Our family has the opportunity to spend six weeks in Scotland next year (a work related trip, but we will have plenty of flexibility.) We have three small children so we would like to have just one or two home bases for the trip, preferably in smaller communities located in areas that would make day-trips easy. I would love recommendations on where to stay as well as family-friendly sites to visit. We enjoy the outdoors - walking, exploring, etc.
So are you thinking the suburbs of Edinburgh or Glasgow? That way you could get into the city for museums, parks, castles, etc. Or are you thinking a small town like Dollar or Inverary? When my children were 8 and 11 they liked playgrounds and castles so we looked for those wherever we went. What are the ages and interests of your children? Will they be enrolled in school during your visit?
We would prefer for our home base to be in a smaller town. I imagine we will plan either day trips or quick (one or two night) trips into some of the larger cities for sight-seeing, but our real hope is for a quieter, slower-paced experience. Our children love to be outside - walk, hike, bike, beaches, playgrounds. We currently live in a smaller town so would be glad to be somewhere with a more village-like atmosphere where we could walk to restaurants, shops, libraries. The children will not be in school while we are there.
How about Dunbar, on the coast about 30 miles from Edinburgh?
John Muir's birthplace, beaches, a ruined castle, lots of outdoor activities.
Consider Dunkeld and Birnam. You can see the Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden, and the Birnam Oak, which was alive in Shakespeare's time. There's a lot to see and do nearby and day trips to the Highlands and St. Andrews and Edinburgh would be easy.
Also consider Linlithgow, near Edinburgh and Oban on the west coast. I love Skye and Mull, but they may be a little too isolated.
St Andrews with its sandy beaches, ruined castle and ruined abbey would be a good choice. Ideas for walks here.
St. Andrews or East Neuk, a scenic coastal town that’s a 15m drive from St. Andrews. You can take day trips to Stirling and Dundee.
Thank you all so much! This is very helpful.