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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

Piffpaffpoff Thu 28-Feb-13 13:21:57

I like the Aviemore area for things to do with the kids, there's the Landmark Centre in Carrbridge, the Cairngorm Funicular, the Museum of Highland life in Newtonmore (which is free!), the steam trains at Aviemore and lots and lots of family friendly walks and cycles all around. And then the beach at Loch Morlich too. More than enough to fill a holiday.

CMOTDibbler Thu 28-Feb-13 13:23:49

We like family holidays with a mix of activities - so some days walking, some at attractions, some in towns. And that helps to work around the weather too.

We are hoping to go to Scotland this year as a family - but dh would like to go to the islands, and I'd like us to go to Edinburgh (where I go fairly often for work and love), so we're fighting it out!

Skullnbones Thu 28-Feb-13 13:24:07

We actually live I'm Scotland and have weekends away here all the time. We have so much on our doorstep I don't see the need to go much further until the kids are older. We have done city breaks to country! And found most places to be child friendly too. We want to do the islands next. All I would say is bring a mac, it rains A lot

gaelicsheep Thu 28-Feb-13 13:26:24

I second what PiffPaffPoff says. The Aviemore (and Kingussie) area is brilliant for kids. Also the west coast - boat trips from Oban etc, although that gets expensive. Personally the cities aren't for me, it's the Highlands all the way!

mercibucket Thu 28-Feb-13 13:29:28

I'd love to visit the highlands and also the shetland and orkney islands with the kids. The cities hold less appeal for a family holiday. I'm put off by the idea of all the midges though - are they that bad?

mercibucket Thu 28-Feb-13 13:29:30

I'd love to visit the highlands and also the shetland and orkney islands with the kids. The cities hold less appeal for a family holiday. I'm put off by the idea of all the midges though - are they that bad?

We holiday there every year always at the same place (visiting family), near Loch Lomond. Every year we find more and more to do even though we always stay in the same place, my tip for English people is to visit in the last two weeks in August after the Scottish children have gone back to school, we go at that time each year. People say to us that the midges will be bad, but we've never had any problems.

We have English Heritage and National Trust memberships, so use those in Scotland. THe children like all the ruined castles as well as the lochs and waterfalls, last year they enjoyed visiting Dumbarton and Kilchurn castles. We also enjoyed the Oban Highland Gathering.

We don't tend to visit the cities, we prefer outdoor activities on holiday, but inevitably the rain drives us indoors sometimes, we have enjoyed the Glasgow Science Centre, the Transport Museum (not been since it moved) and the Kelvingrove Museum with them.

leelo Thu 28-Feb-13 13:33:50

i also live in scotland. we mainly go on train journeys to largs, ayr, troon beach. but if we're feeling adventurous we get the ferry to Arran or Millport. usually we do day trips to Edinburgh to visit the castle or go to the zoo. we try to go to places with good places for children and easy places to eat and access to clean toilets. we love collecting interesting interesting things to show at school or make scrap books from our visits.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 28-Feb-13 13:35:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

firawla Thu 28-Feb-13 13:36:40

I've been to scotland before but not with the dc. Been to edinburgh, glasgow, inverness and the scottish highlands. Would like to go again as a family, I would probably think of edinburgh first. Where we went in the highlands was very very deserted and isolated, it was just someone's house and it wasn't really near anything so don't think that would be too suitable, but something like one of the islands off of scotland which is geared up for tourists etc then that could be good

firawla Thu 28-Feb-13 13:37:08

lisa i just changed it to email address in that space and it went through ok

MariusEarlobe Thu 28-Feb-13 13:42:32

I love Scotland, parts of it are stunningly pretty.
We like Edinburgh for the castle and the museums but dd is desperate to catch the sleeper train to fort William.

gazzalw Thu 28-Feb-13 13:44:03

Our DS was conceived in Scotland so it has a special meaning for us and obviously worked its magic grin!

We have been on one family holiday to Glasgow (staying with friends) when the DCs were a lot younger. The Wallace Collection was fab - we walked there (a long one) and not only enjoyed the art but also the house and the gardens. We had a fabulous time, did loads of walking, took in all the sites, managed to get to Edinburgh (which is just about my favourite city in the whole World) and even got out into the countryside to Loch Lomond.

Not sure whether its our combined Scottish ancestry coming out but there is something very special, historical and magical about Scotland - maybe it's all the majesty of the mountains and heather!

Now the children are getting older we would love to go up to the north of Scotland and have a fantastic walking based trip.

I grew up in Scotland but haven't been back for over 10 years shock
We live on the South Coast of England and it has felt a bit too far to travel with children and dogs. However, we are planning a trip this Summer - so excited!
Dh has 'done' the west coast extensively, but never been to Edinburgh, so we're hoping to 'do' the East Neuk of Fife and down to Edinburgh. Dd wants to go to Edinburgh Zoo and see the pandas! I want to take her to the Museum of Childhood.
I've been spending loads of time on the Visitscotland website looking for ideas - I can't wait to visit and show my family around. I know they'll love the beaches, particularly Tentsmuir and the West Sands. Am hoping all the bakeries I remember are still there and ice cream shopssmile
I'm so excitedgringringrin

racingheart Thu 28-Feb-13 13:52:42

We visit Scotland once every couple of years as close family live up there. Also, used to live near Scotland as a child so had many holidays there and happy memories of Galloway and Islay and Jura. We celebrated my dad's 70th by hiring a huge house on the east coast and getting the whole family back together. Blissful times.

These days we usually stay near Largs. Love Nardini's for fish & chips & ice cream, and Kelburn Castle with its enchanted wood. DC have loved it since they were tiny, because it's just different enough to feel foreign - different money, some different words and food, but familiar enough for them to feel comfortable. great place to holiday when kids are tiny. Largs has the best playparks I've ever seen.

Piggychunk Thu 28-Feb-13 13:56:16

We have been to the highlands for the last 2 summers. So Far our best day trip was to hire a boat on Loch Goil and spend half a day spotting seals and fishing.

haggisaggis Thu 28-Feb-13 14:07:27

Live in Scotland too but generally have 2 holidays a year in Assynt. Kids are older though so will put up with walking / geocaching and when teh weather's bad are happy to sit and chill inside (we self cater). When tehy were younger we woudl go to Aviemore which has a lot to keep kids occupied - Landmark at Carrbridge is fantastic (we will still make day trips there) as well as teh wildlife park and the funicular railway on Cairngorm. Also regularly went to Arran - it's a good spot for outdoors stuff, although again there is not much indoors if teh weather's bad.

Belmo Thu 28-Feb-13 14:11:30

Live in Scotland too, is that cheating?! Locally I love Mill Farm in Livingston, there's loads to do for wee people. The museum in Edinburgh is fab and free, and I love the zoo too although it costs a fortune.
Holidays we've been on and really enjoyed recently were Loch Ness (bit cliched and touristy but it was good!) and Ullapool.
Never been to any of the islands but I'd like to.

HazelDormouse Thu 28-Feb-13 14:11:32

I always liked holidays in North Berwick. Pleasant coastal town with the advantage that it is approximately half an hour train journey to Edinburgh city centre. Sunshine/mild weather - beach. Rain - Edinburgh (and no problems with parking the car).

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 28-Feb-13 14:12:28

I live in Scotland too... When I was wee every holiday was to Arran, staying in a self catering cottage or sometimes a B&B.

Now the tradition continues.... We have a big family get together every year and I am introducing my toddler to all my favourite bits, and finding new ones. Brodick Castle is always great (good playground). The only slight issue is that lots of things are closed out of season.

I haven't been to Scotland but am hoping to go soon as I've seen some beautiful images of the Highlands recently and it'd be great to take DS3 and our dogs there to walk and I know I'd enjoy a wander around Stirling Castle.

As we have dogs UK holidays really appeal so Scotland is now high on our list of places we'd like to visit. We're happy in the countryside or cities as we're lucky enough to live on the South London/Surrey border and enjoy everything central London has to offer and well as the rolling Surrey Hills.

Now, if you could just make Scotland a bit warmer...

weenwee Thu 28-Feb-13 14:16:11

With a VERY active 2 year old, what do you recommend as a great place whether rain or shine? (We always get rained out, and he gets cabin fever like crazy!)

ClimbingPenguin Thu 28-Feb-13 14:21:33

We do family holidays to Scotland as I am a munro bagger.

Last time we stayed near Killin, which had lots of short walks to do as a family and mountains for me to go up. On the days I went up the mountains DH took children to some nearby castles and a safari park. Was about an hours drive for him but he managed to combine it with their naps (Were one and two). We stopped by Loch Lomond on the way up and also did a morning of doing one the boat trips.

We are off again in June (if I get round to booking it) and will be trying Fort William this time

orangepudding Thu 28-Feb-13 14:25:58

I've been to St Andrews on holiday a few times. I took my oldest when she was 10 months old - she's now 10.
Would love to go back as the beach was lovely. Would take a car and explore the Highlands, I think my children would love going to the islands too. As a family we enjoy camping but I worry Scotland will be too cold!

AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Feb-13 14:30:42

Hi lisad123everybodydancenow thanks for letting us know - it's fixed now. For those who had already entered, no need to worry, we have received the entries!

elizaco Thu 28-Feb-13 14:32:41

We have holidayed in Scotland as a family, but not for a few years. The girls were small, and we stayed in a chalet near Oban. It was lovely. I would love to explore even further North, but I do worry that the children would get bored. Although they love the countryside, I worry that it may all be abit too rural! I'm ashamed to say I've never been to Edinburgh - it's certainly on my list of places to visit. I'm sure it would be a great place for all the family to enjoy.

