With rugged mountains, deep blue lochs and grassy glens, the Highlands is a fantastic place for a family camping holiday. There are so many Things to Do in the Highlands with Kids that kids of all ages will fall in love with this beautiful part of Scotland – for its wildlife, its history and its culture.
Be sure to add castles, Highland coos and canoeing to your to-do list, and you’re off!
10 Fun Things to Do in the Highlands with Kids
Let’s have a look at 10 fun Things to Do in the Highlands with Kids so to plan the perfect camping holiday in the region.
1. A storybook comes to life in Argyll
Loch Fyne is Scotland’s longest sea loch and on its shores in Argyll you’ll find the Ardkinglas Estate and woodland gardens. Be amazed by the impressive evergreens in the pinetum, among them “the mightiest conifer in Europe”. This is an epic European silver fir whose trunk measures nearly 10 metres all the way round! And speaking of epics, the kids will love the Gruffalo Trail, with storyboards and specially-commissioned sculptures promising a magical adventure in the woods.
2. Travel back in time to the 1700s
A whole new generation can see how our ancestors lived 300 years ago at the Highlands Folk Museum in Newtonmore. This is Britain’s first open air museum, with 30 historical buildings in all. At one end there’s a 1700s township (with heather-turf roofs and peat fires) and a working 1930s croft at the other – with a traditional blacksmith’s, a Victorian school and sweet shop in between. With a set-up this authentic, no wonder several scenes of Outlander (the time-travel TV drama) were filmed here!
3. Make waves looking for Nessie
For many a young dinosaur fan a visit to Loch Ness means a trip to Nessieland. Here they can learn about the many sightings of the monster, before heading to the adventure playground to let off some steam. More outdoorsy types can take to the water and keep an eye out for Nessie in the wild.
Check out canoe and kayak hire on Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal and, if your family’s up for a challenge, why not paddle the Great Glen Canoe Trail? This covers 60 miles from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness in the east, taking in the full length of Loch Ness on the way.
Surely one of the best things to do in the Highlands with Kids, no doubts at all!
4) Explore the high seas… from Inverness
Continuing the watery theme, you’ll want to swing by the Ship Space, an interactive maritime museum in Inverness. Here landlubbers can board a creel fishing boat, a former RNLI lifeboat, a mini submersible and even a 1:10 scale replica of the Titanic – and all without leaving dry land! Send an SOS on the Marconi wireless, try on a survival suit for size and listen out for the Titanic’s haunting fog horn.
5. From the high life to wildlife in the Cairngorms
The Cairngorms National Park boasts four of the five highest mountains in the UK and, if you’ve a head for heights, there’s a thrilling new way to learn the lie of the land. The Zip Trek Park at Aviemore (suitable for ages five and up) covers a two-kilometre course, with 14 zip wires in total. Non-adrenaline junkies – who nonetheless crave something a little different – may prefer a visit to the Cairngorm Reindeer.
This friendly herd of 150 deer roam free in the Cairngorms and on the neighbouring Glenlivet estate. They’re not just for Christmas, you know!
6. Tales of smuggling and the supernatural
The quirkily named Smoo Cave (from the Norse word for hiding place or hole) is set deep into limestone cliffs near the village of Durness on the north coast. Two hundred feet long, 130 feet wide and 50 feet high at the entrance, Smoo was formed over thousands of years by the battering of the waves, as well as the eroding action of the river and underground waterfalls that flow into it. There are all manner of spooky stories attached the cave and it has been associated with smuggling and murder – and was even said to be the gateway to hell.
7. A 4×4 adventure in Perthshire
Currently rated “Best Visitor Experience” in Scotland, Highland Safaris are a novel way see the local wildlife of Perthshire. Choose a Land Rover tour of the forests or the mountains – with a kilted ranger as your guide – or set out on a self-guided walking and cycling safari (bikes are available to hire). And if you fancy your prospects, you’ll also find Scotland’s only gold and gem panning centre here.
8. Chilling in the Highlands – whatever the weather
It’s good to have an indoor activity on standby, in case of rain. And here in the Highlands there’s still scope for adventure on the greyest of days – with indoor rock climbing, ice climbing and bouldering at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. Their family sessions are suitable for complete beginners, with all the equipment you need included in the price. We can’t think of a cooler day out than this.
9. Twitching and “trundling” in the Trossach hills
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has two claims to fame: it’s Scotland’s first national park and contains the UK’s largest body of water. Explore the park by following the Trossachs Bird of Prey Trail, which promises amateur ornithologists a chance of seeing ospreys, peregrines and golden eagles.
The 30-mile route can be covered in half a day by car, though you might prefer to tackle the trail on foot or by bike – or hitch a ride in a vintage Trossachs Trundler bus (summer months only). Just keep those binoculars at the ready.
10. Follow James Bond to Kyle of Lochalsh
Castles simply don’t get more dramatic than Eilean Donan, a 13th century fortress perched on an island surrounded by three sea lochs. Originally built as a defence against Viking invaders, the castle played a key role in the Jacobite uprisings of the 17th and 18th centuries before falling into ruin for 200 years. It was rebuilt in the 1910s and 1920s, and in 1999 landed itself another starring role, as the headquarters of the Scottish M16 in the The World is Not Enough.
Booking campsites in The Highlands
Once you’ve got the gear packed, site booked and the things to do sorted you’ll be well on your way to a fantastic camping trip to see the best to do in the Highlands with Kids . Have a great trip!