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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

Gulee Mon 04-Mar-13 23:40:22

We've been to Glasgow and Edinburgh 7 years ago before our children were born. It was just before Years Year celebrations and the city still had a Christmas mood. We visited several museums and attraction. We really enjoyed our time. All was perfect!
Now our children are 5 and 2 and when we visit Scotland again, we would love to show them castles, historic sites, coasts and natural beauty of it.

Sparklezz Tue 05-Mar-13 08:51:50

Hi my partner and i visited Scotland last year when i was heavily pregnant with my daughter. My parnters family take holidays there every year as they love to walk and take in the scenery. Having never been and as i couldnt fly we decided on taking a holiday in GB. I was quite surprised as to how beautiful the drive up is to Scotland was and enjoyed every minute. We took in the little villages on the way then, toured the city of edinburgh and eventually stayed at Avemore and took in the the scenes. We must of walked for miles and stayed at a lovely B&B. We would love to go back to Scotland and take our little girl who is now 1 and see a bit more and try to travel to the isles even and eventually work our way round the coast.

DefinitelyNotMe Tue 05-Mar-13 09:14:05

We've been travelling to the islands for several years now and took DD on her first trip to Arran when she was 5 months. We started going as a couple but spread the word and this year both DP's mum and my parents are coming, as well as his brother and sister. And we were with all his family on Mull when we learnt that DD was on her way!

The islands are all so different and there are things for kids on all of them. DD was too young to appreciate the scenery and wildlife but she was fascinated by the ferry and loved the beaches, can 't wait to take her back! Some gorgeous child friendly cottages too.

tipp2chicago Tue 05-Mar-13 18:55:52

DH and I are hoping to bring DD to Edinburgh in June for a few days after a friend's wedding, so will be looking for good ideas for a 1yo. We're hoping to rent a little flat through airbnb so we can chill in the evenings when she's asleep wink

ClaraOswinOswald Wed 06-Mar-13 10:08:32

I went on holiday to Scotland years ago (pre-kids)- lots of dog walking and pubs, beautiful scenery, up near Loch Ness.

Reading this thread makes me want to go and explore the country properly, it sounds wonderful, so much to see and do.

zipzap Wed 06-Mar-13 14:39:59

I'd love to take the family to Scotland - we have good friends in Shetland that we hope to get to visit soon and all the different things around them for doing make living there sound like a year-long holiday! The pictures they take of the area around them and even the views of the sea from their windows are so beautiful, my main worry would be that I'd be tempted to spend too much time taking hundreds upon hundreds of pictures grin

I've also been fascinated by all the ancient sites in Orkney and would love to visit those one day - but that might have to wait until ds2 is just a bit older.

I do think the dc are probably old enough now to enjoy visiting Edinburgh or Glasgow for a short break, combining city attractions like the zoo, the castle and of course shopping for me, dh and dc might not agree! and some of the incredibly beautiful rural areas that are easily accessible from them, as well as visiting some lochs and maybe even a spot of Nessie-spotting... DS1 would love the wildlife that he's more guaranteed to see even if we didn't manage to spot Nessie though!

sailorsgal Wed 06-Mar-13 17:15:20

Literally just found this thread. I went to Aviemore many years ago and have just booked (about 10 minutes ago) to go to Edinburgh for easter with ds 6. Really looking forward to it.

For a very special birthday in a year or so I want to to to Skye.

Booboobedoo Wed 06-Mar-13 17:40:46

I stayed near Plockton when pregnant with my first. It was a old cottage right on the shore of a loch, with Llamas wandering about and an island you could walk to at low tide.

I would love to go back with the children: it was stunning.

We've decided that due to the distance (we're in the Southeast of England) we'll prob get the train to Edinburgh and stay there for a couple of days, then hire a car and drive to the fantastic, beautiful Highlands again.

whateveritakes Wed 06-Mar-13 18:55:06

My parents just moved to Dumfries and Galloway so It's our new holiday destination. My son loves the beaches and the fact there is so much to climb - cliffs,hills,waterfalls. I like the towns - they have real character.

However just a shade too cold for me and the endless driving- everywhere is miles from everywhere else!

BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 06-Mar-13 19:49:47

What a great thread! Makes me want to start packing straight away!

