A Tour of Scotland with Kids

Edinburgh Castle. Photo from iStock.com/Roll6

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. The list of Scotland family holiday ideas is as vast as the gorgeous views.

Best Things to Do in Scotland with Kids
Edinburgh Castle. Photo from iStock.com/Roll6

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.

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. On a rainy day, its one of our favorite things to do with toddlers in Scotland. 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.

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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. Photo by The Balmoral Hotel

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

72 hours in Edinburgh with kids

Best things to do in Glasgow with kids

Best luxury hotels in Scotland with kids

A taste of Adventures by Disney Scotland

A dream home base in rural Scotland with outdoor activities galore

Start a Discussion

  • Another important point is while you are traveling in the Highlands to bring some insect spray as the small insects (midges) can be really irritating and the bit although not dangerous is uncomfortable. And dress in layers!

  • Hi,

    We are planning to go to Edinburgh on November 28th with 1.5 years baby. We are interesting to go highland, castle and lochness as well. Could you please advise the suitable tour for us?

    • Hi Aries, thanks for using our site! We can book tours as part of our complete family vacation planning service. I’ll have a Family Travel Advisor get in touch via email to explain more about how we work. Enjoy your trip!

  • Hello
    My sister & I are planning a wee road trip in Scotland with our 5 kids
    boy 10
    girl 7
    girl 4
    boy 4
    & baby
    In August, we’ve done the East coast so keen to do a bit more maybe an Inverness starting point then ending back in in Glencoe and would majorly appreciate a pre-tried itinerary for travelling with kids in Scotland. Time wise 3/4/5 days worth

    • Hi Kim, sounds like a fun adventure! I’ll pass this along to our Family Travel Advisor team, and the right person will reach out in email to see if our planning service is a good fit. Happy travels!

  • Hi there ! We are planning a trip to Scotland in May with our 5 year old and 2 year old. Would you point us in the right direction ? Thanks !

    • Hi there! Planning a trip to Scotland in June with my family of 7/ 3 children (4yr, two 2yr olds) 4 adults. Looking for advice on best stops for then to run and enjoy the wilderness while still having fun visiting unique places. As well as the best affordable places offering larger room accommodations or catering to families as we’ll be traveling on a budget. Thanks!

      • Hi April, thanks for reaching out! One of our Family Vacation Advisors will be in touch via email to discuss next steps and how we can help with your plans. While our specialty is upscale to luxury accommodations, we do maintain a select list of more affordable properties. Best of luck with your travels.

  • Good day, We are staying in Edinburgh, Scotland this Dec. for 1 week with a 2.5 year old. Any tips and advise will be appreciated (what to wear, pram or baby carrier) and advise on kids friendly places to go to in Edinburgh and outside.

    • Hi Chandre, thanks for reaching out! We’d be glad to help. One of our Family Travel Advisors will get in touch via email and explain more about our trip planning service. Happy travels!

  • We have our 1.5 yrs baby coming with us to Scotland this February and would love to do loch ness, Glencoe and highland tour. Could you advise on how we can arrange this.

  • Hi,
    Me , my wife and our 2 year old daughter will be on our Scotland tour from 3rd Nov to 6th Nov ’18). Could you suggest a 3 days itinerary for us. we would like to visit Lochness, Isle of Skyee , is it advisable to visit during November ? if not what are the other options

  • Hi,
    Me , my wife and our 22 months old son will be on our Scotland tour(11th Aug -14th Aug ’18). Could you suggest a 3 days itinerary for us on an urgent basis.

  • Hi, my family and I are going next summer and my daughter will be 4.5.
    We love golf and are partially coming to play 3-5 courses, but also want fun for the whole family and especially my daughter. Can you help?

  • Hi
    We are a total of :
    Adults : 4
    Children : 2 ( both children between 6 – 7 Years of age )
    Infants : 2 (Infant 1 – 8 months old & Infant 2 – 1 Year 8 months )
    We want to book the Family 1 day tour of – Loch Ness , Glencoe & the Highlands on 20th June 2018 .
    Pls let me know the following :
    1. Are infants allowed on this tour ?
    2. Is car seat mandatory for infants on this tour ?

    • Hi Shagun – Your best bet is to reach out to the tour company directly to check availability. They can advise about age limitations and car seats. Best of luck and thanks for using our site!

  • We have our 1.5 yrs baby coming with us to Scotland this October and would love to do loch ness, Glencoe and highland tour. Could you advise on how we can arrange this

    • Hi Farah, absolutely, we can help with this. One of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Scotland will reach out in email to see how we can help. Happy travels!

  • we want to travel on the 18-22nd June with our 2 and half year old. please can you advise re itinerary – would like to go to Loch Ness, isle of Skye if possible. could you please email us over options
    many thanks

  • Hi ,
    I am planning to come with my family including 3 kids(9,14 and 3 Year old). Not many tour planners offer with less than 5 year old and the ones which have are very expensive. Can you please suggest

  • Hey, we are a family of three with a 14 months toddler. We plan to take a day trip from Edinburgh. Do you have anything in store for us?

  • I am planning a trip to Scotland with my 2 year old daughter and would be staying at Glasgow. Please advice

    • Hi Tony, thanks for using Ciao Bambino! We’ll have a Family Travel Advisor reach out in email to talk about how our service works and how we can help. Happy planning!

  • We will be travelling to Scotland in April/May with our 2.5 year old and would love some information on the best things to see/do in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and the Scottish Highlands… as well as the best way to go about it logistically in 10-14 days. Any information would be great! Thank you.

    • Hi Christie, we’d be glad to help! A Family Vacation Advisor specializing in the UK will reach out in email to talk about next steps. Thank you for using our site.

  • 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
    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 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
    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,
    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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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,
    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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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, 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, 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. 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

  • 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! 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?

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Leave a Reply

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