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August: 10 Days in Scotland with Kids - Where to Begin???

August: 10 Days in Scotland with Kids - Where to Begin???

Dec 22nd, 2006, 11:57 PM
  #1  
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August: 10 Days in Scotland with Kids - Where to Begin???

Greetings!

My husband and I have been looking for a suitable location for a vacation with our two young boys, who will be almost 4 and 7 years old in August. I've been looking for someplace not too hot/humid where we and the boys can have some fun, and I seem to be narrowing things down to Scotland.

However, I know NOTHING about the area. I briefly looked through the "Official Scotland Tourism" site but quickly became overwhelmed. I'm looking for suggestions for potential itineraries, with the following caveats:
- We don't want to be packing and unpacking every night (or even every two nights).

- We have a child who, we're SLOWLY learning (after some particularly-unpleasant-then-but-hilarious-now events), is prone to motion sickness, so we don't want to count on hours of fast drives through twisting roads. Nice meandering will have to do for us for now.

- Our interests include food, hiking (short distances only, due to the short legs of our fellow travelers - 3 miles maximum), "agri-tainment," local crafts or culture, rock hunting, wildlife viewing, etc. And, of course, we love a good beach. In fact, we're thinking about adding a week or so to the end of the trip to brave the crowds on the French Riviera (or equivalent), even though heat isn't my strong suit.

So! And ideas on how best to structure this trip? Any locations or "attractions" that would be particularly appealing for our sons? I will soon be visiting one of the world's greatest bookstores (Powell's) to pick up some travel books, but there are so many regions that it would be helpful for me to have a clue before then.

Many thanks for any and all suggestions!
miamatusow is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 01:47 AM
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I'd suggest the Western Highlands but not in August.
It's the height of the midge season.
Is there any way you could put your trip off to mid or late September?
For food, I suggest that you go to the Taste of Scotland website
at http://www.taste-of-scotland.com/

There is no way that you are going to be driving fast along narrow twisty roads.
Many of the single track roads have been widenened, but you will spend a lot of time waiting in passing places.
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 02:38 AM
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I opened your thread because I am interested in the replies - I have children who will be 3 and 5 this summer. Our kids hate to ride in the car and frequently make car trips most unpleasant.

I have never been to Scotland so I can't help with that, but have you considered going to Switzerland with the kids? We went last summer and it was fantastic. We are planning another trip this summer. There are lots of things the kids will like : paved hiking paths in the mountains, riding the gondolas and lifts, cows, waterfalls, and best of all, train travel. You don't have to get in a car at all - and the kids can go free. Last year we were in Grindelwald in the Berner Oberland and Zermatt. This year we are considering Gstaad and Kandersteg, as well as Ascona (but it will be hot there in August so I hear).

There is a current thread on seniors in Switzerland, and I think a lot of the comments are relevant for families with small children and restricted mobility.

where2 is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 02:45 AM
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I would try one of the Islands. My own favorite would be the Orkneys. It is very possible to take a flat for a week there, the roads are pretty andslow so meandering is sensible. YOu are surrounded by the North sea so it will be cool, the wild life is evrywhere and relatively tame (last time there I walked near puffin and walrus) the ancient building (some older than the pyramids) are out of this world.

Now the bad bit, it is very quiet so try and go when there is a festival going on.

The islands are either linked by a road so no need to move every night just take a ferry for the day

No city though, only just a town but peoplevery friendly and out of this world in a "oh my good is this the end of the world" sort of way

Take a kite
bilboburgler is online now  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 06:07 AM
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I agree that midges in August in Scotland could take the fun out of a Scottish vacation.

There are lots of other European destinations that aren't hot or humid in August. Since you put food as your top interest, how about the north Atlantic coast of France?
nessundorma is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Since you don't know that much about Scotland, I am pretty sure you don't know what midges are. Well -- take no see ums/gnats - and make them really mean and blood thirsty and that is a pretty good description.

Mostly in warm-ish/damp/calm weather and mostly on the west side of the country - but that is a generalization.

But even in August you can have a lovely holiday in Scotland. The kids will love the castles, trains, boats and other great "kid stuff". However there are a couple of other things to think about. August in Edinburgh is not for the faint of heart. It is crammed to the limits since there are several world famous festivals and the military Tatto all running at the same time.