We go to Scotland at least once a year, sometimes more. The walking is great - we have 'bagged' some munros over the last few years and weather permitting, there are some very straightforward ones and we often see children overtaking us on the hills. The Cairngorms are dramatic and beautiful, but there are lots of things to do on wet days as well.

We especially love the west coast, the beaches are amazing and you feel so spoilt when you have an immaculate white sand beach to yourself...almost any beach you can pick on the map will give you the beautiful sand and turquoise water! Of course, it might be chucking it down, but we have found that the stereotypical rain and wind forecast isn't always right. April and May are often gorgeous in the Highlands!

Spring is great for nature lovers, as the wildlife seems to be out on display for you around Easter! The deer, red squirrels and ospreys are not that tricky to find if you get off the beaten track. We have even spotted otters and pine martens, not quite so easy if you bring the family dog with you, but still possible!

Edinburgh and Glasgow are both exciting and vibrant cities - the sort of cities that make me reconsider my avowed country bumpkin status!

The Orkneys are amazing for history...blimey it is windy though!

Witchesbrewandbiscuits Wed 06-Mar-13 22:18:52

campbeltown is fab. you pass oban enroute which is always worth stopping off at. once in campbeltown, the ferry over to gigha is a must where there are lovely little beaches to chill out on and play. there is hardly any traffic either so walks are fab. there is also lots of places to stop near the lochs where kids can take in the nessie history. castles enroute too! loads to see and do in kintyre area, you cant go wrong.

tobermory is also a must for balamory fans smile

Rhumba Thu 07-Mar-13 10:18:07

We holiday every year in the highlands and the kids love it. Lots of fantastic walks and discoveries. The beaches are beautiful up there, lots of long white sandy beaches with lots of dunes to hide in. Often there are only a few other people on them and they are allowed a freedom to roam around which they don't get in the city. Whilst all too often we are in jumpers in July with wetsuits to get in the water, we have had lots of glorious days of all day sun but as someone else said, dont forget your waterproofs. I love the fact that they have a knowledge of the crofting life and the history that goes with that. otherwise anything involving a boat is a hit with them, whether it's over to Arran for the weekend or out in a rowing boat. Having said all that we're off to Edinburgh and they are already discussing whether to go to Dynamic earth, the viking exhibit at the Scottish Museum or Edinburgh castle (again). When visiting castle's I think it's important to find something to engage the children, Mine aren't great at just reading facts. They love a good treasure hunt with things to find or a guide that's willing to engage them and make the experince fun.

I have stayed near Dundee with little one and DH family who live up there and there is a wealth of things to do and it is a perfect location for visiting other places too.

There are a huge amount of footpaths and walks including a fabulous family walk in the Sidlaws (DD managed it at 3 years old, but is a good walker) through a dell, then open hillside fields, up to the trig point at Kinpurnie Watch Tower which offers incredible views.

There are lots to do, shopping and leisure within Dundee, with a fantastic observatory and Captain Scott's Discovery ship and Discovery Centre for kids to explore, The Science Centre (which I believe has been used in Nina and the Neurons as a pre-school reference), a trail around the city to introduce key landmarks and history, plus all the usual leisure opportunities like bowling, swimming etc.

Just outside Dundee is the wonderful Camperdown Park www.camperdownpark.com/general.htm with multiple adjoining play areas with various degrees of complexity and height recommendations in imaginative layout, with slides, climbing frames, swings and pullies, all surrounded by soft sand to provide a soft landing grin. On top of this fabulous multiple play area is a huge lake for watersports, a wildlife centre (in which we haven't been) and just lavish grounds for picnics etc away from the water so safe for little wanderers, and a leisure centre with ice-rink and cinema.

Dundee is also not too far for a lovely day trip to St Andrews, with great beaches, the ruined cathedral which can be roamed over for free and great for hide and seek, the castle, the university buildings, of course there is the golf ( yawn ) and a rather fabulous ice-cream shop (Janettas) which always has queues out of the door.

The Cairngorms are not far away for ski-ing or hiking the more adventurous outdoor adventures.

