Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland

*This is a collaborative post on family-friendly activities in Scotland

After walking through the supermarket the other day, it’s quite clear that Christmas is on the way folks. With aisles already full of selection boxes and mince pies, it suddenly dawned on me that as soon as the family is sitting down in front of the TV after Christmas dinner, we’re going to start seeing ads for 2020 holidays.

Holidays for next year? Already? Ooft!

It then got me thinking about staycations in the next few months when the school breaks are on, and I went down a little rabbit hole of seeing where would be an excellent place for a family to head off on a break with minimal fuss. I wanted to challenge myself by thinking of somewhere a family could go without a long car journey, which turned out to be harder than I imagined, but then I looked to the north and realised there was somewhere special to visit; Scotland.

Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland
Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland

Specifically, I’m looking at two cities that are easily accessible by rail (or car) and are surprisingly good for families. I’m talking about Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in this short post, I’ll be highlighting what makes these cities great for family breaks.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it already, have a little read of my 6 top tips for travelling with toddlers and preschoolers.


It’s one of the most densely populated cities in the country, but it also is one of the greenest and friendliest. With excellent public transport and lots of family-friendly attractions, a little trip to Glasgow can be quite surprising. It isn’t all Irn-Bru and Lorne sausage you know!

Glasgow - Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland
Glasgow – Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland

My pick of family-friendly hotspots in Glasgow:

Where to eat

The city is a bit of a food lover’s paradise, and I was surprised to see just how many family-friendly spots there are, even in the middle of town. There are the obvious chains that cater well, but some local institutions that do great kids meals include Bread Meats Bread, Celinos, Pizza Punks, West Brewery (very family-friendly brewery in beautiful Glasgow Green) and Firebird.

Where to stay

Hotels on family trips can be a nightmare, so don’t do it. Instead, look for an apartment hotel in Glasgow where you’ll have all the mod cons of home and a fully fitted kitchen to boot. It’s a little luxury that is the difference between having a microwave to heat a bottle over going on a hunt through the hotel.

Where to visit

Museums. Glasgow has a lot of them, and they’re pretty much all family-friendly. The best to visit include:

  • Riverside Museum
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • The People’s Palace
  • Snow Factor at Intu Braehead

Where to avoid

While many tourist guides will suggest visiting the West End, it is mainly focussed on student bars and the like. There are a few lovely places like the Botanic Gardens at the top of Byres Road, but tourist spots like Ashton lane are for adults.


If you’re going to take the kids to see a castle, it may as well be the most famous in the world, right? Even though it has many hills and windy streets, there’s a lot for families to get up to on a short trip to the Scottish capital.

Family-Friendly Activities in Scotland
Edinburgh Castle

My pick of family-friendly hotspots in Edinburgh:

Where to eat

Red’s Bistro down by the coastline is the city’s best family-friendly restaurant; it has a play space and a superb menu for kids. Museum Brasserie in the basement of the National Museum is also a godsend when you have a hungry family and need somewhere special in between sightseeing to hunker down for a cup of tea.

Where to stay

Again, much like Glasgow, the best bet for families is to stay somewhere that is essentially like staying at home. Serviced accommodation in Edinburgh is easy to come by, and you can even get great family-friendly spots right by the castle.

Where to visit

Without making it obvious (looking at the castle of course) I recommend the National Museum of Scotland. A family could honestly spend all day in there looking at the various exhibits and interactive displays, especially the robot that can spell out your name.

I’d also recommend Camera Obscura by the castle for its floors of illusions that will dazzle the little ones.

Where to avoid

Never go in August. It’s when the Fringe festival is on, and the city is chock full of people everywhere, which can make it stressful to get from A to B. 

Are you looking for more family-friendly travel inspiration?

Take a look at the most recent travel posts from the blog here.

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

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