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Child Friendly Hidden Gems to visit in the Scottish Highlands

Updated: Mar 12

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track child friendly locations scattered around the Scottish Highlands.


Whether you're looking to hike across the Scottish Highlands, or discover hidden gems perfect for picnics, this guide will lead you to some of Scottish Highlands best-kept secrets, ensuring a memorable and family-friendly experience for all!


Here are some of our favourite hidden gems in the Scottish Highlands which are child friendly, however we do recommend doing your own research, as each child is different.


So grab your walking boots, pack your picnic (or a change of nappies!), and get ready to explore the hidden gems that await you and your little ones in the captivating Highlands!


Image of Plodda Falls in Scotland



Steall Waterfall is a must-visit place in order to witness one of the best waterfalls in Scotland! The trekking is quite challenging, but doable so brace the kids!


On average, based on other user reviews, it usually takes around 45-60 minutes to reach Steall Waterfall, but once you are up there it's definitely worth the effort! It is indeed a lovely place to be with the scenic beauty of the Nevis Gorge around you.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Steall Waterfall


1) Where is Steall Waterfall located?

Steall Waterfall is located in Glen Nevis, near Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.


2) What makes Steall Waterfall a hidden gem?

Steall Waterfall is considered a hidden gem due to its remote location and stunning natural beauty. Tucked away in Glen Nevis, the waterfall offers visitors a breathtaking and tranquil spot away from more crowded tourist attractions.


3) How do I get to Steall Waterfall?

Visitors can access Steall Waterfall by following a scenic hiking trail from the Lower Falls car park in Glen Nevis. The trail leads through lush woodland and across the River Nevis via a wire bridge before reaching the waterfall.


Places to stay near Steall Waterfall


Image of Steall Waterfall in Scotland

2) Glencoe Lochan


Glencoe is stunning, even on a day of rain and wind! It's not far from Glencoe Village, and visitors have the option of three trails which are easy to complete.


The ambience and scenery have similarities to Canada, with Glencoe being a magical place with beautiful views of the loch and mountains. Definitely worth a visit.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Glencoe Lochan


1) What is Glencoe Lochan?

Glencoe Lochan is a picturesque woodland located near the village of Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. Created in the late 19th century by Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, it was intended to resemble the forests of his native Canada.


The lochan, surrounded by majestic Scots pines and set against the backdrop of rugged mountains, offers tranquil walking trails and stunning views.


2) Is Glencoe Lochan open to the public?

Yes, Glencoe Lochan is open to the public year-round, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy its natural beauty and serene surroundings. There are well-marked walking trails around the lochan, suitable for all ages and abilities.


The site is managed by Forestry and Land Scotland and offers parking facilities, picnic areas, and information boards highlighting the area's history and wildlife.


3) What activities can I do at Glencoe Lochan?

Glencoe Lochan offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy amidst its tranquil setting. Popular activities include walking and hiking along the scenic trails that wind through the woodland, offering opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.


Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the stunning vistas, particularly during sunrise and sunset. Additionally, the lochan is a peaceful spot for picnics and relaxation, allowing visitors to unwind in nature's embrace.


Places to stay near Glencoe Lochan



Image of Glencoe Lochan  in Scotland

3) Glenfinnan Viaduct


Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct in the Scottish Highlands. It was built between 1897 and 1901 and spans 1,000 feet long and is 100 feet high. The viaduct has become famous due to its appearances in the Harry Potter film series.


The views of the bridge are stunning especially when you get high enough to see the tracks. If your kids are a fan of Harry Potter, then you definitely have to take them to see this gem!


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Glenfinnan Viaduct


1) What is Glenfinnan Viaduct?

Glenfinnan Viaduct is a remarkable railway viaduct located in the Scottish Highlands near the village of Glenfinnan. It is renowned for its stunning architecture and picturesque setting, with its 21 arches spanning the Glen Finnan Valley.


The viaduct forms part of the West Highland Line, connecting Fort William and Mallaig, and is famously featured in the Harry Potter films.


2) Can I visit Glenfinnan Viaduct?

Yes, Glenfinnan Viaduct is accessible to visitors who wish to admire its beauty and witness the passing of the Jacobite steam train, often referred to as the Hogwarts Express. There are designated viewpoints from which to observe the viaduct, including the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre and viewpoints along the A830 road. Visitors can also hike to higher vantage points for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


3) When is the best time to see the Jacobite steam train on Glenfinnan Viaduct?