So accomodations are booked up months ahead and rates are raised quite a bit.

And - renting a cottage in the countryside somewhere is a good way to base w/ a family/ you'd have a home to come back to each evening after sightseeing/walking. But that would also mean quite a bit of car time from your home base. It won't be high speed driving (except on the few motorways there just isn't any) but most will be on winding roads.

One other thing - there really aren't that many beaches on the French Riviera (and you wouldn't want to go there in August anyway). Mostly rocks and little sand.

Is there any way you could move your vacation from Aug up to June/July or into Sept?
janisj is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 07:09 AM
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as the others said, August is the worst time to travel in Europe. The beaches are crowded and most of the continent is hot.
You might take a look at lake Como in Italy or some places in Slovenia or Austria.
What we found as an additional problem in Scotland was diving on the other side of the road.
With two small kids you don't need more stress.
 
Dec 23rd, 2006, 07:15 AM
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Driving in Scotland isn't a problem for most folks - not much traffic (except in Glasgow and Edinburgh - but one doesn't want a car in either place anyway)

Don't worry about the driving - hundreds of thousands of visitors do it w/o any angst every year. And much of the country will not be very crowded - Edinburgh is a special case.
janisj is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for your replies! I'm afraid that August is non-negotiable. My husband will be on sabbatical in August and September, and, much as I'd prefer to travel in September, that's when the kids are in school and my own work picks up.

The north Atlantic part of France is worth a look, I think. And so is Switzerland, although I have some sort of bias against heading there for vacation, for absolutely no reason. We drove through parts of Switzerland a few years ago and it was gorgeous.
miamatusow is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 04:40 PM
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miamatusow,
We are thinking of going late August with our toddlers. Friends recommended Fife coasts on the eastern coast not far from Edinburgh. Allegedly Blue Flag beaches. We originally thought of going to Tobermory (location for BBC's Balamory) on Isle of Mull, but pretty much given up on it considering the distance and midges.

where2,

We were in Gstaad/Rougemont/Chateau d'Oex for summer several years in a row. Rented a flat in Rougemont. There is a small petting zoo/playground between Gstaad/Saanen which is excellent for small children. There are a few restaurants (sorry can't remember names) in Gstaad with indoor/outdoor kids playground.
W9London is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 05:39 PM
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Fife would be perfect for you. In August it's likely to be about 20C but not much hotter, and the dreaded midges don't usually come out for more than about an hour most evenings. The east coast of Scotland is much drier than the west. Our beaches don't have the guaranteed high temperatures to lure the sun worshippers but they provide some sensational walks and have loads of rock pools for wee weans or big weans to spend happy hours exploring.
You can get here in under an hour from Edinburgh Airport and there are enough places within an hour's drive to keep everyone happy.
Craigellachie is offline  
Dec 28th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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I have a 7 and 13 year old and they both would love climbing on the rocks at Fife. Take the ferry to May island and see the birds. The Firth bridges are awesome.

You will probably need a car.
palmettoprincess is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:33 PM
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My wife and I spent three weeks in Great Britain a few years ago, ending with a week in Scotland at the Kilconquhar time share resort, near a tiny town about 43 miles north of Edinborough. We loved the area, and found the "dour" Scots to be the friendliest people we encountered during our whole trip! Edinburgh in general and Edinburg Castle in particular are marvelous, although Edinburgh will in fact be crowded in August. We visited the Isle of May, where Puffins nest. It's a bumpy boat ride out to the Isle, however. Perhaps not the best for anyone with motion sickness. We did not drive but got around on the quite convenient local buses that run along the coast of the Kindom of Fife as that area is called. In June, when we were there, it never became truly dark at night, as you are so far north. With good eyesight, I think you could play golf at 11pm! I suspect the same is true in August, although the days will be a bit shorter.

