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SPONSORED: Scotland’s best family friendly summer holiday activities

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Ah, the summer holidays: six school-free weeks to relax, forget about homework and packed lunches, and have some fun.

Of course, those school-free weeks can also start to feel very long if you’ve not planned ahead and thought of some boredom-busting activities.

So to help you keep everyone entertained, we’ve found 10 of the best family friendly summer activities from around Scotland. Here they are…

Enjoy a day out at the National Mining Museum Scotland

A visit to the award-winning National Mining Museum Scotland is an absolute must! Just five minutes from the Edinburgh City Bypass and a five-minute walk from Newtongrange train station, the museum is housed in the wonderfully restored Lady Victoria Colliery and offers a superb day out for the whole family.

Visitors can retrace the footsteps of thousands of miners and their families who relied on the colliery to make a living. There are two major exhibitions, “The Story of Coal” and “A Race Apart”. Using interactive displays, reconstructions, sounds and visuals, visitors can find out exactly what life was like at work and at home for the men and their families who toiled so hard for Scotland’s “black diamonds”.

A tour of the pithead, recreated underground roadway and coalface, with an ex-miner as your guide, gives the atmosphere and noise of a working pit – an experience which instantly makes you glad you’re not a miner!

The museum’s café offers a warm welcome, delicious coffee, lunch, freshly baked cakes and scones. There are also picnic areas and an outdoor play area where kids can let off some steam while parents relax close by.

An exciting programme of family friendly events runs throughout the year.

Full information and tickets are available online.

Explore a historic steamship at Loch Lomond

Come aboard! The Maid of the Loch is a historic steamship and visitor attraction berthed at Balloch Pier, on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. She’s just had a £1 million refit which recreates her original 1950’s style rooms.

Enjoy great views from her three decks over the water to the islands and Ben Lomond. You can also enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon tea from your table on deck, as you watch water sports or the seaplane land.

You can also:

  • Visit the tearoom, with home baking, hot snacks, delicious afternoon teas, soft drinks and ice cream.
  • Take a tour to discover more about this unique vessel.
  • Find the crew on Children’s Teddy Bear Trail or learn about signalling flags in the Flag Challenge.
  • Visit the souvenir shop.
  • At weekends the Steam Slipway is “In Steam” and has some fun activities for kids of all ages.
  • Ramp access to the ship and a new lift now gives access to engine deck.

It’s open 10am till 5pm daily until October. Entry is free and there’s free parking close by, with Balloch Rail Station a 10-minute walk away. The ship is also a 5-minute walk from Loch Lomond Shores.

Find out more about Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond

Learn primal and bushcraft skills in an outdoors adventure

There’s nothing better than getting the whole family out into the great outdoors for a weekend of adventure. What better way than to learn new skills together, bonding away from iPad’s and computers and re-connecting with each other in a relaxed and natural environment.

Learn the skills of our Primal ancestors at Dalkeith Country Park. During your family weekend, available activities include archery, survival skills for the kids, foraging walks and much more.

The course starts at 10:00 on Saturday 10th August and aims to finish by mid-afternoon on 11th August. You’ll have the opportunity to make your own improvised shelter, but tents are welcome. A full kit list is available on request. The cost starts at £180 for 1 adult and 1 child.

You can also join Primal Bushcraft and Survival at Scone Palace, 10th July, 9am to 4pm. It’s fun for all the family and suitable for ages 4+. Hone your archery skills in the forest and learn about bushcraft and survival skills in this friendly 2 hour session.

Learn more about Primal summer activites and events online.

Enjoy some deliciously good fun at Cream o’ Galloway

Famous for its range of more than 20 ice cream flavours, Cream o’ Galloway is a must-visit for families with energy to burn this summer!

Its unique woodland adventure playground grows more exciting every year, with the most recent addition being Scotland’s first outdoor E-Kart track.

The E-Karts join the quirky bouncy netting Go Boing!, pedal karts, drop slides, flying fox and the giant 3D maze in the Cream o’ Galloway menu of fun attractions.

There’s lots for younger members of the family to do too, including a range of family-friendly events such as ice cream tastings and tours.

Plus there are opportunities to find out more about the farm’s pioneering approach to ethical dairy farming, and miles and miles of nature trails to explore.

Get the most out of a trip to Cream o’ Galloway by starting early and packing the day with active adventures, woodland fun and delicious ice cream.

Open 10am-5pm every day throughout summer. Free of charge for supervising adults and under 3s, £13.50 per day for older children, £5 per day for ages 3-5years. Family group tickets available.

Find out more at the Cream o’ Galloway website.

See a different side of Glenshee Ski Centre this summer

Did you know Glenshee Ski Centre is also open during the summer? The Cairnwell Chairlift, running from 9.30am to 4.30pm, will take you up the hill and another 5 minute walk will get you to the top of Cairnwell.

It’s one of just nine munros in the area, so there’s plenty to explore. You can also take mountain bikes up with you and then ride the land rover track back down (although please be aware that this is not a novice ride).

