Things to do in Scotland with kids

The 21 Best Things To Do In Scotland With Kids – Create Lifelong Memories in Scotland

Last Updated: August 2, 2023By

If you’re planning a family vacation to Scotland, look no further as we provide you with the information on the best things to do in Scotland with kids. These activities are the best to keep your kids entertained; from toddlers to teens.

From zip-lining adventures to hands-on museums, Scotland offers a trove of family-friendly attractions. Make your kids kings and queens of the castle as you explore Edinburgh’s mighty stronghold perched high on Castle Rock.

Slip into the mysteries of Loch Ness aboard a cruise in search of Nessie, the elusive aquatic creature. Learn while you play at Glasgow Science Centre, packed with interactive exhibits.

Take to the tee at St Andrews, rolling greens where golf legends like Tiger Woods launched their careers. Journey back in time at the Highland Folk Museum, complete with turf-roofed cottages and peat-smoke.

Whether you seek action or experiences steeped in history, culture, and nature, Scotland promises fun for the whole family. Discover the best things to do in Scotland with kids from the Borders to the Highlands.

Here’s your ultimate guide through the top attractions, outdoor activities, and unique experiences that will make your trip an unforgettable adventure for the whole family.

Get ready to create lifelong memories in the beautiful land of Scotland!

Key Takeaways

  • There are many top attractions in Scotland for kids, including the Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, Camera Obscura, and the World of Illusions.
  • Outdoor activities for kids in Scotland include hiking the West Highland Way, island hopping in Mull and Iona, cruising down North Coast 500, and biking the 7Stanes.
  • Unique experiences for kids in Scotland include the whale trail in the Hebrides, visiting Harry Potter filming locations, and taking a canal boat cruise to see The Kelpies up close.
  • Scotland offers family-friendly castles and historic sites such as Stirling Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Rosslyn Chapel, Glenfinnan Viaduct, and Eilean Donan Castle.

Overview of Things to Do in Scotland with Kids

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Scotland with kids, you’ll find an abundance of family-friendly activities and attractions to enjoy.

Edinburgh, the capital city, is a great place to start your adventure. There are so many things to do in Scotland that kids will love! From exploring the historic Edinburgh Castle to discovering the mythical creatures at the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, there’s something for every member of the family.

The Royal Mile offers a variety of shops and street performers that will keep your little ones entertained. And don’t forget about Dynamic Earth, a science museum where children can learn through interactive exhibits.

If you’re looking for outdoor fun, take a hike up Arthur’s Seat or explore Holyrood Park. With all these exciting family activities, Scotland is sure to create lasting memories for both kids and adults alike.

Top Attractions for Kids in Scotland


If you’re looking for the top attractions for kids in Scotland, you won’t want to miss out on these five:

  • Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The Royal Yacht Britannia offers a fascinating glimpse into royal life at sea, while Edinburgh Castle provides a rich history lesson amidst breathtaking views.

Kids will love exploring the interactive exhibits at the National Museum of Scotland and discovering optical illusions at Camera Obscura.

And finally, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum boasts an impressive collection of art and artifacts that will captivate young minds.

1. Royal Yacht Britannia

One of the must-visit attractions in Scotland with kids is the Royal Yacht Britannia. This iconic vessel was once the floating residence of the British royal family and has now been transformed into a fascinating museum.

Located in Edinburgh, a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and family fun. Kids will love exploring the various decks and rooms, imagining what life was like for royalty on board. The interactive exhibits provide an engaging learning experience for children of all ages.

From admiring the luxurious State Apartments to discovering the engine room, there is something for everyone on this family-friendly adventure. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to step aboard this majestic ship and create lasting memories with your little ones.

2. Edinburgh Castle

Located on a hilltop in the heart of Edinburgh, the iconic Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit attraction when visiting Edinburgh with kids. This historic fortress offers a fantastic family day out, filled with exciting things to do and see.