We also had a wonderful stay in Harlech, on the coast of Wales. Harlech is close to Portmerion, which encompasses "The Village," a resort where the iconic (and iconoclastic!) 60's TV show "The Prisoner" starring Patrick McGoohan was filmed. It's beautiful, quaint and a hoot.
Braunsky is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 08:05 PM
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I suggest you spend 2 nights in Edinburgh then rent a cottage for a week and than back to Edinburgh for your last night. Fort William is a in a nice area and there are plenty of places of interest nearby for children. Another idea is to look at places where you can get trains to different places of interest instead of driving.
I actually think August is a good time to visit with children. As it is the school holidays, it will be more crowded but not overly so and there are likely to be other children around for yours to play with in parks, playgrounds etc.
Another place where I have frequently stayed with my children is Derbyshire. We have often rented a cottage (Bakewell and Youlgreave both work well with children). Bakewell is a market town in the Peak District and Youlgreave is a village not far from there. If you are interested, have a look at Peak Cottages and Rose4 Cottages - I have stayed at both. There are great places to visit in the area that don't involve long drives - Chatsworth House and Gardens is great for children as well as adults, as is Matlock and Castleton.
(For Derbyshire, you fly into Manchester)

Good luck whatever you decide,
Carolena
Carolina is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 08:50 PM
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Braunsky: "It's a bumpy boat ride out to the Isle, however. Perhaps not the best for anyone with motion sickness."

Not generally - I've been out to the Isle of May a few times and only once was it the least bit choppy. Once in fact the water was glass smooth. Maybe you were just unlucky (or maybe I've been more than licky)

And isn't Kilconquhar terrific?!
janisj is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:07 PM
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Yes, we loved Kilconquhar. Our cottage at the Kilconquhar Estate and Country Club was spacious and well appointed. The staff were great. I believe it is a time share only resort, however. Being only 7 miles from St. Andrews it's a popular one to trade for through RCI. We loved walking down to the village, taking the bus along the coast. The one pub in Kilconquhar had very good food (better than the Estate.) It was the most relaxing part of our 3 week stay in Great Britain. We enjoyed our trip to the Isle of May tremendously, but as I said, it was a bumpy ride, perhaps just the vagaries of the North Sea. maiamatusow, you may want to check out http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/ if you are serious about renting a cottage for a week near Edinburgh. I've not used them, but it looks like they have a good selection, including one cottage in Kilconquhar village! I'd recommend Scotland in general and Edinburgh and Kilconquhar specifically in a heart beat. We're looking forward to going back. We got along fine without a car, although we did hire a driver one day. He took us on a tour that he said was more than your usual ABC ("another bloody castle") tour. Saw one accident while we were there, a US tourist who looked the wrong way before pulling out onto the road at the entrance to the Kilconquhar Estate. They were the only two vehicles on the road for a mile or more. (Hard habit to break - I almost stepped out into the street in front of a bus in London because I was looking the wrong way for traffic.) One other interesting note - when we were there, low fat milk meant 2%. They believe in cream and whole milk in a big way!
Braunsky is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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I did some stuff on this years ago for someone her and saved it- but it was based on a tour.

I have to say, given your wish list, I'd go for Coylumbridge. It specialises in kids and is minutes from Landmark, the highland Widlife park, the steam railway at Boat of garten, the Osprey Centre, the funicular to the top of the Cairngorms, the Monarch of the Glen sets, and, of course, the Aviemore Centre. It's set in stunning scenery and, whilst I might not pick it myself, I'd certainly recommend it to anyone with kids.

The other stuff wasbr />
Ideas would certainly include Deep Sea World which others have mentioned. The Discovery Centre in Dundee (which tells the story of Captain Scott's voyage to the South Pole) is very good too, and finishes with a tour of the boat itself, which is moored just outside.

Other castles include Huntingtower at Perth, Blair Atholl at Blair Athol (strangely) Craigievar (which is the one Disney is supposed to have used as his model), Drum, Crathes and Castle Fraser in Grampian.

Try a distillery, preferably one with a malting floor. Factory tours which are suitable for kids are tough.

Isn't there a steam train along the Forth at Musslebugh or somewhere, Tony?

If not there is certainly the train at Boat of Garten on Speyside and the Crieff Hydro and Coylumbridge Hotels pride themselves on being child friendy.

If you come up to Speyside, there is the Highland Wildlife Park at Carrbridge and Landmark at Aviemore.

Archaeolink in Aberdeenshire would be ideal for them as would Satrosphere, and The Maritime Museum in Aberdeen.

I've been to the Crieff Hydro and it is very child friendly. There is a babysitting service and phones in the rooms that enable you to listen in and make sure the kids are all right (if they are of an age where they can fall asleep in the room by themselves.) The Hydro is a spa, basically.