The centre can cater for most on the chair, and if you need this stopped to get on and off, just ask one of the friendly operators who’ll be happy to help.

The Café is open from 8.30am to 5pm, seven days a week, serving great coffee and cakes as well as hot and cold food (and ice creams on those hot days!). Well behaved dogs are also welcome.

The centre is located on the A93 Cairnwell Pass, the highest A road in the UK and part of the snow roads route. It’s 41 miles from Perth and nine miles South of Braemar.

Find out more about Glenshee Ski Centre online.

Enjoy outdoor activities for the whole family at Lochter

Lochter Activity Centre is situated on the outskirts of Oldmeldrum, a mere 20 minutes from Aberdeen City Centre.

The centre boasts the widest range of outdoor activities in the north east, ranging from Clay Pigeon, Shooting, Target Archery, Target Rifle Shooting, Digger Challenge, Water Zorbing, Segway Slalom and Karting on the outdoor Lochterstone Track, to mention just a few.

Lochter offers many different packages and bait fishing for the younger adventurers out there. The packages range from £10 to £80, depending what everyone wants to do.

The holidays are a great excuse for parents to spend some extra quality time with their children, so why not take them on an adventure and take part in outdoor activities together.

Weather that be an afternoon of fishing or racing on the go kart track, Lochter has lots of offer.

Find out prices and more info on Lochter Activity Centre’s website.

Explore Brechin Castle and enjoy outdoor activities

Enjoy some outdoor fun for all the family and explore Brechin Castle Centre Country Park & Fairy Trail.

Using the activity booklet, solve the clues and questions to make your way round each point on the magical fairy trail, while keeping your eyes peeled for well disguised woodland friends.

Great fun for children and adults alike, try the sledge run and see who can go fastest. Test yourself against the wooden maze and see if you can make it to the flagpole in the centre, or give the popular jumping pillows and zip slide a try.

The extensive play area offers everything from a farm-themed courtyard with pedal tractors, climbing structures and water play, to a giant sandpit and play diggers.

Take rough terrain go karts for a spin around the track, with karts to fit ages 3-99. Includes 2-seater models and a new family 4-seater which can be taken around the park.

Enjoy hot or cold drinks, ice-cream, burgers and a range of snacks at the outdoor food unit, or bring along your own picnic.

Available from 29th June to 19th August. Get 20% off adult, child, concession and family day entry tickets. Please use code: PAPERS COUNTRY PARK.

Find out more about Brechin Castle Centre on their website.

Enjoy a family getaway in Fife

Pettycur Bay Holiday Park is a family-owned holiday complex situated between Burntisland and Kinghorn on the South coast of Fife in Scotland.

The three parks – Pettycur Bay, Kinghorn Harbour and Leven Beach – are perfect for relaxing and enjoying a memorable break in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

There are a wide range of holiday homes available for sale or hire, and a dedicated campsite at Pettycur Bay with services for touring caravans, motor homes and tents.

All parks are ideal for exploring Fife’s coastal walks, ancient castles and picturesque villages. Pettycur Bay also offers the Bay Leisure Centre, with swimming pool, fitness suite, amusements, shop and children’s play areas. In the leisure centre, you’ll also find the Horizons Restaurant, Waterfront Lounge and Night Club for snacks, lunches and suppers.

Find out more about staying at Pettycur Bay Holiday Park.

Have a day at the fair at Burntisland

Burntisland Fairground is situated in the Kingdom of Fife, a great town with good cafes, bars, shops and a blue flag beach.

The fairground is Scotland’s biggest summer fair and this year will be having a giant wheel, where you will be able to see over the Forth and enjoy some breath taking views.

There will also be many other great rides, including old favourites the dodgems and waltzers.

On the 15th of July, the Highland Games takes place – one of the oldest in Scotland and a busy day in the town. This year, the market for games day will be bigger and better than ever. Burntisland really is the best day out in Scotland, with something for everyone.

Find out more about Burntisland Fairground.

Hire bikes and hit the trails

From tots to hardcore trail warriors and everybody in between, Rik will sort you out with a phenomenal ride.

Rik’s Bike Shed is based at the famous Drumlanrig Castle, where you can spend a whole day enjoying the woods, gardens, house and fantastic adventure playground, as well as riding some of the UK’s best biking trails.

The family friendly bike shop rents out everything from teeny wee balance bikes, trailers and tagalongs, to full suspension downhill bikes.

They have trails to match, with four easy ‘green grade’ routes for a lazy pedal with stunning views, and ‘blue’, ‘red’ and ‘black’ trails with berms, jumps and roots for mountain bikers.

They stock Frog and Merida, along with plenty of spares and upgrades, and run a busy workshop to get you back pedalling after a problem.

Lessons or guided rides can be arranged. There’s no need to book, just show up with some ID and a card to pay.

Find out more information and contact details on their Facebook page.