A Tour of Scotland with Kids

With its spectacular landscapes, dramatic ruins, wild coastal beauty and wealth of culture, Scotland offers so many tempting possibilities that it can feel daunting to choose. The good news? That also means it’s hard to go wrong. Our top itinerary suggestion for first-time visitors pairs a few days of immersion in Edinburgh’s ancient past and modern-day buzz with a retreat to the rural Highlands for a taste of life in the countryside and an eyeful of some of the most stunning scenery on the planet.

Scotland with Kids

Edinburgh Castle presides over the city below. Photo by Allan Watt

Things To Do in Scotland with Kids


If you have time for only one Edinburgh attraction, make it Edinburgh Castle. Hunkered down on a hilltop, this behemoth presides over the city with all the gravitas of its 1,000-plus-year history. You can take as much time as you like to explore the castle and its museums, but plan on at least one and a half to two hours to get a thorough overview. Try to catch the firing of the One O’Clock Gun, which has gone off every day (except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday) since 1861.

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Afterward, make a stop at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, a 19th-century funhouse right next to the castle that’s filled with mazes, optical illusions, holographs and other interactive fun. Its namesake and showpiece is an old-fashioned camera obscura through which you can peer at the streets below. Or see the Museum of Childhood, a quick but fun — and free — detour on the Royal Mile that highlights the evolution of toys over the years. If the kids are game for a more intensive museum visit, pop into the National Museum of Scotland. The collection is vast and eclectic, but excellent kids’ programs and cool interactive activities help younger ones get the most out of it.

TIP: If you have two or three days to spare between the city and the Highlands, spend them at Gleneagles, located in the countryside about 60 miles northwest of Edinburgh. This magical luxury retreat is bliss for all ages, offering a nearly endless list of family-friendly activities: pony trekking, fishing, biking, falconry, a gundog school, indoor games, a toy-filled playroom, a teen lounge and many more. Parents, meanwhile, will be partial to the spa, the golf course and the first-rate onsite dining.

Scotland with Kids

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. Photo by Gavin Brownlie

Inverness and the Scottish Highlands

A few hours’ drive west of Edinburgh, Inverness — a hub of the Scottish Highlands — makes a convenient base for one of this region’s signature sights: Loch Ness. Reserve a spot on a Jacobite Cruises boat tour to cruise the waters and keep an eye out for the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Although parents may or may not buy into the Nessie lore, kids will get a kick out of searching for her with the radar monitor that combs the depths of the water. And the setting, with views of evocative Urquhart Castle (an optional stop), is a highlight for everyone.

For a totally unique glimpse into life in the Highlands, plus memorable time together as a family, book a lesson at Scottish Highland Art, deep in the countryside about 30 minutes from Inverness. Artist Ros Rowell welcomes guests to her cozy studio and does a fantastic job instructing families in different painting techniques, making sure they create pieces they’ll be proud to show off at home.

The classic Scottish itinerary includes a trip to the Isle of Skye or another of the Hebrides, and that’s certainly doable from Inverness. But for a more offbeat coastal excursion, drive north to Spey Bay for dolphin watching and strolling along the bay’s pretty beach. The Scottish Dolphin Centre has a staff of naturalists who can help you spot the sea creatures, plus a small educational center. On the way there or back, make time for a stop at Dunrobin Castle. It flies under the radar compared to big-name cousins such as Stirling and Eilean Donan, but its rooms and gardens are well worth touring, and its small museum displays a collection of taxidermy and Celtic stones.

The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh

Where to Stay in Scotland with Kids

Luxury-loving families will adore the iconic Balmoral Hotel as well as the Waldorf-Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. Both of these 5-star properties are located on Princes Street a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile, and both pamper guests in every imaginable regard. If you prefer an upscale serviced apartment with a full kitchen, opt for The Chester Residence, also in the heart of Edinburgh.

Loch Ness Country House Hotel, a short hop from Inverness, is a charming, slightly rustic choice for families exploring the Highlands. Comfy and intimate, with just 15 guest rooms, it offers rooms, suites and garden cottages, as well as lovely common spaces for relaxing over cup of tea or coffee. Kids especially will like the library of DVDs — older kids can settle in for a movie night while parents savor cocktails and couple time in the lounge.

