There's not long left before the holidays are over, and the little darlings return to school. Here, Jade Aimers offers a few suggestions to keep them occupied in their last days of freedom.

1. Highland Folk Museum

The Highland Folk Museum near Newtonmore was Britain’s first open air museum and gives visitors a realistic taste of how Highlanders lived and worked from the 1700s to the 20th century. The museum is based on a mile-long site which tells a chronological story – with the 1700s township at one end, and the 1930s setting at the other. Visitors can spend over three hours visiting the old school, sweetie shop, and investigating how the Highlanders built and maintained their houses. For TV fans – Outlander used the park to film, so guides can point out which features appeared in the show. There is a cafe which has a variety of inexpensive soups, sandwiches and desserts. There is an option to ride around the park in a wagon pulled by a tractor for a few pounds if you are tired. Free though donations are weclomed.


2. The National Museum of Scotland

Scotland’s national museum is one of the most visited museums in Britain – and with free entry, the museum is a must see. Housing over 20,000 artefacts, the museum’s three floors contain exhibitions dedicated to Scottish and global history, culture, science, fashion and the natural world. The museum runs daily guided tours and theme tours which last an hour and are the good way to see the highlights. There are lots of interactive exhibitions: children can ask a robot to spell out their name, they can race a cheetah, they can dress up in historical clothes – the list goes on. Free.


3. Botanic Gardens Glasgow

The botanical gardens is a great day out for families. Visitors can stroll around the greenhouses and escape from the hustle and bustle of the west end. Beside the River Kelvin, the gardens house a variety of exotic plants and woodland copses, as well as several peaceful paths that loop around and beside the river. Families can use the children’s garden and play area; with the former encouraging an interest in growing and eating healthy food. The newly added Botanic Gardens Tearoom is the perfect spot to rest and refuel – it has both indoor and outdoor seating to allow guests to take advantage of the Scottish sunshine. Free.


4. North Berwick

North Berwick is only half an hour from Edinburgh on the train and it’s home to the Scottish Seabird Centre and multiple golf courses. It’s got beaches, fish and chip shops and ice cream parlours. What's not to like? Depending on which part of North Berwick you visit, you could find yourself on Seacliff beach; staring out onto the Bass Rock (which has the largest colony of gannets found on a single rock in the world.) Alternatively, you could visit Milsey Bay beach near the town centre, minutes away from the Lodge Grounds play park. To the east lies Yellowcraig beach; a popular family beach with extensive footpaths and grassland.


5. Smoo Cave

If you’re in the north of the country make sure to see Smoo Cave. Smoo Cave is a large salt and freshwater cave just over a mile east of Durness, Sutherland. Stunningly beautiful, the sea cave contains three sections: a sea cave entrance, a waterfall chamber, and then an inner freshwater channel. You can visit year-round and access a viewing platform which gives a great view of the waterfall. Information posts explain the formation of the three chambers. The cave receives 40,000 visitors annually and has a car park and toilet nearby. Free.


6. The Kelpies, Falkirk

The Kelpies are the largest equine sculptures in the world – two horse heads, each standing 30 metres tall and weighing 300 tonnes each. The pair are a monument to the role horses played in the early industrial revolution and were designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott. They are part of The Helix park which consists of 350 hectares of land dedicated to recreation: visitors can ride on cycle paths and children can play in the adventure play park or splash fountains. The visitors' centre, which has a cafe and a gift shop, contains an exhibition space which explains the history of the Falkirk area and the origins of the Kelpie sculptures. Furthermore, the visitors centre contains a café with an incredible view of the structure. Free.


7. Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow

Beecraigs is a 370-hectare plot of land in the Bathgate hills where families can spend hours walking on the numerous woodland trails and routes that crisscross the park. Cyclists are welcome as well as dog walkers, and families can rent a barbecue pit. Beecraigs has its own loch and children will adore the adventure play area – they can race on the flying foxes, play in the sand pit area and explore the wigwam huts dotted about the park. Free.


8. Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum

Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum offers a fun, free family day out. The museum shows visitors what living in an 1820s prison was like: guests can walk through authentic cell blocks and hear about the inmates that lived in arguably “the most comfortable jail in Scotland.” The site also has a town museum, which recounts the history of Jedburgh and its most famous residents. There are opportunities for children to dress up and partake in hands on activities. The site has free parking and toilets, although no cafe.

9. Aberdeen Maritime Museum

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum showcases the port, its fishing history and oil, the trade of shipbuilding, and fast sailing ships. The museum is child friendly and contains hands-on exhibits, visual displays and touch screen consoles. Children are offered quiz sheets to fill in as they travel around the exhibits. The museum has a great view over the harbour. The Piper Alpha disaster is covered in a moving exhibition. Free.

10. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A visit to Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival will offer families limitless fun until August 26. Families can marvel at the street performers for hours or grab a brochure and find their way into any of the Fringe’s free children’s shows. Shows worth watching out for include Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat performed by the Charlotte Country Day School, and Man vs Balloon: The Family Magic Show. Families with older children can enjoy a number of comedy, theatre, dance and spoken word events.

11. Sustrans Cycle

For a particularly active day out, cycle part of a route on the Sustrans National Cycle Network. Route 754 links Glasgow to the Falkirk Wheel and is entirely traffic free. The path is well maintained although this can vary due to weather conditions. Depending on your level of experience there are a variety of routes to choose from.


12. The Museum of Childhood

This was the first museum in the world to focus on the history of childhood. It is situated on the Royal Mile and contains memorabilia from the 18th to the 21st century. The museum features toys, games, and information about health and school day routines from across the generations. There are lots of hands-on opportunities for kids including a puppet theatre and costume station. Free.