Best family hotels in Scotland: find city breaks, family resorts, and beach getaways
Scotland is a family-friendly destination, and has plenty of things to do if you’re travelling with kids. To help you plan your stay, discover our guide to the best family hotels in Scotland.
By Karen Basnett | Last updated May 22, 2023
Known for its scenic Highlands, rich heritage, culture, and architectural beauty - Scotland is a must-visit destination, particularly with children. There are countless reasons to visit, and although the country is geographically small, it has a lot to offer tourists and is a favourite destination for families and Mumsnetters.
The country can be divided into three areas – Lowlands, Highlands, and islands. The Lowlands are known for farmland and woodlands, the Highlands for mountains, sweeping moorland and lochs, and the islands for their compact wild landscapes, beautiful beaches, and expansive sea views.
Scotland offers a variety of family-friendly hotels, picturesque cottages, lodges, caravan stays, glamping, and camping. Wherever you choose to stay you will be able to get your youngest explorers out in some of the most stunning nature.
With so many options and areas to choose from, we have compiled a guide to the best family-friendly places to stay in Scotland, so you can make a trip to Scotland with children a truly unforgettable experience.
What are the best family hotels in Scotland?
- Best hotel for a city break: The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
- Best for babies and toddlers: Auchrannie Resort, Isle of Arran
- Best for back to nature holiday: Feather Down Farm, Balnab Farm, Dumfries and Galloway
- Best for families on a budget: Tummel Valley Holiday Park, Pitlochry
- Best for exploring North Scotland: Lochness Cottage Collection, Dochgarroch Lock, Inverness
Editor's picks: Glamping holidays in Scotland with Feather Down Farms
A Scottish borders escape with hot tubs, campfires, and fishing nearby.
From £150 per night.
A dairy farm in southern Scotland with a hot tub, pizza oven, and tractor rides.
From £150 per night.
Grab a cheap deal at 29 UK glamping sites.
£55 off three-night stays; £75 off 4-night breaks (from £130 per night).
1. Best luxury family hotel in Scotland: The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder
The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder | Check availability
“Glen Eagles was amazing, tons of things to do for DS, lots of lovely places for us to eat, and stuff for the adults to do too.” Recommended by TheRealMBJ.
The Gleneagles Hotel is a magnificent countryside estate in the heart of Perthshire set on 850 acres. It is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most famous hotels. There are luxurious family rooms, six restaurants, three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, and entertainment to keep children of all ages occupied.
Gleneagles is a longstanding favourite among families. There is an action-packed children’s programme, including hand and foot painting, sandpit, and water play. The Little Glen is a magical land full of toys, games, castles and dressing up costumes. A babysitter is available for children aged 0-6, there’s a creche for ages 2-9, and hangout space for ages 6-15 and over 50 outdoor activities, and an indoor pool.
2. Best Scotland hotel for a city break: The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh | Check availability
“I would put my vote in for the Balmoral. Have been there four times and would go back again.” Recommended by mamakoukla.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a must-see destination. The Balmoral Hotel is situated on Edinburgh’s most prestigious street, near to the famous Royal Mile. This street has the incredible Edinburgh Castle at one end and Holyrood Palace at the other. With many other attractions all within easy reach.
The Balmoral has thought of everything for families and is full of special touches for children. Kids’ check-in cards, colouring books, comment cards and newspapers. An owl teddy turndown service, and 50% off all kids’ meals. 24-hour babysitting is available along with extra beds and interconnecting rooms.
Harry Potter fans in the family? Guests can stay in the J.K. Rowling Suite where she wrote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!
3. Best family-friendly resort in Scotland: Crieff Hydro Resort, Crieff
Crieff Hydro Resort, Crieff | Check availability
"I've been to Crieff Hydro several times, it's excellent." Recommended by kaytee87.
Crieff Hydro is a magnificent family-friendly resort set on nine hundred acres of Scottish Highlands in Crieff. There are self-catering lodges, apartments, or cabins available for two up to sixteen guests (plus your dog).
The resort has six different bars and restaurants, a swimming pool, Victorian baths, a spa, and a cinema. From soft play, trampolines, a ball pool and a games room to crazy golf and biking, the kids will certainly be entertained. The hotel also offers two hours of free childcare!
Explore the lovely small town of Crieff or the beautiful forest walks of Perthshire. If you’re looking for action, you can take the kids to the nearby Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre or Glen’s Adventure Park.