Relevant Links:

Browse all-family friendly activities and destinations in Scotland with kids

Best luxury hotels in Scotland with kids

72 hours in Edinburgh with kids

A taste of Adventures by Disney Scotland

A dream home base in rural Scotland with outdoor activities galore


  1. Hi we have a 7 month old infant and we are keen to do isle of skyre tour please can you suggest the best way

      • hi Amie, can i also have your contact for the toddler-friendly scotland tour? we have our 20 months baby coming with us to Scotland this Dec and would love to do loch ness, glencoe and highland tour. thanks

  2. Hi Amie,

    Can i also have your contact for the toddler-friendly Scotland tour? we have our 2.5 yrs baby coming with us to Scotland this October and would love to do loch ness, Glencoe and highland tour.


  3. Hi! My husband and I and my 16 months would want to take a 3 day tour in Scotland in June. Can you please recommend something for us?

  4. Ciao!
    I will be traveling with two children: 2.5 y/o and 7 y/o. I’d like to be contacted by a Scotland focused family travel advisor please. Thank you!

      • Hi,
        I am planning to reach Edinburgh on 25th Sep and want to go for some places in Scotland. Could you please suggest some places or tour packages which allows 10 months baby in it. I am coming with my wife and my 10 months baby.
        My mail id: [email protected]

        • Hi there, and thanks for using Ciao Bambino! We’ll have a Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out in email to help.

  5. Hi. We are an Indian family of four, 2 adults and our 2 children aged 16 &8 yrs. We are planning to fly straight to Edinburg fromNew Delhi this June and cover the best of Scotland in 4-5 days. Then we plan to head onwards to Brussels, London, Paris and end our European escapade withSwitzerland. Can one of your local experts help us in planning our trip? Much thanks

    • Hi Tandons – Thank you for your message. One of our Family Vacation Advisors specializing in those destinations in Europe will reach out in email to help. Happy Planning! -Amie

  6. Hi
    Interested in recommendations for travel with two and half year old in Scotland around july

    • Hi Angela – We’re happy to help! Our Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland will reach out to you in email. Happy planning!

  7. Hi. Can u help me out with recommendations to travel with 5 year old in the month of April -may

    • Hi Sanam – Absolutely! Our Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland will reach out in email to see how we can help. Thanks!

  8. Hi, I and my wife were planning to visit Scotland with our 2yrs old daughter. Would love to get some help in arranging our plans for this July. Thanks

    • Hi Ryan – We’re happy to help! One of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland will reach out in email. Thanks!

  9. Hi, we are travelling to Scotland with a 5.5 year old boy in June/July for a week, can you please help us plan our trip considering there’s a child with us
    Thank you

    • Hi Patel – Absolutely. One of our Family Travel Planners specializing in Scotland will be in touch via email. Happy planning!

  10. Hi Lisa,
    We would be in London from May 24 to June 2 n plan a Scotland tour of 3 days. We are a couple accompanied by ouy 2.25 yr old son.

    • Hi Prashant, one of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland will reach out in email to see how we can help. Thanks!

  11. Hi Lisa,

    We are here in Edinburgh right now with our 14 Month Old daughter. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We are having a hard time finding ways to take kids this age through tours or even dining for Dinner. We will be here for the next 4 weeks so we have time to look into any suggestions.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Felix – Thanks for using Ciao Bambino! Our focus is on full itineraries and accommodations. If you’d like help booking hotels and activities, we can have a Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out in email.

  12. Hi lisa,
    We would be travelling to scotland for 4 nights in june with our 6 year old daughter can you pleasevhekp us plan our itenary with some stay at farm bookings.

    • Hi Ami, one of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland will reach out in email to talk about next steps. Thanks and happy planning!

  13. Hi I am planning to travel with my Kid 2 years old in Scotland for a short tour in June.Can you recommend the places to visit and the option of transport please ?

    • Hi Somnath – thanks for using Ciao Bambino! One of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland will reach out in email. Happy travels!

  14. Hi,

    I’m visiting Edinburgh with my family on 20 May 2017 with 1 year old baby and would like to make a day trip to highland, Glancoe and Lochness.

    Could you please advise on the family support tours?


    • Hi Charlie, thanks for using Ciao Bambino! We work with several local family-friendly companies who offer tours – I’ll have a Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out in email to discuss options.

  15. Plan to visit the highlands with a 10 month old baby in July – from Cairynryan. Can someone please contact me with suggestions for a base location? Thanks

    • Hi Louise – We’ll be glad to help! A Family Vacation Consultant specializing in Scotland will reach out in email. Enjoy your travels!

