It can be difficult to find a travel destination that suits everyone’s needs: grandparents, parents, kids, and young adults. As your kids get older, their interests change and what defines a great destination shifts with it. Finding a country where the locals are warm, the museums are a plenty, but there are also quirky other things to do is key to an interesting trip for all involved, across generations.
I’ve traveled across much of Europe throughout my university years and I still believe that Scotland is one of the best places to travel with kids of every age, including the young adults in your life. Here’s why!
1. Edinburgh and Glasgow are flooded with great university life. This doesn’t mean that there are just pubs and bars everywhere. This means access to beautiful, centuries old campuses, a rich coffee shop culture, and plenty of quiet places to curl up with a book and relax (or study!).
2. The Scottish coffee scene is no joke. I’ve lived in London off and on for 3 years and the coffee there isn’t bad, but Scottish coffee shops sure put the English to shame. Coffee is strong, rich and taken very seriously by locals, which as a coffee addict myself, is music to my ears! Especially the closer you get to the major university campuses, the more coffee shops you’ll have to choose from!
3. Books. All the books. Everywhere. Every other street hosts a little bookshop tucked away, easily allowing for an entire day of book store exploration. My recommendation? Voltaire and Rousseau in Glasgow which is one of the most memorable and fantastic second-hand book store I’ve ever been to. Be warned though: you can get amazing books for under a few pounds so leave room in your luggage.
4. The food is fantastic. The Brits overall have a bad reputation when it comes to food, when in reality it could be farther from the truth! Is it comparable to a freshly prepared, homemade Florentine pizza? Come on, nothing compares to that. But, food in Scotland is diverse, plentiful and you can find great food for cheap. Everyone loves the French food, but it’s hard to get the best of it on a budget. Scotland on the other hand has great food at all prices. My favorite spots include Tchai Ovna (Scotland’s original tea house and vegetarian restaurant) in Glasgow and Mary’s Milk Bar (an ice cream shop featuring odd flavors such as lemon & pepper, dill, whiskey & ginger, etc.) in Edinburgh.
5. Access to nature and beautiful hikes are never far away. Surely you’ve heard of the Scottish Highlands, but they require sometimes multi-day hikes which isn’t well-suited for everyone. But have you heard of Arthur’s Seat? It’s a large series of hills formed by an extinct volcano system which allows everyone to enjoy the green beauty of Scotland and look out onto the entirety of Edinburgh. The round trip hike from the city centre can be done in under 90 minutes, but I did it leisurely in about 2 hours.
Interested in experiencing Scotland with the family in a local, independent way? Check out our Untour in Scotland, conveniently based in and around the university town of Stirling, with easy access to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the countryside!