7 Best Family Friendly Hotels in Scotland
Whisk the family away to Scotland for a trip full of castles, nature, and wildlife. It all sounds idyllic in theory, but family getaways can be stressful. From keeping all the kids entertained to the likely event of the rain putting an end to walking plans, the idea of a peaceful holiday drifts further away. Enter: family friendly hotels. Scotland has a sweep of hotel options that cater to families of all ages, taking the pressure off the grownups and turning the adventure on for the kids. You’ll find some of UK’s the best holiday resorts here, where they make sure everyone is having a good time no matter the weather. From countryside mansions to sleek city breaks, here are the best family friendly hotels in Scotland.
Best Family Friendly Hotels in Scotland, How do these rankings work?
How peaceful can a getaway be with the kids? Well, if there’s any tranquillity to be found on a family holiday, you’ll find it at Banchory Lodge. The riverside setting is just beautiful, where the little ones can watch the ducks swim by. The helpful and friendly staff can help arrange fishing on the riverbank too. The town of Banchory is known as the sunniest place in Scotland, so riverside picnics are not unheard of here. The sunshine also makes the walking trails and castle exploring more enjoyable for the children. There are fantastic family suites that have private access to a huge garden with a secure gate leading out to the River Dee – it’s the perfect to create precious family memories and make the most of sunny Banchory. There are children’s menus, too.
This Victorian spa hotel might not seem like a family friendly hotel on the surface, but the beautiful estate is the setting for an array of activities. The hotel has committed to making this one of the top holiday destinations for families, where children of all ages can get involved. Think: archery, alpaca trekking, axe throwing – and that’s just the A’s.
The tumbling estate has 900 acres to weave through on foot or bike, where towering trees and narrow paths line the way for a woodland adventure. And if the Scottish weather throws a (likely) curveball and washes out the outdoor activities, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained indoors: there’s a ball pit, soft play, crazy golf, a cinema, kids’ arts and crafts, a kids’ play zone, and most importantly, a pool with designated splash times. And should you want a date night in one of the two dinner restaurants, dabble in a whisky tasting, or a couples’ massage in the spa, there are registered babysitters and a creche to take care of the little ones. The best bit? The hotel offers two free hours of childcare. It seems the Hydro has thought of everything – without doubt one of the best family friendly hotels in Scotland.
Families get a taste of luxury at the prestigious Gleaneagles Hotel. It’s been around since for a century, with jazzy 20s glamour still prominent in the luxe furniture and grand rooms. The Great Gatsby-esque atmosphere is felt in the restaurants, too – there’s a double Michelin-starred restaurant ran by chef Andrew Fairlie, and the Strathearn Restaurant is a step back in time with elegant choreographed service and French classic dishes. And while this doesn’t sound particularly family friendly, the Gleneagles knows how to entertain.
The older kids will love the chill-out area with games consoles, board games, and movie areas, while the wee ones can be kept entertained in the treehouse-style creche. The country estate is the perfect place to indulge in outdoor activities, and they’ve certainly got creative with it: the kids can try out driving in child-sized Land Rovers, tree top rope adventures, falconry, mountain biking, pony-riding, and driving segways. There’s plenty for the family to do together, but the grownups will want to make the most of the award-winning spa and three championship golf courses.
Take the family to the Highland town of Aviemore for a fun-and-adventure-filled getaway. We challenge any child to be bored here, with the sprawling Cairngorms National Park on your doorstep and plenty of indoor fun. The wee ones will have a blast in the swimming pool – there’s a designated toddler splash zone and log flume – as well as the soft play centre, outdoor park, and cinema. But the biggest selling point here is the Cairngorms, whether you’re kayaking on Loch Morlich, cycling along the surrounding trails, or ice skating in the winter months, there are tonnes of everlasting memories to be made. Guests at the Macdonald get discounted tickets to the Highland Wildlife Park and Landmark Forest Park, too. This is a family-first hotel, and there are great family rooms – some feature bunks.
If one thing is going to peel the kids’ eyes away from the iPad, it’s Loch Lomond. The huge resort has a lot going on, so while it might not be a relaxing family holiday, it’ll certainly be a memorable one. The adventurous spirits will love trying out the water sports on Scotland’s largest loch: there’s paddle boarding, kayaking, kitesurfing, and even a luxury speedboat. Cameron House have catered to the kids in every way here, with junior golf lessons, flexible mealtimes to account for earlier dinners, children’s menus, children’s afternoon teas, and a cinema. Perhaps the best of all is the huge swimming pool, which will see plenty of splashing and playing – get ready to hear the words “can we go on the waterslide?” a hundred times over. It’s all good fun, but if the grownups need a little chill out time, we think a glass of wine while looking out at Loch Lomond will do the trick.
This relaxed hotel might not look the most impressive, but it’s ideal for a family getaway. The surrounding nature is incredible, where wildlife spotting becomes a part of daily life. Take the family on a woodland walk to Craignure village and look out for otters, porpoises, dolphins, and even whales. It’s a truly special experience. Head further inland and watch the kids’ eyes widen as they spot red deer, highland cows, and golden eagles. And whether it’s sunny or not, the beaches of Isle of Mull are a must-see. A private wooden walkway leads you to hidden, white sand beaches. Families with little ones will love this place – children up to three stay for free, and those between three and 12 stay at a reduced rate. The hotel will even provide cots and chairs for free, too.
Fans of Harry Potter will find their new favourite place at the Balmoral. The prestigious hotel is the height of luxury, but it’s a wonderful treat for the family. And with all the character of Hogwarts, it has a dust of magic in every corner. It’s so transportive that JK Rowling wrote the final Harry Potter in one of the suites, which is available if you want to splash out. The teens will love the magical Hogwarts element to the Balmoral, but they might just love the teen spa treatments more. They really know how to look after the kids here, with welcome gifts, rubber ducks for the little ones’ bath times, child-sized dressing gowns, and cookies and milk at bedtimes. Taking a baby on holiday can be a challenge, but the Balmoral will set up cots in the room, baby bath products, hooded baby towels, and complimentary meals. It’s comfort at the highest level. Location-wise, Edinburgh is a very child-friendly city, with fairytale castles, enchanting cobblestone roads, and tonnes of history everywhere you turn.