Places To Visit In Scotland Summer Holidays 2020
Scotland has plenty of free places to visit, from beautiful mountains and lochs to stunning white sand beaches. If you are looking for the best beaches to visit check out this post here, I’ve listed all the Scottish country parks in this post (please check each parks link to see if car parks are definitely open) and if you want to try some wild swimming or paddling in Scotland then this is the post for you.
Not all Scottish campsites will be open this summer and many won’t have facilities, you may also need to book in advance. Have a look at this post for some of the camping and glamping sites we would recommend. Alternatively there are plenty of self catering properties that will be open. This post has more information about some great self catering properties in Scotland.
For more information about tourist attractions that are open around Scotland, have a read below. Please note that many places still remain closed, including Historic Scotland properties, museums and children’s indoor play areas. I will update this if they are to open during the summer period.
Things To Do In Summer Stirlingshire
Opens on the 8th July to the general public (6-7th for season pass owners only). Some of the outdoor activities will be open although they haven’t specified which yet. Social distancing measures and hand washing facilities are as per government guidance and everyone will be expected to follow the rules of frequent hand washing and keeping a minimum of 2m away from other guests. Tickets will be able to be bought in advance soon (unsure if you will able to just turn up yet).
You can find more information and costs here.
Blairdrummond Safari Park
Blairdrummond Safari Park is now open to the public. There are strict one-way systems in place and certain areas will be temporarily closed. The restaurant and cafe’s will be take-away only and you’re welcome to make use of the open grass areas to have a picnic.
It’s recommended that you check out their new visitor information leaflet here prior to visiting. Tickets must be booked in advance as limited number of people will be able to visit each day.
The Wallace Monument
From the 15th July the Legends Coffee House will reopen for a takeaway service only. You can buy coffees, pre-packed cakes, snacks and ice cream, the gift shop will also be open on the same date. You can walk up to the monument and through the sculpture trail, but the monument itself will remain closed in July.
In August when lockdown is hopefully further eased the Wallace Monument should be able to open again. This will most likely be with pre-booked tickets and social distancing measures in place. Please keep an eye on their webpage for more information when it’s released.
Bracklinn Falls, Callander
The road to Bracklinn Falls was re-opened on the 3rd July and you can now visit the falls again. Please note that the car park is small and farm vehicles and residents further up the glen need access to the road, so please only park in designated car parking areas.
Bracklinn Falls is a beautiful waterfall with an architectural bridge crossing the falls. If you cross over and walk further up the path you will come to a rocky beach which is great for picnics and for kids to play on.
The Pineapple, Airth
The National Trust for Scotland has now announced that the Pineapple at Airth is now open, there is a small car park area, but no visitor facilities. The Pineapple shaped building structure is very instagrammable and there are walks around the gardens, woodland and a pond to spot wildlife. A lovely place to visit with family.
Go Ape Aberfoyle
On the 18th July Go Ape at Aberfoyle reopens with extra precautions. There will be limited group sizes and allowing for spaces between groups. Face coverings and gloves can be worn whilst on the course.
Little Drum Wood, Brig O’Turk
The car park at Little Drum Wood is open for public access. You can wander freely around the forest paths, enjoying the multiple sculptures around the woodland. You can check out one of my older posts here for more information this link here shows the location of the wood.
Bannockburn Heritage Centre
Although the Bannockburn visitor centre remains temporarily closed, you can enjoy the grounds and statues. There is a large area of grassy parkland behind the visitor centre along with a small woodland area.
Argaty Red Kites, Dunblane
Argaty opened on the 29th June and have a very limited service available. They are taking pre-bookings if you would like to visit, anyone turning up without a booking will be turned away. The Red Kites at Argaty are fed frequently and you can watch them landing and picking up food from the hides, a great spectacle to see!
Things To Do In Falkirk Summer 2020
Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre
According to Jupiter’s Facebook page they are planning a phased re-opening soon. There is no date given for the re-opening, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for it’s phased opening soon.
