I have been sharing about our journey to seek some family and personal history in the U.K., but took a bit of a break since my last post (hunting for the Loch Ness Monster). Part of the reason for the break (in addition to the usual busy-ness of the holiday season) is because I wasn’t quite ready to put into words this next chapter, which is on the Scottish Highlands. When a place sticks with me, and is so unique and beautiful, I find that I need time to process it before I can write about it. Today, I am finally ready to share more about our experience there, including recommendations. In the coming weeks I will continue detailing recommendations from our U.K. road trip, which includes even more of Scotland and England, so continue to stay tuned!
So, the funny thing about this trip is that I have recently become OBSESSED with the book series and show Outlander. Fortunately for my husband and kids, that obsession started after we got back from the trip, therefore I didn’t drag them to all the filming locations, nor did I make the hubs call me “Sassenach” the whole time. That being said, I think it’s helped me appreciate Outlander in a different way, as I had sort of created my own relationship with, and memories of, Scotland beforehand.
On our way out of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, we stopped for a bathroom and scone break in a town called Killin. Here we were also treated to the lovely Falls of Dochart, which are visible just off the main road!
Our home for the rest of our time in the Highlands was the Hilton Coylumbrudge (in Aviemore). Let me tell you – this is probably the most family-friendly hotel I have EVER stayed in. It started before we even left the states: the hotel contacted me personally to ask the ages of my kids, and to send along a guide on their activities for children. They have tons of activities for kids, from an indoor heated pool with a waterslide, to an outdoor play area, to an actual arcade and kid-zone on-site! The restaurants are all kid-friendly, so you won’t have to worry about dining with the littles. But the best part (get this): they actually take your kids for two hours in the evening, and lock them into the arcade (with staff supervision) so that the adults can do adult activities (whisky tasting, the on-site bar, a romantic dinner, you name it!). They bring the kids back to you in the lobby, and you can either go off to bed, or take them to the on-site night club, which is open to all ages as the DJ spins and the kids swarm the dancefloor. The kids had so much fun, and so did the hubs and I!
You must go to Inverness if you are in this area. And if you go to Inverness, you must visit Loch Ness! Read about our adventures searching for the mythical Loch Ness Monster here.
On our last day in this area, we had time to just explore, so we decided to do the scenic Old Military Road drive through Cairngorms National Park. This is not the fastest way out of the Aviemore area and out of the Highlands, but if you want scenery, this is the way to go. The road will take you through the National Park and by Balmoral Castle and Braemar Castle.
While I knew that Scotland would be beautiful and green, I was really surprised at how purple it was! There are at least three different types of purple wildflowers that cover the hills and moors amidst the green trees and grass. It made for a beautiful sight as we drove the Old Military Road.
Old Military Road has some narrow stretches (it is an old road, after all), with some beautiful bridges (some only one-way, so drivers need to be careful).
As if things couldn’t get any better, we saw the most perfect rainbow (which reminded me of the rainbow we saw at the Cliffs of Moher during our road trip through Ireland). This may be the best rainbow I’ve ever seen, as we saw it end to end! The boys wanted to check for a pot of gold at the end. My husband managed to convince them that the pot of gold was only at the end of rainbows in Ireland, and in Scotland it is a barrel of Scotch whisky.
Speaking of whisky, if you are a fan of scotch, the Highlands is a great area for tastings and distillery tours. Since we were driving, we didn’t partake in tastings, but did pick up some local bottles to enjoy at our hotel later. On the route on Old Military Road, you go through the village of Tomintoul (not far from Glenlivet, if that gives you an idea of the quality of scotch in this area). There is an awesome shop there called The Whisky Castle, which offers over 600 malt whiskies!
This is definitely a place we’ll return to. Even months later, I still dream about it… it’s one of those places that stick with you after you experience it. Bonny, bonny Scotland!
Stay tuned next week for the next chapter of our UK road trip, a family-friendly guide to Edinburgh, Scotland!
- The Ultimate UK Road Trip Itinerary – Driving Tour of England, Scotland, and Wales with the Family
- Connecting with my family and personal history in the U.K.
- A Romantic Long Weekend in London
- Fabulous Things to Do in London with Kids
- A Weekend in Devon, England
- One-Day Road Trip Through Wales – Seeking Ancient Ruins, Dragons, and Castles
- What to Do in Liverpool and Manchester with Kids
- Family Travel Bucket List: Hunting for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland
- Family-Friendly Edinburgh
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