Nice and Short Walks with Kids
1. BROUGH OF BIRSAY, ORKNEY ISLANDS
This little island off the north-west coast of Orkney's Mainland is just a short walk along a tidal causeway, from a small car park at Birsay. When the tide goes out it leaves lots of rock pools, which are ideal for inquisitive young minds to investigate. Along with crustaceans in the rock pools, you're likely to spot seabirds including puffins, razorbills, shags and guillemots overhead, depending on when you visit.
If you want to explore more of the area after rockpooling, the Brough of Birsay and Earl's Palace walk takes in some fascinating Pictish, Norse and monastic ruins on the island and the Earl's Palace at Birsay. Just remember to check tide times.
Visit Brough of Birsay.
2. NESS ISLANDS WALK, INVERNESS
The Ness Islands are a popular oasis of calm in the centre of Inverness. Set in the River Ness, these islands are connected to the city by suspension bridges built in the Victorian era. The paths around them are flat and if you're lucky you might see seals between the bridges. The circular 3-mile (5 km) walk will take about an hour, but you can cut across one of the bridges and shorten it if you like.
Or take a bit longer and stroll around Whin Park, which is great for family picnics and also contains a playground, boating pond, miniature railway, and an ice cream and coffee shop.
Explore River Ness and Ness Islands.
3. SMUGGLERS' TRAIL, BY EYEMOUTH
Along the Berwickshire Coastal Path in the Scottish Borders, the Smugglers' Trail takes you on a journey to see some out-of-the-way coves and beaches that the 'free traders' used in days of old. Travel along the shore and see where smugglers would stash their 'booty' before selling to the local community.
Start your walk at the striking Gunsgreen House, where you can buy a map of the Smugglers' Trail. For the energetic family, there's the waymarked 8-mile (12 km) Eyemouth circular route. There are also shorter options, such as a climb to Blaikie Heugh.
Uncover the Smugglers' Trail and explore more walks in south Scotland.
4. MONTROSE BASIN, ANGUS
Montrose Basin on the Angus coast is a huge enclosed estuary teeming with birdlife and wildlife. Short tracks leading down to the basin start from Bridge of Dun and Mains of Dun, where you can really appreciate the scale of the basin. It's a fabulous place to spot waders, terns and, if you're lucky, seals and otters.
Don't miss the refurbished family-friendly 4-star Scottish Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre (small entry charge applies), which is only half a mile (1 km) from the basin. You'll find telescopes and binoculars here for viewing wildlife, as well as live footage of migratory birds.
Visit Montrose Basin.
5. KELBURN CASTLE & COUNTRY PARK, BY LARGS
Based around a colourful 13th century castle, Kelburn Estate, near Largs in Ayrshire & Arran, is a great place for a family day out with the flamboyant designs on the castle walls sure to captivate curious young minds. The Kelburn Glen, with its waterfalls and deep gorges, is regarded by many as one of Scotland's most beautiful and the Short Glen Walk/Sculpture Trail is a great option for families.
Kids will also love the Secret Forest - a network of enchanting woodland paths with amazing surprises along the way. After all that, there's still the Adventure Course, Pets Corner and the Playbarn to explore!
Explore Kelburn Castle & Country Park.