The Wheel itself and visitor centre are currently closed, as are the playground areas. However the outdoor catering services are open for takeaway and the car park is now open too. Keep an eye on their webpage for more information about other areas opening up.
Helix Park and The Kelpies
Helix Park is open for people to use, including the play parks (as of 29th June). The car parks are open and you can wander around the Kelpies and get takeaway food from the Horsebox cafe. However the visitor centre and toilets remain closed. You can find more out here.
Things To Do In Glasgow and Lanarkshire Summer 2020
Loch Lomond Shores and Aquarium, Balloch
Currently everything is closed at Loch Lomond Shores and the aquarium. However they will hopefully be opening soon and the Sea Life Centre aquarium has issued a notice that it’s preparing for re-opening soon. Keep an eye on their website here for more information.
The much loved Scottish transport museum is due to reopen at the end of the summer, in August. This information was taken from Glasgow Life here, however keep an eye on their website for confirmation of dates.
Mugdock Country Park
Mugdock Country Park have opened their large parkland and car parks. However the toilets remain closed, so please plan accordingly. Caulders garden centre is also open, however the restaurant and toilets are closed.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
The Glasgow botanic gardens are open, however the glasshouses remain closed and there are no toilets open. It’s still a great place to wander around looking at the outdoor plants.
Chatelherault Country Park
The 500 acres of countryside at Chatelherault are now open to the public, along with the car parks. You can also grab a takeaway from the cafe. However the toilets and other facilities are still closed, please bear this in mind when you visit.
New Lanark Heritage Centre and Falls of Clyde
Although the Heritage Centre is still closed, you can walk along the paths outdoors and buy a takeaway from the cafe inside. The falls themselves are particularly good when there’s been a lot of rain. Find out more about their Covid policies here.
Kelvingrove Museum is due to open the week beginning 17th August, although the exact date is to be confirmed. Check out the Glasgow Life web page here to keep up to date with re-opening.
Clyde Valley Farm Park
Clyde Valley Farm Park opened to visitors again on the 29th June. All the outdoor play equipment is now open to use, however indoor barns are still closed for the time being. There are new animal walkways, train safari and new farmyard crazy golf.
Things To Do In Edinburgh and The Lothians Summer 2020
You can now book to tickets to visit Edinburgh Zoo again, as of 29th June. You will need to book tickets in advance and stick to their one-way system around the zoo. Visitors will be encouraged to wear masks and certain walkways and indoor animal areas will not be open due to social distancing limitations. Some of the cafes will be open for takeaway with card payments only. You can read more about their safety measures here.
Deep Sea World
From the 17th July Deep Sea World will be reopening with certain safety measures in place. You can read more about these measures here, however they include the 2m spacing throughout the attraction and reduced talks and feeds. You will be able to buy tickets online in advance and this is recommended due to the limited number available each day. Staff will be wearing protective face masks and using protective screens, it’s recommended that visitors also wear face masks.
Beecraigs Country Park
The car park is open for Beecraigs, however the visitor centre remains closed, although you can buy takeaway food and drink. You can enjoy plenty of walks and cycles throughout the forest, although as it’s a popular area it may be more difficult to social distance. Toilets are not open as of yet.
As of 10th June Jupiter Artland has re-opened for pre-booked tickets. Limited tickets are available each day and you will be given a specific timeslot to reduce the number of people heading to the ticket office at each time. There are also 2m spacing for the cafe and silver streak, only card payments will be accepted at this moment and takeaway only, no seating. Toilets are open and have enhanced cleaning schedules. You can read more about Jupiter Artland’s Covid-19 measures here.
Five Sisters Zoo
From the 29th June Five Sisters Zoo is open again, but you must buy tickets in advance online. Indoor areas are closed (soft play and restaurant), but you can get takeaway from food kiosks around the zoo. There are plenty of hand washing facilities and one-way systems are in place. Toilets are open.
