Traveling in Scotland with kids

It was a Scot, John Muir, who created the worldwide movement of National Parks. He had a love of wild places from when he was a child. It is in his blood and he went on to donate it to the world.
If it's water parks and children's clubs you want, go on a Club Med. If getting muddy while mountain biking down remote trails, fishing off quiet islands and canoeing all the way to Loch Ness is your thing, go for Scotland. Get them dancing at a ceili or prancing at the Edinburgh Festival for Scottish cultural extravaganzas. But all in all, just get them out there and let them go a bit feral and wild. You won’t find that on the timetable at Club Med.

Activities for families in Scotland

Mountain biking

At CairnGorm Mountain you can hire mountain bikes, have a bit of skills training, put your bikes on the funicular train which brings you up to the summit, and cycle all the way back down. And then hear that old familiar cry of 'Again, again, again!'. There are lots of other trails around to enjoy as well when you are there, but this one is CairnGorm cool.

Canoe down the Caledonian Canal

With plenty of places to rent an open canoe, this is wonderful paddling. Although you can't canoe through the locks, you have to engage in 'portage' or carrying the boats around the locks. There are also campsites (and pubs) along the way for the more ambitious. Definitely one for midge nets at dusk though.

Do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Usually associated with one man Hamlets and smutty stand up, the Festival is actually very child friendly. There are shows aimed at children of all ages, as well as streets full of entertainers, buskers and general madness. Book accommodation well in advance as it gets pricey. And come down from the madness with a few days in the countryside for a truly heady mix of Scotland.

Our top trip

Scotland family cruises vacations

Scotland family cruises vacations

Join a unique small ship cruise in Scotland

From £950 to £3600 6 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2024: 30 Apr, 7 Jul, 15 Jul, 18 Aug, 22 Aug, 28 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Scotland or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips for families

Andrew Bateman, Director of one of our suppliers, Scot Mountain Vacations:
"The weather can be more of an issue with a young family. Try to remain flexible as to where you go. Generally the weather is a lot better in the East Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park, where there are also a lot of family activities."
Robert Kidd, Director at one of suppliers McKinlay Kidd:
“Scotland has always been a superb place for a family vacation but you need the right approach, and not worry about the weather and having lots of attractions.“
Tim Stenton, wildlife photographer and author Moray Firth Dolphins:
“Along with a few other places in the world like South Africa and Western Australia, the Moray Firth, is an excellent place to watch cetaceans from the land. Other than the impacts of getting to the locations, land based will always have a lower environmental footprint - both in terms of CO2 emissions and impact on the animals than boat based watching. It is also cheaper, more suitable for younger children with no risk of being seasick.“
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Krisjanis Mezulis] [Intro: gajtalbot] [Mountain biking: Phil and Pam Gradwell] [Do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival : ian_woodhead1] [Tim Stenton quote: Shirehorse]