School Holidays on a budget!

Posted by True Highlands in Kit and Caboodle | 0 comments

With school holidays comes the inevitable days out to keep the little terrors darlings happy!  We have pulled together a few ideas for either free or cheap days out in the Highlands and Islands and hope you feel inspired to go out and explore all the fabulous things on offer.

Smoo Cave in Durness (NW Sutherland) is brilliant fun as well as being educational. Sturdy footwear is required as there is a path down the hillside to get to the cave. Easy enough for wee ones and a hand rail most of the way.  Once in the cave a very helpful chap tells you about the geology and you can either walk around and along the walkway to see into the cave or take the little inflatable right into the chambers. (From memory, just a couple of pounds each) This, we highly recommend! Not for very small ones or those unsteady on their feet as there is a metal ladder (wet) down to the inflatable and then you duck down to get under the stone arch. (5 year olds were fine) The guide is entertaining and we did think he may have been in there a little too long!

Smoo Cave (Left) - Eoropie (Right)

Pictured: Smoo Cave entrance in Durness (left) and Eoropie play park at the Butt of Lewis (right).

The Bone Caves near Inchnadamph can be pretty exciting for kids and adults alike. The name comes from when lots of animal bones were found, but no human ones, of Lynx, Polar Bears and Reindeer.

Nessie spotting is of course compulsory and you can either take a boat trip or get a picnic together and set up next to the loch and get the binoculars out! Urquhart Castle is another brilliant option and can easily use up the majority of your day. Take a waterproof in case it rains (unlikely but it has been known…)

A fab play park for those of you staying on Lewis, is Eoropie at the Butt of Lewis. (That’s the top not bottom!) Not like any other we’ve seen (for free), within the 4 acres it has an area for toddlers, a pirate ship, a swing for disabled children, a play park for older ones, tunnels, sandpits, zip wire, maze, picnic benches and lots of space for games. The added bonus is that you can walk from it to a fabulous sandy beach.

If on the Isle of Mull, there is no end of free entertainment. Most famous is Tobermory (a.k.a. Balamory) and its coloured houses (Play park 10 min walk from high street up step hill near Western Isles Hotel) and above the town is the Aros Park which has fishing ponds, play equipment, woodland walks and even a fairy tree. Calgary Art in Nature is a short but wonderful walk through the woods with sculptures dotted around. The ideal walk from the beach up to the gallery and café.  The Duart Castle millennium garden is another woodland walk, short yet great for kids (especially if they know there are trolls under the wee bridges!).

Oban is a popular seaside town destination in the school holidays. There’s the sea life centre which is worth supporting as it is a charity and very cheap to get in, amazing fish and chips, ferry trips and boat trips galore and it would be criminal not to visit the Pokey Hat for an ice-cream!

Pictured: Waterfalls at Fairy Glen (left) and Ice Cream Sundaes at Cooper's Creek (right).

Pictured: Waterfalls at Fairy Glen (left) and Ice Cream Sundaes at Cooper’s Creek (right).

The Ross-shire are has an abundance of things to do such as Rogie Falls where the bouncy bridge crosses the water with lots of paths for short or long walks. Try out some of the paths going off into the trees and take a picnic along.  The area around Fortrose offers dolphin spotting at Chanonry Point (it’s locally know that the best time to get there is an hour after low tide to see the dolphins jumping around) and Fairy Glen which is a 20 to 30 minute walk through woods up to two fairy waterfalls. (Don’t miss the tree with the coins).  Rosemarkie Beach which offers sand play and, if you walk a bit further along, a couple of wee caves.  From there a short drive takes you to Cromarty for the best ice-cream sundaes around at Coupers Creek.

Let us know if you come across any great (free) days out and we will add them to our website!

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