Scotland Vacation Ideas | Ciao Bambino!

Scotland Vacation Ideas

  • When to Go

    Spring through fall

  • Trip Duration

    7-10 days

Whether you’re attracted to this magical place from seeing it on film, reading about it in books old and new, or hearing tales of battles throughout history, we’re here to tell you that Scotland holds just as much appeal for wee ones as it does for adults. Scotland’s wide-open spaces are a treat for explorers; its quaint towns and bustling urban life provide enticing variety. Pair a few days each in stately Edinburgh and brash Glasgow, the two major cities, for an engaging contrast of history, tradition, arts culture and architectural gems. From there, you might head for the Highlands to take in the castles and moors, or to the rugged, little-populated islands on Scotland’s western coast. Just be sure to set aside plenty of days to experience the country at its fullest — Scotland is large and drive times can be long, though scenic.

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Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Loch Lomond, Scotland, UK

Perthshire RFC, North Inch, Perth, UK

Inverness, Scotland, UK

Oban, Scotland, UK

Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

Ayrshire, Scotland, UK

Kick Off Your Trip: Edinburgh

Most travelers come to Scotland in search of dramatic landscapes rather than a vibrant urban experience. And yet Edinburgh quickly climbs to the top of favorite European cities for those lucky enough to spend a few days here, perhaps because unexpected delights greet guests at every nook and cranny found along the Royal Mile that runs through the heart of the city. The ancient and imposing Edinburgh Castle presides over the Old Town from its hilltop perch; its daily afternoon cannon blast mingles with the sounds of bagpipe buskers far below.

Sample Activities

Walking Tour

Explore with a family-friendly guide who offers expert insight into the history of this magnificent city, which has served as Scotland's capital since the 15th century.


St. Andrews Day Trip

A driver will take your family to this nearby golf mecca, a charming university town fringed by beautiful beaches.


Castle Tour

Learn about the secrets and tumultuous past of the mighty Edinburgh Castle as an expert guide takes you inside its stone walls.


Food Tour

Sample classic Scottish cuisine like haggis, neeps and tatties, and more on this odyssey through culinary Edinburgh.


Loch Lomond

This gorgeous area is considered an entry point into the Highlands that stretch to the north. Families love the convenience of traveling to a new region from Edinburgh or Glasgow without having to drive for hours — it’s even close enough for a day trip. Part of the Trossachs National Park, Loch Lomond’s surrounding forests and waterfalls are strikingly beautiful; golden eagles, otters and other wild creatures thrive in this natural paradise. Family-friendly accommodations, active outdoor pursuits and charming villages further entice visitors to spend a couple of days

Sample Activities

Boat Cruise

The glens and moors of this stunning natural area are best viewed from the water via a private cruise around the loch.


Stirling Day Trip

A guide will drive you to this hub of Scottish history, where Robert the Bruce and William Wallace roamed famous battlefields.


Trossachs Hike

Let a kid-friendly naturalist lead you on a hike through Trossachs National Park, tailored for your family's ages and abilities.


Kayak Excursion

Join your guide for a paddle around Loch Lomond, keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way.


Inverness

What young visitor to Scotland hasn’t dreamed of spotting Nessie? Beyond her famous namesake loch and the ruins of Urquhart Castle reflected in the water, this gorgeous area caters to visitors from around the world who come for the folklore but stay for the beauty and family fun. Step into history at Culloden Battlefield, site of one of the fiercest clashes ever fought on Scottish soil, or peruse military regalia at the 18th-century Fort George. When it’s time for a rest, the idyllic countryside beckons you to sit and simply take in the view.

Sample Activities

Speedboat Ride

Even if Nessie doesn’t appear, zipping around the loch on a speedboat will more than make up for her absence.


Sheep Dog Experience

Sheep dogs are an essential part of Scottish agriculture, so don’t miss a chance to interact with them and watch them work.


Fly Fishing Lesson

Experience the water in a hands-on way thanks to the great fly fishing conditions in this region.


Battlefield Tour

An expert guide brings to life the story of Culloden Battlefield, a pivotal point in the Jacobite Rising of the 18th century.


Western Scotland

Choose from charming spots like Oban or Fort William as a home base for a few days and partake of Scotland’s best coastline and rugged mountains. Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train (a.k.a. the Hogwarts Express), especially as it chugs across the soaring Glenfinnan Viaduct seen in the films. Carved by glaciers over the millennia, Glencoe — one of the most jawdropping valleys in a country rife with dramatic scenery — makes for a spectacular outdoor excursion.

Sample Activities

Sea Life Spotting Cruise

Get out on the water and examine the creatures that call the Scottish coast home, such as harbour seals and seabirds.


Highland Safari

The bumps are part of the thrill as you head deep into the Scottish landscape on an all-terrain vehicle.


Ben Nevis Hike

Up for an adventure? Traverse the slopes of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland.


Glencoe Tour

Travel by car with a private guide to explore this arresting valley, including a stop in the village of the same name.


Isle of Skye

Skye is the most northern of the Hebrides Islands that run along Scotland’s western coast, well worth a stay if you have at least two full weeks in the country. Families will enjoy the journey to this lovely island as much as the destination, and upon arrival, you’ll be treated to lush landscapes and incredible views everywhere you look. Just before you cross the bridge to Skye from the mainland, you’ll encounter Eilean Donan, one of the most famous castles in Scotland, which stands on a tiny island amid an impossibly scenic loch.

Sample Activities

Fairy Pools

Experience “wild swimming,” a uniquely Scottish adventure, in these mystical pools.


Hiking Trails

Entice children along the seaside paths with promises of lighthouses, waterfalls, castles and coastal scenery.


Highland Cattle Experience

Get up close with Scotland's adorable Highland Cattle on a guided local farm tour.


Castle Visit

A guide escorts you to Eilean Donan Castle, sure to capture little imaginations with its moody and mystical waterfront setting.


To Know Before You Go

  • There are activities for children of all ages in Scotland, but some outdoor adventures may have minimum age or size requirements.
  • Summer temperatures may be quite cool (similar to spring and fall). If visiting Edinburgh in August, the popular Fringe Festival draws huge crowds to the city. In winter, you can expect snow, especially in the northern areas or higher elevations. Be prepared for rain year-round with waterproof jackets and shoes.
  • If you plan to rent a car, be aware that drivers in Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, drive on the left side of the road. Some areas are quite remote, with few stops for fuel or food, so plan your journey thoroughly in advance.
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