Scotland for Families
If the children are happy, then parents will normally have a good holiday, too! This suggested tour can easily be lengthened, shortened or varied as required. It is based on a family of four staying nine nights (one in a castle) with bed and breakfast, including an automatic two litre rental car. The cost would be GBP 2,153.00 (approx USD 2722 in Dec 2016).
Edinburgh is packed with interest. It's good to have two nights there so as to adjust to the time change. There is plenty to interest everyone - history, ghosts, galleries, old pubs and some fantastic restaurants. If you are there in August, the place will be buzzing with the Edinburgh Festival, The Fringe and The Edinburgh Military Tattoo (see it if possible!). 'Our Dynamic Earth' is a great fall back if the weather is less than co-operative!
Your four star hotel, with swimming pool, will be in the heart of Edinburgh, very close to the castle. Price is based on a large room with two queen-size double beds.
Royal Yacht and Rosslyn Chapel
That night you are at Borthwick Castle. Even through adult eyes, this is a massive and impressive castle, the exterior being unchanged since 1430. It also has more than its fair share of ghosts and so a 'one room solution' is advised for all but the bravest children!
The Road to Castle Country
Heading north across the Forth Road Bridge, you pass Loch Leven and the island castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. Next stop is Glamis Castle, childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Here you are welcomed into a historical and architectural treasure trove - but not into the sealed chamber where the Lord of Glamis played cards with the Devil!
This is now 'castle country' and that afternoon you should have plenty time to see one of the finest, and the best for children. Dunnottar Castle, on a rocky peninsular in the North Sea, is wonderful for exploring and very dramatic.
Here we recommend a one night stop in a country house hotel where we have assumed a small suite of a double and a twin right at the top of the hotel.
Celts and Cashmere
Crathes Castle, near your hotel, is fun for kids. It is furnished as it would have been in the 16th century and has the most sensational gardens. There is a special children's guide available to the castle. This countryside is also rich in stone circles and standing stones and the first main stop is Archaeolink, where some of these are explained and Bronze Age life is brilliantly recreated.
The road to Inverness is by Keith and the excellent Strathisla Distillery. Finally, and especially for Mum, the road takes you to Elgin and Johnstons Cashmere.
Near Inverness, we are recommending a farmhouse B&B but there is a good choice of B&Bs of all sorts in the area.
Culloden, Cawdor and Clava
Today is for Culloden Battlefield where Bonnie Prince Charlie's 1745 Rising came to a bloody end, and the wonderful Cawdor Castle which includes a nine hole pitch and putt course. Small boys will enjoy Fort George - a perfect 18th century fortification complete with canons and exhibitions of military life. If the weather permits, you could enjoy an afternoon on the beach at Nairn.
Next day you head down beside Loch Ness for some investigations into Nessie. Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness (below) is also worth a visit; it has a children's guide and is a convenient lunch stop. Fort Augustus at the other end of the loch offers boat trips and a good view of a flight of locks.
If it is a good day, take the cable car up to Nevis Range - great views, endless walks and the fun of seeing boy racers on the mountain bike course below the gondola. You're heading now to the Isles of Glencoe Hotel, geared to the needs of families - with a swimming pool and lots of ideas for daytime activities.
The West Coast
Now you are on the beautiful west coast and walking, canoeing, sailing, even ice wall climbing are all at your disposal. You can also go by Fort William to the 'Harry Potter Viaduct' at Glenfinnan. This is also the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745.
Glencoe and Stirling
Close by is Glencoe and the sorry story of the massacre of the MacDonalds. The main stop of the day is Stirling Castle where there is a designated children's trail and the guides are excellent at bringing all the history alive. From the castle you look across to the Wallace Monument commemorating the hero of 'Braveheart'. It's only 246 steps to the top and you'll be amazed at the size of his sword!
Many people have early flight times, so for our pricing we have assumed a hotel by Edinburgh airport, complete with swimming pool - and PlayStations!
The cost for a family of four, in a family room except for the farmhouse B&B, where there are adjacent rooms, staying these nine nights with bed and breakfast, including a large automatic two litre car would be GBP 2,153 (approx. USD 2723 in Dec 2016).
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