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Three generations of family coming to Scotland - what to do?


What would be the best for a large family coming from Norway to visit for a few days in Scotland?  I think they will be arriving in Edinburgh and they are looking for ideas and suggestions.  Grandparents, the mum and dad and two kids both under 10.  Any ideas apart from Edinburgh and even Edinburgh what is best to do?



  • How Long have you got? How will you be travelling  eg car or public transport?

    Make sure you book accommodation in advance but I would recommend heading North of Edinburgh to Perth, Pitlochry, Aviemore and Inverness. So many possibilities to see and do things.

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Agree with @JohnsJourneys1, the best parts of Scotland are north of Edinburgh. If they have time, they should look into visiting Isle of Skye with some stops in between. By public transport, the ideal Skye trip should be 8-10 days long (with stops) IMO.

    Within Edinburgh, seeing the castle & Royal mile will take up a day or two. My personal favourite place to visit is the Royal Botanical Gardens, the kids will love it too if the weather isnt too bad.

    The VisitScotland itineraries page is a great starting point. I have written my own 1 week itinerary by public transport too though its a bit hectic, 10-12 days should be a good amount of time to do it for a diverse group.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • I agree that the best places are north of Edinburgh.  Try Angus: its got
    • the Glens for walking at all levels of fitness
    • Lunan Bay for 2 miles of sandy beach
    • Auchmithie for rockpools and a meal at the But-and-Ben restaurant (booking essential)
    • Arbroath for  sea-cliffs, the ruined Abbey and smokies (hot-smoked haddock)
    • castles ruined (Red Castle) and inhabited (Glamis)
    • lochs (if the kids are young enough, they might believe there's a monster in any loch - my nephew did!)
    • wildlife including nesting ospreys at Balgavies Loch and sea-birds at Montrose Basin wildlife centre
    • the lovely old town of Montrose
    • Brechin - one of Britain's smallest cities - with an ancient Cathedral and Round Tower and a working steam railway
    • House of Dun, a National Trust property with a lovely woodland garden attached
    • excellent play-parks (Arbroath and Edzell are our favourites)
    • locally-made gin and vodka for the older generations.
    History, landscape, excitement and a chance to let off steam.  What more could you want?

    Charlotte Fleming
    I blog about quirky bits of Scotland and especially my home county of Angus at
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Hey @ScottishVisitor, just had a wee look at your blog!! I grew up in Guthrie and know everything you mention above well, it's a great place to grow up in and visit!! 
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
  • ScottishVisitorScottishVisitor Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    @YourScotlandTour I used to live just outside Guthrie; now the other side of the hill at Pitkennedy.  Where do you stay now? 
    Hope you enjoyed my blog.  Thanks for checking it out :)
    Charlotte Fleming
    I blog about quirky bits of Scotland and especially my home county of Angus at
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    We're in Inverbervie, I see you've seen the Hercules memorial there! I know Pitkennedy, mum and dad live at Balgavies! I've just'd your domain - I grew up in the Old School House, Guthrie!! You'll know who I am now ;-) small world! 

    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
  • MogMJMRMogMJMR Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Hi @fishjagger
    Like the folk commenting above, I too live in the North of Scotland and there are some great days out from here in Aberdeen by public transport. #Aberdeen

    Attractions within 90 minutes of the the city include:
    Fraserburgh - Scottish Lighthouse Museum 
    Ballater - for Balmoral Castle and a lovely highland town
    Peterhead - Peterhead Prison Museum
    Crathes Castle - by Banchory - fun for all the family - 17th C Castle, Woodland walks, Gardens, Go Ape Tree Top adventure Centre, playgrounds
    Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle
    Glen Garioch Whisky distillery by bus, or Strathisla distillery by train
    Huntly Castle and Deans Shortbread Centre

    and a little further afield
    Banff, for Duff House and Macduff Marine Aqurium
    Inverness/ Loch Ness can be reached from Aberdeen using the train then Jacobite tours  - takes a full day 10am - 8pm but is easy and cost effective.

    All easy day trips from Aberdeen by bus or train.  A lot of folk don't realise just how much you can do without a car! :) #publictransport

    As a borders girl, I must say that there are some great places to visit too, to the South of Edinburgh - a lot of Scotland before you reach the capital!

    Good access from the city to the Scottish Borders (South East Scotland):
    Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford house by taking the Scottish Borders Railway - a recently reopened line with a journey of 55 minutes from Edinburgh.
    Hawick and Selkirk by bus either from Edinburgh or via a connecting service from the train to learn about Scotlan's textile industry at the beautiful Tower Mill - Heart of Hawick or see the tartans made at Lochcarron in Selkirk.
    Great Walks and history round the 4 borders abbeys all accessiable very easily by bus or train.
    Make your own letterpress stationary at the #unique Robert Smails printing works

    My Dumfries and Galloway (South West Scotland) Knowledge isn't as good - but the area is popular for its #tranquility - in contrast to and within easy access of Scotland's main cities.  It is home to Scotland's only dark sky park for stargazing and is worth a visit.
    I also noticed you can stay in a lighthouse in the area! I must take time to explore it more, soon.

    For more information on the the South of Scotland please take a look at :
    You could watch the videos on the site for a flavour of the area, or for a wee bit inspiration here is my (and Sir Walter Scott's) favourite view...

    You could consider travelling around using 
    I have done so before and it was a great experience, train lines in Scotland are all scenic and contrasting!

    I hope you enjoy your visit  - whether it be North or South - or a bit of both :)

    Based in the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire has a special place in my heart.
  • FishjaggerFishjagger Member ✭✭
    Hello everyone, that is brilliant thank you all for your help with this - great suggestions i better start researching now!
  • JDouglasJDouglas Member
    Great info!  We'll also be visiting with three generations aged 14-71... makes planning a bit challenging!  This is a family trip to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary so we want it to be very special for them.  We will be there in Sept 2017 and will have a car.  I'll research all the links in this thread.  If anyone has anything to add specific to Clan Douglas I'd appreciate that as well since my father is very interested in genealogy. Cheers!
  • MogMJMRMogMJMR Member ✭✭
    @jdouglas Melrose Abbey in the borders was a Douglas stronghold and remains of many Earl's of Douglas are there - perhaps contact the abbey for more info?

    Based in the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire has a special place in my heart.
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