Both of my children love to be outdoors, we spend almost every day out and about. Over time we have visited a huge amount of attractions as within Scotland. So I thought it would be nice to collate all this information in one post, so locals or those visiting Central Scotland can have a few ideas of places to visit for family days out in Scotland with kids.
Most attractions are in Central Scotland, but there a few a little further afield, but all are worth visiting on a day trip from here. If you are looking for walks in the Stirlingshire or Trossachs areas then pop over to this post here.
I have also included links to any blog posts I have written about the attractions if you want to find out a bit more. Please also check out my more up-to-date post with 70 places for family days out in Scotland over here. You will find plenty of other amazing days out in Scotland through that link!
Without any further ado, here are 50 family days out in Scotland (In no particular order!).
Family Days Out In Scotland
1. Briarlands Farm Park, Stirling.
Beginning our list of family days out in Scotland, is Briarlands Farm. A farm park with an indoor play area, cafe, craft station and outdoors there are play areas, animal feeding and tractor rides. Plus strawberry picking in season.
2. Wellsfield Farm Park, near Denny.
Another farm park in a smaller area with go-karts, tubing, climbing frames and more outside, inflatables indoors, small cafe and more.
3. The Lodge, Aberfoyle.
Woodland walks with little activities hidden away for kids (or big kids), squirrel hide, cafe, visitor centre with wildlife cameras.
4. Fife beaches.
Fife has many fabulous beaches, our favourites are at Elie and Silversands, Aberdour. Check out our visit to Silversands here.
5. Wonderworld Softplay, Falkirk.
Recently refurbished and changed names from Monster Mania, which was a huge softplay with different areas for toddlers and older children, plus a go-kart track. We haven’t visited since it has been refurbished, but I imagine it’s still great fun for kids.
6. Doune Castle, Doune.
Things to do in Scotland have to include some castles and Doune Castle is a great one to start with. It’s a small Historic Scotland castle used in several films/TV programmes including Monty Python’s Holy Grail (they even have coconut halves in the shop to try out!) and recently Outlander. Check out Morna from Awesome Austerity’s post here.
7. Wallace Monument, Bridge of Allan.
Monument to Sir William Wallace, set in a lovely woodland. The monument had several floors (winding staircase to the top) with information and activities, great views from the top. Check their website for special events.
8. Stirling Castle, Stirling.
Things to do in Stirling have to include a visit to Stirling Castle! It’s a popular castle with loads to see and do for adults and kids alike, you can easily spend a whole day here. Cafe and shop at the castle.
9. Jupiter Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth.
It doesn’t look too much from the outside, but it’s a lovely woodland with several ponds and wildlife areas. Visit the centre when you arrive to pick up pond dipping kit or wild flower bingo and other activities for free. Check out our pond dipping here.
10. Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick.
A great day out for the family, lots to do for children in the Discovery centre and a lovely beach outside to play on too.
11. Isle of May, Anstruther.
Boat trips from Anstruther out to the Isle of May. A.K.A. Puffin Island. The most amazing island to visit if you want close encounters with Puffins and other sea birds.
12. Lomond Shores and Aquarium, Balloch.
An excellent aquarium (Check this post out for a review), beach area where you can hire pedalos, road train, playground and rides for kids. Areas to walk around, shops and cafes.
13. Riverside Museum, Glasgow.
Free to enter, Scotland’s transport museum with a cobbled street and tram, trains, cars, bikes, underground train area to look at up close. Various interactive features around the museum. Cafe and shop.
14. Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow.
This is on my list to visit this summer. The science centre has 100’s of interactive exhibits, a planetarium and giant IMAX theatre. Plus they have different events throughout holidays and at weekends.
15. Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, Bo’ness.
Steam railway, check times of trains before you go. A lovely museum to visit with old steam trains, moving model trains in an old carriage, shop and cafe. Often have special ‘Thomas’ Big Day Out’ and at Christmas there are Santa trains.
16. Bass Rock, North Berwick.
Boat trips around the rock, watching the hundreds of thousands of sea birds flying to and from the rock. There are often seals to see as well.