St. Andrews is also fun for the kids. The castle there has a tunnel they can go into. There is also the British Golf Museum that has questions that the kids can answer based on info taken from the displays. It kept my kids busy while we read up on the history of golf. St. Andrews is a beautiful place, by the way.

Castles- you must do Edinburgh castle. Edinburgh also has a Museum of Childhood and although I haven't been, it's supposed to be very good.

The one I didn't mention is Castle Urquhart on Loch Ness. The whole thing with the monster is very child friendly- there's a monster exhibition at Drumnadrochit. You get the scenery and they get the myths and legends.

Aberdeenshire is the bit half way up the right hand side which sticks out into the North Sea. It has a lot of castles which are owned by the National Trust which may be a bit twee for the kids, but they're in beautiful locations. There is one ruin south of Stonehaven (130 miles north-east of Edinburgh) which is very dramatic- Dunottar- which has alovely legend attached to it about the Crown Jewels and it is a stunning location.

History centres- these are everywhere. Almost every town has one. Bannockburn at Stirling (major battle victory over the English-1314) has one, which the kids would love. New Lanark in Lanarkshire is the planned village of Robert Owen the 19th century philanthropist and is on the upper reaches of the Clyde.

Factory tours- I tend to think of these as a bit boring. There are mills in the Borders; distilleries all over; a place at Crieff that makes paperweights

Farm visits- Summer is Scotland’s "show" season. Every town of any size has a show in the summer. Some are Highland Games, with caber tossing and hammer throwing and all that stuff; and some are all animals; cows and sheep and turnips and potatoes and flower shows; and some are a mixture. a good one would beat most farm visits. Outside Perth on the Dundee Road, is the Heavy Horse centre where you can see Shire and Clydesdale Horses(the big ones which used to pull carts and ploughs and things); there's a deer farm in central Fife, near Auchtermuchty, which is open to the public, and just outside Aberdeen is Downies farm which is a place with rare breeds for townies to visit.

Cute villages- coming out our ears. I suggest you set an itinerary and then I point you in the direction of the cute villages nearby, or your kids will be bored rigid looking at them. Generally, there are a batch in Fife along the East Neuk coast in cluding anstruther and Pittenweem. Inland is Culross, which is a major National Trust holding; In Perthshire, try Dunkeld, Kenmore, Fortingall. In Aberdeenshire, Braemar and Ballater on Deeside, where the Queen goes for her holidays; then the coastal villages along the Moray coat- Gamrie, Pennan, Buckie, Spey Bay etc. On the west and in the islands there are lots more. I could go on for ever.

Steam train-Mussleburgh- is just outside Edinburgh. I think there is a railway preservation Society that runs a train along a bit of track thereabouts.

There is a very good steam train which runs from Boat of Garten on Speyside. Nearby is Abernethy Forest, which apart from being spectacularly beautiful is the home of the Osprey Centre, where there is a big modern hide with closed circuit television into the nest of the ospreys. It's open to the public. It's very near Coylumbridge Hotel which I mentioned, which is a bit soulless as a building but does have masses of child based activities. these are all near Aviemore- an architectural disaster in the Highlands but a place with lots of child based stuff to do by kids. The Highland Wildlife Park is nearby. I would have said you could
usefully spend a few days around here. The grown ups will like it too.

Archeology- Archaeolink is a visitor centre based on the archaeology of the North East of Scotland with a filmshow, sandpit dig, reproduction Iron Age camp, Iron Age Farm, Roman marching plant and Archivities room where the kids can get dressed up like stone age children and have their faces painted in woad, and lots of good stuff like that. It's at a place called Oyne, 25 miles north west of Aberdeen.

Satrosphere is a science based learning centre for young people in Aberdeen. A bit tatty and low key the last time I was there; but absolutely fascinating for the kids. Peterhead (25 miles north) has a Maritime Museum) and Fraserburgh (15miles west of Peterhead) has a lighthouse museum. tehere is a marine aquarium at Macduff (west on the coast again)and the "Buckie drifter" is a fishing boat you can see all round in (strangely) Buckie. There's stuff like that all over the Highlands.

This following tour is based on a reasonable time to do the things I would enjoy doing with small children, taking into account the need to go to the Uists.


