Scotland is a wonderful destination for families to come to, not only because of its welcoming and safe environment, but it offers a wide variety of landscapes and terrain for different kinds of holidays. Whether you are beach bums, adventure seekers, or a family of bikers, walkers or thrill seekers, there will always be something that will suit your brood.
Your children might be little, so a beach retreat may be what you need. You might have teenagers that need to expel a lot of energy, so a base near an activity centre might be what you need, or you might have older children who would prefer a city break with oodles of culture on the doorstep. Where you go and what you do is up to you, but here are a few ideas on how to spend the Easter holidays in Scotland which might help you sculpt the perfect trip!
Visit a wildlife park
Spending a day at a wildlife park is one of the best ways to entertain children of all ages and get them learning about nature and wildlife. This is such a great time of year to take them, as baby animals begin to appear in springtime, giving them lots to look at and learn about. Getting up close and personal with animals can spark a life-long interest in biology and ecology in youngsters and it is fascinating watching their faces as they study each animal, figuring out its form and behaviour. Monkeys and penguins tend to get the most laughs whilst they exhibit their playful characteristics and funny charm.
Here are some of Scotland’s best wildlife parks and centres:
- Blair Drummond Safari Park. By Stirling, FK9 4UR
- Five Sisters Zoo. Gavieside, West Lothian, EH55 8PT
- Highland Wildlife Park. Kincraig, Inverness-shire, PH21 1NL
- Edinburgh Zoo. Edinburgh, EH12 6TS
Read our full guide on wildlife centres in Scotland where we share more places to go and in-depth information about each one.
Visit an adventure park
Kids have a lot of energy, far more energy than adults, even though they are growing faster and move about a lot more. Therefore, it is important that they have places to expend that energy, especially in the holidays when they don’t have the routine of school to focus on. Adventure parks are a wonderful place to keep them entertained for hours on end, and they are safe environments to let them run free and have fun in. With customer satisfaction at the forefront of their businesses, the adventure parks in Scotland keep it cool with all sorts of fun themes and colourful technology. Does a life-size dinosaur kingdom not say it all?
Here are some of Scotland’s best adventure parks to check out:
- Landmark Forest Adventure Park – a forest activity park with climbing wall, high wire course, crazy maze, raft flumes, rollercoaster and dinosaur park. Location: Carrbridge, Highlands, PH26 3AJ
- Zip Trek Adventure Park – Zip wire courses through the stunning pine forest on Alvie Estate in the Scottish Highlands. Choose from a variety of different courses, some even self-guided! Location: Kincraig, PH21 1NE
- M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park – An amusement park with rollercoasters, big wheel, soft play area, bowling alley and bingo! Location: Motherwell, ML1 3RT
- East Links Family Park – A smaller park well suited to younger children with animal enclosures, train rides, go-karts, bouncy castles and trampolines. Location: Dunbar, EH42 1XF
Read some other ideas in our guide to the best family days out in Scotland.
Get outside and have a picnic
Booking a week away with your family to a new place can be really exciting, and you will want to fit in as much as possible to make the most of it. However, it is really important to take a couple of slow days too, whether that be relaxing at your holiday home, spending a day on the beach, or finding a nice spot for a picnic. Most public areas in Scotland are set up with picnic benches, and a lot of marked walks around woodland and lochs have them too, so you are likely to come across a place to settle down with your pre-prepared grub.
But for those of you who like to go wild, Scotland is a canvas for marking your own private picnic spots. Drive to the coast and find a remote beach, walk through woodland to a hidden loch, or hike up a hill to enjoy your soup with a view – the options are endless. Just make sure the squirrels don’t steal your sandwich!
What about the weather, we hear you ask! Check out our ultimate guide to Scotland’s weather to get a good idea of suitable picnic months.