4. Best Scottish hotel for young children: Auchrannie Resort, Isle of Arran
Auchrannie Resort, Isle of Arran | Check availability
"Would recommend Auchrannie Spa Resort on the Isle of Arran which is a 55-minute ferry journey from Ardrossan, which in turn is about 45 minutes drive from Glasgow. it - is very relaxing and has great facilities." Recommended by Pagan.
Sweeping mountains surround the multi-award-winning Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran, and the sea is just a short distance away. It consists of a traditional luxury hotel, a more modern annexe, and a series of luxury lodges.
The resort is complete with its own Play Barn, a three-tier indoor soft play centre, and a picnic area. It is suitable for children up to ten years old and features two swimming pools and a spa. Whether you want to relax or be active, there's something for everyone at the Auchrannie Resort.
5. Best back to nature family holiday in Scotland: Feather Down Farm, Balnab Farm, Dumfries and Galloway
Feather Down Farm, Balnab | Check availability
"Dumfries and Galloway are fabulous - quiet, lovely beaches - ice cream factory here, lovely forests. The area around Kirkcudbright is bonny. It's also much easier to get to than the rest of Scotland - just across the border. We stayed here last year, which was lovely, but it's quite remote - a drive from shops rather than a walk, but the people who own it are lovely, and the children could see the farm (we were there at lambing time) and visit lovely Thelma the pig." Recommended by midnightexpress.
Are you seeking a holiday closer to nature? Feather Down Farm, Balnab offers guests a simpler way of life, without electricity and wi-fi.
It's an absolute child haven with animals, tractors, a playground, and endless fields to explore. There's plenty to do on the farm. Children can get involved with the feeding and grooming of the resident dairy calves, pygmy goats, Shetland ponies and Oxford Sandy and Black piglets. There is also a play area and daily tractor rides.
The luxury tents come with fresh running water, a fully equipped kitchen, a flushing toilet, and comfortable beds. Most rooms include a private shower.
6. Best for a national park holiday: Lochgolihead Lodges, Loch Lomond and Trossachs
Lochgolihead Lodges | Check availability
Lochgolihead Lodges are in the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park with the Arrochar Alps as a backdrop and Loch Goil to the front. They offer a luxurious retreat in the Scottish Western Highlands. Families can stay in lodges and cabins in traditional Scandinavian-style homes, complete with hot tubs!
It's a wonderful choice for families looking for somewhere to stay with babies and toddlers. There are outdoor playgrounds, a leisure complex with an indoor heated swimming pool, a spa, and bike hire. Lochgoilhead caters for all families regardless of size or budget.
7. Best budget family hotel in Scotland: Tummel Valley Holiday Park, Pitlochry
Tummel Valley Holiday Park | Check availability
“Tummel is quite near to Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Perth so there are lots of things to do or see in those towns plus the scenery there is amazing.” Recommended by GentleOtter.
At Tummel Valley Holiday Park in Highland Perthshire, you’ll find a peaceful location beside the river Tummel within a woodland setting. With the choice of a lodge or caravan holiday, there is something for all budgets.
There's plenty to keep you entertained, an indoor pool, adventure play, nature trails, a kids’ club, an amusement arcade, a sports court, and crazy golf.
Step outside the resort and discover fishing, golf, cycle routes and Highland walking trails all close by. Plus, Britain’s biggest National Park, the Cairngorms, is just a short drive away. There is plenty to keep the entire family entertained.
8. Best self-catering family hotel in Scotland: Fern Cottage, Braemar, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen
Fern Cottage, Braemar | Check availability
If you are looking for a peaceful self-catering break, with easy access to explore the thriving, cosmopolitan port of Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland, then look no further. Fern Cottage is a traditional Scottish-style house on the outskirts of the charming village of Braemar with shops, pubs, and restaurants in Royal Deeside.
The cottage sleeps eight people in four bedrooms and has a large, enclosed garden and patio that overlooks a duck pond.
You can escape from the world here as there is almost zero traffic here, so it's a peaceful place to spend time with children. With the benefit of having Aberdeen within easy reach.
9. Best family glamping and camping in Scotland: Ben Nevis Holiday Park, Camaghael, Fort William, Northern Highlands
Ben Nevis Holiday Park | Check availability
"The Walk to Steall falls is magical. the gondola up the mountain at Nevis range. Cycle up the Caledonian canal. Drive to Glenfinnan viaduct to see the steam train go past the walk is lovely. Be sure to visit Glencoe on your way up or down." Recommended by museumum.