Leave Edinburgh, cross the Forth Road Bridge and stop at Deep Sea World at North Queesferry. That will take you until lunchtime; Go on to Vane Farm at Kinross (bird reserve, cafeteria for lunch) Cross over to the Fife Coast) at about Leven and spend the afternoon driving from there along the coast through Lundin Links, Lower Largo( the home of Alexander Selkirk, the model for Robinson Crusoe) Pittenween, Anstruther, and Crail to St Andrews. Lots of lovely harbours, and beaches and golf courses, St Andrews has the West beach, the Old Course (where Golf was invented) the Golf Museum, the Cathedral ruins, a cinema, the best ice cream shop in the east of Scotland. Stay the night.

Next day go into Dundee and do Discovery Point where Scott's ship Discovery is. Apart from that and perhaps the Unicorn, Dundee is the armpit of the Universe, so get the hell out as soon as possible. Come up the coast road to Stonehaven and stop at Dunnottar Castle just south of the town for a run about. Lunchtime should see you at Aberdeen; take in Satrosphere, the Maritime Museum, Codona's (a permanent funfair at the beach) cinemas, leisure centre etc etc. Take a walk around old Aberdeen and the University area in the evening. Next day, go out the A96 to Oyne and visit Archaeolink- a child friendly visitor centre based on the prehistory of the North East. Have lunch there, then drive up to Lumsden, and Rhynie, then cross the Cabrach to Dufftown, where you will find Glenfiddich distillery- not the best whisky in the world but probably the best tour. Go on to Tomintoul and stop in this pretty village. Buy your whisky in the specialist shop here, rather than in Edinburgh. There is also a very good wood carvers shop here. Go on over the hill and aim for the Coylumbrdge Hotel near Aviemore that night. Next day go and take the steam train at Boat of Garten then go into the Forest at Abernethy or Rothiemurchus. The hotel is very good for kids, so take a slow evening there.

Day 5 stick around- do the Highland Wildlife Park in the morning, and Landmark in the afternoon. Go down to Kingussie and see the Wade barracks at Ruthven. Stay at Coylumbridge again, and have an evening in the thriving metroplis of Aviemore

Day 6 get an early start and go up the A9 to Inverness then down the north side of the Loch to Drumnadrochit. Stop at Castle Urquhart on the way and take in the Loch Ness Monster exhibition at Drumnadrochit. Take the A887 to Cluanie and Kyle of Lochalsh, passing Eilean Donan castle- that's the one on all the calendars. After you get to Kyle take a wee detour to Plockton, possibly the most picturesque village in the country and stay in the Plockton Inn.

Next morning get up bright and early and cross the bridge to Skye. Meander through the island, marvelling at the Cuillin, Stop at Portree for a wee walk round, go up to the north east point and go for a walk round the Quiraing, come back down through Trotternish, head for Dunvegan Castle- Go back to Uig and spend the night either at the Uig Hotel or the Ferry Inn.

Day 8 catch the early ferry to Lochmaddy on North Uist. Drive right round North Uist anti-clockwise then cross Benbecula- boring- to South Uist. Go to the places you want to see. It's not very big. The nicest Hotel in South Uist is The Polochar Inn which is in a superb location overlooking Eriskay- the Whisky Galore island.I recommend the Outer Hebrides handbook and Guide-published by Kittiwake.

Day 9-or 10 if you want more time there- take the ferry from Lochboisdale to Oban- it's a long but very beautiful sail, through the Small Isles and down the sound of Mull.
Stay overnight in Oban, the hub of West Highland Ferry traffic. Next day, take the A85 through the Pass of Brander. Stop at Cruachan Electricity Station. You get right inside the hill and see the turbines working. Stay on the A85 to Crianlarich and Callender (stop at Balquhidder to see Rob Roy Country) and come on south to Stirling where you should see the visitor centre at Bannockburn, site of Scotland's great victory over the English in 1314- and don't say we can't carry a grudge!- then the castle itself.

Now if you decided to drive out to London, you could spend a day or two in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, and take in Hadrian's Wall on the way further south.

In Glasgow, you could take them down the Clyde on the Waverley Steamer.

Summarybr /> Castles- I lost count but I think, including Edinburgh I have 5. There
are many more.

