The best family-friendly places to enjoy a staycation in Scotland

Picture: one of the chalet's at the Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort
Picture: one of the chalet's at the Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort

With only a few weeks left of the school holidays, why not book up one of these fab family-friendly destinations?

From kids’ clubs and outdoor activities to crafts, walks and wildlife spotting, there’s something for all ages to enjoy at one of these locations.

Picture: a double bedroom in a chalet at Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort

Picture: a double bedroom in a chalet at Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort

Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort, Carrbridge PH23 3NA

Kick back and enjoy a weekend break in the charming Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort near Aviemore in the Highlands. Consisting of over 50 Scandinavian style log cabins, most of which have two bedrooms but sleep up to six (there’s a handy and comfortable sofa bed in the living room), the resort is as kid-friendly as they come.

Set within the beautiful Cairngorms National Park and within driving distance of Aviemore and Inverness, the resort offers a peaceful retreat that belies its busy surrounding area.

Decorated in a simple, rustic style with pine walls and cosy tweed accessories, the lodges feature an open plan living area with kitchenette, spacious dining conservatory, double bedroom, single room with single pull out trundle and a bathroom. There’s also free WiFi on site and a smart TV which has access to Netflix and mirroring services (although the reception may come and go on various channels thanks to the remote location) – both of which are ideal for cosy nights in.

Guests at the resort can enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Picture: Lochanhully Woodland Resort

Guests at the resort can enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Picture: Lochanhully Woodland Resort

During a stay at Lochanhully, there’s no need to worry about entertaining the little (or not so little) ones as the resort has a weekly schedule of events including quizzes, jewellery making and nature walks. There’s also a range of teen events and family friendly activities. As well as this, guests ar e encouraged to use the on-site basketball court, tennis court or swimming pool. Adults can look forward to adult swim times, the sauna, steam room and gym.

The surrounding area is also ideal for keen hill-walkers or those looking to try a dram or two at one of the famed distilleries on the Malt Whisky Trail. Aviemore is only about 20 minutes away and Inverness and the Moray Coast, about a half hours drive. The Moray Coast is an ideal day out if the weather is good, and watch out for dolphins.

Kids will love the Cairngorm Funicular Railway, which offers wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. The Strathspey steam railway which holds annual events including the ever-popular Santa Express, stops in Aviemore. For those days that aren’t as nice, a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park, Highland Folk Museum or the Spey Valley cinema will keep kids amused.

After a day exploring or enjoying the resort’s activities, a slap-up meal is in order and the menu at on-site restaurant, Jake’s, won’t disappoint guests – big or small.

Jake's Restaurant serves food for all the family. Picture: Lochanhully Woodland Resort

Jake's Restaurant serves food for all the family. Picture: Lochanhully Woodland Resort

Serving up comforting pub grub, such as lasagne, fajitas, chicken strips and steak, the restaurant also hosts themed nights such as burger night and pie night, and there is often live music during weekend evenings. Breakfast, lunch and pensioner’s special menus can also be enjoyed in the vibrant restaurant and bar. The dessert fridge and cookie jars are also worth a look for those with a sweet tooth.

Drinks range from local craft beers to weekend cocktail sharing boards and there’s a good few popular whiskies behind the bar for those that want to sample the Speyside offering.

With prices starting from £98 per night for up to four people sharing a cabin, the Macdonald Lochanhully Woodland Resort is a great place to spend some quality family time this summer.

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Best of the rest

Macdonald Forest Hills Resort, Aberfoyle

Having undergone a multimillion pound refurbishment last year, this family-friendly hotel bears a resemblance to something out of a postcard thanks to its whitewashed exterior that shines out from the backdrop of the rolling hills.

With an on-site activity centre – which offers kayaking, canoeing and boat tours of the loch - and seasonal kids club, plus nearby nature walks, mountain biking trails and popular Go Ape outdoor adventure centre, kids will have plenty to look forwrd to, no matter how long your stay.

Auchrannie Resort, Arran

This popular resort offers families a welcome break whilst only being about two and a half hours from Glasgow. Smaller children will no doubt enjoy the ferry crossing whereas older kids can look forward to a range of activities once they arrive at Auchrannie. As well as a spa and golf for Mum and Dad, kids can enjoy the resort’s special family prices and packages that include access to the leisure facilities and Playbarn.

The resort also offers half-day sea kayaking sessions for families (children must be aged 10 or over) with experienced, qualified instructors. The coastal waters are sheltered, fringed with stunning scenery and plenty of wildlife - and there’s no better way to explore it all than by sea kayak.

Cambo Estate, Fife

With the recently opened visitor centre that includes a cosy cafe, edible garden and chance to see inside stables, Cambo Estate is a great location for families. The estate has a range of self catering accommodation including apartments, cottages and the Cambo Woodland Retreat, all of which are perfect for exploring the estate grounds and gardens.

The East Neuk of Fife also offers great road trip potential, from a chippy and trip to the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther and award-winning ice cream and glorious beaches in St Andrews to a heavenly hot chocolate and crepes in Pittenweem, there’s plenty to keep kids amused.

The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

Splash out on a five star family trip by staying in one of the capital’s most iconic hotels. With views of Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town and Arthur’s Seat plus a relaxing spa and well stocked whisky bar, there’s plenty for the adults to enjoy. Kids are not forgotten though, and can look forward to toy boxes, kid-friendly toiletries, a teddy turndown service, manicures and their own bathrobes and slippers.

Harry Potter fans will be thrilled to know that the hotel hosted J.K Rowling when she was writing the final book and has since named a suite in her honour, decorated, of course, in a suitably magical style.

Attractions such as Dynamic Earth, the Edinburgh Dungeon and the Camera Obscura will keep little ones amused when they are not living it up in the hotel.

Read more: 10 of the best family friendly hotels in Edinburgh