Dededum Thu 28-Feb-13 14:33:49

Scottish family so spent most summer holidays there.

We did walking, used to love the marked trails that you find all over Scotland. Amother vote for the landmark centre. The fishing villages in the North East are fascinating all the way from Nairn to Fraseburgh and then down the east coast.
Golf can be cheap as chips and great for getting kids to play.
North of Inverness on the Black Isle, some beautiful spots and remarkably good weather (my dad reckons on the Gulf Stream)

Or go out on a boat
One of the great things I used to love was the way hotels always seemed to be open for a bowl of broth and a bit of shortbread. Alwys welcoming even if you are not a guest.

Only problem weather can be iffy, so good waterproofs, sturdy shoes a necessity. However when the sun shines and you up a hill it really is gods own country.

Spoonful Thu 28-Feb-13 14:49:45

We go every year to Scotland.
We are due to go for a long weekend when the new baby is going to be 1 month old actually.

MmeLindor Thu 28-Feb-13 14:54:10

After 20 years of living abroad, we moved back to Scotland last year. When I say 'we', actually I was the only one in the family who was born here. We have been visiting Scotland for 20 years as tourists.

The first few years were spent showing my German boyfriend the main attractions, such as the cities, Loch Lomond, the Highlands all the way up to Dornoch. Later, after we married and had kids we started to look for places to take them.

The great thing about Scotland, is that there is such a huge range of activities. Fancy a posh weekend away? Head to Edinburgh, book into a swanky hotel, go to the theatre, have a quiet dinner. You'd rather take the kids away for the weekend? Head for the Highlands.

Like many others, I find the area around Aviemore great for keeping little ones amused. Our kids love Landmark and enjoyed going to the top of the Cairngorms. The trails around Rochiemurchas Forest and Loch Morlich are grand for a long walk, and the wee cafe in Glenmore is a good spot for a warming cup of hot chocolate. Nip across the road to the Reindeer Centre when you are there.

I also find that there are many areas of Scotland that are less well known, but every bit as spectacular. You won't find bus trips of tourists in the Angus Glens, but you will find beautiful scenery and cosy pubs for a sit by the fire. That area tends to be less plagued by midges too.

We visited Kilberry two years ago, on the Knappdale peninsular, then drove up past Skye and over an old cattle driving route, the Bealach na Ba, to Applecross. We have driven dozens of mountain passes in Switzerland, France and Italy and I would honestly say that Bealach na Ba is more stunning than any I've seen.

Another area that is often passed quickly on the motorway on the way to somewhere busier, is the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. Take a day or two to drive along to Newton Stewart, go to the Raiders' Road and see the Otters Pool. If you are lucky, you may see some Belted Galloway in the area too.

I could go on for hours!

katiewalters Thu 28-Feb-13 15:03:18

I have never been, but would definately like to. From what ive seen of it, it looks great and I have friends that have been and highly recommended it. There is a lot more to see and do there than I initially thought.

musicposy Thu 28-Feb-13 15:04:07

Oh, we absolutely love Scotland and have been on holidays as a family since our DD1 (now 17) was very little. It's a very long way for us (we're right on the bottom of the south coast) but so worth the drive!

People who have never been don't know what they are missing. It truly is another country. Loads of my friends have been to far flung places abroad but never to Scotland. They think it is the same as England and yet it is so different. Places in the highlands are like another world entirely.

Here are some of the trips we have done and would recommend-

Edinburgh over the Christmas/ New Year period (I shouldn't be saying this as this is our plan for the forthcoming Christmas and I don't want everywhere booked up!) We went as a family for just a short break this year as DH wanted to do the Great Winter run in Holyrood Park. People thought we were crazy going such a long way in the middle of winter! We stayed in a travelodge as even I, a seasoned camper, was not going to do Scotland in a tent in January!!

It was utterly magical and is great for teens. There is brilliant shopping and an absolutely magical winter funfair in Princes Street with ice skating etc. We climbed Arthur's Seat, went shopping, visited an amazing fish and chip shop twice and had haggis (and the girls had a deep friend mars bar - OK not something to recommend every day but goodness me it was nice!), went to some lovely independent cafes, went to see the forth bridge and took the train over and back into Edinburgh. My two girls (then 13 and 16) loved every minute and are begging to go back. it's a vibrant, happening city with all the appeal of somewhere big like London, but much smaller and friendlier.

Tour of the Highlands and Islands. A couple of summers ago we took the tent and went all the way up to Skye. orangepudding we have camped many times and find it no colder generally than England at night, in fact I think maybe warmer. I think this is because the days are so long in the summer that the actual time of cold darkness is very short. We stayed for the Highland Games and my girls ran in some races and got a medal. We took the ferry to Lewis and Harris because I wanted to visit the Outer Hebrides. The scenery is stunning and out of this world. On the way back home DH ran up and down Ben Nevis in only a few hours (utterly crazy man) whilst we stayed at the bottom in fort William drinking coffee (we have common sense!). The midges are a nuisance at that time of year, but only really in the evenings and very early mornings (except right at the very top of Lewis where they seem to reside permanently and I was not brave enough to be out of the car for more than a few minutes). Midge repellent more or less stops them biting.

A few years ago when the girls were younger (7 and 4 ish) we camped on the Black Isle, just over the water from Inverness. It was the warmest, loveliest camping holiday we have ever had and the beaches are gorgeous. We were often out walking on the beach at 10.30pm in the daylight, barely even needing coats. We saw dolphins in their natural environment, which was magical.

On the way down home one year from the Highlands we stayed in Moffat to break our journey. It was so lovely and pretty we stayed much longer than intended. This is a lovely little town with a sweet shop to die for! our children were quite young and they have a lovely park with water fountains you can play in and a lake with swan boats.

I can name lots of other places but you will be bored reading it! Scotland is definitely our holiday destination of choice. Every other year or so we try something else but we always come back to "we haven't been to Scotland for a couple of years..." and we end up back there.

We had a lovely driving holiday in Scotland a couple of years ago. We drove 6-8 hours each day, but that is a fairly normal thing for us so I can imagine that children not used to such long car journeys might find it a bit much. We loved it though.

We started in Glasgow for one night (fantastic museum), then drove to Fort William for a couple of days. The steam train was fantastic, a definite high point. From there we drove to Aviemore via Loch Ness which was also beautiful, great boat trip, and ended up in Edinburgh.

We like holidays that are a mix of cities/wilderness rather than just one thing and I think Scotland is great for that. We would definitely do it again, we're just waiting for timing/finances to be right.

Our one tip for any driving holiday is to share the driving, to leave very early so that the first day is not spent getting to the place, and to have your routes planned out beforehand so that any sites of interest can be noted.

firstbubba Thu 28-Feb-13 15:22:16

I live in Scotland just back from a few days in Arran with our baby but sadly most things including restaurants were closed. Maybe they need to realise that people holiday in so called 'out of season' as well.

EssieW Thu 28-Feb-13 15:51:40

We love holidays in Scotland and go every year. We've had some fantastic trips.

Our favourite places
1) Aviemore and Cairngorms: we used to always go to the west coast and had ignored anywhere else. We went to Boat of Garten last year and fell in love with this area. So much to do for families. Great cycling for all the family, some lovely child-friendly walks and places to visit.
2) Colonsay: beautiful island for a family holiday. Lots of stunning beaches. Nowhere too far to get too. We always stay at the YHA in Oban beforehand (also family friendly).
3) The Outer Hebrides. Stunning. Just stunning. Great for a touring holiday.
4) Isle of Skye. We were surprised how good a family holiday was here. Some good child-friendly walks. We also visited the island of Raasay and climbed Dun Caan with 4 year old DS.

The children love anywhere with a beach so Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms and pretty much anywhere on the west coast (Skye not so good). Ferries are a constant source of fascination. The Cairngorm funicular is not far behind in its attraction.

WE also did a lovely boat trip to the Treshnish Isles to see the puffins. This was a great wildlife experience for a small child because the puffins are right in front of you -about a metre away.

We much prefer the outside activities in Scotland than city breaks! We tend to visit friends in the cities and not see much of them.

upinthehills Thu 28-Feb-13 16:03:33

I live here too and love the west coast islands best. Did a tour from Lewis to Barra with a ferry hopscotch ticket and it was brilliant. Coll, Colonsay and Mull are favourites too. I love the feeling of having stepped out of modern life that you get there - you feel so far removed from all the world's troubles.

confusteling Thu 28-Feb-13 16:18:05

Favourite places to visit in Scotland:

Cruden Bay, Newburgh, Balmedie, Collieston, Aberdeen, Fraserburgh, Peterhead for beaches and fishing heritage. Aberdeen has a fantastic "fun beach" and promenade with dozens of restraunts. Also reccomend Scotstown and Rattray head beaches although they can be hard to access.

Inverurie, Old Meldrum, Huntly and inland Aberdeenshire

Cairngorms, Aviemore, Carrbridge

Nairn, Inverness, and surrounding area

Edinburgh great for tourist attractions

Thurso, Wick, and surrounding area

Helmsdale, Golspie and other wee villages up in the far north

Gairloch, Poolewe, Inverewe Gardens, Achnasheen, Tobermory, etc - all lovely lovely places

Cannich, Struy, Beauly, Eskadale and surrounding area (home to most of my ancestors and relations!)