Even if you don't climb the UK's highest mountain, you can find plenty of family fun activities nearby. A variety of accommodation options are available, including camping, glamping, and hot tub lodges, set in scenic countryside with breathtaking views of Ben Nevis and access to a riverside beach on the banks of River Lochy.
Ben Nevis holiday park is an ideal base for day trips by gondola, car, bike, train or walking in the Lochaber area. The local area has heaps to keep families entertained including taking the steam train to Mallaig, walking in the Kyle of Lochalsh or exploring Fort William.
10. Best for exploring North Scotland: Lochness Cottage Collection, Dochgarroch Lock, Inverness
Lochness Cottage Collection | Check availability
"We've been recently and we enjoyed, A walk to the Ness Islands. There was also a nice park with a lot of play equipment there. Culloden battlefield museum was good and interesting, Cawdor castle had lovely huge gardens, and Dolphin watching on the Black Isle." Recommended by CovoidOfAllHumanity.
Want to find the Loch Ness Monster? We recommend a collection of luxury child and dog-friendly cottages suitable for family getaways, located on Dochgarroch Lock on the Caledonian Canal, close to Loch Ness and four miles from Inverness.
With several cruises departing daily, you can explore the mystery of Loch Ness. Or with Inverness on your doorstep, you have endless activities in and around the city. You can visit Inverness Castle and Highland Wildlife Park. Watch the dolphins at Chanonry Point, and explore Culloden Wood a magical forest with endless trails. Or seal spotting on Ness Islands Walk and Railway, where you can stroll among the scenic pathways or ride on the small toy train. If the weather isn’t on your side, you will have plenty of indoor options, such as an abundance of museums and art galleries.
For families with older children, trips to the Culloden battlefield and Fort George are a must!
Is Scotland good for families?
This geographically small country boasts loads of things to do with children of all ages. From the bustling streets of Edinburgh, to the scenic views of the Highlands, the country's rich heritage, culture, and architectural wonders - there's something for everyone, leaving Scotland a must-visit place with the kids.
Trips to Edinburgh Castle and Loch Ness are fun for everyone (and both are FREE for under 5s). There's the National Museum of Scotland, a perfect venue to explore and discover with little ones. Mountain treks, beach trips, and even glamping are all available across Scotland.
How can you get a good deal on a family-friendly hotel in Scotland?
Follow the golden rule of hotel booking, and reserve your room well in advance to secure the best price on a family-friendly Scotland hotel. Of course, you can always browse for last-minute deals, too, but these tend to be rare during school holidays and will limit where you can stay.
Scotland's hotel rooms are cheaper in the winter months, but that doesn't mean you should avoid the country altogether. Wrap up warm, and enjoy wintery walks and indoor attractions together.
To make sure you're getting the best deal possible, it's a good idea to use a price comparison sight like TripAdvisor and Expedia.
What’s the best way to travel to Scotland with kids?
You can travel to Scotland from the UK by road, rail, ferry, and air links. Once you arrive, you'll find there is easy access to all regions, and with a bit more careful planning, you can reach the beautiful, secluded areas and islands.
Beware that travelling may take longer than expected. In the most remote areas, roads are very narrow and one-way only. Also, unpredictable wet or wintry weather can make travel tricky.
When is the best time to go to Scotland?
Many travellers make their way to Scotland in the warmer months. If you travel during summer, there are many benefits such as an average of 17 hours of daylight. Therefore, you can take advantage of the lighter evenings. However, you will pay the highest prices for accommodation and expect more tourists. We recommend looking at travelling in the spring or autumn when there should be fewer crowds. Although it's difficult to beat snow-capped peaks, skiing, and winter wonderlands in the cities during the colder months.
When travelling to Scotland always remember one thing: it is almost impossible to predict the weather. The different regions in the Scottish Highlands and Islands are influenced by micro-climates, which means it could be snowing in one place and down the road a few miles it’s beautiful sunshine. You could experience all four seasons within one day, so no matter when you visit, be sure to pack for every type of weather.
September is renowned for being the wettest month. Whichever month you travel be prepared for rain, and pack the wellies, puddle suits and rain cover for the stroller.
How we chose our recommendations
Our recommendations are based on feedback from real parents, Mumsnet forums, customer testimonials, and review sites. Being parents ourselves helps us to understand what families need when booking a holiday, and we always offer unbiased, independent advice you can trust.
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