Great Scot: 50 great places to visit in Scotland
The end of the school year is here (already?!). Whether you’re still planning your summer or already have the family diary packed full of camps and classes, there’s bound to be some days that still have a few question marks beside them. Stuck for inspiration? From visiting kid-friendly museums in the capital, picking fresh fruit to open-air swimming pools and fish and chips on the beach, we’ve rounded up just a few of the brilliant places to visit in Scotland that the whole family can enjoy this summer!
10 ideas in The Highlands
The Highlands are packed full of exciting trips and are some of the best places to visit in Scotland for adventurous families. Why not visit the famous Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, which takes visitors through themed rooms exploring the mysterious lake from its very beginning? Be sure to check out the Ness Islands Railway that takes riders through the popular Whin Park, which is full of other exciting activities to keep the kids entertained.
The Highland Wildlife Park is the perfect way to introduce youngsters to Scottish wildlife and is suitable for all ages. Landmark Forest Adventure Park offers a day out packed with action and play from wee monkey trails to wild water coasters. Then there’s the spectacular Cairngorms National Park, a mountain playground where you can bike and kayak, forage in the forests and even meet reindeer. Over 12's can also have the thrill of visiting the Sleddog Centre!
Want to test your balance? Why not set off to Treezone, an awesome facility centre set up amongst the Caledonian Pines and full of balance beams, zip wires and hanging platforms! For those who like to be up in the sky, why not also check out the Highland Aviation Museum.
Lastly, for a very special day out there’s Ecoventures, where a boat will take you out to view the stunning scenery with the chance to spot seals and bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. Suitable for ages 4+.
10 ideas in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire truly come to life in the summer months and there’s more than a few outings to tick off your list. Take a walk around the stunning grounds of Crathes Castle where you can brush up on some history plus enjoy the various play areas, arts and crafts and even GO APE! For train lovers, the Royal Deeside Railway, is close by and is great paired with a family cycle along the old railway line.
If you want to take in some more of the beautiful countryside Formartine’s and Haddo House offer a lovely day out amongst beautiful scenery. For younger children, be sure to check out Wynford Farm Play Barn and Den in The Glen, a fairytale-inspired world with its own soft play.
Down at the beach, there’s Codonas, an amusement park with just about everything you can think of to entertain kids of all ages. On the topic of beaches, take a short drive over to Stonehaven where you’ll find an open air pool swimming pool - we recommend following this up with some of the best fish and chips in the area.
10 ideas in Fife & Dundee
Full of seaside towns and pretty country drives, there’s plenty to see and explore in Fife & Dundee. A local favourite is Muddy Boots, a place for young families to have fun and unwind, with activities from zorbing to pottery. Kids will equally enjoy Cairnie Fruit Farm, where you can pick your own strawberries and also get lost in their mega maze. Don’t forget about the Scottish Deer Centre, a lovely place to interact with wildlife and enjoy some unique nature walks. It's one of the locals' favourite places to visit in Scotland for simple pleasures.
If you’re keen to get to the beach then Elie Watersports has you covered and offers an array of water-based activities. Whilst you’re in the area why not try out the Elie Chain Walk, which is suitable for older children accompanied by an adult. Carrying on with a sea theme, over in St Andrews be sure to pop by the Aquarium and discover some fascinating underwater creatures and take in the stunning views of the famous west sands. For a relaxed day trip Craigtoun Country Park is only 5 minutes from St Andrews, where you can revel in the beautiful, landscaped parkland plus have a shot in one of the pedalos.
In Dundee, there’s plenty more days out to go on including a trip to the Science Centre with its exciting interactive exhibitions or Olympia Leisure Centre where kids will love the large flumes, rapid river and wave pool. If you’re looking for more adventure then pop over to one of the kid’s sessions at Avertical World Climbing Centre.
10 ideas in Edinburgh
In Edinburgh, there’s never a shortage of things to do and it's possibly one of the best places to visit in Scotland for family activities, whatever the weather. In town, Camera Obscura, with all its optical illusions, is bound to bring a smile to everyone’s faces. Right around the corner is Edinburgh Castle, a must visit for the whole family if you’ve not been before. Following on with a historic theme, creep over to The Edinburgh Dungeon to learn more about the city’s (somewhat darker) history. In August the city becomes home to the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which has plenty of shows and interactions on for kids of all ages. Make sure you book in advance so you don’t miss out!
If it’s a rainy day then head over to The Royal Yacht Britannia, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Royal Family. There’s equally no shortage of Museums to stop by, including The National Museum of Scotland, The Museum of Childhood and the Modern Art Museum - all equally wonderful for children and adults alike. Finally, a day out to Dynamic Earth, an interactive centre all about our planet, is bound to be a hit!
On a sunny day grab the opportunity to take a drive out to Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park and art gallery open to the public during the summer months.There’s lots for the kids to explore and plenty tasty treats to try from the camper van cafe. For little animal lovers, you’re bound to be popular if you schedule a trip to Edinburgh Zoo, however Butterfly & Insect World and Gorgie City Farm will fit the bill too!
10 ideas in Glasgow
Of all the places to go in Scotland, Glasgow is the largest city so you’ll find no shortage of family activities to enjoy this summer. Dive straight into the city with A Spy Mission themed walking Treasure Trail around Glasgow's West End. Or, why not try hunt down all 8000 (!!) objects inside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Over at the Riverside Museum (The Museum of Transport), there’s plenty more to view from vintage cars to skateboards.
On a sunny day, Glasgow’s parks make a relaxed and inexpensive day out. The beautiful Mugdock Country Park has plenty going on for all age groups. For another day Pollok Country Park or Battery Park are equally family friendly, perfect for long afternoons outside and a Summer picnic. However, if Scotland’s notorious weather gets in the way of your plans then a trip to Wonder World Soft Play is sure to tire the kids out.
With eagles, vultures, owls, hawks and falcons - World of Wings is a must visit over the summer months. Be sure to time your outing around one of the two daily flying displays. Whilst it’s a wee drive away, Blair Drummond Safari & Adventure Park has a whole host of exotic animals to see and a number of attractions from a giant flying zip to a boat trip around chimp island.
Whether you live locally or are planning a trip here this summer, see how many of these you can cross off your list - just let us know in a comment below or come and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also like to give you every ounce of information, so use the links below to find the best places to visit in Scotland.
What to do in Glasgow | What to do in Edinburgh | What to do in Aberdeen | What to do in Inverness | What to do in Dundee | What to do in Oban | What to do in Fife | What to do in Stirling | What to do in Fort William | What to do in Aviemore