Historical displays,- Discovery Point, Archaeolink, Landmark, Bannockburn, the Maritime Museum in Aberdeen

Ruins- St Andrews Cathedral, Dunottar Castle, Castle Urquhart, Dunvegan,
Mccaig's Folly at Oban

Monuments of all kinds (and periods of history/pre-history)-all of the above

Interactive exhibits,-Discovery Point, Archaeolink, Satrosphere, Bannockburn

Short interesting day-hikes (8-9 km. return, max.) with a destination (keeps the kids interested if they are going to a waterfall or something like that, or if it's a loop trail)- good opportunities at Ben Cruachan, on the Uists- another book is 25 walks in the Western Isles published by HMSO- Her Majesty's Stationery Office,the Qiraing on Skye, and Rothiemurchus or Abernethy on Speyside,

Science and nature (although, I prefer nature as it relates to Scotland).-
Deep Sea World, Vane Farm, the Osprey Centre at Abernethy, the Highland
Wildlife Park, Balranald, North Uist (all nature) Satrosphere (science), Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh

Picturesque villages- Leven to St Andrews; Stonehaven; Dufftown, Tomintoul, Kingussie, Plockton; everywhere on Skye and the Uists

Beautiful scenery- Everywhere- at least everywhere north of the Highland line.

There are SO MANY castles, if you could pick out the top 6-8 (range of style, most interesting architecturally and/or historically, ease of access for our route).- The one I've picked are based on your route. There are some very fine slightly later castles in Aberdeenshire; a slight detour could accommodate them. The ones I've listed are architecturally sort of similar, but historically divergent and interesting. Balmoral Castle (worth it?)- sort of. Nice scenery. You can't usually
get into the castle. It's a modern 19th century affair, mostly interesting for it's connection to the Windsor family. To fit it in I think you'd need another day in the east/south.

"Buckie drifter",the heavy horse center,- ditched because they are off
route.

Beinn Eighe Nature Trail- quite close to Coylumbridge and definitely doable from there, but you'd have to lose something I put in. Personally I think Rothiemurchus and the CaIrngorms is superior. Did I mention Cairngorm? Big mountain near Coylumbridge- chairlift to the Ptarmigan even in Summer?

Cairnholy, Dumfries and Galloway (prehistoric burial mounds and ruins at Threave Castle and Sweetheart Abby),-I've missed out everything south of the central belt for lack of time. There are burial mounds everywhere in Scotland; but the Borders Abbeys are special.

Culloden (Highland, battle visitors center),- you could fit a quick detour to Culloden in the day you go past Inverness. It's very moving.

Culsh (Grampian, prehistoric earthhouse),- seen one earthouse, seen them all. Very boring, earthhouses. Seriously, I just missed out most of Grampian for being off route. It would be quite tough to do Balmoral and Culsh, even with one extra day.

Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway (Castle and nature trails and playground),
Glamis Castle (Tayside

Inverness,-in but don't spend too much time in the town.

Isle of Skye

(Woolen Mills?),-too far south.

a distillery somewhere (that is kid friendly-a bit of an oxymoron – a "kid friendly distillery"),

A kilt-maker (where?)-Edinburgh- top of the Royal Mile. Don't buy the one made of Union Jacks,

Stirling Castle- to put it back in if doing the route backwards, after Queensferry, go along the north side of the Forth to Stirling and spend a bit of time there. It's probably worth the detour through Dollar to see Castle Campbell, if you're doing this route.

Melrose Abbey,

Blair Castle

Scottish Agricultural Museum - where is this? Ingliston? If so do it from Edinburgh.

Loch Leven,- Vane is on the north shore of Loch Leven.

Do we spend any time in Glasgow, and why?- Shopping; culture; and the
architecture of Charles Rennie McIntosh. (Scotland has an east/west split-
I'm from the east. Glasgow is not! Get impartial advice, if you can find
anyone impartial, that is!)

The above route is well away from cities except

1. Edinburgh

2. Dundee- see my comment,.

3. Aberdeen- which has very old bits. I suggest not more than about a half
day anyway.

4. Glasgow- if you must!

The Coylumbridge is a modern chainish type of hotel, but it is made up for
in location convenience and child friendliness.

Day 1: (after spending 2-3 days in Edinburgh)

leave Edinburgh mid-morning. Drive to Leven (on Fife Coast) via coast route.
(note: no stop in Sea World - if we want to stop there, leave early morning).
(62 miles). Stay in St. Andrews*.

