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Best home base for the highlands?

I'd be very grateful for any feedback you may offer about my family's upcoming trip to Scotland. I'm traveling to Scotland for about two weeks with my husband, son (10 years old and an only child), mom, and brother in late September/early October. We know we'll be staying in St. Andrews for three nights, Oban for a night, and Edinburgh for three nights. There are four nights in between Oban and Edinburgh I haven't booked yet, and I'm looking at my options. I've been to the highlands only once before and I know that we will be happy wherever we end up staying, but I'd love to try to make it as memorable for all as I can. Given that my son is ten and the only kid, I'd love to stay someplace where he has the ability to meet some other children at parks, etc. I'm not in love with the idea of staying at a resort, but would consider it just for his benefit and enjoyment. My husband and I would love to do some hiking. Glencoe, Skye, and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are appealing areas for us to at least visit by way of day trips. We don't have to see them all, but are interested in all! My brother would love to golf, and we would all love to be within easy walking distance of a small village, as well as fun outdoor activities. So far I've been thinking of the Loch Tay area (Kenmore?) or Fort Augustus. I like the idea of having access to rental boats, think the Crannog Center would be fun, and I love the beauty of Perthshire. Fort Augustus looks beautiful and the old abbey has some appealing activities for kids - plus my son would enjoy being on Loch Ness. Any thoughts on these options or others that I might be missing? Many thanks!

Posted by
2949 posts

If you choose Loch Tay, you won't be too far from Loch Lomond, where you could take one or more cruises on the loch. There are varied routes so you can take a boat, get off and hike or hang out for a couple of hours, then catch the next boat either back to your point of origin or onward to another spot on the loch. The companies that run these are, I believe, Cruise Loch Lomond (which I've tried and enjoyed) and Sweeney's.

If you choose Fort Augustus, you won't be too far away from Nairn (just east of Inverness, Culloden Battlefield, and Cawdor Castle), which has highly rated golf courses and the warmest, driest climate in Scotland (I know that's not saying much, but...).

Along Loch Ness, I think a 10-yr-old would greatly enjoy the costumed interpreters at Urquhart Castle and the overall experience at Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition.

Posted by
35 posts

We just wrapped up 10 days in the highlands. We stayed in both Grantown-on-Spey and in Oban. Smaller communities with more charm than the bigger places.