Father and son at beach fishing

Guest blog post from our social media volunteer and baking extraordinaire Janis McCulloch.

Being a mum and an auntie I’m always on the lookout for interesting places to go with my wee one and my nieces and nephew. As much as they loves soft play it gets tired after a while, plus it can get expensive with the entry fee and food while you’re there. So at Relationships Scotland we’ve pulled together a list of the top free family days out that you might not have thought of.

Thanks so much to everyone on Twitter and Facebook who contributed. Some of the suggestions like the National Museum and Summerlee Heritage Museum featured in our previous top ten which you can read here .

1. Beecraigs Country Park Beecraigs Country Park is a great place to visit. It caters for a wide range of leisure and recreational activities within its 370 hectares (913 acres) and can be discovered nestled high in the Bathgate Hills near the historic town of Linlithgow. There is a great adventure playground, places for picnics, beautiful walks through the forest. There are some charges for things like using the climbing wall, but certainly lots to do for free.

2. Museum of Fire (Edinburgh) – The Museum of Fire (which if you ask me is a great name) tells the story of how Firemaster James Braidwood developed the first municipal fire brigade, and showcases a variety of equipment and appliances from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as older artefacts which chart the development of firefighting over more than 400 years in a fascinating, interactive tour. It’s open Monday to Friday , 10am until 3pm but you need to call ahead to ensure that someone can take you round 0131 228 2401

3. Greenock Museum and Heritage Centre – The Greenock Museum is open the last Sunday of every month. The fire engines, uniforms and firefighting equipment on display recreate the original atmosphere of this old Fire Station and, as you walk round the Museum, you will experience the lives of generations of firefighters through their stories, photographs, uniforms and medals.

4. Taking a walk to Cramond Island . Make sure you get the timing right on this one, you want to head out at low tide, and times are available on the beach. It’s a longish walk but well worth it.

5. North Berwick Rock Pools spending the day pooling around in the rock pools in North Berwick, full of marine life and great fun for everyone. (Followed by fish and chips and an ice cream!)

6. The Gallery of Modern Art Library (Glasgow) – a beautiful library in the heart of the city which has a lovely children’s library. A good one for a rainy day, I know my little one loves going to the library!

7. Mugdock Country Park – Another fab outdoor park with great adventure trails and walks to go on. Loads events on all year round.

8. Roslin Glen Country Park – the magical and mysterious Roslin Glen has pathways to woodlands, riverside and weir, wildflower meadows and historical features. Lots of events on here throughout the year.

9. Mereshead RSPB Reserve – Mersehead is a wildlife haven, supporting huge numbers of birds, flowering plants and invertebrates. The reserve has excellent facilities for visiting schools, including a new pond-dipping area, visitor centre, hides, abundant wildlife and a variety of habitats to investigate. There are a couple of different trails to walk; the Wetland Trail is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.

The whole of Loch Leven is a National Nature Reserve providing a haven for wildlife. The Loch Leven Heritage Trail allows you to explore the Loch whilst minimising disturbance to birds. There is a great café with a park a bit further up.

10. Plane spotting at Fife Airport of course you could do this at any airport, this one just happens to be local to me. It’s also home to the Tipsy Nipper restaurant where you can sit and have lunch while taking in the views of the planes.


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