EEK. The summer holidays are nearly here, and with it comes that big question.

How are you going to fill those long days and weeks for your kids, grandkids or nieces and nephews?

Never fear, there is still actually plenty to do out there, even in this year of pandemic – and we've compiled a list of some of the magical, quirky, exhilarating and fascinating activities that could be the icing on your kids' summer break.

As ever, in this time of pandemic, please check government restrictions and also the websites of venues for any changes.

Walk the Mega Maze at Cairnie Fruit Farm, Cupar, Fife

The maze, a giant labyrinth of pathways over six acres, created from maize plants, opens in the middle of July, at which time it’s usually around 4-5 ft in height, and it only keeps getting bigger. Ultimately the plants reach around 8ft, before being harvested for cattle. This magnificent attraction, however, is not the only draw of the Cairnie Fruit Farm. It’s also home to The Funyard, which includes go-cart track, sunken trampolines, a massive sandbox, peddle tractors, a flying fox and a giant bouncing pillow. Plus, while you’re there you can pick a few juicy strawberries to take home. Book to visit the Funyard and Maze online at

See trucks fly at Truckfest Scotland, Ingliston, Edinburgh

For two days this summer, July 31 to August 1, Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre will be host to some serious truck action. Among the stars of the show, in the main arena, is Swamp Thing, a celebrity of the truck world, based on a 2004 Ford F350 Super Duty, and driven by Tony Dixon. It is, its team describes, “the ultimate auto circus act”. But it’s not just about the monster trucks – there’s also the UK’s top ranked freestyle motocross riders, incorporating their latest heart-stopping tricks. Bookings at

Go after hours at the Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie, Cairngorms

Snow leopards, newborn elk twins, wolves, polar bears and wildcats are among the fascinations of this wonderful wildlife park. But what do they do after hours, when the place is normally closed? Here is an opportunity to find out. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has announced a series of after hours events, running every Friday evening in July, in which visitors can drive through the reserve enjoying the Cairngorms backdrop at dusk, and also relax to the sound of traditional music acts and enjoy a range of local food and drink. The park is also open daily for those who need to be in bed long before the sun goes down. For more information see

Rockpool ramble at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, East Lothian

Gannets for bird knowledge should make a beeline to this award-winning centre perched by the harbour in North Berwick. Their Discovery Experience features games, exhibits and live cameras trained on the Bass Rock Northern gannet colony. As part of the Edinburgh Science Festival, the team at the centre, will also be taking guided Rockpool Rambles, which will teach about the inhabitants of the North Berwick shoreline and the challenges they face. You can even plan to give the sea some love back by borrowing a beach-clean kit from the Scottish Seabird Centre and doing your own family litter pick. More information at

Watch the Argaty red kites, Lerrocks Farm, Doune

Red kites, once eradicated from Scotland, are now one of our greatest rewilding stories, and this site, at Ardgaty, was where the second reintroduction project in the country took place. Here, you can take up position in a hide and wait for a spotting of these magnificent birds of prey – and also possibly spot a red squirrel or two in the process. The project’s website declares, “we have seldom had a day without good sightings of the birds, even if they are slow to start feeding”. The kites themselves are a marvellous story to introduce to kids – to find out more about the project read A Sky Full of Kites: A Rewilding Story, by Tom Bowser who runs it. Bookings at

HeraldScotland: the red kite brecon

Solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery at the Edinburgh Science festival

Edinburgh Science Festival, June 26 – July 11, might not be operating as it does in normal years, but it still has an innovative and imaginative programme that's set to get kids out and about across the city and beyond. Sherlock Holmes and the Biofilms Mystery, for instance, a self-led tour, starting at Cameron Toll, in which the challenge is to find out who broke into Holmes’s apartment. Will it be elementary, my dear Watson? Family bushcraft sessions, a birdsong event, a mathematical walking tour and a host of online events are also part of the programme which is at