  16. Hi,

    I’m visiting Edinburg with my family on June 8, 2017 with 2 year old and would like to make a 2 day trip to highland, Glancoe , Lochness, Fort williams etc
    Could you please advise on the family support tours?


    • Hi Manali – We can help with tours as part of our comprehensive vacation planning service. I’ll have a Family Vacation Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out via email and explain more about how we work. Thank you!

  17. Hi. I’m traveling to Scotland with my husband and 2 year old daughter fro 17-23 June 2017. We intend to base ourselves out of Edinburgh, but I haven’t been able to find any tours that take us to the surrounding areas that allow toddlers – can you please help?

  18. Hi,

    I am planning to Visit Scotland this late June. The problem I am facing is that all the bus tours are not ready to take along with my 6 months old Infant daughter.
    Can you suggest me any bus tour guides who will allow it. We are not weighing private cab tours because of our budget constraints.

    Please suggest.

  19. Hi we will be traveling with our 22 month old daughter to Scotland from July 19-25 and would love some help with going to and getting around the Highlands and Loche Ness!

  20. Hi,

    We are planning to visit Scotland by end of june for 5d/4n with two kids 16 month n 9 yrs. Can you suggest good bus tour guide who is ready to take kids along as most of the travellers are not allowing kids.
    Please suggest

  21. Hi,

    I am planning to visit Edinburgh this year in the end of june. I am travelling with a a 1.5 years old child and looking for a tour company that will allow young toddlers too. Could you suggest someone?


    • Hi Sunny – Thanks for reaching out! Our focus is on providing full itineraries for parents traveling with kids rather than standalone tour and activity recommendations. If we can be of help with a more comprehensive trip plan, please let us know!

  22. Hi
    We are 4 adults travelling to Edinburgh for a 4 day holiday in August. We will have a 9 month old baby with us. We would like to go for a day tour in the Highlands. Any suggestions please? Thanks

    • Thank you MaryAnne for your using Ciao Bambino as a family travel resource! We have sent you a message about your inquiry. Happy travels!

  23. Hello,

    I am interested to travel Scotland and England from London with my wife and 3 year old Daughter in October, 2017. Please provide details.

    • Hi Gaurav! Thank you for using Ciao Bambino as a travel resource! We’ll have one of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland and England reach out in email. Happy planning!

  24. hi,
    we are travelling with 2 kids..
    one is an infant (1yr) and other one 4 yr old.
    can u let us know if there are any 3day tour in scotland for the same.
    please contact me on [email protected]


    • Hi Sahil – Thanks for reaching out! A Family Travel Advisor will be in touch via email to talk about next steps. Happy travels!

  25. Hi

    We are planning for a trip to Edinburg between 26th Oct (reaching night 11:30) till 29th (by around 6:30 PM – tour you may end by dropping us on Edinburgh Waverley station)) and looking for an all-inclusive package (accomodation and travel). We are 2 family, as in 4 adult and 2 kids (of 3 year and 2 year old). Can you please provide a option to cover best places in these 3 days with a cost? We haven’t decided the places to cover and would like your advice over same. 

    For accommodation, we would need 2 separate twin or double room.

    Looking forward for your response.

    • Hello Aniket, thanks for using Ciao Bambino. We’ll have a Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out in email to see how we can help with your plans.

  26. hi I am travelling with 5 month old and would like to do a tour of the highlands with my mom and the baby. my mom wants to see Eilean Donan Castle

    • Hi Joy, are you currently traveling or planning for the future? Let us know, and we’ll have the right Family Travel Advisor reach out in email to help. Thanks!

  27. I would like more information about traveling with a 1 year old and two adults please 🙂

    • Hi Monica! Thanks for using Ciao Bambino. We’ll have a Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland reach out in email. Best wishes!

  28. Hi
    My husband n me are planning to go to scotland at the end of November 2017 with my 2.5 years old daughter.we are staying in Portsmouth now.we don’t want whole day tour…we want three days tour but 3 to 4 hours in a day for the sake of my baby…is it possible ? Please let me know as soon as possible

    • Hi Soma, thanks for using Ciao Bambino! A Family Travel Advisor specializing in Scotland will reach out in email to talk about next steps. Happy travels!

  29. We are attending a wedding in Aberdeen July 24/25 2018 and would like to take our then 1.5 and 4.5 yo kids with us. Could you help us plan logistics and a great vacation?

    • Hi Jenny, thanks for reaching out. We’d be happy to help – one of our Family Travel Advisors will contact you in email about next steps. Best of luck!

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