Strathpeffer and the surrounding area is lovely too, had a fantastic holiday there once. That said it is less child friendly and quite isolated.

North Berwick is also a lovely wee place, went there once on holiday... as well as a few of the towns around the Borders.

fledtoscotland Thu 28-Feb-13 16:18:37

Scotland is great for kids. From Edinburgh castle to the beaches on the Ayrshire coast there is always something to do. Have lived here 13yrs and love exploring. Currently DC (5 & 4) love Auchingarroch wildlife park nr Comrie, Millport in the summer, the new transport museum and of course Kelvingrove museum is ideal for a wet Sunday afternoon. Want to visit dynamic earth and walk up to Arthur's seat this summer

Teladi Thu 28-Feb-13 16:38:20

I live in Scotland. Had a lovely pre-DC short break with my DH in the Highlands, went to Aviemore, to Torridon and then Inverness.

Starting to think round holidaying with a toddler and I think a holiday in Scotland is definitely in order, after all, taking her on a plane...! We're thinking about going to Edinburgh for a midweek break and visiting the zoo.

I'm looking forward to having holidays in Scotland when DD is older. When I was little my parents took me and my DSis with a towing caravan and we toured all over the place. I don't think caravanning is for us but would love DD to love Scotland like I do. Her dad is English, and I think even though he grew up here it's not in his bones like it is for me.

preety18 Thu 28-Feb-13 17:02:49

My husband and I have been to Stirling and Edinburgh on holiday before we had the girls, and we absolutely love it. Now we are thinking of taking the girls there for their summer holiday as they've never been to Scotland before.

Cherrybright Thu 28-Feb-13 17:13:43

Scotland is one of the places we are thinking of going this summer smile dh used to live in scotland, and wants to take us to ayr, skye and possibly lewis if we have enough time. As long as we take it slow and relax i think dd will love skye and lewis, she is such an outdoors girl. She loves walks, throwing stones in water etc, so it will be ideal for her. I went and did the tourist attractions in edinborough when i was younger and loved that. There is so much to do up there, its a shame its so far away

Callofthefishwife Thu 28-Feb-13 17:34:25

We adore Scotland. Our favourite area is the North East and I would go as far to say its the hidden gem of Scotland because a lot of people just dont go there. Everyone in their masses seem to head off to the West Coast (also stunning) and they do not have a clue what they are missing out on.

I love the Moray coast with all its nature. There are some fab walks along the coastline and safe enough to do with young children too. Many moutain biking routes so easy ideal for families and others more of the grip on and bear it excitement.

Roseisle beach which you can reach through a little walk through the woods, Lossiemouth with its white sand tropical looking beach and fab golf course. Spey bay - fab for wildlife and nature. A bit further along is the fishing town of Buckie and Cullen with its viaduct fab ice cream shop and also famous for its Cullen Skink. Portknockie with its bowfiddle rock. Sigh - I want to go there right now.

The castles of Moray, Highland and Aberdeenshire - too many to mention but Duffus,Cawdor,Ballindalloch, Brodie,Huntly are all fab. There are so many and all vary - some have ruins to explore and others are still kitted out in their finery.

Speyside has stunning scenery to walk, cycle or drive through. The distilleries have good visitor centres and sometimes offer a wee dram. Dufftown for its whiskey shops and clootie dumplings. Love the little towns and villages like Aberlour and Craigellachie

I love Nairn as a little seaside town with its small park, lovely prom (ace for kids with scooters etc and nice for pram pushing) but also the crazy golf and lovely scenery across the Moray Firth.

Grantown on Spey is a pretty little town to wander around and not too far away from there is Carrbridge and Landmark which is an excellent family day out.

The Speyside Railway between Aviemore and Boat of Garten is a lovely littlw trip to take in a steam train. They even have Thomas the Tank Engine events for the children and again - the scenery is to die for.

Baxters Visitor Centre is worth a visit. We always want to be outdoors when we are up that way but this is an excellent wet day place (although also lovely on a sunny day)with its Highlan coo in its paddock outside and outside seatimg area part of its restaurant that serves lovely food. Just up the road from Baxters is Winding Walks - and somewhere up near the top is a hidden box of notes/letters tucked away in a rock. We add to it every time we return.

Millbuies Country Park - small but again beautiful. The loch there is just the right size for an short jaunt with toddlers (especially if carrying one on your back)!!! We have also managed it with our 3 wheeler pushcair. Good little picnic spot too here.

Did I mention we love it there!!! Cannot wait to go back!!

Can I enter? If I live in the highlands and planning a holiday here?
Just checking I'm allowed. smile

IlianaDupree Thu 28-Feb-13 17:46:57

You can get the train straight through or fly to Edinburgh/Glasgow.

Raised a child in Edinburgh, loads of cheap, free, historical, arty things to do. Museum is amazing, best thing to do is get a guide to show you around as they tell you little secrets

For the country I love the highland tours, again the guides know all the hidden places/secrets which is perfect.

Loads of places with fresh local food and the whiskey tours are brilliant. Loads of local craft artists too.

I blatantly love it here

lotsofcheese Thu 28-Feb-13 17:47:23

We love Crieff Hydro & Auchrannie in Arran - they are both so child-friendly, with loads of activities to do, indoor & outdoor - so you can visit at any time of year & not worry about the weather.

sleepyhead Thu 28-Feb-13 17:52:37

We love Wester Ross - amazing beaches, great walking, wildlife etc. We've had several summer holidays based in Gairloch or the surrounding are which is less than 2 hours from Inverness, so a half day's drive for us (Central Belt).

I love the freedom that ds gets up there, and have definitely found that the quality of self-catering accommodation has massively improved since we went on holidays as children. I feel like they "get" what an important part of the economy tourism is and go all out to meet it.

We also had a great holiday in Islay last summer. That was a wee bit trickier to get to as we had to leave at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry, but ds got such a kick out of being on a proper island, again the cottage we rented was reasonably priced and beautiful, and there was so much to do - as long as spending every possible minute out of doors is what you want to do, which it was!. We kept thinking we'd found the best beach ever, and then would top it the next day.

I really value that ds is growing up with a love of bird life and wildlife, despite living in a small top floor tenement flat in the middle of a city, thanks to the beautiful places we can get away to, and the great work the RSPB do on their reserves.

Downsides of the West Coast are the midges (not inevitable, depends on the weather and time of year, but definitely off putting) and the wet weather, but we go prepared and it's not spoilt things yet. The first few holidays we went on were in May and glorious. Buggering buggery school term dates put the kybosh on that though angry. I think Scottish schools should have a special May fortnight so we can all go off and enjoy what's usually the best weather of the year...

IlianaDupree Thu 28-Feb-13 17:56:17

Amazing little cafe in Skye serves really cosmopolitan food, Electric Brae in Ayrshire, you'll be beyond amazed. Culloden made me cry, Glencoe is another world.

I have nature reserves, birds of prey, every sea bird going and free wooded estates to wander along with sailing, mountain biking and rambling.

There are amazing waterfalls, lochs, reservoirs, kids activity centres and plenty of hotels cater for dogs. Midges can be annoying but they're just an excuse for a camp fire/bbq.

Love Scotland.

JulesJules Thu 28-Feb-13 17:56:25

I love Scotland.

Slightly biased because my Mum is Scottish.

I've been loads of times before children - I live in the NE of England, so it's not far and I love the train journey up the East coast, past Lindisfarne etc.

Have only been once with the children, to Edinburgh, so we did the zoo, the gardens, Arthurs Seat etc and had a lovely time.

I would love to take them to the islands, I've never been to Shetland or Orkney, so I'd love to go there with them. I'd like to go to Islay for the whisky

sleepyhead Thu 28-Feb-13 17:57:48

Oh, and if you ever go to Poolewe (which you definitely should), visit the Bridge Cottage Cafe which has the Best Baking Ever, is v child-friendly and run by a truly lovely couple.

Then drive a bit further up the road to Firemore beach, looking out for whales and porpoises, and then come back the way you came and have more cake.

babsmam Thu 28-Feb-13 18:02:49

I would love to visit Scotland with the family. I have looked at Edinburgh a couple of times but it just is too expensive at the moment for our budget. Would also love to visit the highlands as I have lots of good memories of Scottish holidays as a child

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.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 28-Feb-13 23:39:13

Oooh, I went to Drumlanrig Castle as a spotty youth nealry 30 years ago. They had a fantastic adventure playground iirc!

Crazybit Fri 01-Mar-13 00:07:20

We went a couple of weeks ago for a look around with a view to moving there but have a bit of a holiday too.

We visited the Time Capsule Water Park near Glasgow (Coatbridge?) which was excellent, enjoyed by all the family (aged 1, 5, 12, 27 and 31!)

We also visited Brahead Xscape near Glasgow which was great. We had a go at rockclimbing and the scary overhead Skypark, which was hood fun. They also had a snow slope there but we didn't have to time to take advantage. It had a good choice of food places, the TGI's was lovely, and a decent selection of shops.

We visited Livingston which was amazing for shopping and seemed to offer decent leisure facilities, but again, we didn't have time to sample them.

The Cramond Island is great too, it is just off Edinburgh shoreline and you can only cross when the tide is out. Fab for taking a picnic and exploring, but you need to keep an eye on the times of the tide or you could be taking an extended visit.

