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NOW CLOSED Ever been on a family holiday to Scotland? Or fancy going on one? Share your thoughts with VisitScotland - there are 5 fantastic prizes to be won!

(198 Posts)
AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Feb-13 12:01:38

VisitScotland would like to hear from those of you who've been on a family holiday to Scotland - or are planning one. Here's what they say:

"This year we are celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland and invite you to come and celebrate our outstanding natural beauty throughout 2013. We are a family friendly nation with loads to offer on a family holiday; from wildlife like the bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth, to the capercaillie of the central Highlands and the thousands of seals and puffins inhabiting our beautiful coastline. For city seekers, we have seven, all with a wealth of things to see and do on a family break. Visit our website to start your planning today! Also check out Embrace Scotland which has over 2,500 quality assured self catering properties across Scotland."

They're interested to know where you think the best places are for children to visit? Which regions cater for children best? Are you better off wandering the great outdoors with them or visiting a specific attraction? Would they have more fun in the countryside, Highlands or Islands or in one of Scotland?s seven cities?

If you haven't yet been on a family holiday to Scotland but are planning one (or just daydreaming of an escape!), please take a look at VisitScotland's family web section for some inspiration and share your thoughts on this thread.

Good value breaks are easy to find with a range of passes to enjoy savings, and we have 5 of these to give away! Everyone who adds their comments will be entered into a prize draw to win one of:

~ 2 x family passes from the National Trust for Scotland with attractions ranging from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum to Crathes Castle, Garden and Estate. (worth £168, Valid for one year)

~ A 3 day family Edinburgh pass for entry into a wide range of tourist attractions in Edinburgh from Dynamic Earth to the Edinburgh Dungeon. (worth £158)

~ 2 x 3 day family Explorer Passes from Historic Scotland with attractions ranging from the Royal Castles of Edinburgh & Stirling to the ancient mystical sites of Skara Brae and Maeshowe on Orkney. (worth £116)

Also, if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a 4* break in Melfort Village, Argyll please enter the separate Mumsnet VisitScotland competition here

I live in Scotland and like going away for weekends to more rural areas like the Kyle Peninsula and the islands. I'ts good for the soul.

Scotland doesn't have to be expensive to be comfortable. There are so many options suitable for every budget.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 28-Feb-13 18:19:39

sleepy we're going to just beside Poolewe for our summer hols this year so I shall definitely visit that cafe and beach. We are staying on a croft on the shore of Loch Ewe (which has the best named island ever, Isle of Ewe.)

Groovee Thu 28-Feb-13 18:21:02

Perthshire is lovely. We went to the Crannog which is a water house which both my children had studied at school. So it was fab for them to see it in real life. Pitlochry has a few things like a lovely playpark near the Salmon Leap and also a nice wee town centre. You can go further afield to Stirling.

I went on my childhood holidays to Cellardyke and Anstruther in Fife. They are lovely wee towns and Pittenweem isn't far either. Crail is beautiful too. Heading up to Cupar, has a number of fruit picking farms where you can spend the day with an array of activities to have fun with.

Edinburgh is also fab. So many free museums to visit as well as Princes Street Gardens, the High Street and the Botanical Gardens. I would also recommend changing your tesco vouchers for days out vouchers and taking a trip to Camera Obscura which is a fab experience.

sleepyhead Thu 28-Feb-13 18:29:58

Ooh!!! You'll have such a great time.

I'm a total sucker for a sandy beach (drives dh mad), but Mellon Udrigle, Big Sand, Redpoint at the end of the Badachro road (and you can walk through the farm there to another beach - takes about half an hour, the Royal Yacht Brittania apparently used to dock there so the Royals could have a picnic in private) are all worth a visit.

Badachro Inn and the Old Inn at Gairloch are both good for food.

There's a nice walk along the River Ewe from Poolewe down to Loch Maree, and the walk up to the Fairy Lochs is worth doing too.

