a luxury caravan in an amenity-filled holiday park. Think of days playing by the seaside, roaming bridle paths in the countryside, visiting exciting attractions that wee ones will love and soaking up a bit of cosmopolitan culture in the city - you won't be short of ways to have fun on this family holiday!

Transport

Car

Days

4

Miles

60

Route

Base yourself in one location and enjoy days out exploring different locations in the east of Scotland, namely the East Neuk of Fife, St Andrews, the city of Dundee, and Angus.

Highlights

Award-winning beaches, castles, wildlife parks and visitor centres, an aquarium, a science centre, a state-of-the-art swimming pool, heritage attractions.

Areas Covered

Fife, Dundee & Angus

see full route

Day 1

overview

Exploring the East Neuk of Fife

The East Neuk takes in the eastern corner of the Fife region, and its collection of pretty fishing settlements and small sandy beaches make it a real gem of an area to explore. Below ground you might also find an underground surprise in the form of Scotland's Secret Bunker, or play fairy tale-themed games as you explore the beautiful ground of Kellie Castle.
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© Richard Campbell

Beach fun at Elie and Earlsferry

Pack a bucket and spade for sandcastle building, and a towel to dry wet feet after a paddle, and then you are ready to head to the beautiful Elie Earlsferry Beach. Arches of fine golden sands line the town and are great spots for an hour or two of playing by the shoreline. The award-winning Ship Inn organises beach cricket on Sundays, and its restaurant is family-friendly with a children's menu option, should you be keen to catch a bite - the sea air is known to induce quite the appetite!

Kellie Castle and Garden

A short drive away lies the enchanting Kellie Castle and Garden, cared for by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Kids are bound to love roaming the extensive garden with its nature walks, apple trees, a pond and an adventure playground. The garden is also home to wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for native critters such as hedgehogs, badgers, birds and bats. NTS have produced a special guide book just for kids, Kellie Castle Wee Guide, packed with stories and games linked to the property. Afterwards, you could drive 10 minutes to the pretty village of Pittenweem to roam the charming streets and see the historic harbour.

Scotland's Secret Bunker

Alternatively, the allure of the Secret Bunker, hidden beneath an inconspicuous-looking farmhouse, might appeal - what could be more exciting than visiting a place which was once an official government secret? Built during the Cold War, the bunker would have been the command centre should Scotland have every come under the threat of a nuclear attack. Today, you can delve 100 ft below the surface to explore this covert military base and discover its fascinating history.

Fish and chips in Anstruther

No trip to the East Neuk would be complete without enjoying some delicious, piping-hot, fresh fish and chips! Anstruther has a reputation for this moreish fast food which is known the world over. A fish supper is arguably best enjoyed sitting on the pier, watching the boats bobbing in the harbour. The village is also home to the Scottish Fisheries Museum, where you can learn about the fishing industry in the east of Scotland and its naval history.

Day 2

overview

Animal attractions and beach fun in St Andrews

In and around St Andrews, there is lots to see and do - you might even need two days to fit it all in! St Andrews is famed for many things, including being home to one of the country's top universities and sharing the same name as Scotland's patron saint. We know that might not be enough to interest the little ones - but don't worry, the beaches, castle, and wildlife attractions will! There are also some great activities to try in the area, including horse riding, golf and watersports.
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Scottish Deer Centre

Located in Cupar, 13 miles from St Andrews, the Scottish Deer Centre is a must for any animal lover. Here you'll find wolves, lynx, Scottish wildcats and a European brown bear, plus 14 species of deer from all around the world. Feed the deer, watch falconry displays, and see otters being fed, and when it's time to really let off steam, hit the adventure playground or race your rivals on the track in pedal karts.

St Andrews Castle

When you reach St Andrews, there are some fantastic options to choose from that kids will love. The ruined St Andrews Castle will really capture the imaginations of aspiring knights or princesses-in-the-making. You can peer into the bottle dungeon, cut out of rock, and explore the underground siege mine. Historic Scotland manages both this attraction and St Andrews Cathedral, and should you want to visit both sites, you can buy a combined ticket.

East Sands Beach

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside! St Andrews is one of Scotland's favourite coastal destinations, with its two brilliant award-winning beaches, East Sands and West Sands. In the summertime, you'll find there are sandcastle building competitions - so again, be sure to bring your bucket and spade! Wee ones will love East Sands, not far from St Andrews Castle. It has a play area close by and is slightly more sheltered than West Sands. Play hopscotch on the sand, explore rock pools, look for pretty shells and interesting pebbles or chase the waves on the shoreline.