Driving home through the borders was lovely, it was beautiful, with streams flowing everywhere, castles and lot's of hills. Would like to go back there when it is warmer for some picnics and hiking.

I would love to go and visit a lot more of Scotland, so much so that I am trying to convince DP that we should move there.smile

Crazybit Fri 01-Mar-13 00:10:05

We also visited the Linlithgow Palace, but dp accidently drove around the castle using the pedestrian path so we made a quick exit.

Stirling had a nice castle, which we where staying near so DP took dc on a latenight pretend ghost walk, they had great fun grin

pussinwellyboots Fri 01-Mar-13 02:49:45

We've had many happy family holidays in the highlands - the space is great for 2 young boys with lots of energy to burn! Favourites include the beaches of Dornoch, all the wonderful forest trails and the drama of the west coast.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Fri 01-Mar-13 05:12:37

A very dear friend moved to scotland and we have been promising to visit for ages. Dh and I have agreed this is the year however as we live very far away we want to make it worth it so are planning in visiting them and then moving on to another part and make a real holiday out of it. We just have no idea where to start. I've been many times for work but on to Edinburg so know nothing about visiting as a tourist and dh has never been so thank you these links are just what I needed to finally get cracking.

Really need to start planing as if we decide to fly we really should book soon for cheaper flights.

CheeryCherry Fri 01-Mar-13 06:25:25

As a family we love city breaks as there is something for everyone, and we already live in a rural area. Edinburgh is on our list to visit as we would see the zoo, the castle and hit the shops.
We had a few days break in the Borders which was lovely, we visited Gretna, a few castles including a triangular one, and spent time walking.
I would love to visit some of the isles .. Shetland, Lewis and Arran to start with, and would love to search for Nessie! Would need to go out if midgie season as 3 out of the 5 of us react badly to bites!

weegiemum Fri 01-Mar-13 08:20:04

We live in Scotland, and have lived all over, I grew up in Perth but spent a lot of my childhood holidays in the East Neuk (Fife) and near Aviemore, as that's where my grandparents lived. I met my dh while we were both Students at Edinburgh Uni, we lived in the Outer Hebrides for 10 years (Lewis and Harris) and now live in Glasgow!!

We holiday in Scotland every year (though would go abroad too some years). We almost always go back to Harris, we kept our house there when we moved to Glasgow. I never tire of it, it's so wild and beautiful, beaches to die for, our dc love the freedom there is there, we all appreciate the change from city life, and we've definitely not ruled out going back to live there one day.

If I was recommending anything I'd say spend a week in the central belt, going to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling has some good things too and it's castle is better than Edinburgh. Then a week either in the Cairngorms or on the West coast.

Other things to mention would be that transport in some areas can be a bit hit or miss, the very best time I always think is May, because it's before the midge season has started, and of course, the weather can be very hit or miss. There are now loads of cultural events, that are not the Edinburgh Festivals - the two that stand out for me are the Wigtown Book Festival and the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway.

Everyone should have a holiday in Scotland!

unquietmind Fri 01-Mar-13 09:04:49

I think Edinburgh is a fantastic place to start, plenty of thins to entertain the kids such as the Zoo, the Castle, the Museum of Childhood (although some of those porcelain dolls may frighten younger ones) and just the general beauty. I have not taken my kids into the Highlands although they want to go, but I have teenagers that can cope with the walks and the isolation, even if they do want their blackberries to work in all 4 corners! Loch Lomond is great as it has the fabulous castle youth hostel with family rooms, and is in a good place to start exploring - if you take the car you can go to Glasgow as well, and see all the museums.

Ive not been to Kinross, Inverness etc so I cannot say on parts further north. Scotland is a great place to introduce kids to the idea of natural beauty, interesting nature (look up capercaillie - its a Scottish bird) and that holidays dont always have to be sunshine and beaches. With hearty breakfasts and interesting options such as Haggis, Lorne Sausage and Fruit pudding with your breakfast, kids will have the energy to march on all day.

Whether to go to the countryside or cities depends on your kids, but if you want to do both and dont have a car - there are tours from Edinburgh that are one day or more into the Highlands, and you get driven to the various bits on a minibus. Great way to see more without commiting to a big Highland journey.

I cant say enough about Scotland, I love the place.

KKKKaty Fri 01-Mar-13 09:17:27

We live in NE Scotland, but we haven't been here for long. As we've got two small DSs, 1 & 3, we can't really get far for holidays, but that's fine as we've got loads to explore up here. Last autumn we spent four nights in a holiday house in Newtonmore (just south of Kingussie/Aviemore). Newtonmore has a thing called the Wildcat Trail - differently painted fibreglass models of wildcats, over a hundred in total, hidden all over the village. You buy a map and a guide to the cats, and then walk around trying to find them and matching up the different cats the guidebook so you know which ones you've found. Our three year old LOVED it. It was a great holiday because we'd go out and do day trips to the wildlife park, Aviemore, mountains etc during the day and then come back and do an hour or so of wildcat-finding. It really made the holiday as it filled all those oh-crap-it's-still-an-hour-til-dinnertime-what-shall-we-do-moments.

In our local area we love Findhorn beach and village, Duffus Castle, Roseisle beach, Hopeman beach, the gardens at the Glen Grant distillery in Rothes (which have another find-the-animal type trail, great to the keep in the interest of the littluns) and all the lovely woodland walks around. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

JollyYellowGiant Fri 01-Mar-13 09:26:30

We live in Aberdeenshire. The castles and walks around here are unbeatable, particularly if you have older children.

I agree that Aviemore is wonderful. We went for a week when DS was 3 months.

Edinburgh is great as there is so much to do. If you are coming to Scotland without a car I'd recommend either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Possibly Edinburgh for younger children (zoo, sea life centre, butterfly farm, botanic gardens) and Glasgow for older ones (shopping, Kelvingrove, Science Centre, Transport museum).

We have never been to the West Coast, but will likely holiday there in the next couple of years as we'll have two preschoolers and so won't be braving going abroad.

AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Mar-13 09:26:42

Yep, don't worry, it's fine to enter if you live in Scotland TerraNotSoFirma

MTBMummy Fri 01-Mar-13 09:30:37

We go to Scotland at least once a year - normally twice, we've done a lot of different places, but most frequently find ourselves going back to the area around Dumfries.

We're a keen cycling family and love the 7 Stanes Centres, and the fact that most of them have either rides that DD (age 3) can do with us, or playgrounds or nearby attractions for her.

We often stay near Castle Douglas as the food there is just amazing, there is a local butcher how makes the most gorgeous chicken and haggis pies, and the butcher across the road from him always has the nicest steaks. There are also some lovely little pubs, we've also stayed down in Rockcliffe, which DD just adored, we often go in early spring and again in Autumn, and we all just love the coast line.

The thing that always takes my breath away about Scotland it the landscape, I Just love the mountains the scenery and the tranquility you don't have to go far out of the major cities to feel like you've left the world behind.

I think people forget about Scotland, and don't even consider it as a holiday destination, I think they're missing out on an amazing experience, but also quite happy to keep it as our family secret

One last thing, is that so many people down south comment about how gruff the Scottish are, if anything I've found this to be the opposite, most people we've met up there have been kind, friendly and always go out of their way to talk to DD and involve her in whatever we go, be it just shopping in the villages, eating out or just exploring the country side.

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?

Well, we have family in Scotland, and as a kid spent weeks paddling in freezing water at beaches. Here are my recommended activities (based on my memories, and the kids' experiences)

Small children and cities don't always go well together - set them free on the shores of Loch Ness to spot Nessie, paddle and roam around Urqhurt Castle. Add in a Nessie spotting boat trip, and some Pan Drops.
Or, go to Skye, and clamber around the fields and burns or just drive really slowly behind a load of sheep......
Take wellies.
Inverness is great - Culloden for a bit of history, loads of playparks, and a cute floral hall near the swimming centre.
Edinburgh is interesting; a castle to see, and a zoo.
I think Scotland is all about being outside, in jumpers, trekking up hills, through burns, and springing on heather.
I love Scotland.

Loulousmummy Fri 01-Mar-13 09:42:38

We're in Aberdeenshire too. It's such a good area as it's only a few miles from the city to some lovely countryside and shorelines. I love Edinburgh, pre child days and now with dd in tow. Loch Ness and the surrounding area is beautiful, will be taking dd there in the summer, she would like to catch a glimpse of Nessie.

freedom2011 Fri 01-Mar-13 09:49:59

yes, as a child. memories are
- big hills with purple heather
- sheep on a country road which town-dwelling parents tried to shoo out of the way in vain for quite a while
- being looked at pityingly when I asked for a coke and handed an Irn-Bru
- Father trying Haggis

iseenodust Fri 01-Mar-13 09:52:13

We've been and would love to go again. First time with DS we stayed in a cottage on the waters edge at Kyle of Lochalsh. We saw plenty of wildlife icluding seals and an otter. Eilean Donan Castle was worth the visit and the staff there were great with DS then age6 giving him a proper sword (term?) to heft around at a safe distance!

Second time we stayed in a lighthouse cottage on the Mull Of Galloway. You'll not find a more spectacular setting. If you're happy with a low key holiday there was plenty to do - pretty much had the beautiful sandy beach at Drummore to ourselves all week in the late aug sunshine (pub there had great Thai upstairs), crabbing in Portpatrick harbour, rspb walks/activities, mooching round Wigtown's bookshops and eating cake. DS went up the lighthouse everyday it was open!

