Isle of Mull With Kids
We absolutely love visiting islands, probably because I love being by the sea and islands are surrounded by the sea! We’ve visited the Isle of Mull several times over the last few years and enjoyed it each time. Even when it was chilly and cold in October one year. The island is actually a lot bigger than you expect, plus the roads can be slow in places where they are single track. Make sure you plan a little longer to get the further away destinations.
However, here are some things you may want to include in your Isle of Mull itinerary with kids.
Isle of Mull is studded with beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters and great climbing rocks for kids to play on! The water is just so beautiful that you won’t be able to resist dipping your toes in, even if it’s rather chilly!
Our favourite beaches have to be Langamull, Calgary and Fidden, although there are plenty more to choose from. We haven’t visited anywhere near all the beaches on Mull, so I’m sure there’s plenty we’ve missed!
Calgary Art In Nature
Just before you head down the hill to Calgary Beach you will spot the little café and Calgary art centre on the right. It’s a great place to explore the art trails with the kids, some beautiful sculptures. The kids favourite definitely had to be the Basking Shark sculpture at the art centre itself. It looks amazing!
At the art centre you can also visit the art gallery with plenty of beautiful paintings and smaller sculptures. Plus the café has great food, we had cakes and ice cream!
Boat Trip to Lunga
This has to be top of your list on visiting Mull if you are there in Spring/Summer. The puffins on Lunga are only a metre or so away from you and there are so many! As they are used to humans watching and taking photos of them you’ll find it easy to get great photos.
There are various different boats that can take you to the Treshnish Isles, we went with Staffa Tours from Tobermory. They also take you to Staffa and look for Sea Eagles or marine life on the way.
Boat Trip to Staffa
As mentioned above you can get to Staffa with some of the tours to Lunga and the other Treshnish Isles. However you can also visit via Fionnphort in the South West of the island. There are a couple of different tour operators who can take you out to Staffa from Fionnphort. It’s also a relatively short journey compared to taking the boat all the way round from Tobermory (possibly a better choice if you get seasick!).
Staffa is a volcanic rock island with huge pillars of rock stretching out in front of you. It’s said that the island was once connected to the Giant’s Causeway and that either that it was a bridge built by two giant’s in love or a bridge destroyed by two rival giants! Either way it’s interesting to see the same two places with very similar rocks. If you are quick you can normally visit the famous Fingal’s cave and then walk quickly along to the other end of the island to see the puffins. There are a lot less puffins here than Lunga, but if you don’t visit the Treshnish Isles then at least you can see some puffins!
The aquarium at Tobermory is only small, but it’s perfect for the kids. You can admire all the wildlife in the tanks, taken from local waters and returned after only 4 weeks in the aquarium. It’s Europe’s first catch and release aquarium and seems like a great way to study the wildlife, but not remove from the sea entirely. There are regular handling sessions plus other hands-on activities at the aquarium.
Our kids loved playing with some interactive exhibits as well as watching a documentary in the tv room. Seeing the different animals was definitely the highlight though!
Duart Castle is in the South East of the Isle of Mull. A short drive down from the ferry port at Craignure and you arrive at Duart Castle. In fact you will probably see it if you are out on deck whilst approaching or leaving Mull. You can see how close the ferry gets in the image above.
The castle has been the seat of Clan Maclean for over 700 years. You can explore inside the castle, which is still in great condition with many rooms filled with portraits, period furniture and various exhibitions. As most of Scotland’s castles are in ruins, it’s nice to find one that is not!
Even when the castle is closed to visitors you are still welcome to access the grounds and view the exterior of the castle.
The Old Byre Heritage Centre
The Old Byre Heritage Centre was a great little place for a restful day. The small museum has information on Mull’s history and wildlife, with film to watch at one end. Downstairs is the little cafe and a fantastic play area for the kids. Adults can sit and watch their children play whilst having something to drink or eat, there are kids options too if they can tear themselves away from the play area!
A fun place for children and informative for the adults!
Walking the Trails On Ulva
The island of Ulva is just off the West coast of Mull, a short 5 minute ferry hop. The little ferry boat is small, so if it’s busy you may have to wait for the boat to return. Just don’t let your small children jump into the ferry, our littlest almost jumped over the entire boat!!
The island has plenty of trails to follow, we headed inland and then South along the coast. Some of the paths can get overgrown in the summer with bracken, so make sure you check for ticks when you are home later. Longer paths out toward other sites of interest, including important historical sites and wildlife to spot.
Finish off with a visit to the delicious Boathouse restaurant at the ferry pier.
At the South West of Mull you can catch the ferry across to Iona from Fionnphort. It’s easy to do as a day trip, but there are also plenty of accommodation on the island too.
The main point of interest is of course Iona Abbey, which may be where you find all the tourists! However you will also find a marble quarry with machinery still in place and plenty of beautiful beaches. The beach where Columba is said to have landed with his monks is called Columba Bay, which may be of interest to those who like history too.
You can’t take your car onto the island, but instead leave it at the Fionnphort car park. Which makes it easier to get on and off the ferry, bikes can be pretty useful for families to get around too.
Glengorm Castle is a hotel, but beside the castle is a small café and information room about the local Glengorm Wildlife Project. There are various walks around the estate and we enjoyed a beautiful walk to see the nearby standing stones, old location of a small fort and then down to the coast to swim in the sea! As it was so warm it was a really magical day with lots of colour in the grasslands and turquoise sea to admire.
This is definitely a beautiful estate and perfect easy walking for the kids!