Day 2:

Drive to Dundee (13 miles). See Discovery Point* (Scott's ship), and The
Unicorn* (old British warship). Possible stop at Verdant Mill* (story of
Jute set in former mill). Take A90 north to A928 NW (???miles) to Glamis
Castle* and Angus Folk Museum* (pg. 146). Drive NE and stop for the night
somewhere on way to Dunnotar Castle. PRETTY VILLAGE - WHERE?*

Day 3:

Drive to Dunnotar Castle*. Proceed to Aberdeen* and stay for night. (17
miles). Afternoon - visit Aberdeen Maritime Museum* (pg. 167) and possibly
Provost Skenes House* (museum of civic life), or Satrosphere*(science
center). Evening - walk around old Aberdeen and/or university area.

Day 4:

Head NE on A96 to Oyne (23 miles). Visit Archeolink (pre-history center).
Drive west to Rhynie (14 miles) and then follow A941 to Dufftown (18 miles).
Take the Glenfiddich distillery tour*. Continue south on A9009 to the A9008
(20 miles) to the village of Tournintoul (pretty village, visit woodcutters
shop). Go to Boat of Garten* (18 miles) and spend the next three nights.

Day 5:

Take the Steamtrain*, walk through Forest at Abernathy, see ospreys at Loch
Garten*
Night at Boat of Garten.

Day 6:

Head south of Aviemore to Rothiemurchus Estate* (??? miles) (working
highlands farm) (page 188). Then to Highland Wildlife Park* (drive through
Scottish animals), possibly to Working Sheep Dogs. Go south (5 miles) to
Ruthven Barracks* (archeological site). Go back north (25 miles) and spend
night at Boat of Garten.

Day 7:

Early start, go east to Landmark Visitors Center* (5 miles). Head north on
A9 towards Inverness. Just south of Inverness (20 miles) go east on A9006 (3
miles) to Culloden Battlefield* (page 197). If possible, also visit Clava
Cairns (2 miles). Follow A9006 back west through Inverness and go south on
A82 to Loch Ness (18 miles). If there is time, stop today and visit Urguhart
Castle* (page 204) and Drumnadrochit Monster Exhibit*. Go south on A82 to
Invermoriston (13 miles) (beautiful village) (page 361 Frommers) and stay
night at Glenmoriston Arms Hotel*.

Day 8:

If Urquhart or Drumnadrochit were missed yesterday, to back and visit. At
Invermoriston, walk along Glen Morriston, then head west on A887 to A87.
Pass Eilean Donan Castle (42 miles), (stop if time). Continue west through
Kyle of Lochalsh (8 miles) and go north to Plockton (6 miles) (great fishing
village) (page 223). Stay night in Plockton Inn*.

Day 9:

Return south to Kyle of Lochalsh and cross over bridge to Isle of Skye.
Follow A87 north to NW on A863 to Dunvegan Castle* (50 miles). Continue east
on A850 to B8036 north to connect to A87 to Uig. Stay night at the Ferry
Inn* or the Uig Hotel*.


I know there are repetitive bits in that, but I hope you find it of use.
sheila is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 02:26 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
Hey! We'll be in Scotland in early August with our boys, ages 5 and 7. this is after 3 weeks in London. I have just started reseacrhing, but there is a book, Take Your Kids to Europe, with several suggestions for Scotland. Also, those eyewitness Guide to Scotland has a "top 10 things to do with kids" which we got from our library. Both boosk recommend the Edinburgh zoo (largest colony of penguins ourtside Antarctica) and Glascow Science Center.

Our stuggle right now is airfare from Boston. Ugh.

Happy planning and travels!
philomom is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 07:47 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
This is purely anecdotal, but we have spent 10 weeks in Scotland over 4 trips, all in August, and have only had midge problems for two brief periods. But they are definitely obnoxious and painful. Scotland is so cool and comfortable (sometimes even cold) in the summer, and there is so much to do and explore - wow, Sheila, that's some list! - that you're bound to have fun. I live by the Scotland the Best guidebook by Peter Irvine, which has lots of info for families.
noe847 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 10:42 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 25
Thanks for the great info, and esp. the tip on midges! Am considering Scotland/London for me and 12-year-old daughter in August. I haven't seen mention of the Orkley Islands ... any recommendations? Other "teen" must-dos in Scotland?
coolquail is offline  

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