The school holidays are a great opportunity to check out the attractions in Scotland. It may not have the allure of a Spanish beach, but Scotland is just as exciting for kids. Edinburgh and Glasgow are usually top of the list for most parents, but don’t dismiss the other Scottish cities. If you plan your trip well, you could potentially fit them all into your itinerary!
Edinburgh is an extraordinary city. The Old Town is steeped in blood curdling history. Take a walking tour or catch a ride on an open-top bus and listen to tales of cannibals, hangings, and other bloodthirsty goings on. Once darkness falls, a ghost tour might be in order – Greyfriars Kirkyard is incredibly spooky at night. Or, if educational attractions are more your thing, take the kids to the National Museum of Scotland – it’s free! Edinburgh parking can be challenging during busy holiday periods, so plan where you are going to park in advance.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions to enjoy, including the Museum of Transport and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The permanent exhibition at the Kelvingrove includes Old Masters, a fine collection of arms and armour, and a wonderful beehive exhibit where you can observe the lifecycle of one of nature’s busiest creatures. In Glasgow Q-Park is the main car park operator, with car parks in Glasgow available throughout the city
The Dundee Heritage Trust visitor centre is full of fascinating information about famous explorer, Captain Scott. You can learn more about the RSS Discovery and its ill-fated expedition to Antarctica. Luckily for the crew and us, the Discovery was eventually freed from her icy prison and following many more adventures on the open seas, the ship came home to her final berth in Dundee. Today you can explore the ship, imagine how the ship’s crew coped under such difficult conditions, and discover what life was life below deck. It’s fascinating stuff.
Kids love castles and Stirling Castle is the perfect place for them to explore. There are cannons on the ramparts and vaults where kids can enjoy dressing up in costumes or have a go at playing old-fashioned musical instruments. If you prefer to spend some time outdoors, check out the Stirling Mystery Treasure Trail.
Inverness is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. It’s also the Loch Ness monster’s birthplace (or so you can tell the kids). Take a trip on the Ness Islands Railway – it winds through pretty Whin Park at a leisurely pace. Alternatively, book a Loch Ness cruise and see if you can spot Nessie lurking beneath the enigmatic waters of the loch. Inverness also has a family-friendly Museum and Art Gallery with plenty of interactive exhibits.
Perth is Scotland’s newest city, but there is still lots for kids to see and do. The Black Watch Castle and Museum is located inside a suitably dramatic castle and has lots of military uniforms and historical exhibits. Visit the Fair Maids House and you can see the oldest rock in Scotland.
Scotland is an amazing place to visit, but avoid the Highlands in late summer, or the biting midges will drive you insane.