We've also taken DS to Edinburgh for a short break to incl the kids' science festival (that was a brilliant day). He also enjoyed Edinburgh Castle far more than I thought he would thanks to the fab audio tour. He had his introduction to Tapas in Edinburgh.

I went to Mull preDH/DS and would like to take them there. I also second the comment above that Scotland as well as family friendly is dog friendly and this plays an important part in us choosing where to go.

toomuchpizza Fri 01-Mar-13 10:05:18

I also live in Scotland (Dornoch) but most of our holidays are in Scotland. As a family we have particularly enjoyed Ayrshire as there is so much to do and when the weather was bad we went to the Science centre in Glasgow.

Last year we didn't go away but did a few days trips in the Easter break instead. We went to the Highland Wildlife park and also for a trip on the Strathspey steam railway as a special treat for our train mad middle ds - I have never seen him more excited. It was a big success! Landmark is always good but my boys are probably a little young for it yet. Whin park in Inverness is lovely and we often go there after a mornings shopping.

We went to perthshire for a few days without the children for a special anniversary and would love to go back as a family. We really enjoyed visiting Blair Castle after driving past it for years, and Edradour Distillery was very interesting.

Closer to home there are lots of Forestry Commision forest walks that we love: Ravens Rock at Rosehall, Skelbo wood near Dornoch and Aldie Burn at Tain in particular, and lots of lovely beaches and golf courses. We are lucky to live here!

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Fri 01-Mar-13 10:07:11

I am from Scotland, living in England and have taken my family up to Edinburgh often.
Edinburgh's buses are great and made a trip to Portobello really easy. We had a lovely day there on the clean beach. Other good visits were, the Chambers Street museum, the zoo and the Botanic Gardens. The children love Princes Street gardens because of the playground, the adjoining train line and the cafe at the art gallery.
We also took trips by train to Aberdour- lovely castle, gardens and beach and Stonehaven- great beach, nearby famous castle. Both trips very straightforward.
I would love to visit some of the Neolithic sites and the more northern beaches but we rely on public transport and I am not sure they are that accessible.

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Fri 01-Mar-13 10:09:20

Oh also done day trips to Glasgow and enjoyed the Willow Tea Rooms and again, the Botanic Gardens. Children love the Underground and going on the top of double decker buses (cheap and easy!)

LyonsDemesne Fri 01-Mar-13 10:14:52

Millport and Largs are a firm favourite in our house. Largs especially for a trip to Nardini's for ice cream.
We love Millport and hiring bikes to ride around the island !
Glasgow for the science museum and the new transport museum. Both fabulous.
My favourite place ever is Barra, landing on the beack is a real treat.
It is like stepping back in time. The beaches are white sand and go on forever. Definitely a winner or the family.

RamblingRosa Fri 01-Mar-13 10:34:37

Well I'm a huge fan of Scotland and secretly wish that I was Scottish. We used to go on holiday in Scotland every year when I was little and those are some of my best childhood memories - scampering around on the rocks by the loch looking for crabs and mussels.

I've yet to take my DD there but I'm planning a family trip to Edinburgh in the spring. DD is a big fan of castles so I'm hoping Edinburgh castle will be a big hit.

What I'd really like to do is take the family for a holiday in the highlands and islands but I worry it might be a bit miserable if it rained the whole time. Maybe when DD's a bit older and is better at entertaining herself.

AlmaMartyr Fri 01-Mar-13 11:51:54

I've been going to the Highlands (Ardnamurchan Peninsula) every year since I was born, first with my parents and now with my family. My children (and I when I was little) just love it there. The scenery is stunning and they love seeing so much exciting wildlife in one place - deer, stags, eagles, dolphins, otters, seals. All just on the doorstep. Where we go is on a loch beach so they just spend the day exploring, throwing stones in the water, building dams etc. I don't know the cities very well at all since we've only ever gone to the Highlands, and we tend to go for the outdoors and the freedom. It's a long drive from Devon as well so can't visit much more than we do! Definitely the best thing for us is the wildlife and outdoor life there. Local attractions can be great but sparse, often expensive and a long drive away. I always recommend the area to any families that like the outdoors.

notcitrus Fri 01-Mar-13 12:04:36

Have had a few family holidays in Millport, which is great for small children as you can give them so much more independence than in London, and the journey by train is part of the fun.

We're taking a 4 and 1 yr old to Edinburgh this summer and I'd like to stay for some days after my conference, but can't find a good list of selfcatering flats or suites to stay in near the city. Any setup where there's 2 bedrooms in a safe joined space so the kids can't escape but MrNC in particular can sleep.

redlac Fri 01-Mar-13 12:11:32

I'm in Stlrling and reading this thread makes me sad that I take all this lovely country for granted and I forget how wonderful it is! I can see the Wallace Moment from my kitchen window, I get into Stirling Castle for free as I live in the Royal Burgh, Linlithgow Palace is just along the motorway, Loch Lomond is a half hour drive

We love Aviemore - Last year we gave DD who is 6 the option of Disneyland in Paris or Aviemore and she chose Aviemore. Back up there again this year hopefully with some days out in Glasgow and the west coast

notcitrus Fri 01-Mar-13 12:18:17

Helpful website, but when I try to enter the competition, the small print is on top of the Address fields and there's no button to submit the info (Android phone).

weegiemum Fri 01-Mar-13 12:23:07

Wonderful to hear so many positive things about Scotland. And <not bottom-licking, honestly> we use VisitScotland to rent out our house and cottage to tourists and they're fabulous!

hugoagogo Fri 01-Mar-13 12:28:41

Best places are for children to visit? Edinburgh is great, especially the Zoo. We particularly like the Loch Ness and Inverness area which is beautiful and has lots for the children- Castles, Beaches, Mountains, Lochs and Wildlife parks.

Which regions cater for children best? The highlands I think, although I haven't visited any Scottish islands yet, they are probably great too.

Are you better off wandering the great outdoors with them or visiting a specific attraction? A bit of both.

Would they have more fun in the countryside, Highlands or Islands or in one of Scotland's seven cities? Younger children don't always appreciate cities, so I think Highlands or Islands would be best for them. Teenagers however like a bit of shopping. grin

sleepyhead Fri 01-Mar-13 12:55:54

notcitrus would somewhere like here work for you? Swanston is just outside the city at the foot of the Pentland Hills.

I've not stayed there, but I often go for walks with ds in the area as it's close to my parent's house and the cottages look nice. I can't say off the top of my head how easy it would be with a 1 and 4 yr old to walk down to the bus stop to get public transport into the city centre, but you could certainly park and ride less than a mile down the road which would make it good for a city break without parking hassles.

sleepyhead Fri 01-Mar-13 13:01:58

Also, Mortonhall might be worth considering if you didn't mind a caravan rather than an appartment. Again, just on the outskirts of the city (but on a bus route), but Edinburgh is such a small city that the distance is no hassle for the city centre.

We tend to drive through Scotland on the way to nothern Ireland (SIL lives in Glasgow and we take the ferry from Stranraer - or wherever it's moved to now).

I would love to spend some time exploring the highlands. I remember taking a train across Rannoch moor as a teenager and would love to go back.

I'd also quite fancy trying skiing (our eldest son is severely autistic so we don't fly anywhere) but I have more or less zero idea of how to go about organising a ski trip in Scotland.

MrsHoarder Fri 01-Mar-13 14:36:17

We are wild country types, will be taking out camper van up to the highlands this summer and plan to travel up Barra/the Hebrides at some point in the future. Love the views from the Highland trains as well, the Highland Rover is a great ticket for a week's holiday.

FoofFighter Fri 01-Mar-13 14:53:42

Glad to see some recommendations for Moray - I live here and it's great!

So much to do - in Elgin - the museum, cathedral biblical garden, boating pond, play park, swimming pool, soft play, ice rink, cinema, the Oakwoods (with it's wishing tree) for walking, biking, camping in even, Ladyhill monument, plenty of child friendly places to eat out in... then head out to Lossiemouth/Hopeman/Burghead/Findhorn/Roseisle for excellent beaches, have a pony ride, a boat trip, learn to boogie board or surf, excellent ice cream wink

Further out of Elgin (it's a great place to stay as a base for exploring) there is the Speyside Walk, the dolphin centre at Spey Bay, distillery tours on the malt whiskey trail (yes not for kids I know), Winding Walks at Fochabers, Playbarn and kartracing at Lhanbryde.

Dip into the borders of Aberdeenshire at Keith for the steam railway, Macduff for the aquarium, Huntly for the falconry centre.

As for me going away, I like Glasgow a lot, great city with oodles to do all within walking distance.

AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Mar-13 15:54:43

Thanks notcitrus, should be fixed now.

Babycarmen Fri 01-Mar-13 16:08:45

We actually live in Scotland AND sometimes holiday/short break in Scotland. We love it and there are SO many places that are child friendly. We especially like visiting up north near Dornoch. Lovely place!

Babycarmen Fri 01-Mar-13 16:09:54

Agree with FoofFighter too, I live in Elgin and its lovely!

RachMB Fri 01-Mar-13 17:07:25

We live in scotland too and still go on holiday here! We've just come back from a week on Arran which was gorgeous. The ferry ride to get there causes LOTS of excitement and once we arrived there was plenty to do pottering round on beaches and in streams, visiting caves & waterfalls and drinking lots of hot chocolate to warm up again!