Archerfield Walled Garden
The garden, fairy trail, grounds, food market and gift shop at Archerfield walled garden are all open to visitors, you don’t need to book tickets in advance. The play park and courtyard reopen on the 6th July, the cafe on the 15th July and the bar on the 17th July. It will make for a great summer day out!
The current re-opening date for Camera Obscura is the 15th July with certain new measures in place. These include pre-booking online, card payments only in the attraction and plenty of signage and spacing throughout Camera Obscura. You can read more about their new measures here.
Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens
The botanic gardens are open again, however you must book a ticket in advance. Tickets are free and a maximum of 8 can be booked at one time. Entry time slots are allocated, although you can stay as long as you wish after you arrive. Glasshouses and cafe’s are still closed as per government guidance. You can book tickets and find out more here.
Almond Valley Heritage Centre
Almond Valley updated their Facebook page to let everyone know they will be re-opening on the 15th July for members and 18th for everyone else. There will be a one-way system around the outdoor areas, please check the Almond Valley map before leaving. Much of the museum will be closed due to the interactive features and indoor softplay areas will be closed. It’s a pre-booking only attraction due to limited numbers allowed to enter at any one time and card payments only once you are there. Toilets are open and the tearoom will be open with a reduced menu.
Family Days Out Summer 2020 Fife
Isle of May Boat Trips
Anstruther pleasure cruises are hoping to re-open on the 15th July in line with government guidance. This date is still provisional and limited numbers can be booked on each trip to allow for social distancing. This may make it even more pleasant visiting the island, as there will be a lot less people!
Things To Do In the Borders Summer 2020
St Abb’s Head
Although the nature centre is closed you can still visit the nature reserve from the car park. Toilet facilities are open Friday to Sunday only and are subject to a strict cleaning regime. You can find out more about St Abb’s Head here.
Beirhope Alpacas will be opening for pre-booked slots on the 15th July. There will be Alpaca walks and meet-a-paca, all hygiene facilities will be in place as per the guidance. The lead ropes will be changed and disinfected after each use, plus hand washing stations made available.
Paxton House gardens and grounds will be open from the 29th June. The car park will be open, although there are no food services or toilet facilities at the moment. The play park is expected to open soon, further information will be available when things change at the link above.
You can enter the grounds and gardens at Abbotsford from the 1st July, 10am-4pm every day except Sunday. They request a donation for entry for general upkeep. The cafe, shop and house remain closed, but they are hoped to have a phased re-opening soon.
You can enjoy the beautiful grounds and gardens at Traquair House from Friday 17th July, 10am-5pm. You will need to book ticket in advance to limit numbers and follow social distancing and hand washing guidelines.
Dawyck Botanic Gardens
The botanic gardens at Dawyck are now open and no pre-booking is required. Social distancing is required throughout the site, so please remember to keep 2m away from other people not in your group. Toilets are open and will be cleaned regularly, there are also additional portaloos. Some of the garden paths will also be one-way, visitors are asked to follow the signage.
Border berries fruit farm is open for PYO visitors, bring your own container and remember to socially distance and use the hand washing facilities. Toilets are open and you can get takeaway drinks and snacks (plus ice cream!) from the cafe.
Family Days Out Dumfries and Galloway Summer 2020
Threave Gardens and grounds re-open on the 6th July from Thursday to Monday 10am – 5pm. Pre-booking is advised as only limited numbers are allowed entry each day, so without a ticket you may be turned away. You are advised to keep 2m away from any other visitors and staff whilst at the property. There is no information to say whether toilet facilities are available.
Mabie Farm Park
Mabie Farm Park opened on the 1st July, a great place for the kids to get out and visit. However, donkey rides and quad bikes are not available due to lack of social distancing ability when using them. The tea room is open for takeaway
Glenwhan Gardens and Arboretum
The gardens are currently open to the public with an honesty box available for donations from visitors. The tearoom remains closed at the moment.
Although Crawick Multiverse site is not officially open, people can visit entirely at their own risk. There are no services available and entry fees, however you may occasionally see staff maintaining the sculptures and grassland.