Nurture the inner scientist at Glasgow science centre, Glasgow

We are all scientists” is the message of Glasgow Science Centre. Back open just in time for the summer holidays, the museum that proves that by bringing you all things science – plus a Planetarium, Scotland’s biggest-screen IMAX cinema and some of the best views of Glasgow from a tower that holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest fully rotating freestanding structure in the world. Bookings at

Climb a massive tree, Scottish Borders

What kid doesn’t like to climb a tree? With tree climbing experiences run by Wild Tree Adventures, there’s the safety factor of knowing you or your children are harnessed up, and with an instructor. Plus, once they get up, there’s the wonder of being high in the trees, up amongst the branches and leaves, and looking down on the world. Climbs available this summer, for children six years old and above, include a 200-year-old Turkey oak in Paxton house and trees at Traquair House, as well as other locations yet to be confirmed. It's also not just for kids – one recent customer expressed her gratitude saying, “Thank you for allowing my dream of being up in a tree for my 70th birthday to come true.” Details at


Clamber the Aquapark, WildShore Dundee, Dundee

A giant floating playground of bouncy inflatable fun, suitable for anyone over the age of six, this big blue obstacle course spans 600 square metres. Its challenges include the moon jump, Neptune’s steps and the 3.8m high “Mighty Mount Rainer”. Of course, the idea is to cross the whole thing without falling in, but who really wants to keep dry, when it's so fun getting wet? At WildShore Dundee, formerly Foxlake, there are plenty of other activities, including wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, Ringo and open water swimming. Bookings at

Ride a pump track, various locations

Children don’t have to have a mountain bike, or BMX, to ride a pump track. It’s possible to have a go on a road bike, skates or scooters – though, of course, the BMX is the ultimate set of wheels for this activity. There are already many Velosolutions pump tracks in Scotland, including the Cathkin Braes track which was host to the Pump Track World Championships in 2018, the Skelf Pump Track, hidden away at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat, and, new to Edinburgh, the Hunter’s Hall Park track, just behind the Jack Kane Centre. So what exactly is a pump track? Essentially it’s a continuous loop of slopes and banks, designed to be ridden without pedalling, but using a pumping movement. Fans say it offers a great core body workout. Mostly though, it's just extreme fun.

Loch Lomond Faerie trail, Luss, Argyll & Bute

“Place your hands here. Count to 10. Let the faeries take your worries away,” says one of the signs on this nature trail with a twist. A mile-long walk through magical woodland is transformed into a mystery adventure, complete with evil trolls and benevolent faeries. Aimed at primary school children, it wanders through trees decorated with fairy doors, miniature wooden houses and signs that deliver a real sense of enchantment. Book tickets online and, from the silver trailer in the car park at Luss, collect a pack including booklets, certificates, wristband and pencils. Open 9.30-5pm, seven days a week, see

HeraldScotland: The Spider's Curse adventure has attracted plenty of visitors to the Loch Lomond Faerie Trail in Luss since the beginning of October

European Stone Stacking Championship, Dunbar, East Lothian

What’s more absorbing than creating an elegant stack of stones on the beach? The European Stone Stacking Championship was first held in Dunbar on April, 2017, and was Europe’s first ever stone stacking championship. The buzz around it has grown, though last year it was cancelled because of the pandemic. The international stone-stacking set might not be flying in this year, but it is back. Founders Steven Hill and Dunbar artist James Page worked closely with the Texas World Championships to create the European event. Page says; “Stone stacking is both art and meditation, using free materials found on beaches and in parks you can create temporary artistic monuments for those passing by to enjoy.” The three-day festival lasts from July 9-11 and includes a children’s stone-stacking competition.

Culzean by the Sea, Maybole, Ayrshire

Don’t be a surprised, if you visit Culzean this summer, to see a Loch Ness monster rising from one of the pools in the fabulous National Trust for Scotland grounds. It’s one of a trail of wicker sculpture sea creatures, created by artist David Powell, that seem to twist and ripple with life. A magical mermaid, a seahorse, a monstrous kraken, an octopus and a dolphin are among the 15 beasts through the park as part of a celebration of the year of coast and waters. The sculptor described the project as an exploration of “the real and the imagined worlds of coasts and waters on my doorstep.” Pick up a trail map containing fun facts about the creatures. Anyone who completes the trail will get a sea creature sticker and be put into a draw to win a wicker sculpture.