MammaMedusa Fri 01-Mar-13 17:37:08

We absolutely adore going to Scotland. Our favourite is going for the Edinburgh Fringe - something for all the family.

domesticslattern Fri 01-Mar-13 18:31:10

I thought that the beaches on Iona were stunning. We went in summer and the pictures are amazing, people think we were in the Carribean or something - the sky and water are so blue. Would recommend to anyone. We went pre-kids but I'd love to return with the DC and watch them scamper.

DifferentNow Fri 01-Mar-13 18:37:20

I live in Scotland and just love Edinburgh. So much history and culture - I hope to move there when the DC leave home and we can afford to downsize. St Andrews is also great with a fabulous beach and going further up North, the scenery is breathtaking. Glasgow is fab too, like an edgier Edinburgh.

JenniferHelen Fri 01-Mar-13 18:47:28

Orkney has to be my top tip and children love the magic of the prehistoric sites, and also the islands that you can only reach by boat. The landscape is stunning, there's lots of good walking, the wildlife is exciting for them and there's so much to see that encourages families to talk and have fun together. I've never found the perfect self-catering accommodation, but it must be out there!

We have been to Scotland many times with the boys and done everything from City breaks to camping. One of our favourite campsites in Scotland was recommended on Mumsnet- Comry Croft. Like wild camping but with environmentally friendly facilities and very family friendly.

The boys love Scotland for the history especially - from Edinburgh Castle to The Wallace Monument. We also love the walks in the hills and countryside. And I can get my culture fill from the beautiful architecture in Glasgow and museums and galleries.

High point from our most recent holiday has to be seeing Osprey flying and nesting.

choccyp1g Fri 01-Mar-13 19:49:11

I visited Orkney and Western Isles many years ago, long before kids. I'd love to take DS to see the puffins, and all the other birds. I remember getting bonked on the head by Skuas in Orkney. Does the tiny little plane still land on the beach at Barra?

Also I think DS would love the ancient history, the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae, but I worry that it will all have changed and I'll be disappointed. When I went you could wander about among the stones, and touch things, but maybe it has become more commercial and visitor centre/gift shoppy now.

We had a trip to Edinburgh a few years ago, and DS loved the castle and the zoo, plus climbing a small mountain.

groundhogmum Fri 01-Mar-13 19:52:14

We have done a few lovely holidays in Scotland, mainly in the Highlands and on the Isle of Skye. The film Brave has made our DC very very excited to revisit hopefully this year.

Best places are for children to visit? We have enjoyed Loch Ness and also the beaches and walks in Wester Ross/Skye

Which regions cater for children best? The highlands I think, castles, scenery, lovely walks and wildlife tours.

Are you better off wandering the great outdoors with them or visiting a specific attraction? We preferred the great outdoors but did do some attractions too such as Inverewe Gardens and the lovely castles.

Would they have more fun in the countryside, Highlands or Islands or in one of Scotland's seven cities? We have only ever done the Highlands and Islands, we live near a big city so that didn't hold as much appeal.

Ekingy Fri 01-Mar-13 20:13:58

I used to live in Scotland but last 11 years in north east England. I love going back to Fife, St. Andrews is more than just golf, cobbled streets, and loads to explore. Edinburgh amazing culture and adventures for all the family, everyone should experience the Fringe at least once :-)
Glasgow brilliant fun, science centre is amazing for big & small kids.
I'm planning family holidays driving around the north of Scotland when I've had the baby and can't wait to show my husband even more of the sites.

idiot55 Fri 01-Mar-13 20:30:10

Loads to see and do in dumfries and galloway.

wester ross is also fab

and glasgow

McNo Fri 01-Mar-13 20:47:32

I'm going to Arran in April. Really looking forward to it. Bit worried about the ferry trip hmm

polosareverynice Fri 01-Mar-13 21:03:53

I lived in Scotland when I was a teenager wish I could go back so much to do there. Not experienced a family holiday yet but on my to do list. Places I can rember going to Edinburgh Castle, princes Street,Linlithgow palace Glasgow Aberdeen Berwick upon tweed Cramond island Scotland is a magical country and so much to see and do as a teenager didn't always appreciate. Give my eyes teeth to go back.

Heavywheezing Fri 01-Mar-13 21:20:10

The only time I have been to Scotland, was a brief stopover in Aberdeen.
I would love to see those pandas in Edinburgh!

gazzalw Fri 01-Mar-13 21:32:51

blush just realised, reading one of the Katie Goes To....stories to DD that I didn't mean the Wallace Collection at all but Kelvingrove...how did that happen? Total mismerge of locations there....Oops.... Having a senior moment and not even that senior - oops!

MumVsKids Fri 01-Mar-13 21:40:04

I like the Aviemore area for things to do with the kids, there's the Landmark Centre in Carrbridge, the Cairngorm Funicular, the Museum of Highland life in Newtonmore (which is free!), the steam trains at Aviemore and lots and lots of family friendly walks and cycles all around. And then the beach at Loch Morlich too. More than enough to fill a holiday.

Aah Monarch of the Glen country. We got married on the bank of Loch Lagan here in June 2006, at Ardverikie (Glenbogle House)

Wonderful wonderful part of the world, been back several times since and we will be visiting again later this year!

MrsRandom78 Fri 01-Mar-13 22:18:22

We regularly holiday in Wester Ross - great for long walks on beautiful sandy beaches!

Squeakygate Fri 01-Mar-13 22:36:17

I went on a school trip to Arran and absolutely loved it. The place captivated me and I vowed to go back. Sadly, I have not yet been but I intend to take dh and 3 x dc ASAP!
Dh worked in Aviemore 20+ years ago and said that it was "full of clean air".

NoBusinessLikeSnowBusiness Fri 01-Mar-13 23:16:17

I have family in Glasgow and I adore the city. There's so much to do there. Agree with a pp on Glasgow Science Museum being a great venue. Also love the Burrell Collection in the grounds of Pollok Country Park. There's a fantastic playpark there too. I also remember trips out to Loch Lomond and Largs as a child which I loved.

I had a fab stay at the Crieff Hydro a few years back with ds. They've got childcare in a playcentre thing included, and even though he couldn't use it (disabled) i thought it was great for other families.

I'm planning to go up for the Commonwealth Games next year and I'd like to go and see some of the countryside too, so I shall be scouring this thread for tips.

thewhistler Sat 02-Mar-13 00:01:05

Bute was beaut for a three year old, beaches, seals, ice cream to die for, great fernery, felt v safe.

We have been to Galloway a lot, near Annan. Good beaches, a wonderful family friendly pottery, off roading and fishing, a Tibetan monastery!, Robert the Bruce's cave, castles, more wonderful icecream. And easy access to the tea shops and book shops of Wigtown, and s bit further, the art in Kirkubright. I think Dumfries and Galloway are Scotland's greatest secrets. I knew much of the rest, but this is amazing. Fabulous hills to walk, pictish remains, v scary at times.

We have done Edinburgh when Ds was small too. V successful even though he was v ill. Great zoo, castle.

And for a special family holiday, tho not with toddlers, stay at Rosslyn Castle. Easy access to Edinburgh and so atmospheric.

Abigail9580 Sat 02-Mar-13 07:49:25

I love Scotland!! My family has been going to the same little holiday cottage since I was 3 ( I'm now 28). It's about 29miles south of Oban. We cycle around all the west coast islands, have days out in Edinburgh. Play on the beach and fish. I now take my son there, and hope he will feel as passionate about it as I do. Scotland makes me feel so relaxed and happy, all that open space and clean air. grin

holstenlips Sat 02-Mar-13 08:23:34

I would love to visit Scotland with my DD (5) she loves bagpipes! I would like to see Edinburgh for the castle and shops and cafes! Also the beaches look amazing and im quite hardy and happy to do the beach in layers if its not bikini weather. I am very outdoorsy and live in the garden of england but Scotland looks stunning. My dd and i might even spot the Loch Ness Monster (someone has to one day!)

JakeBullet Sat 02-Mar-13 08:45:17

I first went to Scotland in 2002 and was pregnant....this meant I could not sample the beautiful Applecross Bay prawns with garlic butter! Not that I am bitter grin.

I have been to a beautiful place called Glenelg in the Highlands....a short ferry ride away from the Isle of Skye. The cottage was isolated and pretty and came complete with otters playing on the lawn. I have rarely seen such beauty as I did in Scotland. Think Ring of Bright Water....and powerfully beautiful scenery, I loved it.

We went first in 2002 and then again in 2004 where I finally managed to get back to The Applecross Inn and sample the beautiful prawns in garlic butter with a glass of chilled white wine. grin.....not that I was obsessed or anything.

For a family this part of Scotland was less child orientated but DS was very young at the time and just needed the opportunities for exploring the world around him which he did very happily.

I would love to go back...it's been several years now and I so want to revisit.

This is where we stayed.....how beautiful is that? Want to go back.....AND we had the most beautiful weather too. In fact the same week my BIL sneering at Scotland went overseas to surf.......and experienced a hurricane [smug].....we got a suntan in Scotland.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 02-Mar-13 09:44:05

Second the prawns and garlic butter at the Applecross Inn, Jake.

We are planning a 2 week trip to Scotland this summer!