Kids love exploring the castle’s ancient walls and discovering its rich history through interactive exhibits and guided tours. Be sure to check out the Crown Jewels display where little ones can marvel at Scotland’s royal treasures. Don’t miss the firing of the One o’clock Gun, a tradition that has been going strong since 1861, which is sure to captivate young imaginations.

With breathtaking views of the city and plenty of space to run around, Edinburgh Castle guarantees a memorable experience for families seeking adventure and history all in one place.

3. National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland offers a fascinating experience for families seeking adventure and history all in one place. Located in Edinburgh, this museum is a must-visit attraction when exploring Scotland with kids.

With its diverse collection spanning the history of Scotland, there are countless opportunities for children to learn and be entertained. From ancient artifacts to interactive exhibits, the National Museum of Scotland provides an engaging environment for young minds to explore and discover.

Kids can immerse themselves in the rich history of Scotland while having fun at the same time. Whether it’s learning about the country’s heritage or experiencing hands-on activities, visiting this museum is a fantastic way to make your trip to Scotland memorable for both you and your children.

4. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Explore the mind-bending illusions and optical wonders at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. You’ll be amazed by interactive exhibits that challenge your perception.

This fantastic attraction in Scotland is a must-visit for kids and adults alike. Located in Edinburgh, Camera Obscura offers a unique experience that combines history, science, and entertainment.

Step into a world of magic and trickery as you explore five floors filled with fascinating exhibits. From the mesmerizing Mirror Maze to the mind-boggling Vortex Tunnel, there’s something fun for everyone here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of Edinburgh from their rooftop terrace or witness the wonders of the camera obscura itself.

With its engaging displays and hands-on activities, Camera Obscura guarantees an unforgettable day full of laughter and discovery for the whole family.

5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Step into the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow and be prepared to be amazed by its stunning collection of art and artifacts. This iconic museum is one of the best things you can do with your kids on a family holiday in Scotland. Here are three reasons why you should visit:

  1. Educational Experience: The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum offers a wealth of knowledge for both children and adults alike. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern masterpieces, there’s something to pique everyone’s interest.
  2. Interactive Exhibits: Keep your little ones entertained with hands-on exhibits that allow them to explore and learn through play. They can try their hand at creating their own artwork or delve into interactive displays that bring history to life.
  3. Beautiful Surroundings: Located in the heart of Glasgow, the museum is surrounded by picturesque gardens where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll before or after your visit. It’s the perfect spot for some family photos!

Don’t miss out on this incredible cultural experience when visiting Scotland with your kids!

6. Edinburgh Old Town

When visiting Edinburgh, you can’t miss out on exploring the historic and charming Old Town. Located along the famous Royal Mile, this area is filled with fascinating history and attractions that will captivate both kids and adults alike.

Start your adventure by visiting the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, where you can discover the country’s rich cultural heritage through engaging exhibits.

For an unforgettable experience, take a boat trip along the scenic Water of Leith and admire the stunning views of the city.

If your little ones love animals, make sure to include a visit to Edinburgh Zoo in your itinerary, where they can see incredible creatures up close.

And if you’re looking for some hands-on fun, head over to Glasgow Science Centre, where interactive exhibits will ignite their curiosity about science and technology.

Outdoor Activities for Kids in Scotland

If you’re looking for outdoor activities to keep your kids entertained in Scotland, there are plenty of options to choose from.

  • Hiking the West Highland Way is a great way to explore the stunning Scottish Highlands and let your little ones burn off some energy.
  • Island hopping in Mull and Iona offers the chance to discover beautiful beaches, wildlife, and ancient ruins all in one trip.
  • If you’re up for an adventure, cruising down North Coast 500 will take you on a scenic route through picturesque villages and breathtaking landscapes.
  • For the more adventurous families, biking the 7Stanes provides thrilling trails suitable for all ages and skill levels.
  • Finally, exploring Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park offers endless opportunities for outdoor fun including walking trails, water activities, and wildlife spotting.

