Create your next family adventure with the help of National Trust for Scotland
Run free through woodland adventure parks, explore miles of sandy beaches, hop on a Land Rover Safari or burn off some energy in some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes and treasured places.
Here are 10 ideas for unforgettable family days out.
1. Culzean Castle & Country Park, South Ayrshire
Hours can be lost to little adventures in Culzean Castle's two amazing playgrounds. Whether you want to swing through the trees or run wild like a pirate, you'll find your space at Culzean.
In the Wild Woodland park, soaring towers, tree houses, climbing walls and zip slides will get that inner adventurer truly released. This park is spread over an acre of the estate in an ancient piece of woodland.
Meanwhile, over at Adventure Cove, a smuggler's wonderland has been created with sandpits, rope swings, a pirate ship and wooden castle walls, setting the scene for some serious swashbuckling excitement.
Afterwards, head into the castle grounds where many a beautiful spot can be found for a nice picnic, visit the swan pond and deer park, or hit the beach and enjoy the miles of sandy beaches and caves perfect for keen explorers.
2. Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park, Isle of Arran
Here you will find a true playground paradise at the Isle Be Wild adventure park which weaves itself in and out of the rich woodland that surrounds the castle.
Parents and kids alike are encouraged to run wild through the trees on extensive high-level walkways, navigate rope bridges, crawl through tunnels, chase up and down nets and slides and scramble around on the banks of a pretty burn.
Discover the magical Fairies and Legends Trail where storytelling sessions and regular family workshops bring Arran’s fairies to life and let little imaginations soar. Wildlife and nature lovers can explore the extensive gardens and country park where you’ll find woodland, waterfalls and even a Red Squirrel Hide amongst over 10 miles of walking trails!
3. Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate, Aberdeenshire
Play hide and seek in Crathes Castle’s wonderful gardens which are packed full of magic corners and secret hideaways.
The beautiful 16th-century castle gives a fairytale feel to this visitor attraction, and there are all manner of magical experiences to be had in its lovely grounds.
Young explorers will love the Wild Wood Adventure Play where you can conquer the heights of the Green Lady’s Tower, scramble up a rock face challenge and zoom between trees on a zip wire.
The woods are also perfect for burning off energy. There are plenty of signposted trails here and soon you will feel in the middle of nowhere as the forest canopy thickens. But, there is plenty of wildlife to keep you company, such as herons, woodpeckers and red squirrels. Take a sandwich to enjoy down by the Coy Burn - maybe a kingfisher will come and say hello.
4. Brodie Castle, Moray
As you step through the gates of Brodie Castle, you'll soon be living out your own magical story as sculptured unicorns, a giant rabbit, wooden castles and an island appear before your eyes in the wonderful world of the Playful Garden.
You'll find a sign that says, “Imagination is cheaper than wi-fi”, and here at Brodie you'll find a real chance to unplug and tap into your deeper imagination in this quirky space which is full of sensory delights.
Musical instruments release pretty sounds into the air as little visitors navigate around the garden as if moving from one page of a story book to another.
5. Hill of Tarvit Mansion & Garden, Fife
Try golf as it was played 100 years ago at the last remaining hickory golf course in the UK, Kingarrock.
You'll be swinging back in time with a set of wooden-shafted clubs on the special nine-hole course which was originally created for the Sharp family, who once lived in the mansion.
It was later turned into farmland but has been restored to its former glory in recent times. You'll play with traditional golf balls and be supplied with original 1930s bags for a truly historic experience.
Old-fashioned ginger beer and a slice of traditional shortbread can also be enjoyed and the day can be finished off in style with a stroll through the Hill of Tarvit’s beautiful rose garden or a spot of putting and croquet. Those modern-day strains will simply fade away after a day with the kids at this mansion.
6. Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve, Aberdeenshire
Little nature lovers will be in their element at the Mar Lodge Estate near Braemar, the largest nature reserve in Scotland, a great place to experience some real, simple quality time as a family.
Regular events offer kids the chance to learn about nature. Be a Mini Ranger for the day and try your hand at shelter building, wood carving and learning to navigate. Kids aged five and under can become a Nature Nipper and take part in the nature activites club where you’ll go on a Minibeast hunt, meet wonderful creatures, and even make a little woodland home.
There are many low-level walks to enjoy, with trails leading from both the Linn of Quoich car park and Linn of Dee car park, from where you can also join a number of woodland walks.
Stop in awe at the sight and sound of rushing waterfalls and witness bird life all around, from meadow pipits, red grouse and skylarks on the moor, to great tits, stonechats, willow warblers and treecreepers in the woods.
7. Glencoe National Nature Reserve, Argyll
This mighty landscape of Highland Scotland is not just for the serious climber or walker but for everyone. Families will have a great time exploring the Glencoe National Nature Reserve with a new-improved visitor centre offering fresh activities and information for visitors of all ages and abilities. Ordinary trails through Glencoe have been devised with children in mind, and inside you'll find trail guides and nature spotting packs to get the very best out of this wonderful environment.
For those looking to get off the beaten track, a historical Land Rover Safari will treat you to an hour and a half of history, wildlife, geology and more – binoculars and camera at the ready!
8. Killiecrankie, Perthshire
History and the beautiful outdoors meet at Soldier's Leap at Killiecrankie, where families can learn the story of the 17th-century government soldier who leapt an impressive 18 feet across the raging River Garry to flee the Jacobites. The riverside here is stunning, and children will enjoy a wildlife walk with a difference.
Head past Solider's Leap, and look out for the bungee jumpers as they dive over the water from the bridge above, until you reach the southern end of the Pass of Killicrankie. Take in the views as well as the natural surrounds and you may even be lucky enough to spot the red squirrels, woodpeckers and pine martens that call this area home.
9. Inverewe, Wester Ross
Take you kids around the world at Inverewe, where flowers, plants and trees from across the globe thrive in the west coast micro-climate.
Warmed by the sea currents, the gardens at Inverewe look like they have been transported from an exotic location and dropped in the west of Scotland. Himalayan rhododendrons, Tasmanian eucalyptus and plants from South Africa, New Zealand and Chile grow happily.
Maps are given to help young ones navigate this unique environment. There is a network of paths throughout the garden and two trails which lead around the estate, including the Pinewood Trail - a 45-minute low-level circular walk which is kind on little legs.
Fantastic views can be enjoyed over Loch Ewe, where coastal birds, seals and otters can be spotted. You'll feel like you are in another world.
10. Robert Smail’s Printing Works, Borders
It's Scotland, so the odd rainy day is to be expected. But, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Head to Innerleithen for a fascinating indoor experience and learn about a huge part of Scotland’s industrial heritage at Robert Smail’s Printing Works.
Little hands can get stuck in at this hands-on museum, filled with amazing artefacts and working Victorian printing presses – the oldest working commerical letterpress printers in the UK! Try your hand at being an apprentice compositor, see how newspapers, tickets, posters and letterheads were printed before the digital age, and admire the waterwheel that once powered the printing works – a fun-filled rainy day out for all the family.
Are you ready to have some fun? Join the National Trust for Scotland today to enjoy hundreds of family adventures from just £6 per month. Visit: nts.org.uk/join