Drumlanrig gardens are open from July to September, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm. Bookings need to be made online in advance and there are two time slots 11am-1pm and 1pm-3pm, adults are £3 and children are free. The adventure playground remains closed, as do the stables, tearoom and gift shop.
Galloway House Gardens
Galloway House Gardens is open for people to visit, please buy parking tickets at the metre in the car park and further donations are very welcome. Without the car park fees and donations there in money for the upkeep of the gardens.
Logan Botanic Gardens
The gardens are currently open for visitors, with car parks and toilets open. The cafe is available for takeaway and contactless payments are preferred.
Family Days Out In Ayrshire Summer 2020
Culzean Country Park
The country park at Culzean, cafe and shop will be open from Monday 6th July. However it doesn’t look like the adventure playgrounds or castle will be open yet. I am unsure whether toilets are open yet.
Brodick Castle Gardens and Country Park
Brodick Castle Gardens and Country Park will be open on Monday 6th July, however the castle will remain closed until April 2021. The gardens and country park will be open every Thursday to Monday 10am-5pm until December 2020.
Craufurdland Outdoor Activity Experience
The tree top trials (tree top ropes course) are open again, as of 29th June 2020. Several new measures have been put in place including 2m social distancing between groups, only 1 person per obstacle and 1 per platform and limited contact with instructor. Fly fishing and woodland walks are also available on site.
Dean Castle Country Park
Dean Castle Country Park opened on May 29th for local use and as of the 29th June the play park is also open. The visitor centre and rural life centre remain closed and no public toilets will be available. Please keep to social distancing guidance and wash hands frequently with hand sanitiser.
Dumfries House Estate
You can now visit Dumfries House Estate, opening on 6th July. The cafe, visitor centre, lodge and restaurant will all be closed, along with the play parks and maze. You will still be able to park in the car parks, providing there is space, parking will be monitored and cars turned away if full. The woodland walks and arboretum will be available for public use, along with the toilets located at the visitor centre.
Heads of Ayr Farm Park
The farm park is now open to the public, although indoor areas will remain closed. Limited numbers of people are allowed into the park at a time, so it’s recommended that you book online in advance. All indoor play areas and snack bars will be closed, however a limited takeaway service is available to eat on the picnic benches outside. Face masks are encouraged and hand washing stations are located throughout the park, find out more here.
There is a £5 car parking fee for Kelburn Estate. This gives you access to walks throughout the grounds. From the 15th July the walled garden, Wild West Saloon and adventure park will also be included in the parking fee. The Secret Garden will be included on the 15th July too and has an additional charge or £3 for adults and children over 3. The cafe and toilets are open with a one-way system for takeaway in the cafe.
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
According to the NTS website the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will open on the 13th August. This is likely to be subject to government guidance at the time. There is no further information available yet.
Perthshire Days Out Summer 2020
Active Kids Adventure Park
The Active Kids Adventure Park reopened on the 3rd July with online booking available. The soft play will remain closed and there is no indoor seating in the cafe. You can buy takeaway food to eat outside and there are plenty of hand washing stations around the site.
The Hermitage car park at Dunkeld opened on the 8th June, £3 per car (parking meters). You can access the forest along many paths and tracks and visit the beautiful Hermitage folly, which has a stunning view over the waterfall. I’m biased of course, we got married in the folly and I love the area!
Scone Palace opened their gardens and grounds on the 1st July for every Thursday to Sunday 10am -5pm. You can book tickets in advance and hot drinks and snacks are available to takeway and eat in the grounds.
You can enjoy Highland Safaris again from the 15th July, when they will be re-opening with various measures in place. These measures include booking online in advance to limit numbers, keeping 2m from others, washing hands frequently (hand washing stations are around the site), cards not cash and a one-way system through the site.
According to a post on their Facebook page dated 4th July Action Glen are now open again for business. You can zip through the trees, shoot and drive the quad bikes. I can’t find any further information on the measures put in place for safety from Covid-19.