7. Hiking the West Highland Way

To fully enjoy your family trip to Scotland, you should definitely consider hiking the West Highland Way with your kids.

This 96-mile-long trail is perfect for families who love outdoor adventures and want to explore stunning Scottish landscapes. Along the way, you’ll come across breathtaking castles, picturesque highlands, and beautiful beaches, and even have the opportunity to visit the enchanting Isle of Skye.

The West Highland Way also passes through Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, offering endless opportunities for wildlife spotting and enjoying nature at its finest.

With various camping spots or cozy accommodations available along the route, you can create lasting memories with your children while immersing yourselves in Scotland’s natural beauty.

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable hiking experience!

8. Island Hopping in Mull and Iona

Exploring the stunning Scottish landscapes with your family can also include a fun island-hopping adventure in Mull and Iona. These two picturesque islands offer a plethora of activities that will keep both kids and adults entertained. Here are some highlights:

  • In Mull:
  • Visit Tobermory, the vibrant harbor town known for its colorful buildings.
  • Explore Calgary Beach, a beautiful sandy beach perfect for picnics and sandcastle building.
  • Take a boat tour to spot dolphins, whales, and seals in their natural habitat.


  • In Iona:
  • Visit the historic Iona Abbey, an ancient religious site with stunning views.
  • Take a stroll along the white sandy beaches of Martyrs Bay.
  • Discover the wildlife at Fingal’s Cave, famous for its unique rock formations.

To make your trip even more memorable, consider stopping by Stirling or Inverness on your way to Mull and Iona. Don’t miss Loch Lomond in Stirling or Cairngorms National Park near Inverness. And if you’re up for some safari fun, Blair Drummond Safari Park is not too far away from these locations.

Island hopping in Mull and Iona is an adventure that should not be missed when exploring Scotland with kids!

9. Cruising Down North Coast 500

Now that you’ve experienced the beauty of Mull and Iona through island hopping, it’s time to embark on another exciting adventure in Scotland with your kids.

Get ready to hit the road and cruise down North Coast 500, one of the most scenic routes in the country. This epic road trip takes you along 500 miles of breathtaking coastal scenery, charming villages, majestic castles, and stunning beaches.

The North Coast 500 offers something for everyone in the family, from exploring ancient ruins to spotting wildlife in their natural habitats. Along the way, make sure to stop at iconic locations like Dunrobin Castle and Smoo Cave.

Whether you’re driving or cycling, this journey promises unforgettable memories and endless opportunities for exploration. So buckle up and get ready for an incredible adventure cruising down North Coast 500!

10. Biking the 7Stanes

Biking the 7Stanes is an exhilarating activity that offers thrilling trails for all levels of riders. It’s one of the top attractions in Scotland and a fun way to explore the stunning countryside with your kids.

The 7Stanes are seven mountain biking centers located across southern Scotland, each offering a unique experience. For younger kids or beginners, there are gentle trails with smooth surfaces and easy gradients. Older kids and more experienced riders can tackle the challenging trails with exciting jumps, drops, and technical features.

Safety is always a priority, so make sure everyone wears helmets and follows trail rules. Biking the 7Stanes is not only a great way to stay active but also provides an opportunity for families to bond while enjoying nature’s beauty together.

11. Exploring Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Located in Scotland, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park offers breathtaking scenery and opportunities for outdoor adventures. With its stunning loch and beautiful mountains, this park is a perfect destination for families with kids who love exploring nature.

Start your adventure by taking a boat trip to Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater lake in Britain. Kids will be amazed by the sparkling waters and might even spot some wildlife along the way.

For more excitement, head to the Trossachs area where you can go hiking or cycling through picturesque trails. There are also plenty of picnic spots and play areas where children can run around freely.

Exploring Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a fantastic way to create lasting memories with your family while enjoying the wonders of Scotland’s natural beauty.

Unique Experiences for Kids in Scotland

If you want to give your kids a truly unique experience in Scotland, there are several amazing options to choose from.