17. Bracklinn Falls, Callander.
A lovely walk along to a beautiful waterfall. You can just walk to the bridge and back or go a little further along other woodland paths or have lunch on the pebble’y’ shores.
18. Loch Katrine, Brig of Turk.
Bring your own bikes or hire them and cycle along the road around one side of the loch, if you get all the way to the end you can catch the steam boat back to the car park. Steam boat trips from the car park area and a lovely walk with amazing scenery around the loch. Check out this post for a few photos.
19. Little Drum Wood, Between Kilmahog and Brig of Turk.
A gorgeous woodland with lots of features for kids to splash, bang, hide and be creative with. Check this post out for more photos and a video.
20. Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk.
The world’s only rotating boat lift, used to lift canal boat up to a height that normally would take many locks. There is also a fabulous cafe, shop and a children’s water park area. Plenty for the kids to do in the water play area even if you don’t go on the wheel itself. I’ve written all about our Falkirk Wheel visit here.
21. The Kelpies and Helix Park, Falkirk.
The Kelpies are two massive sculptures of horse heads located just off the M9. There are tours available of the Kelpies and you can even go inside one as part of the tour. The helix park includes many walkways that are great for bikes and scooters, a play park, small loch with canoes and pedal boats available for hire and various little food vans and cafes. Check out my post here for more info.
22. Inchmahome Priory, Lake of Mentieth, Port of Mentieth.
We’ve been along the shores of Lake of Mentieth, but we’re yet to visit Inchmahome Priory, the main attraction. This priory is situated on a small island in the middle of the lake (Scotland’s only lake) and is where Mary Queen of Scot’s spent a few weeks as a child when there was a possibility of an English invasion. Interesting history and a beautiful island to visit along with a picnic.
23. Loch Lomond Islands, Loch Lomond.
I visited several of the islands in my early twenties as a volunteer and with my husband (then boyfriend) when he worked on some of the islands. You can get trips out to the islands from various points around the loch, some islands have basic campsites, some inhabited and others not. One island, Inchconnachan even has resident wallabies!
24. Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.
Beautiful gardens that adults and kids can run around and explore, bring a picnic in nice weather although there is also a cafe. You need to pay to enter the glasshouses, but they are well-kept and worth paying a little to help with the upkeep of the gardens.
25. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.
There is so much to see at the museum that you’ll probably just want to focus on certain areas of interest. Everything from the story of how our planet and creatures formed, world cultures and the story of Scotland. There are also various areas aimed at children, plus a cafe and shop.
26. Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh.
There are a whole host of animals (as you would expect!) from Giant Panda’s to penguins, there is plenty to keep kids and adults entertained. Various talks and close encounters are held throughout the day. There are various eateries and a shop.
27. Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh.
Arthur’s seat is the remnant of volcanic activity millions of years ago and sculpted by ice in the last ice age. It was once used as a Royal Pleasure Park and before this there was an iron age hill fort on the peak. Now it’s open to everyone and you can explore the grssland, climb to the top and have amazing views over Edinburgh and watch the ducks and other birdlife on Duddingston Loch.
28. Bannockburn Heritage Centre, Stirling.
Learn about the historic battle of Bannockburn, from battle preparation to the battle itself, lead by the Battlemaster through a state-of-the-art 3D battle simulation.
29. Almond Valley Farm, Livingston.
A museum, farm and discovery centre. There are a large variety of animals to meet, trailer ride, narrow gauge railway, outdoor and indoor play areas, interactive displays and activities in the museum and delicious food from the milk bar. Definitely somewhere that we must visit very soon!
30. Blairdrummond Safari Park, Stirling.
When you first come in you can choose to go round the drive through safari and then park to walk around the rest of the site. There are a large variety of animals to see, including a boat ride to the chimp island and a petting farm. There is also a large pirate ship play park, amusements and eateries.
31. Macrobert Arts Centre, University of Stirling.
They have kids showings of various films and even a parent and toddler showing, where it doesn’t matter if your littlest is running around! There are also productions throughout the year, some of which might be suitable for kids.