St Andrews Aquarium

Ready for some marine adventure? Then head to St Andrews Aquarium, where you can come face to face with the fascinating inhabitants of underwater worlds. Amongst the many creatures you can see, the aquarium is home to British sharks, lobsters, lionfish, piranhas, seals and penguins. There are reptiles too, such as poison dart frogs and creepy crawlies. Plus, you can meet the family of comical meerkats! Find out more about the curious creatures of the aquarium at talks and feeding and handling sessions that are held throughout the day.

Day 3

overview

Make discoveries in Dundee

One of Scotland's seven cities, Dundee is packed with a range of brilliant family attractions. Don't be surprised if you can't fit them all into one day! In Dundee, the kids are bound to be inspired by the many great things to see and do. Who knows, they may even find their calling; ground-breaking scientist, pioneering polar explorer or Olympic diver, perhaps?
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© Verdant Works

Olympia Swimming Pool

For kids who take to water like ducks, the Olympia Swimming Pool offers some of the most awesome aquatic fun in Scotland. There are rapid rivers, wave pools and seated bubble beds in the leisure pool, and the toddler pool has small slides and interactive features to play with. Daredevils will love the four adrenalin-inducing flumes, which have special light effects and clear sections of the chute. Only the most fearless will ride the Cannonball - it has a thrilling 3.8 m drop into the dive pool!

RRS Discovery

Hop on board the ship which has travelled to the ends of the earth and back! Captain Scott and his hardy crew reached the then undiscovered polar region of Antarctica in the early 1900s in one of the most significant expeditions to have ever been undertaken. Wander through the ship, see objects that belonged to Scott and his men, and discover their brave tales of seafaring and difficulties in the Antarctic. At this family attraction, there's plenty of engaging things to see and do that kids will really enjoy.

Dundee Science Centre

Eureka! Learning can be lots of fun, especially at the Dundee Science Centre. With dozens of absorbing displays and hands-on exhibits centred on the senses, prepare to get experimental and have your mind expanded. Explore the solar system in the planetarium, transform yourself into a primate, and meet the robots of the Roborealm. There's a programme of live science shows too, brining fascinating topics to life.

Scotland's Jute Museum @ Verdant Works

Step back in time to 19th-century Dundee when the city was at the centre of jute industry - it was a time where clunky, dangerous machinery in mills would rattle, and workers worked long hours in unpleasant conditions. Located in a former jute mill, Verdant Works is now full of multimedia displays and interactives for kids. You can discover the fascinating story of manufacturing, how it shaped the city and the stories of the men, women and children who were employed in the mills. Alternatively, the McManus, Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum, is a great place to get to grips with local history.

Day 4

overview

Ambles in Angus

Beautiful Angus is a region of rolling glens and fine coastal communities and offers fantastic opportunities for kids to connect with nature and the countryside. Today, enjoy a slice of rural life on a visit to a fruit farm and spend time getting to know various species of wildlife at a local nature reserve. If you have time, head inland to the pretty burgh of Kirriemuir, nestled at the base of the Angus Glens, to uncover the story of the writer who created Peter Pan.
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Charleton Fruit Farm

There's nothing quite like getting fresh produce straight from the source, and at Charleton Farm near Montrose, you can pick your own delicious, ripe berries in the warmer months. It's an activity that kids will just love. The farm also has two incredible play zones with trampolines, forts, karts and more. Should you be feeling peckish, head to the café and try Charleton Farm's famous strawberry tarts, perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Montrose Basin Visitor Centre

Discover some of the wonderful wildlife of Angus at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre. The Montrose Basin is a local nature reserve which attracts 50,000 migratory birds every year. The centre has binoculars and other equipment for spotting species such as pink-footed geese and Arctic terns, as well as activities and games based around nature, and a programme of special wildlife events which include guided walks. You can also follow trails which lead to hides, should you have some serious bird enthusiasts in your party!

J.M. Barrie's Birthplace

For kids who love magical stories, a trip to the birthplace of the creator of the character Peter Pan is a must. A playwright and novelist, Barrie included 'the boy who wouldn't grow up' in his stories and plays. His tales have since been adapted into animated and live action films that have been loved by generations of children. See the place he was born, spent his childhood and found inspiration back in the mid-1800s. The Neverland Playpark, shaped like a pirate ship, lies north of J.M. Barrie's Birthplace, close to the Victorian Kirriemuir Camera Obscura, which was gifted to the town by the author.

Summary

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