  1. Take them on an adventure following the whale trail in the Hebrides, where they can spot these magnificent creatures up close.
  2. Let them experience the magic of Harry Potter by visiting some of the iconic filming locations scattered throughout Scotland.
  3. And for a truly enchanting experience, take them on a canal boat cruise to see The Kelpies up close and personal.

12. Following the Whale Trail in the Hebrides

Exploring the Hebrides with kids is even more exciting when you follow the whale trail. This unique experience allows your little ones to witness majestic marine creatures up close and personal.

Start your adventure by visiting Loch Ness, where you can learn about the legendary creature that allegedly resides in its depths.

Next, make your way to Dumfries, a town known for its vibrant marine life and stunning coastline. Take a boat tour and keep an eye out for whales swimming alongside you.

For a more immersive experience, head to Aviemore in Cairngorms National Park, where you can embark on a whale-watching excursion led by experienced guides.

Finally, make sure to stop by Inverness, where you can learn about the incredible efforts being made to protect these magnificent animals and their natural habitats.

Following the whale trail in the Hebrides will create lasting memories for both you and your kids.

13. Experiencing the Magic of Harry Potter

To fully immerse yourself in the magic of Harry Potter, you can’t miss a visit to the famous Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the Hogwarts Express. This iconic train takes you on a breathtaking journey through the beautiful Scottish countryside, just like in the movies.

Kids and adults alike will be captivated by the stunning scenery as they travel across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was featured in several Harry Potter films. The experience is truly enchanting and allows you to feel like you’re stepping into the wizarding world.

In addition to riding on the Hogwarts Express, there are other Harry Potter attractions to explore in Scotland. The city of Edinburgh is home to many locations that inspired J.K. Rowling when she was writing books.

You can visit places like Greyfriars Kirkyard and Victoria Street, which are said to have influenced elements of Diagon Alley and some of its characters.

Overall, Scotland offers an amazing opportunity for kids (and adults) who love Harry Potter to experience the magic firsthand. Whether it’s riding on a steam train through picturesque landscapes or exploring real-life inspirations for iconic locations, this is a visit that no fan should miss!

14. Cruising The Kelpies by Canal Boat

When you cruise through the canals, you’ll be able to experience the majestic beauty of The Kelpies up close. These towering horse-head sculptures stand proudly on the west coast of Scotland and are a sight to behold for kids of all ages.

As you glide along the canal in your boat, you’ll be surrounded by stunning landscapes and breathtaking views. Here are two things that will make your visit even more memorable:

  • Take a moment to marvel at the sheer size and intricate details of The Kelpies. Standing 30 meters tall, these colossal sculptures are truly awe-inspiring.
  • Don’t miss the chance to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, located nearby. This former royal residence offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of British royals and is filled with interactive exhibits that will captivate both children and adults.

Cruising The Kelpies by canal boat is a great family-friendly attraction that shouldn’t be missed when exploring Scotland with kids.

15. Visiting the Scottish Crannog Centre

While visiting the Scottish Crannog Centre, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about ancient Scottish history and experience life in a reconstructed Iron Age dwelling. Located on Loch Tay, this unique attraction offers an immersive experience that will captivate both kids and adults alike.

Step back in time as you explore the crannogs, which are ancient dwellings built on stilts over the water. Kids can participate in hands-on activities like grinding grain, making fire with flint, and weaving textiles, giving them a taste of what life was like thousands of years ago.

The knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the archaeology and history of these remarkable structures.

Afterward, take some time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings with a picnic by the loch or a stroll along its shores. This visit to the Scottish Crannog Centre is sure to be an unforgettable adventure for your whole family!

16. Exploring Skara Brae

Make sure to explore Skara Brae, an ancient village in Scotland that offers a fascinating glimpse into Neolithic life. This attraction is perfect for families with young children, as it provides an educational and interactive experience that kids especially will enjoy.

