Destination UK

What Are the Top Family Activities in Scotland This Winter?

Posted on
December 15, 2016

Be sure to pack your wellington boots and a rain jacket if you’re planning on visiting Scotland in the upcoming months! Don’t let the weather put you off, though; taking some time to visit this beautiful country in the winter months means fewer crowds, but still so much to see and do.
While the children may not think Scotland is the most exciting and desirable holiday destination, the whole family may be surprised by the variety of activities, destinations and events on offer — all given an idyllic twist over the festive period. From city breaks to countryside strolls, here are some of the must-see attractions for your Scottish adventure.
Edinburgh Winter Wonderland
Edinburgh becomes a truly magical place at Christmas. A winter wonderland full of family activities comes to life — and the good news is that many of the attractions remain open after Christmas into the first week of 2017, so you’ve still got time to book a trip in the upcoming weeks.
The Christmas tree maze, Santa’s train and the outdoor ice skating rink are perfect for the whole family and just a few of the wonderful highlights at this time of year.  For a warmer indoor activity, Jack and The Beanstalk is showing at the King’s Theatre until mid-January, so the children can experience some interactive theatre!
Edinburgh Castle is a must when visiting the capital city. Recently voted as one of the best family attractions in the UK, it offers children a chance to explore the history of the castle and see some epic views from the top. Children also get a chance to meet the cast of the castle in traditional dress — a perfect photo opportunity!
Edinburgh Castle
Celebrate Hogmanay With Scottish Music and Fireworks
New Year is a big celebration throughout the whole of Scotland; the Scots call New Year’s Eve celebrations Hogmanay. The Scottish certainly know how to please a crowd and whatever city you’re in, you’ll be sure to find fireworks, music, street parties and some traditional Scottish food and drink.
There are a number of locations where you can celebrate. Edinburgh offers family-friendly events which span over two days. A torchlight procession begins on 30th December and celebrations continue on 31st December, as live music, outdoor food and drink and fireworks at midnight kick-start 2017.
Stirling is also an amazing place to be with the family as a colourful parade lines the street at 6.30pm, followed by fireworks later on in the night. Aberdeenshire also hosts a traditional fireball ceremony. It’s as exciting as it sounds!  Arrive early and watch skilled Scottish performers parade with fireballs and create some spectacular sights.
Visit the Spectacular National Museum of Scotland
While a museum may not be at the top of the children’s list of things to see and do, the National Museum of Scotland, based in Edinburgh, is full of interactive and exciting things to get the family involved with. Ranging from natural world artefacts to traditional Scottish heritage, there is something for everybody to see and enjoy.
Explore Glasgow With the Whole Family
While Edinburgh can often steal the limelight in Scotland, Glasgow has some great activities for children if you visit the city for a day or two. The spy mission treasure trail is a perfect team game, allowing the children to explore Glasgow’s West End in an exciting way. Glasgow’ science museum and roller skating park are also perfect if the rain arrives!
Mugdock Country Park
Not far from Glasgow is Mugdock Country Park. Whatever the kids are into — cycling, walking, a playing area, or shopping — you can find it here! Offering a great countryside experience for the whole family, Mugdock Country Park has a variety of events and activities throughout the whole year.
Stargazing in Galloway
Both by day and by night, Galloway Forest Park is a spectacular sight. Even if your children aren’t into astronomy, take them here and watch their faces light up as they see the vast array of stars. Due to the small amount of light pollution, you can see hundreds more stars than in any city.
Star Gazing
Explore Scotland’s Nature with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
Want to get the children excited about nature and exploring the wonderful outdoors in Scotland? The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds organises a variety of events and guided walks for children and adults alike. There are numerous locations in Scotland where you can find activities to get the family involved with while on holiday, including many winter-orientated events.  
Visit the Spectacular Northern Lights
Did you know that you don’t need to leave the UK to see the Northern Lights? You’ll need clear skies (which can, of course, always be hit and miss!), but if you head to the north of Scotland, you have the chance of viewing this natural phenomenon. Autumn and winter are the best seasons to see the spectacular view. Head to somewhere with little light pollution and you might just get lucky. Visit Scotland have detailed all of the best places you can try and catch a glimpse.
Northern Lights
Neist Point and Lighthouse
The Scottish coast is a spectacular sight. Neist Point will even get the children excited, as there is the potential of seeing whales and dolphins! Located in the most Western point of the Isle of Skye, Neist Point offers great walking trails and views.
Neist Point
What’s The Best Way to Travel to Scotland? Relax on a Plane and With Airport Transfer
With flights from a variety of airports in the UK and with airport transfers in Scotland available for cheap prices, you can kick start your winter family holiday in no time. If you’re heading somewhere remote, hiring a minibus is ideal and definitely more relaxing than navigating the Scottish highlands by yourself! Whether you choose to hire transport or opt for an airport transfer, Scotland is perfect to explore when you don’t have to worry about things like fuel, space for luggage and parking. Avoid the hassle and enjoy Scotland to its fullest.
About the Author: Robert Furman is the managing director of Extra Mile Coaches, a leading UK minibus and coach hire company. Offering everything from guided tours of Scotland to airport transfers and corporate bookings, Robert knows the best places to visit in Scotland.
I cannot wait for our visit in February now.
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  1. Reply

    Sarah Ebner

    December 15, 2016

    I love Scotland, even though it’s cold! Edinburgh is great all year round, and I’d love to try the stargazing!

  2. Reply


    December 16, 2016

    One NYE I will most definitely go to Edinburgh, maybe when the kids are a bit older!

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