Beautiful landscapes, spectacular wildlife, ancient architecture, delicious seafood and down-to-earth people—Scotland holds many treasures that make it one of the most amazing countries in the world. This is why it’s no surprise that millions of tourists flock to Scotland every year, each of them yearning for a taste of its deep history, amazing outdoors and rich culture.
If you’re planning a trip to Scotland with your family, you’d be glad to know that there are plenty of activities for each of your family members to enjoy—from visiting historical sites to cruising the famous Loch Ness—plus a few interesting things in between:
- Explore Paisley Abbey
If you’re making a pit stop at Glasgow, it’s worth taking the short trip to Paisley to see its famous Paisley Abbey. Founded by Walter Fitzalan in 1163, this Gothic-style building features the 10th century Celtic Barochan Cross, has three windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones and some royal tombs. You should also drop by the Paisley Museum that has everything from 19th century Scottish art to dinosaur footprints. And while you’re in the area, make sure to dine at Cardosi’s for their authentic Italian fare that includes seafood, pizzas, pastas and meat dishes.
- Cruise Loch Ness
If your kids have read stories about Nessie, the three-humped monster that was said to live in Loch Ness, they’ll be ecstatic to cruise the famous lake itself and see if Nessie will make an appearance. It’s best to book a tour that will not only let you ride a boat on Loch Ness but also explore other sites like the Urquhart Castle along the way.
- Take your kids to see the dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are very much part of your kids’ imaginations. Although they’ve been extinct for years, you can still enjoy a close encounter with these giant creatures by heading to Dino Park. If you’re in Glasgow, you can also visit DinoM8 or Jurassic Parrr. Now if your bigger kids are looking to see the real thing, take them to Staffin Dinosaur Museum to see preserved dinosaur footprints and fossils. You can also drop by the Museum of Scotland to see a life-sized skeleton cast of a T-Rex.
- Enjoy authentic pub fare
When your little ones are in bed, you can head out of town to enjoy Scotland’s bustling nightlife. And your first order of business should be to enjoy authentic fare in one of the area’s many pubs. After you’ve had a good meal and drink, you can place some stakes at the casinos or maybe learn how to play blackjack with your older family members. Your teenagers will also love dancing the night away in the many clubs around Scotland.
- Get up close and personal with animals
If you love visiting zoos back home, you will surely love Highland Wildlife Park. This part-zoo, part-safari is not your typical animal sanctuary. It offers your family the unique experience of driving your own vehicle around the main reserve or you can join a guided tour on a Land Rover. Highland Wildlife Park is home to horses, elks, bisons, deers, vicunas, polar bears and a healthy population of birds. After your drive through the main reserve, you can explore the rest of the park on foot where you’ll get to see more animals like the Amur tiger or a European wolf pack.
- Visit Scotland’s famous castles
Scotland is known for its beautiful castles and both you and your kids will surely love the experience of living out the pages of a fairytale. Glamis Castle is child-friendly and has a lot to offer both inside and out, Tantallon Castle and Dunnottar Castle have stunning coastal views and of course, Stirling Castle lets you experience a piece of history with its costumed characters and medieval garb that kids can wear. Your tots can even try playing musical instruments from the Renaissance era at the palace vaults.
Visiting Scotland with your family will definitely be an experience like no other, and with these activities on your list, each member of your family will surely have a grand time during your vacation. All you need to do is book those tickets, find accommodations and plan the rest of your trip.