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Scotland with Toddler

Trying to get information on how to travel with a toddler (1.5 year) in Scotland. I was planning on using Mini-Bus Tour/Tour Groups but they don't allow small (under 5 yrs) kids. So that leaves, public transportation or renting a car.

Home base will be Edinburgh, and we can walk/use public transportation within the city limits. But if we wanted to see the highlands or go to another area it looks like we are stuck.

Any suggestions? Trip will be May 2020

Posted by
1835 posts

Car rental would be best to see the Highlands etc. - is this a problem?

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Elena,

Life will be a lot easier with a car. I'm assuming that you will have a stroller. It's real pain carrying a toddler, while trying to manoeuver a stroller and other essentials on to a bus or train. Plus folding the stroller while doing everything else.

If you decide to hire a car, make arrangements to have a car seat provided, unless you're planning to bring your own. You should be able to rent a stroller in Edinburgh, or pick one up at one of the specialty shops, if you don't want to bring one with you. Just having a quick look at Tom Thumb equipment rental in Edinburgh. They seem to have a lot of top of the line strollers for 15 pounds per day. You could balance that cost against the cost of bringing your own, which would count as an extra piece of luggage.

Tom Thumb also has back carriers and slings for rent, if carrying your toddler around on your back would make things easier.

Good luck!

Mike (Auchterless)

You can take trains around Scotland. There are also buses - both city buses and intercity buses. If the Highlands are difficult to reach, there are other areas. Take a train from Edinburgh to Oban. Pretty ride. In Oban - you can go out on wildlife boat tours. Take a train from Edinburgh to INVERNESS. Enjoy Nessie. Take a train to Stirling and see the castle. There's also the east coast of Scotland. (Pitlochry and St. Andrew's, and I believe - Fife).
How much time do you have in Scotland?
Are you committed to staying only in Edinburgh? If so, I believe you can still day-trip by train to Stirling Castle.
Take a train to London for a few days.

Posted by
17 posts

One idea for you, as we have done this with our kiddo in the past (now a seasoned international traveler at the age of 10):

Look carefully at the length of your car rental vs. what the agency charges for a car seat, it may be cheaper to actually buy a car seat than to rent! This is especially possible if public transport is available at the start of your trip.

On our last trip to Germany, I used to purchase an inexpensive seat and (after clearing it with the hotel manager) had it delivered to our first hotel the day before we arrived. Luckily by that point our daughter was big enough for a "booster", but given the length of our trip, even a full-backed 5-point seat would have been cheaper to purchase than the rental fee. Some big cities have charities that will accept a lightly used carseat as a donation, but for the massive cost savings vs. renting we were happy just to abandon the seat with our rental agency!

After flying with a car seat a couple of times domestically, I learned I never want to carry a seat on a plane again. It consumes a carry-on bag, since most car-seats are NOT rated for Airline use, they won't let you seat the kid in the seat on the plane! We've also seen that rental car seats are usually beat to hell, and the agency is never as prepared to deliver/install it as you would like. (Most recently on a "family" trip we waited nearly an hour for a carseat for our nephew.) Go to youtube and review carseat install videos so you are confident (and competent) to install the seat on your own, as this is not a job for the minimum-wage counter jockey.