Scottish Crannog Centre
The Scottish Crannog Centre web page only says they are currently closed. However, if you head over to their Facebook page there is an announcement that they will re-open on the 1st August. All tours are to be booked in advance.
Blair Castle Gardens
You will be able to head back to enjoy Blair Castle Gardens from the 15th July. Located near Pitlochry they are lovely place to visit for a picnic and day out in Perthshire.
The Black Watch Castle and Museum
You can look forward to visiting the Black Watch Castle and Museum in July. Their phased reopening includes the extended gift shop and a limited takeway service from 1st July, the outdoor courtyard cafe will be open on the 8th July and from the 15th July you can visit the museum and castle cafe. You can read more about their extensive new measures in place here.
Around Strathyre and Lochearnhead you will find lots of interesting sculptures on the Bliss Trail. Check out the map here for more information on where to find the sculptures in this area. It can make for a great day out sculpture hunting and a picnic by one of the lochs.
Cluny Gardens are open again for the public. They request that you be careful not to touch other cars in the car park and follow the one-way system around the gardens. You can find all their Covid-19 measures here.
Pottery painting is ready to restart at Crieff Ceramics on 15th July. The cafe will be open and pottery painting will be by appointment, please phone, email or message through Facebook to book. The play area will remain closed.
Auchingarrich Wildlife Park
They are currently planning to reopen on the 15th July according to their recently updated Facebook page. Keep an eye on the Auchingarrich social media for further updates about what will be open.
Comrie Croft Bike Trails
Comrie Croft is open again to the public. You can find the cafe (with delicious food!) open for service and the shop too (please wear masks indoors), which is great news for those who love visiting. The bike trails are all open, although please do keep to social distancing, which may be easier during the week when it’s less busy.
Highlands and Islands Days Out Summer 2020
Nevis Range Gondola
If you would like to head up the Nevis Range in a gondola you don’t have too much longer to wait. The gondolas re-open on the 15th July and you can book tickets for the gondola and mountain bike trails online.
Cairngorm reindeer will be open on the 15th July. Keep an eye on their website for further information about re-opening and booking tickets.
Cawdor Castle Gardens
You can book a week in advance to visit Cawdor Castle Gardens, however you cannot turn up with out a prior booking. All toilets, cafes and shops are closed, however you can walk around the gardens providing you adhere to social distancing.
In Moray you can visit the Logie Estate for walks in the grounds, use the kids play park and buy a takeaway from the cafe. Most of the shops are open at certain times, you can check when here. On the 15th July they are hoping to open up their indoor spaces again.
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
The much visited Dunvegan Castle Gardens will re-open on the 1st August. The opening will include the gardens and the gift shop in the cafe area. The castle will remain closed at this date but may re-open to small groups of no more than 10 later in the month if there is a further easing of lockdown. All other attractions on site will remain closed.
The Highland Wildlife Park
I’m sure many kids are excited that the Highland Wildife Park is now open again! Tickets MUST be booked online in advance, you can’t buy tickets at the entrance and only card payments will be taken at the cafe takeaway services. Extra cleaning measures are in place and one-way routes are in place. It’s also requested that visitors wear masks if possible.
The castle gardens are open to visit and you can also get takeaway food and drinks from the cafe, with outdoor seating opening on the 6th July and indoor seating on the 15th July. The play park is open and everyone is expected to socially distance.
Wester Hardmuir Fruit Farm
You can pick your own fruit again at Wester Hardmuir Fruit Farm. Please ensure you stick to government guidance about social distancing and hand washing.
Clan Macpherson Museum
According to the Clan Macpherson Museum website they are hoping to re-open on the 15th July. However there is no further information on opening.
The Inverewe gardens and Bothy cafe are open from the 15th July. You will need to buy tickets as normal at the entrance, no further details are shown about the site.