32. The Peak, Stirling.
A large sports village where you can go swimming (including toddler pool and a shallow learning pool), ice skating, jump on a Pirate ship bouncy castle, go to trampolining, dance and football classes, plus lots more. Check out their website for times and dates of activities.
33. Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay.
An indoor exhibit on the history of Crannog’s and underwater archaeology, a guided tour of a reconstructed crannog and a variety of demonstrations of ancient crafts and technology. This is best for kids 4+, but younger children are welcome too.
34. Firpark Ski Centre, Tillicoultry.
Try out skiing, snowboarding or tubing with the kids on this 120m dry ski slope. A little hard to find, hidden behind a local school, but fun for the kids, phone to book.
35. The Tall Ship, Glasgow.
The Tall Ship, Glenlee, is docked behind Riverside transport museum. There are information boards around the ship, although we haven’t yet had time to read them due to the children’s toddler soft play area and various child friendly activities on the bottom deck. The ship is free to enter, although you can pay £4 for a guidebook to help in the upkeep of the ship.
36. Castle Rednock Trekking, Port of Mentieth.
Pony trekking, segway trekking, quad pods, orienteering and wellie boot course. Activities suitable from 3+ years old.
37. World of Wings, Cumbernauld.
Scotland’s largest collection of bird’s of prey. Birds can be viewed at close quarters and summer flying times are 12 noon and 3pm.
38. M&D’s Theme Park, Motherwell.
Scotland’s theme park, with 5 white knuckle rides and over 20 kids rides and attractions. There is also a glow-in-the-dark bowling area, soft play and restaurants.
39. Doon Hill Fairy Knowe, Aberfoyle.
A lovely walk from the village of Aberfoyle to the mystical Doon Hill, where there are fairy houses and doors along the path. The trees at the top are coloured ribbons and wishes to the fairies. Definitely read the story of Robert Kirk before going!
40. Time Capsule, Coatbridge.
A water park with rapids, hair-raising rides, lazy river and a gentle cove for little ones. There is also an ice rink, 3-tier soft play area and 2 cafes.
41. Broadwood Stadium Soft Play, Cumbernauld.
A small soft play with areas for babies/toddlers and older children. Alongside is a little cafe area.
42. Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge.
A half kilometre electric tram track featuring shiny restored trams, adventure play park, recreated mine and miners cottages, kids can dress up in traditional clothing too if they like. Free entry, aside the tram ride (approx. £1).
43. Mugdock Country Park, Milngavie.
A fantastic country park with lots to do. There are walks, cycle paths, trails (including a lovely scavenger hunt for younger children), visitor centre, play park and adventure trail. There are several lovely craft shops and eateries as well.
44. Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Glasgow.
Beautifully laid out gardens, fun for a play and wander around. Take a picnic or eat at the cafe there.
45. Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, Comrie.
A lovely wildlife park that has plenty of animals to visit, talks, animal feeding, indoor and outdoor play areas for the children, mini golf, pony rides and a great cafe.
46. Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow.
Another great Scottish country park with miles of trails and paths to walk, cycle and run. There is an adventure play area and orienteering maps available.
47. Doune Ponds Nature Reserve, Doune.
A reclaimed sand and gravel quarry, with 3 large ponds and a variety of wildfowl. An easy walk for children around the ponds and feeding the ducks. I mention this reserve here.
48. Go Ape, Aberfoyle.
Two 400m long zip wires over a spectacular waterfall and beautiful forest. Tree top adventure, climbing, swinging and jumping in the trees. So much fun!
49. Amazonia, Motherwell.
Indoor tropical rainforest beside M&D’s theme park. There are handling sessions, interactive exhibits, feeding and talks.
50. Loch Drunkie, Aberfoyle.
An easy woodland walk beside the loch with several musical installations including a giant glockenspiel and wooden bell-ringing pavilion.
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An updated list with another 70 places for family days out in Scotland can be found over here.