HeraldScotland: Culzean willow sculptures.

Scottish Opera Pop-up Opera Tour, various locations

Now here’s the very model of a modern pandemic musical: Scottish Opera are on the road this summer with an open-air tour featuring five of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved shows, in shortened, miniature form. HMS Pinafore, The Gondoliers, Iolanthe, The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance are all brought to life by a storyteller, two singers, instrumentalists – plus sumptious specially created illustrations. Each mini-opera lasts half an hour and is set to be “packed with screwball humour, memorable characters, and of course brilliant tongue-twisting tunes”. Have you got, as Koko from the Mikado might put it, a little list? Then put this one on it.

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Dynamic Earth, one of the few museums where you can go on a journey right back to the beginning of time and the big bang, and follow the story of the birth of the Earth, has always been worth a visit, for its visceral and hands-on exhibits. It’s geology as a fairground ride. But it also opens minds. As part of Edinburgh Science Festival, it will also this summer be host, outdoors, to their free Discovering The Deep Exhibition, and you can join the Dynamic Earth team for family-friendly walks in Holyrood Park exploring Edinburgh’s geological past, and a self-guided Urban Fossil Detective Trail.

Foxlake Adventures, near Dunbar, East Lothian

Is there much that’s fun, or adrenalin-fuelled, that you can’t do at Foxlake adventures? It’s a water meets woods centre with a bit of something for everyone. One of the highlights of this site is the UK’s first ropes course over water, FoxFall, which sees people clamber along a trail of obstacles, always with the risk of a tumble into the lake, followed by a zipline that ends in a splash. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s also wakeboarding, ringos, a ziptrail and Segways. Bookings at

HeraldScotland: Foxlake.

Jurassic Lanark trail, Lanark and New Lanark,

Hold on to your butts (as Samuel Jackson would say). Dinosaur models are on the loose across Lanark Town Centre and New Lanark World Heritage Site, 20 of them all together, and this trail challenges the visitor to hunt them all down. As well as the dinosaur figures themselves, there is also a series of children’s workshops, including slime-making, run by Material Geeks. Tickets can be booked via their Facebook page. Free trail maps are available from Tolbooth Lanark in the town centre and the Mill Cafe at New Lanark World Heritage Site. Trail runs from June 25 till August 29, free.

Get on the chocolate trail, various National Trust for Scotland locations

Join the mass chocolate rush. For this weekend only there are 26,000 Mackie’s chocolate treats out there at 13 National Trust for Scotland locations, waiting to be claimed. And all the kids have to do is follow some clues and solve a puzzle. Sites include Brodick Castle, Culzean, Crathes, Falkland Palace, Newhailes House, Pitmedden Garden, Castle Fraser, Drum Castle, Fyvie Castle, Geilston Garden, Threave Estate, Brodie Castle and Glencoe Visitor Centre. A great excuse to take your youngsters out into some of Scotland’s most glorious estates and gardens.

Selkie trail at the V&A, Dundee

The building itself is, of course, a big part of the draw, but so, these days, for kids, is a little seal character called Selkie. Scottish textile designer Donna Wilson designed the Selkie the seal toy especially for the design museum and it’s at the heart of a trail that brings a magic to a visit for younger kids. Wilson took inspiration from the Scottish coastline and the Tay. The character was given the name Selkie after a public vote on social media. Entry to the museum is free but must be booked in advance.

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Falkirk Wheel mini golf, Falkirk

The world’s only rotating boat lift, which take boats up 115 ft between the Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, is also home to a growing centre for outdoor activities – Segway, paddle boarding, peddle boats, are all available, as well as, great for small kids on a hot day, the giant paddling pool of the Splash Zone. But the latest addition to the site is likely to be a winner for the whole family, young and old, a new mini-golf, with holes designed around canal themes, from boats to mini-kelpies. Each round is £5 per person,