Family Days Out North East Scotland Summer 2020
You can currently visit Crathes Castle gardens and grounds, walking around the beautiful estate. It’s hoped that from the 14th August the castle, shop and cafe can open, although there is no guidance on what measures will be in place for this.
Located just South of Stonehaven, Dunnotar Castle is a fantastic castle found along a winding path and on a rock on the coast. The castle itself is easy to social distance (we had no problems finding space away from other last September before the pandemic!) and a great picnic spot on a sunny day!
You will need to book a time slot in advance of your visit, there is no entry without a time slot. Face coverings are requested if possible, particularly in enclosed areas.
You can visit Haddo House and gardens from the 6th July, although Haddo House, shop and tearooms will remain closed this season.
The gardens and grounds at Leith Hall will open to explore on the 6th July. The tearoom, shop and hall will remain closed this season. There are reduced fees for entrance into the garden area only.
As per the other NTS properties, Castle Fraser (one of Scotland’s largest tower houses) will re-open the gardens and grounds only. Unfortunately the castle won’t open again until February 2021. It still looks impressive from the outside!
Pitmedden Garden is a Scottish Renaissance walled garden with unique floral designs. Surrounding the garden are beautiful grounds with woodland walks to explore. The grounds are currently open, but there is no toilet and no access to any other facilities or he garden itself.
Just outside Aberdeen is Drum Castle with it’s historic rose garden and grounds. The castle is due to open on the 15th, along with the shop, tearoom and toilets. However you can still visit the rose garden and grounds from the 6th July.
Things To Do In Argyll and Bute Summer 2020
You are able to visit Arduaine Garden from the 6th July and the toilets are also open to use. Then from the 1st August the visitor centre will re-open for the public to visit. There are no cafe facilities available at Arduaine Garden.
Kinlochlaich Garden Plant Centre
North of Oban is the Kinlochlaich Garden Plant Centre, located in a historic octagonal walled garden. You are welcome to visit the walled garden and woodland walks around the plant centre and the garden centre itself is open with various precautions against Covid-19.
The gardens at Crarae are open (along with the toilets!) from the 6th July 9.30am-5pm daily. On the 1st August the visitor centre, shop and cafe will also open, presumably with certain measures in place for safety. Keep an eye on the NTS page here from more information.
On the 15th July you will be able to visit Inverary Jail again. There will be various precautions and measures to promote social distancing. Tickets can be booked online in advance, but this isn’t necessary, however only limited numbers of people will be allowed in at anyone time. Contactless payments are preferred and hand washing stations will be located throughout the attraction.
Although no date has been set, Inverary castle has announced at the end of June they are opening this season. The date will be confirmed very soon (I’ll update this when I find out) and you will be required to buy tickets online in advance. In the meantime you can find full details of their Covid-19 precautions here.
Benmore Botanic Gardens
The botanic gardens at Benmore are open to the public daily 10am-5pm and you do not need to book in advance. The Benmore cafe is open daily for takeaway food and drinks to enjoy in the gardens. Head over to their website here for more information on Covid-19 measures in place.
The house will be closed to the public until April 2021. However the Arkinglas Woodland Gardens will reopen on the 15th July, including the Gruffalo trail in Scots. Although there is no cafe at the gardens, the Tree Shop cafe across the loch will be open from the 15th July.
On the picturesque little island of Gigha is Achamore Gardens. They are now open to the public again and are welcoming guests to walk round the gardens, socially distancing from other users. There is an honesty box (cash only!) for payments.
The gardens and toilets are now open for public use at Geilston Gardens. The 200 year old walled garden is a great place to wander around, along with a playground and floral maze.
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Hill House in Helensburgh will be opening on the 13th August. There will be limited access to the house, but the box and also toilets will be open.
Places To Visit Orkney and Shetland Summer 2020
Fernvalley Wildlife Centre
Fernvalley Wildlife Centre is due to open on the 17th July, you can pre-book your tickets here. The wildlife centre will be open Friday to Sunday with 3 different time slots available. The tearoom will also open on 17th July with limited seating, they ask to book in advance where possible.