We're catching the train to Glasgow then hiring a 7-seater and doing a big road tour. Starting with Islay and Mull (because we have to visit Balamory Tobermory), hopefully taking in one of the whale-watching boat trips from Oban. Then we'll spend a couple of days in Fort William before heading up to Inverness (of course with the obligatory stop to look for Nessie wink. From Inverness we'll go along the coast to Elgin to meet up with some friends, then loop back to Glasgow and the train home.

We don't have a definite plan, as so much depends on the weather! We are hoping to take in some Scottish National Trust properties, do some walking, perhaps a day or two on the beach if the weather is very kind. DD is 15 so we don't have to worry about 'children's entertainment', if we're doing something boring she will have her head buried in her iPhone anyway.

And we'll take many, many photographs - Scotland is gorgeous!

Katz Sat 02-Mar-13 11:10:15

We've been to Scotland a few times on holiday and are planning on going again this summer.

The first time we went as a family we went by train to Leuchars and then onto St Andrews/Anstruther, lovely area there and the beach was fab, we then trained it down to Glasgow and spent some time there the Science museum is really good, our DD's loved it.

We have also holidayed with friends (hulababy) staying in the borders visiting Kelso, Melrose, Jedbury, Selkirk and Edinburgh.

To answer their specific questions:
They're interested to know where you think the best places are for children to visit?
Our DD's love castles and Abbeys and visiting historic buildings. Equally they loved the National Museum of Scotland in Edinbourgh and the The Kelvingrove and Science museums in Glasgow. They really enjoyed the open top bus tour of glasgow and would have loved to stayed on longer but we ran out of time!

Which regions cater for children best?
We've only really done, the borders, Glasgow, Edinbugh and St Andrews/Anstruther and they all equally had things for the DDs to do.

Are you better off wandering the great outdoors with them or visiting a specific attraction?
For us a family we like doing both,

Would they have more fun in the countryside, Highlands or Islands or in one of Scotland?s seven cities?
As above we are happy doing city breaks but also love walks in the countryside, this summer we hope to explore the highlands.

eggdipdip Sat 02-Mar-13 11:49:25

We holiday in Scotland every year as that's where we're from (and are moving back to next month!). The Moray Firth area is great for children. The beaches are beautiful, with lots of opportunity for surfing and sailing for older kids. Hopeman has great rock pools that younger kids can potter around in for hours. Nearby Duffus Castle is lovely for exploring the ruins or there's Brodie Castle if you want something more intact. On rainy days, the leisure centre in Elgin has a super pool and ice skating.

There's so much to do, with acres of forest walks to explore and hunt for Gruffalos/bears and you're close enough to Aviemore for all the attractions there.

We love it. Can't wait to move back.

Lizzylou Sat 02-Mar-13 12:26:02

We have never gone to Scotland as a family before, but are going to Edinburgh for a family weekend break in a few weeks time. Our boys want to see the dungeons.
We also plan on camping somewhere more rural soon. We all love wildlife so want to go somewhere with seals and lots of other animals to spot.

Jenny70 Sat 02-Mar-13 12:51:21

We're thinking of a trip to Scotland this summer, but no ideas on when, how long etc.. Will reread this thread to get ideas on places and exciting things to do with children (9,7 &5).

twooter Sat 02-Mar-13 13:51:08

Confusteling - inverurie?? Never thought of there as a holiday destination! Fine place to live I'm sure.

josiejay Sat 02-Mar-13 15:45:33

I've only been to Scotland on a (fab) weekend with friends in Edinburgh but would love to do a family trip, I've always fancied the Isle of Mull and Eilean Donan Castle.

Roisin Sat 02-Mar-13 16:08:44

Our first holiday to Scotland was to Mull, 8 years ago. We saw red deer, fallow deer, white-tailed sea eagles, golden eagles, rabbits, harbour porpoise, sunfish, dolphins, minke whale and lots more!

Since then we've been back at least once every year; we usually book a cottage for a week and tour for a few days either side. We've also stayed in loads and loads of youth hostels, in fabulous locations; but we particularly like islands.

We've been back to Mull three more times since; have also visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, Skye, Muck, Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Orkneys, Carbisdale, Aviemore, Durness, Tongue, Wick, New Lanark, Inverness, Loch Ossian, Oban, Ratagan, Carbisdale, Eigg, Islay, Jura, Caerlaverock, Thurso ...

Every year we think will be our last in Scotland; but every year we get fabulous weather, wonderful wide blue skies, phenomenal wildlife sightings, friendly locals, excellent quality accommodation (and good value for money), incredible landscapes. So every year when we arrive home we immediately book again for the following year; and recommend it to all our friends too!

FannyFifer Sat 02-Mar-13 17:27:42

I might be biased but the East Neuk of Fife is fantastic, loads of lovely coastal villages, beaches, great places to eat etc.

Love living in Scotland, so much on my doorstep. We spend most holidays in Scotland. grin

AddictedtoCrunchies Sat 02-Mar-13 18:38:34

We go every year and stay in GlenCoe. DS 5 spends most of the time throwing stones into the loch grin. The most relaxing and magical place.

i keep browsing at the ayrshire side and areound callander as i remember visiting once as a child and it was sooooo pretty.

DuPainDuVinDuFromage Sat 02-Mar-13 19:11:28

I spent almost every summer holiday in Benbecula when I was little (except when we went to Campbeltown with my grandparents) - I love both places, and also Edinburgh, Glasgow, and all the other places in Scotland that I have visited! We are taking our baby daughter to Benbecula this summer to visit my parents and looking forward to initiating her into the joys of building sand castles on the beach dressed in fleeces and waterproofs (but with legs bare for paddling), the Games and the Show, and the chance to see dolphins and sharks from the ferry if you're lucky - not to mention the incredibly friendly people!

One day we'll also take her to Edinburgh, where Arthur's seat and the fantastic Camera Obscura museum will be first on the to-do list...and maybe we'll eventually make it to Orkney and Shetland, which I've always wanted to visit!

fossil971 Sat 02-Mar-13 22:25:39

We go to Scotland most years and we live in the Midlands. We have family connections and normally head for the Isle of Skye despite the distance. You need to plan in your overnight stop on the way up!

I think all of the Highlands are great but the coast and islands are brilliant for the variety, the wildlife, beaches and mountains and lots of little attractions and castles tucked away if it really rains. We are keen walkers and hoping to make Munro-baggers of the children. You can finish off your holiday with a day in Edinburgh or Glasgow. I have heard Aviemore highly recommended as well which is a bit less far than Skye.

Just have an anti midge strategy and a wet weather contingency in place and you'll be fine.

MajesticWhine Sat 02-Mar-13 22:37:18

We had a very successful holiday in Scotland last year. Did it in 3 parts. A few days in a very good family hotel (Crieff hydro), then a week in a chalet near Oban, very much back to basics, doing walking, boat trips, fishing, and then finally a couple of days in Edinburgh, doing the fringe; that was fantastic for my older kids, who really enjoyed the street theatre. It was great to have the variety and made it a very special holiday.

determinedma Sat 02-Mar-13 23:00:33

Many Scottish self-catering holidays. Our thoughts are:
Weather very unpredictable, great in sunshine but several miserable rainy holidays too.
We love the East Neuk of Fife and also Dumfries and Galloway, which is hugely underrated.D & G has the dark skies park, red kite trail, Cream o Galloway ice cream and loads of cool castles such as Caerlaverock.
North East coast is lovely around Banff, but water is very cold so take wet suits.Midges are bad in still weather, particularly in the West.
Edinburgh is fabulous but a rip off for tourists during the summer. Visit Stirling castle instead or Perth. Cowal peninsula has gorgeous scenery bit not much to do apart from Puck's Glen which is staggeringly beautiful. Sea Safari is a fun, if expensive trip out to sea to look for seals etc.

AGiddyKipperInOneHand Sat 02-Mar-13 23:02:06

My older sister was at Edinburgh university in the 80s and we had many holidays in Scotland for the 4 years she was there. Favourite memories were climbing Ben Nevis, discovering small fishing villages along the coast, seeing fresh langoustines in pots at Ullapool, seeing huge pine trees up close for the first time, running alongside an otter on some wild stretch of coast, The Cairngorms and generally a lot of great outdoor fun. Of course Edinburgh is magnificent, and there are too many beautiful lochs and hills to mention, as well as friendly and welcoming towns and villages with interesting people to meet.

I have often thought of going back, but not had the money to. Just recently my husband has accepted a job up in Aberdeen, so hopefully we will be visiting often. There are so many places I want to go to in Scotland, I don't know where to start.(We won't be taking the children out of the secondary schools they're settled in, but after that we'd love to move there!)

indahouse Sat 02-Mar-13 23:49:18

I'm surprised no one mentioned Culzean Castle. It's a lovely estate right by the sea, south from Ayr (famous for it's huge indoor and outdoor play areas btw). The entrance fee is a bit steep, but they do accept Tesco vouchers and there's enough to do for a whole day. Lovely enclosed gardens in front of the castle, often with live bands playing, huge woodland area for walks, play area, naice ice cream shop by the pond. Also a cafe and a restaurant with very reasonable prices and good quality food.

I love the great outdoors, but with small children I feel safer knowing that there's shelter, running water and a calming cup of tea not far away.

Finbar Sun 03-Mar-13 11:27:02

We too love the Highlands and have made several holiday trips there. Glasgow is great - but we like the freedom of the Highlands
Best for kids
Aviemore area:
The beach at Loch Morlich
Canoeing at Loch Morlich
Cycling around the area... there are easy routes that everyone can enjoy
A brilliant tree top trail at TreeZone for older kids
Horse riding
Watching the Ospreys feed a the fish farm and then on the nest at the RSPB Loch Garten

up to the coast - the beach at Nairn - just brilliant for sand, rockpooling, a great crazy golf course and play park, and of course fish and chips!

