Scotland’s 20 best lockdown-friendly activities to enjoy with kids Soft play is shut, sleepovers are off-limits and for the next few weeks you can’t go out for a meal together in the pub. It’s fair to say that entertaining kids is no easy task at the moment. But while the weather might be a bit chilly, there are still lots of activities that you can enjoy as a family in Scotland’s great outdoors, keeping safe while also keeping kids busy. In addition, there’s a fair few family-friendly businesses that are able to remain open while abiding to the current government guidance. Here’s our pick of the best.


Admire Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland

Golspie, Sutherland

01408 633177

Open every day, 10.30am- 4pm, falconry displays are daily at 11am until 3pm until October 31

Adults £11, Children £6 (prices include museum, gardens, and falconry display)

Looking like something that’s straight out of a Germanic fairy tale, it’s almost hard to believe that this conical-spired castle is in Scotland. Kids will love running around the beautiful grounds, exploring the myriad of rooms within the castle and, above all, watching the impressive falconry displays, featuring owls, hawks and majestic falcons. Leave enough time to spend several hours here- you’ll need it.


Ride a horse at Blackstone Clydesdales, Ayrshire

Blackstone Farm, Rigg Road, Cumnock, Ayrshire

01290 421 639

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm

£10 per person for a one-hour walking tour

Sturdy, white-footed and well-natured, Clydesdale horses are famous the world over. Any equestrian kids will love meeting the Clydesdales who live at the Blackstone farm -along with Highland cows and other farm animals- with the opportunity to try riding them for an additional cost. The friendly team will take you down to Ayr Beach where you can canter along the sands and experience these majestic animals at their absolute best. You can even ride them out into the sea!


Show off your skills at Unit 23 Skatepark, Dumbarton

The Old Bond, 45- 50 Castlegreen Street, Dumbarton

01389 768333

Open Monday-Friday, 12pm-10pm and Saturday-Sunday, 12pm-8pm

£9 for 2 hours, £1 for every hour thereafter

Over lockdown, most kids have explored every inch of their local area on bikes and scooters…so why not offer them some variety? Any mini skating enthusiasts are sure to love Unit 23, which is the largest indoor skatepark in the UK. The 56,000 square-foot facility offers ramps of varying sizes, spread over three different halls, which are designed to suit all ages and skill levels. They’ve also just opened up a new trampoline hall within the facility, Unit 23 Bounce House, which is priced at a very reasonable rate of £10 for one hour. And unlike many other visitor attractions you don’t have to book ahead- just turn up and get going.


Climb up North Berwick Law, East Lothian


There’s been a bit of a craze for climbing Munros during lockdown. But when it comes to little legs, a Munro might be too much of an ask, especially as we head into winter and some more challenging weather conditions. Fortunately there are plenty of smaller peaks throughout the country that will be more suitable for kids to climb, including North Berwick Law in East Lothian. At just under 200m in height it is relatively easy to ascend, yet it offers spectacular views over the town of North Berwick, the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh beyond. Other kid-friendly ‘little’ hills include Conic Hill in Balmaha, Ben A’an in the Trossachs and Criffel Hill in Dumfries- although you can expect to get very muddy while attempting the boggy paths on the latter.


Get locked up at Inveraray Jail, Argyll

Church Square, Inveraray, Argyll

01499 302381

Adults £11.95, children £6.95, seniors £9.95

Open every day, 10am-5pm

Now fully open, and with no pre-booking required, a trip to this 19th century jail offers a day out with a difference. You can view historic torture weapons, walk around the cramped cells of the old prison and enter the county courtroom, listening to extracts from actual trials held there. There is also a ‘modern day’ cell to give a sense of what prison life is like today. There are free handsets on offer to provide an audio guide to the jail, but you can also download the guide to your smartphone to avoid any potential contamination. There’s deep cleaning, hand sanitiser and physical distancing in place, too, so you will be able to relax and enjoy your visit.


Take a trip to the Aquarium at Loch Lomond Shores

Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium, Drumkinnon Tower, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch

01389 721500

Adults £12.75, child £8.75

Open every day, 10am- 5pm


There’s plenty to see at the Sea Life Aquarium, with sharks, otters, starfish and an immersive ocean tunnel (but one where you stay dry) and the chance to watch the animals getting fed if you time your visit right. Until November 1st they are running a special ‘Ascarium’ event: an immersive trail in which kids can try and find ingredients to the ‘sea witches potion’ and get a Halloween-themed treat at the end. After you leave, head on a walk around the lovely banks of Loch Lomond or get a bite to eat in Balloch to make a day of it.


Try out a modern safari in the Cairngorms

Rothiemurchus Centre, Rothiemurchus, near Aviemore

01479 812345

Prices vary depending on activity chosen (age and height restrictions apply)

Open Wednesday-Sunday, various times

Exploring the highlands on foot is all well and good, but why not do it in style? That’s what is on offer at the Rothiemurchus Centre, where participants can traverse the highlands on Segways, quad bikes and horseback in the grounds of a majestic Aviemore estate. You can zoom across the fields of heather and off-road dirt tracks, stopping to take pictures of the resident herd of Highland cattle. Kids will love feeling totally free in the great outdoors, while adults will be reassured by the Covid-safety protocols and deep disinfecting of each Segway and quadbike between uses.


Go and see the Highland Cows at Pollok Country Park, Glasgow

Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow


Pollok Park is a lovely place to visit at any time of year. But it is in autumn, when the trees form a canopy of red and brown, that this southside institution really comes alive. The park’s resident Highland cattle look particularly majestic against the autumnal colours and kids will love visiting them and trying to encourage the cows to come closer in the field. Even older children and teenagers, notoriously difficult to please, will begrudgingly acknowledge that snapping a picture of the cows will provide popular content for their social media pages.


Walk from Cruden Bay to Bullers of Buchan, Aberdeenshire


It might be difficult to drag kids on a long walk, but when you promise them a haunted castle along the way it will make it an easier sell. The Bullers of Buchan is one of Aberdeenshire’s most spectacular spots: a collection of craggy cliffs centred around a collapsed sea cave that now forms a spectacular rock archway. But if you walk to it from the village of Cruden Bay, you will pass the ruins of Slains Castle on your way. The 16th century castle was said to have helped inspire the story of Dracula, after its Irish author Bram Stoker visited the area before he wrote his 1897 novel. After you pass the castle, keep heading along the clifftop coastal path until a large detached rock (locally known as Dunbuy) comes into view. From here, the scenery only gets better, with a series of arches, sea caves and blow holes before you reach the Bullers of Buchan itself. You might also spot puffins nesting, if you are lucky.


Explore the treetops at Go Ape, Aberfoyle

The Lodge - Forest Visitor Centre, Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Aberfoyle, Stirling (also in Aberdeen and Peebles)

0845 094 9032

Open Sunday-Friday, 9.30am- 4pm and Saturday 9am-4pm

£28 for 10-15-year olds, £35 for adults

If you are looking for the antidote to several months being spent cooped up indoors- this is it. Thrill-seeking youngsters will love this treetop adventure course, with rope crossings, climbing and balancing beams to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings of the Queen Elizabeth Park. The spectacular, albeit terrifying, 45-metre-high, 426-metre-long zipline is the highlight of the course and will give a real adrenaline thrill to anyone brave enough to tackle it. Adults get to join in the fun too, as under-16s must be supervised by an adult.