(Dh put the coordinates of the Isle of Ewe in my valentine's card last year grin). Have a great holiday!!!

sleepyhead Thu 28-Feb-13 18:37:21

One day, when I have £3k to spare, I'm going to have a fortnight staying here.

joanofarchitrave Thu 28-Feb-13 18:57:18

We had a truly wonderful holiday in western Scotland when I was seven; I particularly remember visiting Loch Aline with its white sand, and gathering mussels from the coast and finding tiny pearls in them when we ate them later.

As an adult, I stayed in a cottage in Fort Augustus along the Great Glen. Another good trip, and it has sparked a desire in me to take a canal boat along the glen.

I also visited Aberdeen and took a trip to the countryside around there, and was absolutely blown away by it. The light was amazing.

herladyship Thu 28-Feb-13 19:09:05

Visited Scotland for the first time 3 years ago... & have been 3 times since!!

We love, love, love it grin

The west coast is our favourite, the (Harry Potter) steam railway, Ben Nevis & the Nevis range, Glen Coe, boat trips to the Hebrides, otter watching on Skye, also the Cairngorms (climbing, quad biking, gorge walking, horse riding)

we have taken the dc's (12 & 18) all over the world & nowhere compares to Scotland

Can't believe it's been so close (well an 8 hour drive!) all along & we never knew how fabulous it was shock

Going to Orkney for a fortnight at Easter... so excited

self catering in a lovely house with loch views, lots of exploring & eating out = heaven on earth smile

DumSpiroSpero Thu 28-Feb-13 19:21:57

We went for a week last year and stayed at BIL's place which is a bit 'back of beyond' and made it pretty gruelling tbh. Up and out by about 8 most days with a picnic and not back until gone 6pm then dinner, baths etc.

I'd bear in mind the distance between where you're staying and where you want to visit unless you enjoy driving for 3-4 hours a day to get anywhere!

That said, we did have some lovely days out:

Blair Drummond Safari Park was brilliant
Inverary Jail
Optical Illusion Museum & Camera Obscura at Edinburgh & Royal Mile generally - we were lucky to go when the Festival was on
Kilmartin House Museum
and Oban is beautiful

It's a lovely place - but not the most relaxing holiday ime! grin

AllSWornOut Thu 28-Feb-13 19:35:37

I'll second/third/fourth Aviemore for family holidays. We walked part of the Speyside Way and it's wonderful walking for children, mostly flat along the river.

We're planning to go to the Western Isles next year (DC2 due this summer so we've had to delay for a year sad ) but I'm looking forward to the planning and will be scouring this thread and the linked websites for ideas!

Snog Thu 28-Feb-13 19:57:43

Edinburgh festival is huge fun for kids as is puffin and whale watching off the east coast smile

Lostonthemoors Thu 28-Feb-13 20:23:49

Isle of mull - was fab smile

Roseformeplease Thu 28-Feb-13 20:30:29

Edinburgh is fantastic, regardless of age. We love the open spaces and the Botanics and the fact that everything is walkable. As the children get older, the restaurants, cafes and amazing food are worth a visit and the newly refurbished museums. We love the Highlands and the weather here is the exact opposite of everywhere else - a really dry and sunny time last summer (we live there). We had a really lovely time on Barra (like the Maldives but with very friendly locals who don't beat women as a punishment) with the best white sandy beaches ever. Flying to Benbecula, taking off and landing on a beach, was such a treat and the trip is worth it for the ferry journey. Travelling home via the Uists and Skye was a trip through a strangely beautiful landscape and, again, amazing food. We also love the Borders and the area round Duns, giving you Scotland's south and Northumberland. We tried Dumfries and Galloway this year and loved the towns and scenery and had a great day out at the Ice Cream place - do the tasting! Really brilliant. We have recently been to Braemar and enjoyed that, the Royal Deeside scenery and Ballater. We know the Cairngorms really well and my 11 year old has just returned from a week of skiing with her school (local primary) after Alpine conditions and with an incredible tan. We spend a lot of time around St Andrews which is historic, very interesting and the only place Ali have ever seen polo ponies being exercised on the beach.

