Family Fun on the North Coast 500: Kid-Friendly Activities and Attractions

The North Coast 500, Scotland’s answer to Route 66, offers an incredible road trip experience for the whole family.

While the stunning landscapes and picturesque towns are undoubtedly appealing to adults, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities and attractions along the way to keep the little ones entertained too.

In this blog post, we will explore at least 10 engaging activities that children of all ages can enjoy on the NC500 route. So, buckle up (and shut up lol) and let’s get started!

Smoo Cave, Durness

One of the many natural wonders found along the North Coast 500, Smoo Cave is a fascinating geological attraction perfect for families.

With its impressive waterfall and intriguing legends, this unique cave system offers a fun, educational experience for children. Guided tours are available, providing insight into the cave’s history and geology.

Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig

A visit to the Highland Wildlife Park is an absolute must for families travelling along the North Coast 500.

The park is home to a wide variety of animals, including Scottish wildcats, red deer, and even polar bears. Kids will love the drive-through safari experience, where they can observe animals like bison and elk up close.

The park also offers daily talks and feeds, giving children a chance to learn more about their favourite creatures.

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, Wester Ross

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

With its ancient woodland and scenic mountain trails, it’s an excellent place to introduce your kids to the beauty of the great outdoors. There are several family-friendly walking trails, with gentle gradients and clear signposting, making them suitable for children of all ages.

Ullapool Museum, Ullapool

For a dose of history and culture, head to the Ullapool Museum. Housed in a charming old church, the museum features a range of interactive exhibits that tell the story of Ullapool’s past.

Children can enjoy dressing up in period costumes, exploring the recreated croft house, and learning about local folklore through storytelling sessions.

Dunrobin Castle, Golspie

With its fairy-tale appearance, Dunrobin Castle is sure to capture the imagination of children and adults alike. As you explore the beautifully furnished rooms and impressive gardens, your kids can learn about the history of the castle and its past inhabitants.

Don’t miss the captivating falconry displays, where expert handlers showcase the incredible hunting skills of birds of prey.

Caithness Horizons Museum, Thurso

Caithness Horizons Museum is an engaging, interactive attraction that showcases the natural and cultural history of the Caithness region. Children will be captivated by the hands-on exhibits, including the opportunity to handle real fossils and learn about the area’s Viking past.

The museum also features a fascinating exhibition on the Dounreay nuclear power plant, which played a significant role in the local community.

The Whaligoe Steps, Wick

For an adventurous family activity, embark on the journey down the Whaligoe Steps. These 365 historic steps lead to a picturesque harbour nestled between dramatic cliffs.

While the walk might be challenging for younger kids, older children will enjoy the sense of achievement after conquering the steep descent. Make sure to take plenty of photos of the stunning views along the way.

John O’Groats and the Duncansby Stacks

A visit to John O’Groats, the most northeasterly point of mainland Britain, is a must for any North Coast 500 road trip. After snapping a family photo next to

the iconic signpost, take a short drive to the nearby Duncansby Stacks. These impressive sea stacks make for a fantastic coastal walk, and kids will love exploring the rock formations and watching the seabirds nesting in the cliffs.

Rogie Falls, near Contin

Rogie Falls is a beautiful waterfall situated in a picturesque woodland setting. The well-maintained trails and viewing platforms make it an accessible and enjoyable family-friendly activity.

Kids can try to spot leaping salmon from the suspension bridge, and there’s even a small play area nearby to keep them entertained. Pack a picnic and make a day of it!

Inverness Castle and Ness Islands Walk, Inverness

Inverness Castle, with its impressive architecture and stunning views over the city, is a must-visit attraction for families on the North Coast 500.

Although the castle interior is not open to the public, the grounds offer plenty of space for children to explore and play. After admiring the castle, embark on the Ness Islands Walk, a scenic trail that winds through a series of picturesque islands connected by charming Victorian footbridges.

The walk is suitable for all ages and offers an excellent opportunity to spot local wildlife, including the elusive Highland red squirrel.

Keeping them Entertained

The North Coast 500 route is brimming with kid-friendly activities and attractions that cater to various interests, from wildlife encounters and outdoor adventures to historical sites and cultural experiences.

By incorporating some of these family-oriented stops into your itinerary, you can ensure that your North Coast 500 journey is an unforgettable experience for the entire family.

So, gather the troops, all the kit and hit the road, and create cherished memories as you explore the beauty of Scotland’s most iconic route.

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Author: NC-500

I have a passion for adventure and exploration and have travelled extensively across Scotland, exploring some of the country's most remote and scenic areas, plus of course the North Coast 500. While a motorcyclist, I also enjoy hiking, fishing and wild camping.

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