Scotland has over 790 islands in all shapes and sizes. Some are famous for their beaches, some have their own TV shows, some have ancient abbeys, others have vast colonies of seabirds, plenty come with castles, and many are simply beautiful! One thing’s for sure, they offer the perfect setting for family holidays, or simply an adventurous day out.
But with so many islands to choose from, where do you even begin? VisitScotland are experienced island-hoppers and experts on everything from ferry crossings and family festivals, to outdoor adventures, brilliant beaches and fun activities for kids of all ages. Here’s six of the many Scottish islands you can visit for days out, short breaks and fabulous family holidays in 2019.
Scotland’s seventh largest island, Arran, is still only 20 miles long by 10 miles wide, which makes its diversity all the more astonishing. It is known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ and it really does tick all the boxes: mountains, glens, beaches, pretty villages, a mighty castle, quaint churches, and several ancient standing stones. What’s not to love?
This is one you can easily do on a day out, but beware: Arran is very beguiling and kids are especially tricky to tear away once they get a taste of island life and its extraordinary adventure potential.
What not to miss on the Isle of Arran
Goat Fell is the island’s tallest peak, but even though it stands at over 2800ft, you can still get right to the top, kids in tow. Look for the well-marked mountain path starting just outside Brodick.
Brodick Castle is one of Scotland’s loveliest island castles and the surrounding country park makes for a fabulous day out with kids. There are over 10 miles of wildlife-packed walking trails, the sea views are sensational, and the new Isle Be Wild adventure playground is definitely worth a visit.
You’ll find incredible outdoor activities all over the island, or you can opt for a concentrated adrenalin rush at Arran Adventure. From their home at Auchrannie Resort in Brodick they offer everything from archery and off-road Segway tours to gorge walking and mountain biking.
There are wonderful beaches right the way round the island, but for sandcastle building, safe paddling waters, a cute local village and the best chance of sun, head south to Kildonan Beach - it’s one local families like best.
Captivate kids on an enchanted walk through Glen Cloy and the Fairy Glen. This six-mile loop from Brodick is easy going enough for little legs and well-marked all the way.
How to get to the Isle of Arran:
CalMac Ferry from Ardrossan Harbour to Brodick on the Isle of Arran, journey time 55 minutes.
Ardrossan is 45 minutes’ drive from Glasgow city centre.