Visiting Scotland with kids!

...people to see. Well, not really. More like 'we went to the Umbrella Museum in Ashby de la Zouch and it was GREAT.' If there is such a thing, that is.

Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby Brigitte » 29 Dec 2013, 05:19

Well folks, it looks like 2014 might be the year that we get to visit our sister-in-law and brother-in-law who live in St. Andrews! Our kids will be ages 3 and 1, so we will be looking for very low-key, accessible and enjoyable activities for all. Any suggestions? Parks? Indoor spaces where kids can run around and explore?

My husband wants to spend a day or two in Glasgow to see various architecture and design-related things, so the kids and I may need to find a few kid-friendly things to do there instead. I would love to see some countryside or highlands or whatever it takes to get a feel for the landscape of Scotland. The wilder the better, but then again not too complicated a journey for the kids. Camping would be great, but we would have to rent or borrow the gear as we're obviously not going to bring our stuff on a transatlantic flight. Also, my husband and I tend to seek out astronomy-related things when we travel, like nice dark skies for our own observing, or current scientific observatories/labs, or interesting space museums, etc. Maybe an ancient site similar to Stonehenge?

What would you guys recommend? Feel free to recommend either casual kid-friendly things to do or places to stay, or must-see-at-all-costs things that would require our kids to be a bit more flexible.

And no, we're not interested in golf. Sorry. (My BIL is very much into golf. Good thing he's the one who lives in St. Andrews.)

Edited to add: I know our siblings can recommend all sorts of good local activities, but they don't have kids so may not know the good spots for children. Also, my husband has been to London before, but the girls and I have never been to the UK at all, so even some generic British experiences (not specific to Scotland/St. Andrews) might be good fun.
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby KatGoldLIN » 29 Dec 2013, 07:11

So, St Andrews is filled with stuff to do. THere is a great park at West Sands, my kids love crabbing at the harbour and Janetta's ice cream is a must. ALso, head up to Tentsmuir, a few miles up the coast for a quite nice beach + forest. In Cupar, just a few miles down the way, there is a great ceramics cafe that has a softplay and loads of seating. Fab for kids. The park in Cupar is great.

In Glasgow, Kelvingrove is nice, there is a great park just outside and the museum itself is ok (but not as good as the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh which is phenomenal). The Riverside museum is the transport museum in Glasgow and is lovely (but usually very busy). The Science centre is nearby, but it costs to go in (lots of museums in the UK are free).

Re: landscape and camping - there is lots and lots and lots - it kind of depends on your jumping off point and how far you are willing to travel and what you want in landscape - I am a mountain girl (being from Iowa, they still amaze me). From Glasgow, the Island of Aran isn't far (an hour to the port by train, then a 30 minute ferry). It is beautiful, has loads to do, great for kids and you do get a feel for what highlands are like, plus kids flip over the ferry. There are a couple of nice hostels on the island. There will also be loads closer to St Andrews and the East Coast, but we almost always tend to head West.

If you are stuck for camping gear, give us a shout closer to the time, we are about an hour north of Glasgow and have plenty (though it is an enormous bell tent, so you'd need a fair amount of room to put it up). That said, there will be campsites that have some sort of pre-standing units - the Strathfillan wigwams are supposed to be nice.
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby madcatmummy » 29 Dec 2013, 08:34

Good info there from Kat. I don't know much of St Andrews having only visited one evening for a wedding. I'm more of an Edinburgh girl myself having spent 5 years at Uni there and now living quite close.

Firstly a trip to would give you some good information.

For a feel of the Scottish landscape you are probably thinking of the Highlands. An easy point of entry into this fabulous landscape is Aberfoyle. There are a few lochs around there - Loch Ard and Loch Katrin being very close. Also further north there is Aberfeldy near Loch Tay. All very beautiful. Depending on the time of year you may be sharing the beautiful landscape with the infamous Scottish midge. Ouchie!!

As Kat says the museums are always good for entertaining the kids and usually free too.

Enjoy your planning, it really is a beautiful country!
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby KateGladTidings » 10 Jan 2014, 10:01

Hmm mm....Looks like we might be visiting St Andrews inthe summer too! Anyone up for a meet?!
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby KatGoldLIN » 10 Jan 2014, 10:02

Kat
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby fourweewonders » 10 Jan 2014, 10:15

My parents took b and e 2 years ago, when the twins where new, b still talks about the highland wildlife park and the loch ness boat ride they went on
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby Louisianablue2000 » 10 Jan 2014, 20:47

For a taste of the Highlands, head up to The Hermitage in Dunkeld. http://www.nts.org.uk/property/hermitage/ Depending when you visit you might even see the salmon jumping. The walk is easily accessible for little kids, there's a Folly, the tallest tree in Scotland and a picnic area.

You might like Deep Sea World in North Queensferry http://www.deepseaworld.com/ It's really good for LOs.

Summer in Scotland isn't the best time for astronomers thanks to the long days but you might still be interested in The Royal Observatory in Edinburgh http://www.roe.ac.uk/vc/ You'd have to plan a visit, you can't just pop in, it's part of the University.

Being from the New World you'd no doubt enjoy a visit to a castle. Stirling Castle (http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/) is more fun that Edinburgh and the location has all the drama you could want. Or Glamis Castle (http://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/) is well worth a visit. As a teenager I remember enjoying the tours but the gardens might be more fun for your LOs. Further into the Highland Blair Castle http://www.blair-castle.co.uk/ is also very romantic and has fabulous gardens.
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby FestiveTidings » 11 Jan 2014, 18:30

Cheers LBK2! That's my staycation for this year sorted :D
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby KatGoldLIN » 11 Jan 2014, 18:39

yes, totally second the Stirling Castle better than Edinburgh Castle. Plus Disco and I are v close to Stirling and if you are a monty python fan, Doune Castle is just up the road. Def worth a visit.
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby Brigitte » 12 Jan 2014, 04:32

Thanks so much for all the tips! Keep 'em coming!
I love my kiddos! Two April girls (2011 and 2013) and a May boy (2016). I guess we have spring babies in this family.
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby Binkie » 10 Mar 2014, 15:40

Auchingarrich wildlife park is a lovely place to go for a day out and an ideal place for children (and adults) you can even feed the animals!
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Re: Visiting Scotland with kids!

Postby oriel » 10 Mar 2014, 17:01

St Andrews has a great beach, but there's an even better one just along the coast at Tentsmuir Sands. Lovely bit of forest, some history, and a chance of seeing seals. Scone Palace has some quite fun stuff on.

I'd be well up for a meet!
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