The Jacobite steam train operates seasonally, typically from late spring to early autumn. It offers daily services during this period, allowing passengers to experience the scenic journey across the viaduct and through the Scottish Highlands.


It's advisable to check the train schedule in advance and arrive early at viewing points to secure the best vantage spots for capturing photographs or enjoying the spectacle.


Places to stay near Glenfinnan Viaduct



Image of Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland


4) Eilean Donan Castle


Fans of The Outlander will recognise this location, and is one of most iconic places in Scotland. If you're heading towards the Isle of Skye, we recommend stopping off at this place!


For those with a drone, make sure you go back around sunset if you can. Some of the pics you can get are incredible, to say the least!


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Eilean Donan Castle


1) What is Eilean Donan Castle?

Eilean Donan Castle is a historic fortress situated on a small tidal island at the confluence of three lochs in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable castles in the country, renowned for its stunning setting and picturesque views.


The castle has a rich history dating back to the 13th century and has been featured in numerous films and TV shows.


2) Can I visit Eilean Donan Castle?

Yes, Eilean Donan Castle is open to visitors throughout the year, allowing guests to explore its interior, including the great hall, bedrooms, and exhibitions showcasing its fascinating history.


There are guided tours available for those interested in learning more about the castle's heritage, and visitors can also enjoy the scenic surroundings and views of the surrounding lochs and mountains.


3) Is Eilean Donan Castle accessible by car?

Yes, Eilean Donan Castle is easily accessible by car, located near the village of Dornie in the Scottish Highlands. There is ample parking available nearby, and visitors can access the castle via a short walk over a footbridge from the mainland.


The castle is also a popular stop for tourists traveling along the scenic route to the Isle of Skye, making it convenient to include in a Scottish Highland itinerary.


Places to stay near Eilean Donan Castle



Image of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

5) Plodda Falls


The Plodda Falls is a beautiful and natural waterfall located in Scotland. The waterfall is situated in a picturesque forested area, surrounded by lush green vegetation, towering trees, and rugged cliffs.


The water cascading down the falls is crystal clear and creates a soothing sound as it flows into the pool below. Why not take the kids up to the birds-eye viewpoint for a breath-taking sight of Plodda Falls?


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Plodda Falls


1) Where are Plodda Falls located?

Plodda Falls are located near the village of Tomich, in the Glen Affric area of the Scottish Highlands.


2) What makes Plodda Falls a hidden gem?

Plodda Falls are considered a hidden gem due to their remote location within the ancient Caledonian forest. Tucked away in Glen Affric, the falls offer visitors a peaceful and scenic spot away from more crowded tourist destinations.


3) How do I get to Plodda Falls?

Visitors can access Plodda Falls by following a well-marked trail from the car park near the village of Tomich. The trail leads through the enchanting Caledonian forest and offers scenic views before reaching the waterfall.


Places to stay near Eilean Donan Castle



Image of Plodda Falls in Scotland

6) Urquhart Castle


Urquhart Castle is an excellent place to go to and explore the national heritage in Scotland. Located around the castle you'll find very informative posts around as well as a short video at the beginning to explain a bit about the history.


For you photographers, there are plenty of opportunities to take photographs around and overall it's great place to relax!


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Urquhart Castle


1) What is Urquhart Castle?

Urquhart Castle is a historic fortress located on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is one of Scotland's most iconic castles, known for its dramatic ruins and stunning views over the Loch. The castle has a rich history dating back to the 13th century and played a significant role in Scotland's medieval conflicts.


2) Can I visit Urquhart Castle?

Yes, Urquhart Castle is open to visitors throughout the year, offering a fascinating glimpse into Scotland's past. Visitors can explore the castle ruins, including the tower house, great hall, and various other structures, while enjoying panoramic views of Loch Ness. There are also guided tours available, providing insights into the castle's history and legends.


3) How do I get to Urquhart Castle?

Urquhart Castle is located near the village of Drumnadrochit in the Scottish Highlands, approximately 20 miles southwest of Inverness. Visitors can reach the castle by car, with ample parking available onsite.


Additionally, there are bus tours and boat cruises available from Inverness and other nearby towns, offering scenic views of Loch Ness and a visit to the castle.


Places to stay near Urquhart Castle



Image of Urquhart Castle in Scotland

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known child friendly hidden gems which are scattered around the Scottish Highlands. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Scotland trip even more memorable!


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