Here are four reasons why exploring Skara Brae should be at the top of your list when visiting Scotland:

  • Step back in time: Skara Brae is one of the best-preserved prehistoric settlements in Europe, allowing you to walk through the same houses and streets that were inhabited over 5,000 years ago.
  • Discover ancient artifacts: The site is filled with intriguing artifacts such as tools, pottery, and jewelry. Kids will love seeing these relics up close and learning about how people lived during this time.
  • Engage in hands-on activities: Skara Brae offers interactive exhibits where kids can try their hand at grinding grain or making pottery just like our Neolithic ancestors did.
  • Enjoy stunning coastal views: Located on the Orkney Islands, Skara Brae boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach after your visit for a truly unforgettable day.

Don’t miss out on exploring Skara Brae – it’s an experience both educational and enjoyable for the whole family!

Family-friendly Castles and Historic Sites

If you’re looking for family-friendly castles and historic sites to visit in Scotland, you’re in luck!

  • Stirling Castle is a must-see with its impressive architecture and interactive exhibits that will captivate both kids and adults.
  • Dunnottar Castle offers breathtaking views of the coast, while Rosslyn Chapel’s intricate carvings are sure to amaze.
  • The iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films.
  • Explore the stunning Eilean Donan Castle, surrounded by picturesque landscapes.

17. Stirling Castle

Explore Stirling Castle with your kids for a fascinating historical adventure. Located in the heart of Scotland, this magnificent fortress offers a glimpse into the country’s rich history. Here are four reasons why you should visit Stirling Castle:

  1. Immerse yourself in the past: Step back in time as you wander through the castle’s grand halls and rooms. Learn about Scottish royalty and their lavish lifestyles.
  2. Marvel at the architecture: Admire the stunning Renaissance architecture of Stirling Castle, including its intricate stone carvings and beautiful gardens.
  3. Enjoy breathtaking views: Climb to the top of the castle’s towers for panoramic views of Stirling and its surrounding countryside.
  4. Engage in interactive exhibits: The castle offers engaging displays that bring history to life, allowing children to dress up as knights or princesses and participate in fun activities.

Don’t miss out on this incredible experience at Stirling Castle!

18. Dunnottar Castle

When you visit Dunnottar Castle, you’ll be captivated by its dramatic cliffside location and rich history.

Dunnottar Castle is perched on a rugged headland overlooking the North Sea, creating a stunning backdrop for your exploration.

This medieval fortress holds centuries of stories within its walls, from being a hiding place for the Scottish Crown Jewels to surviving sieges during the Wars of Independence.

As you wander through the ruins, imagine knights in shining armor and royal figures making their way through the grand halls.

Don’t forget to explore the hidden caves and tunnels that were once used as secret escape routes.

The views from Dunnottar Castle are simply breathtaking, with sweeping vistas of the coastline that will leave both kids and adults in awe.

Make sure to bring your camera to capture these unforgettable moments at Dunnottar Castle.

19. Rosslyn Chapel

Located in Midlothian, Rosslyn Chapel is a fascinating place to visit due to its intricate carvings and mysterious connections to the Knights Templar.

As you step inside this historical gem, you’ll be mesmerized by the delicate craftsmanship that adorns every inch of the chapel. Marvel at the stunning stone pillars adorned with intricate patterns and symbols, each telling a story from centuries past.

The highlight of your visit will be the Apprentice Pillar, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that stands as a testament to human ingenuity.

After exploring the chapel, take a leisurely stroll around the nearby loch and soak in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Rosslyn Chapel is an absolute must-visit on any itinerary for a day trip or longer trip to Scotland – it truly showcases some of Scotland’s best historic treasures.

20. Glenfinnan Viaduct

Take a breathtaking train ride across the Glenfinnan Viaduct and experience the stunning views of the Scottish Highlands.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is an iconic railway bridge located in Lochaber, Scotland. It was built in the late 19th century and stands at an impressive height of 100 feet above the ground.