There are so many misconceptions about Scotland. Actually the grim bits of cities are small and rare. But, everywhere is lovely scenery and great food.

peronel Thu 28-Feb-13 20:31:23

Last year we had a great family holiday in Mull. Took DD on a guided wildlife tour where we spotted some amazing wildlife; seals were lovely. Highlight was seeing some nesting sea eagles. Picked up a Treasure Trail on the ferry which was the perfect way to explore the island. It is so tranquil and beautiful everywhere you look. Highly recommended!

LackaDAISYcal Thu 28-Feb-13 20:32:06

I'm not telling anyone about my favourite place in Scotland as it's mine, all mine wink

Buuuuuut...

The East Neuk of Fife, endless beaches, rockpools, quaint fishing villages, brilliant fish and chips, lots of walking plus seal and dolphin spotting.
Glen Brittle, Skye. Fabulous campsite, majestic mountains, huge sheltered beach, historical headland to explore.
Edinburgh, for the Zoo, The Museum of Scotland, Our Dynamic Earth and the Sealife Centre in North Queensferry, The Botanic Gardens, The Castle and Princes Street Gardens plus numerous art galleries, including the Gallery of Modern Art in huge landscaped grounds.
Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Personally, I love the get away from it all holday, with lots of walking and exploring on foot, with the odd attraction thrown in, Fort William and surrounding area good, lovely beaches.

Kveta Thu 28-Feb-13 20:36:30

I'm from Scotland, and when I go back to visit family there, that's all we do really - would love to take DS (3) to the beaches of the north west - I spent my childhood holidays on the shores of Loch Linnhe, and have fond memories of walking on the beach in the driving rain tripping over decaying seagulls and barnacled rocks (no, really!!).

In Glasgow, DS loved the transport museum, or Riverside Museum as it is now known - I prefer the old museum, but that's just me being difficult grin He also liked the Botanics.

When he's older, I will be taking him to the museum of childhood in Edinburgh, and Dynamic Earth, and also to the Science Centre in Glasgow, as I've heard it's excellent (and have only ever been there drunk at conferences in the past blush)

LoganMummy Thu 28-Feb-13 20:45:39

I live in Glasgow but for the past four years we've taken seven day holidays with our son. exploring our home country has been amazing as you sometimes don't realise how much is practically on your own doorstep!

Dumfries & Galloway is a particular favourite for family holidays, in fact we're headed back in May. From Chocolate Factory, Ice Cream Factory and days out there is just so much to do!

We've also booked an extended family holiday in October in Fife - again there is tons of family friendly activities - we're staying in a cottage on a working farm, pick your own fruit is nearby as are award winning beaches, animal places and parks.

When booking both holidays we looked at the Visit Scotland website. It was helpful to an extent (especially with accommodation) but for days out we got better results from other websites.

I've had a few holidays in Scotland.

The most memorable was when I was 13 and DSis was 15 and we went to the Highlands. We were allowed to take a friend each, so 4 townie teenagers with nothing much to do except for looking at lochs and hill walking. We were bored shitless. In the village we stayed, there were little posters up on the lamp posts saying, 'Hector's Leaving Party - All Welcome' so we went. It was all quite strange and we never found out who Hector was. When they said 'All Welcome' I'm not sure they meant holidaying southerners who they didn't know from Adam.

We went to the local church on the sunday - it was Free Church of Scotland or Scottish Free Church - one of those. There was a two hour sermon on the verse 'let not your heart be troubled' and the minister said a special prayer for 'the strangers amongst us'.

I've been back to Scotland lots of times since - Glasgow's a blast if you can do it without DC - but it's never been quite as surreal as that teenage holiday grin

Sorry, I haven't really answered where is best for DC, we've never been with them. Edinburgh has a lot to offer from what I remember.

maxpower Thu 28-Feb-13 21:01:27

I'd love to go to Scotland and the isles for a holiday but we live daahn saaf and I just can't face the drive with 2 lo's (2 & 6). We visited Edinburgh (we were holidaying in Northumberland at the time) for a day a few years ago and I'd absolutely love to go back and see the highlands, everything really!

mrsyattering Thu 28-Feb-13 21:18:24

We live in Edinburgh, and have had lots of holidays in Scotland, and every year since our dc's have been born. We've been to Skye, Orkney, The Scottish Borders and this year we are off to the Isle of Lewis. Kids love it! Scotland is a beautiful country, why go anywhere else.
orangepudding if we get a good summer, it can be almost tropical! wink

