Scotland and Ireland Vacation
Planning your next trip with the kids but not sure where to go? Consider travelling around Scotland and Ireland, located in the UK for a different, unique family vacation full of adventure and culture!
With mystical castles, mythical monsters and plenty of adventure, Scotland is a land of mystery and history, which makes for a perfect vacation spot for your family. Located north of Great Britain, Scotland has maintained their identity and culture of bagpipes, haggis and tartan kilts with landmarks and hotspots to be enjoyed by travellers of all ages.
Many of the scenes in Harry Potter were filmed in Scotland – where the author J K Rowling came from. As a family, you can visit these sets and retrace the steps of Harry Potter from visiting the grounds of Hogwarts, checking out Hagrid’s Hut near Glencoe or riding the Strathspey Railway train across the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The ultimate dream vacation for any Harry Potter Fans!
Apart from checking out Harry Potter movie sets, there is so much more to do in these beautiful mountains that will keep your kids excited and energised. When it comes to deciding the best area to stay with minimal travel time between attractions, the mountain town of Aviemore or the surrounding area is a great base with a wide range of accommodation from resort hotels such as the Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel which is set in the Cairngorms National Park, and offers a wide range of activities for families including a dry ski slope and pool. Holiday homes like Woodlands Holiday Home, which is a home from home with excellent facilities, garden views and a patio. For a true authentic experience of the highlands, choose to stay at a lodge at Bynack Lodges – rustic, wooden framed lodges that look onto the Cairngorm Mountains, the accommodation includes a lounge, kitchen facilities and a barbecue on the verandah. Close to many outdoor activities such as walking, skiing, horse riding and climbing, this makes the perfect location for adventure seeking families.
Just south of Aviemore is the Highland Wildlife Park where there are hundreds of different species of animals including endangered species from all over the globe such as Red Pandas and native species such as Scottish Wildcats. You can get up close and personal with this unique mix of wildlife as you drive around the main reserve and explore the rest of the park on foot. If you’re lucky, you may spot very endangered snow leopards or enjoy the wild horses that roam around the highlands.
North of Aviemore is the popular Landmark Forest Adventure Park full of family fun theme park rides and activities that will keep them busy for the day. Seeking more adrenaline-filled adventures? Loch Morlich is the perfect water sports destination for families of all ages to learn sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing. Loch Morlich is located within the Glenmore Forest Park, which is also home to beautiful nature trails and hikes.
Preferring a city break to the mountains? Edinburgh also has so much to offer with great attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo and Deep Sea World with you and your kids can explore the animal kingdom and the underwater world. There is also a wealth of historical landmarks to be explored in Edinburgh such as Cawdor Castle, where Macbeth was set or Culloden, where the future of Scotland was decided in an uneven battle between the rebels and the English.
With 900 miles of coastline, breath-taking cliff scenery and heaps of history, there is so much to see and do in Ireland, that it’s virtually impossible to see it all and when you’re travelling with kids, travelling long distances can be quite daunting and exhausting so to get the most out of your trip, it’s advised to stick to one or two parts of the island. Also be mindful that ‘Ireland’ is considered to be the south of the island with the North dubbed as ‘Northern Ireland’. Northern Ireland still identifies with Great Britain and its laws, whereas Ireland has it’s own laws, government and identity.
Ireland still has so much tradition and culture attached to it, making it a fascinating visit. From the calming sounds of Irish Celtic folk music, the quirky Gaelic language, the mystery of the Irish leprechauns to the lucky four leaf clovers, it will undoubtedly be an unforgettable adventure.
The West Coast of Ireland is a great place to start. There is an unbelievably large amount of scenery and coastline to explore. The Wild Atlantic Way is the place to be for the best views and landscapes including the Ciffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. Also along the West Coast is a gorgeous, magical place called Killarney which is very popular with tourists around the world and a must see for families with kids. There, you can visit Killarney National Park, Muckross Traditional Farms. Ross Castle, Torc Waterfall and Killarney town itself for plenty of activities and opportunities for families to explore and make memories.
At the Northern point of the West Coast is Donegal. It’ll take a road trip to get there but it’s well worth the drive as it has some of the highest cliffs recorded in Europe. Hardly visited by the majority of tourists’ means that some parts of this stunning countryside are left wild and untouched.
In the East of Ireland is the county of Dublin. Most trips start and end in Dublin and is a great place for a family vacation. Landmarks such as Phoenix Park, which is home to Dublin Zoo is guaranteed to keep the kids happy and busy for a whole day. With playgrounds, walking trails and bicycle rides; this park is truly a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Looking for an authentic, magical place to stay that will dazzle your kids? Check out Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge, which is a beautifully restored 19th-century Masonic orphan’s school with landscaped gardens, which boasts historical architecture and luxury. Or stay in a real life 11th century castle – the Clontarf Hotel, which combines ancient architecture with 21st-century facilities. 10 minutes’ from Dublin city centre, this boutique hotel offers an award-winning restaurant and luxurious bedrooms.
These magical, inspiring, adventurous countries will certainly give you the excitement and uniqueness that you’re looking for in a your family vacation and memories that will last a lifetime.