As you traverse this magnificent structure, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of lush green valleys, towering mountains, and picturesque lochs. This is not just any ordinary train ride; it’s a journey through some of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

The viaduct has gained popularity in recent years due to its appearance in several films, including the famous Harry Potter series.

So hop on board and let the magic unfold as you cross over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on your Scottish adventure!

21. Eilean Donan Castle

Step inside the historic Eilean Donan Castle and immerse yourself in its rich history and stunning architecture. This iconic castle, located on a small tidal island where three lochs meet, is one of the best places to visit in Scotland with kids.

As you explore the castle’s various rooms and exhibits, you’ll learn about its fascinating past and the role it played in Scottish history. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for seals that can often be spotted swimming nearby!

Eilean Donan Castle also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including the majestic cairngorm mountains. Your little ones will love running around the castle grounds, pretending to be knights or princesses.

If you’re interested in purchasing souvenirs or learning more about the castle’s history, be sure to check out their website which includes affiliate links to books and other merchandise related to Eilean Donan Castle.

A visit here will surely leave your family with lasting memories of Scotland’s enchanting beauty and captivating history.

Conclusion – Things to Do in Scotland with Kids

In conclusion, there are plenty of amazing activities in Scotland that will entertain both children and adults.

When it comes to the best places for families in Scotland, there is no shortage of options. From exploring historic castles like Eilean Donan Castle to embarking on a family adventure in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, there is something for everyone.

Kids will love getting up close and personal with the stunning landscapes, whether it’s hiking through breathtaking national parks or taking a boat trip to see puffins and seals. For those seeking a bit more excitement, there are plenty of outdoor activities available such as cycling, kayaking, and even surfing.

No matter what you choose to do, Scotland offers endless opportunities for fun-filled family memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any age restrictions for outdoor activities in Scotland?

No, there are generally no age restrictions for outdoor activities in Scotland. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or exploring stunning landscapes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

From young children to teenagers and adults, Scotland offers a wide range of outdoor adventures suitable for all ages. So gather your family and get ready to create unforgettable memories while experiencing the beauty of Scotland’s great outdoors together.

What are some safety precautions that should be taken while visiting family-friendly castles in Scotland?

When visiting family-friendly castles in Scotland, it’s important to take some safety precautions.

First, make sure to supervise your children closely, as some areas may have uneven terrain or steep stairs. Encourage them to stay on designated paths and avoid climbing or touching delicate objects.

It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water for breaks along the way.

Lastly, check if the castle offers guided tours or audio guides for an educational experience.

Are there any special events or festivals specifically for kids in Scotland?

Yes, there are several special events and festivals specifically for kids in Scotland.

One popular event is the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which offers a range of theater performances, workshops, and interactive experiences.

Another event is the Glasgow Science Festival, where children can engage in hands-on science experiments and demonstrations.

Additionally, many Highland Games across Scotland have specific activities and games designed for children to enjoy.

These events provide great opportunities for kids to have fun and learn at the same time.

How can I find family-friendly accommodations in Scotland?

To find family-friendly accommodations in Scotland, start by researching online travel websites that specialize in family travel. Look for hotels or vacation rentals that offer amenities like playgrounds, swimming pools, and kid-friendly activities. Read reviews from other families to get an idea of the property’s suitability for children.

Additionally, consider staying in self-catering accommodations with kitchen facilities to make meal times easier with kids. Don’t forget to check if the accommodation is centrally located near attractions or public transportation for convenience.

Are there any popular children’s museums or interactive exhibits in Scotland?

Yes, there are popular children’s museums and interactive exhibits in Scotland. One such example is the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. It offers a range of interactive displays and exhibits that will captivate your kids. They can explore everything from dinosaur fossils to ancient artifacts.

Another great option is the Glasgow Science Centre, which features hands-on exhibits and interactive workshops that will surely keep your little ones entertained and engaged.

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