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 28-Feb-13 21:23:51

It's been a while since I had an actual holiday in scotland but we (me & DD) usually do lots of days out. I'd done some youth hostelling a long time ago, travelling all over the north/west, soaking up loads of Scottish history via a number of National Trust properties/centres (which is a brilliant way to travel and learn all about scotland), I've discovered loads more places to visit since having DD. And still loads more I've not had the chance yet to visit. I'd love to go to the Cairngorns/Aviemore area, and also keep meaning to get a National Trust membership for me & DD (not yet done it/not had the finances yet) so we can do a repeat of my earlier 'discover scotland' tour.

My favourite places to visit are Skye - amazing place, and amazing drive there too. Eilean Donan Castle is worth the drive alone, but driving through Glencoe always gives me chills (in a good way). Mull and Iona are lovely too, and great for family visits/holidays. Ayrshire/Millport/Arran all hold great memories for me, and I've recently (via visiting a friend) discovered just how gorgeous the Grampian/Aberdeen/Elgin area is (somewhere I'd previously not been interested in). Edinburgh is also a great place, for so many reasons, steeped in history, loads of great places to see/visit indoors and out, and the festival is great for kids theatre as well. For the past couple of years, we've gone through for the day, watched a great show, then headed for the National Museum of Scotland (which is currently my absolute favourite museum - love the revamp). Living in Glasgow means we've done all the tourist stuff here loads of times, and mainly look to getting away for the day when we can.

IlianaDupree Thu 28-Feb-13 21:27:19

Awww <sobs> someones mentioned a few businesses I kind of know and said they're brilliant, they are and work really hard to give people the best.

Scotland can be really cheap, lots of festivals for everyone starting at the moment. Campsites and lodges are cheap.

I can also promise everyone I, in absolutely no way at all, work for anybody mentioned.

My DH was born in Scotland and my FIL lives there so we've had a few breaks there. I think my favourite was a trip to Edinburgh but that was before children (the distillery visit would be inappropriate now!). I'd love to take the children to the tartan mill we went to so they could see how Daddy's kilt was made.

We are planning our next trip to be in a self-catering lodge next to Loch Lomond. We figure that lots of outdoor running around, a steam boat trip on the Loch, a trip to a castle, and a visit to the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure park would probably fill our week by the time we visit some family.

We hope to hire a motor home and take our children on a tour of Scotland during the summer holidays when they are a bit bigger. We'd like them to appreciate the Scottish culture and some of their heritage.

Mibby Thu 28-Feb-13 21:54:05

DH is scottish so we've been several times, Edinburgh, Glasgow, up to Fort Willam through the gorgeous countryside. We're bringing DD up for the first time at the end of April, to see her scottish cousins. Plans so far include the zoo, science centre at Glasgow, possibly the Highland Wildlife Park and the Concorde outside Edinburgh.

BikeRunSki Thu 28-Feb-13 23:00:09

We went to Fort William with our (then) 3 and a half year old and 10 month old. It was great - we pottered around Nevis Range and watched the World Mountain Downhill Champs set up (good cafe there too) and went up the cable car; had a day out on the Loch; Day to a the Silver Sands of Morah (sp?) - gorgeous beach; Day out to Oban - castle, harbour, pottering around shops. Fantastic Thai restaurant in Fort Bill too. We stayed at the Elemdee B&B in Fort William, which is very family friendly and had everything we needed for the baby.

We live in W Yorks - I like that Scotland is driveable in a day or two easy days - last year we stopped at the Premier Inns in Glasgow East on the way up and Carlisle on the way home.

We went mountain biking at the 7 Stanes a lot before children. Planning on going up to this part of the world again now with the children - easy 3 or 4 hours drive from here; beautiful beaches again too. We are outdoorsy and not very bothered about cities.

BikeRunSki Thu 28-Feb-13 23:01:14

Drumnlarig Castle is a favourite too - as a stop off or a day biking.

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