Take to Scotland’s waters
With 6,160 miles of mainland coastline, 11 major rivers and over 31,400 lochs, it would be silly not to explore the Scottish water a bit more! The range of water sports in Scotland is second to none and there are lots of companies throughout the country who want to take you on lots of wild adventures from sea kayaking and rafting, to surfing and paddle boarding. There are different sports to suit all sorts of levels and interests. After all, not everyone wants to be pulled behind a motorboat on a wakeboard at full speed whilst flipping in the air, some of us might just fancy a gentle canoe by craggy coastline to spot otters! Whatever your preferred flavour, there will be something for you to try.
Here are our top 5 water sports to try:
- Canoeing – This is a lovely way to both learn a new skill and sample Scotland from a different point of view. Whether you decide to undertake this on loch, river or sea, you are able to reach places you can’t reach by foot, explore nature and admire the views. Grab a paddle and have fun!
- White water rafting – This is a sport for those who are keen for a challenge and don’t mind getting wet! With fast-flowing rivers and rapids, Scotland is the perfect host for such a sport. It is an activity that can be done all year round, and one you can all do together - just make sure everyone in your group wants this as once you begin there is no going back…Great for first-time rafters and adrenaline junkies.
- Surfing – Ever thought surfing looks really cool? Well, you don’t need to imagine anymore; you can try it for yourself. All you need is a beach, waves and a surfboard. The northern Scotland coastline is best for this, with Thurso being known as a world-class surf spot so head up there for some wavey fun at any time of the year. Just be safe, always take someone with you, and don't forget a wetsuit!
- Sailing – Some of you might prefer to stay a little dryer when adventuring on water, therefore sailing might be a better option for you. Boat hire in Scotland could not be easier, and with spacious harbours and anchorages set up along the coast, it really is an unbeatable place to charter your boat or learn to sail! Being your own sea captain sounds great to us!
- Diving and snorkelling – It’s time to go underwater! With battleships and magical marine life, the depths of Scotland hold so much history and mystery. Take a day to discover life under the surface and see what you can find. Don’t worry if you have never dived before, there are companies offering lessons and day trips for all ages and abilities.
As well as playing on the water, we can discover what lives in our waters too - check out our guide on dolphin watching in Scotland where we feature the famous bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth.
Become a beach bum
The definition of a beach bum is someone who spends time idly on or around a beach. Sound good? Well, we have good news for you: there are beautiful white sand, shingle and pebble beaches dotted and scattered around the Scottish coastline that are quiet and peaceful havens for any family looking for beachy fun. In the spring and summer months, we get gorgeous weather that is almost tropical on a good day, and these magical locations make for perfect days out building sandcastles, having picnics and playing in the waves.
Here are 5 beachside family retreats that you should keep in mind for 2020:
With 2020 being the Year of Coasts and Waters, why not come and sample our white sand beaches for yourself? If you want to take the pooch too, here are some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Scotland.
Theatre and cultural experiences
Taking your children to the theatre is opening them up to a world of creativity, imagination and theatrics. It lets them immerse themselves in a world different to their own, teaches them to follow a story through acting and script and lets them experience an interactive form of visual art.
There are lots of theatres throughout Scotland which have a full programme of interesting shows, performances and events, and many of the local ones run workshops for children through the school holidays. Some even double up as a cinema in the more rural areas!
Here are some of our favourite theatres in Scotland which are popular with both locals and tourists and put on fabulous shows throughout the year.
- McPhail Centre. Ullapool, Highlands, IV26 2UN
- Pitlochry Festival Theatre. 89 Atholl Rd, Pitlochry, PH16 5AB
- Perth Theatre. Mill Street, Perth. PH1 5HZ
- Eden Court Theatre. Bishops Road, Inverness, IV3 5SA
- The Lyceum. Edinburgh, EH3 9AX
Read our guide on five superb Scottish theatres where we feature some holiday cottages close by.
These are all ideas which can enhance your Easter holiday in Scotland. Hopefully you are now dreaming of that water sport you are going to take on, or planning how to become Scotland's most famous beach bum. Whatever you decide, make sure you check out our range of great holiday homes for Easter breaks and plan your stay with us today!