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Days out: From bears to Bash Street… Best things to do in Scotland this summer

© Supplied by Scott Baxter/DCT MedGreyhope Bay.
Greyhope Bay.

It’s a constant battle to keep the kids busy over the summer holidays. But fear not, there are plenty of places to go and things to see and do.

From safaris to dolphin spotting, Visit Scotland shares its favourite spots for the summer season…

Delightful dolphins

Breathe the fresh sea air at Greyhope Bay and head to the dolphin viewing centre at Torry Battery.

Constructed from converted shipping containers and operating off-grid, the Greyhope Bay Centre is the best place to spot bottlenose dolphins from land in the UK, with no need for binoculars. The centre also boasts one of the best views in Aberdeen as well as a café and community space.

Green days out

Journey into a multi-sensory celebration of stories past, present and future inspired by Scotland’s rich and diverse plant life.

From the rushes of Sunset Song, and the real and imagined plants in Harry Potter, to the peatlands that cover a fifth of Scotland – all feature in Of Scotland’s Soils and Soul: Scotland’s Voices at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Magic of the multiverse

Discover one of Scotland’s best artland attractions: Crawick Multiverse in Sanquhar.

Landscape architect Charles Jencks transformed a former coal mine into an incredible outdoor space.

Kids can race up Milky Way spirals and along the Comet Walk, and when all the fantastical features have been explored, there is a picnic area at The Coalface.

Summer Bash

Dundee will be transformed into Beanotown when the Summer (Bash) Streets Festival launches on Thursday, in a celebration of the stories and characters that are synonymous with the city.

There will be a pop-up outdoor comic museum, the Dennis fun-run, workshops, talks, film screenings and street performances.

Highland fling

On August 20, Nairn Highland Games return. The historic event is one of the must-not-miss fixtures of the Scottish summer.

Horsing around

Home of The Kelpies, Andy Scott’s famous sculptures. The park itself features plenty to be explored, including around 500km of connected cycle paths.

Fruity fun

There is no better summer activity than harvesting delicious fruit with the kids. Fill a punnet or two with fresh strawberries, raspberries, cherries and more at Cairnie Farm, Cupar, Fife.

Cracking Crathes

Make your way to the magical Crathes Castle at Banchory to let the kids experience amazing wildlife and scenery.

Animal magic

See snow leopards, Scottish wildcats, red pandas and even a polar bear at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie.

Culture capital

Edinburgh is the place to be for arts and culture. Check out the Jazz & Blues Festival or watch incredible street performers dazzle audiences at the Festival Fringe.

Adrenalin rushes

Take the gondola up the Nevis Range and whizz down the ZoomTrax 40m tubing slide.

Paddle power

Take a dip in the salt waters of Gourock Outdoor Pool. There’s a kids’ pool and diving boards and the water is always heated to a comfortable 29˚C.

All creatures great and small

With over 300 animals to see, little ones can earn their stripes at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Coasting it

Enjoy crabbing competitions, ceramics workshops, fossil hunting, junior golf and a sandcastle building competition at Crail Festival (July 20-30).

Experience a day out on the tracks with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends at Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway. Be sure to book tickets in advance.