Dundee, being a city, may be an unusual place for a holiday, but it is fantastically situated and there are so many places near and further afield to be explored. So many, we hope to return soon to explore some more. smile

We also hope to go camping on the West Coast around the Knapdale peninsula some time with the family too as it looks a wonderful space to explore the outdoors. Family have a caravan there and we'd hope to take our tent and join them, it can't be any colder, windier or wet as Cornwall last summer? Can it? hmm

basijas46 Tue 12-Mar-13 11:21:02

We live in South Aberdeenshire, and I think Scotland offers so much to do with the children. The great outdoors is there for them to explore and learn about. If I had to choose one attraction that I believe kids of all ages would love it would be the Seabird Centre which is in North Berwick. My boys who are 5 & 7 just didn't want to leave, there was interaction, talks, and the webcams watching the puffins. A great day out to be recommended to anyone who is visiting Edinburgh.

gazzalw Tue 12-Mar-13 18:17:03

Have to say that Shetland on TV over the past two days made me really want to venture up there or to the Orkney Isles. A timely PR job for Scotland!

Have some friends who went skiing in Aviemore at half-term - really enjoyed themselves and said they'd go again. Skiing is not our thing but can well see it's an appealing, closer and possibly cosier experience than going to Europe or North America!

prettybird Tue 12-Mar-13 18:36:34

It depends on your kids and how long you have, which area of Scotland is the best to visit.

For idyllic memories, places like the Trossachs or the West Coast of Scotland are great places to allow ildren to explore like Enid Blyton kids. A friend of mine has a static caravan in Glendaruel and rves about the freedome that the under 10 year olds enjoy there. Plus being able to watch red squirrels and have barbecues on the beach.

For day trips Edinburgh is great - the castle, Princes Street Gardens, the Museum of Scotland, the Royal Mile.......

St Andrews is also good (but maybe I'm biased as its my alma mater) with the ruined cathedral, the castle with the bottle dungeon, the pier walk, the West Sands - and Jannetta's for icecream.

Other advice is to join the National Trust for Scotland rather than the National Trust. The Scottish one is cheaper and gives you reciprocal access to all English and Welsh properties and gardens there speaks a true Scot wink

Rockyolive Wed 13-Mar-13 23:23:34

From Scotland but lived in London for nearly 20 years (eek). Take children to visit family in Scotland a few times a year. We love Summerlee - The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge and find something for everyone to do from my 4 year old too my 10 year old nephew.

OhTheConfusion Fri 15-Mar-13 23:37:15

I have to agree with Indahouse, Culzean Castle is a fabulous day out with all the essentials you could possibly need. I am very lucky to live within 10miles and really should invest in a National Trust pass to make it more accessible on a regular basis.

Also within our local area you have the Heads of Ayr Farm Park, [[ http://www.burnsmuseum.org.uk/ Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Cottage]], Endless Golf Courses with family friendly hire available. A great playpark, grassed area and soft play by the beach, Ayr Racecourse also provides a fab day out. Add this to the vibrant town, good eateries and fantastic rail links I honestly think there is something for everyone.

Downfall Fri 15-Mar-13 23:58:23

We've visited Edinburgh and Glasgow couple of times, and really enjoyed the cities, found Edinburgh to be the more imposing. But where we really love to go with the children is the west coast Hebrides. Drive to Oban, and get the ferry across. So much sky, and sea and the peace of the ocean noise. I felt choked when I saw my (then) 2 year old run and explore uninhibited the first time we went. Beautiful part of the world.

ChristmasJubilee Tue 19-Mar-13 05:14:57

We live in Scotland and holiday here every year. Ds's 2 (15) and 3 (6) have never been out of Scotland! I love Orkney with it's fabulous history and it's little Italian Chapel. I also love the beaches at Dornoch and Embo.

bubby64 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:09:23

I have only visited scotland once, but I loved it. My Mum and I stayed in a cottage near Edinburgh with our 2 dogs, it was just afte my now husband had proposed, and I felt guilty about going away, but I had booked the holiday with my mum 6 months before, and he couldnt come. It was the last holiday I was able to have with my mum before she became too unwell to travel anymore.I have always promised myself I would go back, but have never managed it yet.

AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Mar-13 10:51:49

Thanks to everyone who has taken part, the thread is now closed and the prize draw has taken place. The lucky winners are...

throckenholt and iseenodust who both win a family passes from the National Trust for Scotland (worth £168, Valid for one year)

Callofthefishwife who wins the 3 day family Edinburgh pass (worth £158)

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots and confusteling who win the 3 day family Explorer Passes from Historic Scotland (worth £116)

Congratulations all, I will PM you for your details.

NinaNannar Thu 28-Mar-13 10:53:52

is it only people who were complimntary about scotland who won? ;

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