Food is always brilliant and our children were welcomed everywhere we went.

michelleblane Sun 03-Mar-13 12:20:41

Edinburgh is a fabulous city to visit and living in Northumberland it was a regular day trip when I was a child and now I love to take my own children. They love The Castle, walking down The Royal Mile, Princes Street and the gardens. The Grass Market, Arthurs Seat, Greyfriar's Bobby.......Sometimes we do a day trip by car or train,and sometimes stay for a few days.
Another holiday was on Loch Lomond caravanning....lots of walks, sailing and swimming, and another was Isle of Bute....beautiful!
Yes visiting specific attractions can be great fun, but personally I find my family enjoy just being away, in fantastic surroundings, relaxing, walking swimming.......
Two years ago, two sons took part in The Glen Nevis River Race, (braving a 2 mile stretch of icy water on a lilo) and the rest of us went as support. Glencoe and Glen Nevis are beautiful.
We have also had wonderful camping holidays in Glen Trool. The children loved it.

pixi2 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:26:28

My husband loves glencoe having been there previously. It's somewhere we have looked at. Our dc are very young. They are mobile and generally happy as long as they are with us, woods are hide and seek sites, story sites, open spaces are good for running and chase and spinning them round etc.

We have not yet managed a family holiday though so cannot comment on child friendliness.

pixi2 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:28:16

Oooo, Sara brae and whale watching would be on our to do list though.

magentastardust Sun 03-Mar-13 21:55:23

I love the East Neuk of Fife, Elie is a gorgeous village and the beaches in that area are lovely.
lots of great walks and pretty villages.

isw Sun 03-Mar-13 22:03:52

We are just back from a mini break to Crieff Hydro. I would honestly say it was the first family holiday that felt like a holiday! Self catering lodges but the hotel facilities to use. The weather wasn't great but there was loads to do indoors and out. A very family centred hotel with up to 6 hours of kids clubs a day included in the price! Dd is disabled but they gave her a 1:1 person for £7 an hour for the hours she was there.

We live near Edinburgh which is a fantastic place, so much to do with children or without. Dynamic earth, national museum, meadows play park are some of our favourites as well as loads of cafes and restaurants.

North Berwick has a great child friendly beach.

We like outdoors stuff with the option of a very wet weather back up plan. But mostly it's about having the right clothes ;)

Notquitegrownup Sun 03-Mar-13 22:15:01

Planning on self catering on Arran this summer. Plan to stock up with lots of food, drink, board games and books, in case of weather, and wellies, cagouls and binoculars to explore the island. Hoping to see otters, golden eagles and anything else that moves, whilst wading through streams, playing cricket on the beaches, striding up then sliding down hillsides in bin bags, and building up a good appetite for huuuuge evening meals around a log fire. Mmmmmmm

AlisonMoyet Sun 03-Mar-13 22:20:02

I just cant imagine how a trip to midgey cold scotland would be a holiday

not even good food to enliven it

It would be my WORst holiday choice.
( and yes I have lived there)

piemistress Sun 03-Mar-13 23:16:35

I love dumfries and galloway for family holidays. Great beaches and lots of fab things to do like the Cream O Galloway. Weather tends to be a bit better when minging elsewhere!

MrsTwgtwf Sun 03-Mar-13 23:22:32

Another vote for Dumfries and Galloway; we stayed in a fab dog-friendly gourmet hotel, and loved all the art/sculpture, plus Wigtown aka Booktown.

throckenholt Mon 04-Mar-13 08:33:36

We go to Scotland practically every year - have taken kids from age of 6m up to 10 so far. Mine love the beaches of the north and west - wide open empty spaces preferably with a stream to dam.

Favourite places so far : Orkney, Islay, Tiree. But we have loved all the places we have gone along the north and west coast.

Midges are my big bugbear (they eat me - not so much the rest of the family). So we tend to go in May and early June.

HeyHeySaturday Mon 04-Mar-13 08:41:07

I agree with AlisonMoyet (weird sentence). I had EVERY family holiday as a child in Scotland. It was cold and dull. I had no idea until I left home that most people went to a warmer place for their holidays grin

AlisonMoyet Mon 04-Mar-13 09:13:03

being wet and miserable with shit food

god no

mistlethrush Mon 04-Mar-13 09:14:20

We've had a lovely family holiday when DS was 3 to the west coast in cottages that we'd stayed in as a couple previously. The sealife centre at Oban, whilst not having the huge vertical tanks that more modern ones have, is really good. There are also some historic sites around there that are good. The National Trust for Scotland sites are great, and free to UK National Trust members: there's a lovely garden at Arduaine with views over the sea lochs which is magical.

Food is great - DS had his first scallops and langoustines there - he wasn't so keen on the mussles. Lots of friendly pubs that do good meals and are OK with dogs too.

When he's a few years older we will taken him up to Orkney - DH and I have had a holiday there - the archaeology is fantastic there, as is the quality of the light.

MrsMarigold Mon 04-Mar-13 09:58:01

My parents in law live in Scotland on the West Coast last April we went up, although it was dismal in London the weather up there was glorious - 22 degrees! We took my DS on his first trip ever to the beach at Luskentyre. One of thew most beautiful sandy beaches I've ever been to and I've seen a lot of beaches in Africa and Aus.

MrsMarigold Mon 04-Mar-13 09:58:40

My DS loved the sand.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 04-Mar-13 10:11:15

We had a couple of family holidays in Scotland when I was a child, but I've never been as an adult (not as a holiday anyway).

I'd like to take our children as we've exhausted most holiday resorts in England and Wales, but I worry that the weather would be too bad that far north to enjoy the beaches etc. There are no guarantees in any part of Britain of course, and we've spent many a rainy day on beaches, but Scotland is such a long way to go to do that grin

I'll be looking at the link for some areas of Scotland that cater for nesh children on rainy days...

throckenholt Mon 04-Mar-13 11:04:21

Mine love the beaches - a good pair of wellies and anything from t-shirt to thick winter coat and gloves and hats is fine by them.

The most beautiful and empty beaches I have ever seen are in the far west and north of Scotland - far too many to count - they are all wonderful up there.

East Anglian beaches just can't touch them sadly since that is where we live. I often wish I could be out on a Scottish beach smile

daimbardiva Mon 04-Mar-13 16:42:36

We live in Scotland and often go for short breaks and holidays in Scotland. Love Edinburgh for all the obvious reasons - the zoo, the castle, but also lovely coastal walks, great restaraunts, and some great kids' attractions not far out of town, e.g. Almond Valley Farm.

We had a great holiday in the St Andrews area last year - I think Fife must have the biggest concentration of attractions tailored for children. Fife Deer Park, Muddy Boots, Deep Sea World, St Andrews itself is beautiful with a gorgeous beach.

You can't beat Applecross for completley getting away from it all - the most amazing dramatic drive over the Bealach na Ba to get there. A great campsite with wooden wigwams (brilliant for camping with kids), woodfired pizza on site, and of course the famous Applecross Inn for fab seafood.

Skye is like a world all of its own - dramatic, varied landscapes and fabulous walking at all levels. Really high chances of spotting eagles (golden and white-tailed).

We are planning Orkney this year - really manageable for a family holiday as easy to travel round the mainland, amazing neolithic/viking historical remains to see, and the outlying islands all have their own stories to tell. Fab seabird colonies too, and always the chance of whales from the ferry on the way over..

We visited Skye and an island just off it called Raasay with our DC's a couple of years ago, staying in some great, characterful, and friendly youth hostels.
We went in a glass-bottomed boat to look at the wildlife and fish in the sea which they both loved. We saw otters at an otter sanctuary, and eagles flying over the mountains. We climbed to the highest point on Raasay and had great views. I've been to the Highlands with my partner (but without the children) and loved seeing the dolphins at Moray Firth - so if I was going back I'd love to take the children there too - and to see some red squirrels as well ! Also the castles look good so I'd like to take children to explore one of those also smile

majjsu Mon 04-Mar-13 19:49:18

I have enjoyed Berwick, Hawick, Jedburgh and Edinburgh. There is always something for everyone, from shopping to historical sites to nature walks.

Punkatheart Mon 04-Mar-13 21:53:12

Edinburgh is definitely the place to take a gothic-obsessed teenager. The ghost walks are fab and the whole place just has so much atmosphere. The fact that you can also go down in the vaults - learn about Burke and Hare - it all makes it real attractive for a teenager...

Even the castle appealed!

FoofFighter Mon 04-Mar-13 22:20:49

Food: haggis neeps and tatties with whisky cream sauce, butteries, oatcakes, fruit pudding, roast chicken and skirlie, white pudding suppers, pizza crunch (maybe just me there on this one though!) lovely fresh seafood, venison, Killie pies, Aberdeen Angus steaks, game, cullen skink, cranachan, Stornaway black pudding - need I go on??

FoofFighter Mon 04-Mar-13 22:21:54

And the only time I have ever sunburnt as an adult was the first year I moved up here, having believed all the tosh about cold and rain all year round :p

piemistress Mon 04-Mar-13 23:35:25

There are loads of great ideas on this thread. We live and holiday in Scotland and its given me inspiration!

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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