Top family day trips

There is a great variety of family day trips all within easy reach of the Waterfront. Here is our list of top family, day trips each less than an hour away. 

1. Blair Drummond Safari Park

Located this side of Stirling, just half an hour from the Waterfront, the Safari Park is set amidst the stunning grounds of Blair Drummond House, a late-Victorian house that is now home to the Camphill Trust (a charity that cares for people with special needs). Opened in 1970, the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park is progressively improved each year, often expanding its collection of animals.

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With a range of drive through reserves the park can be explored by car or by one of the safari buses whilst the walk-round enclosures enable you to get up close to the amazing selection of animals. There are also a number of experiences including regular sea lion and birds of prey displays and boat trips to Chimpanzee Island.

For the children there is the Pet Farm, and extensive adventure play facilities and amusements, including a giant astra glide (slide), `Flying Fox’ zip wire, wooden castle, pirate ship, bouncy castle, pedal boats, and dodgems.

There is a café on site but we prefer to pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors. There are plenty of picnic areas and tables available, together with free barbeque facilities (provided on a first-come, first-served basis).

2. Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre is one of Scotland’s must-see visitor attractions. The whole family will be entertained for hours with over two acres of interactive activities including exhibits, workshops, shows, activities, a planetarium and an IMAX cinema.

Explore the wonders of the night sky in the planetarium, be amazed in the Science Show Theatre or have your mind blown in the MindWorks Zone. But the fun doesn’t stop there, you can also explore an underwater universe, travel into space, discover the marine reptiles who ruled the sea long before the dinosaurs conquered the earth, control objects with the power of your mind, build a rollercoaster and look into the future.

3. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle. Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to Stirling Castle to revel in its grandeur with its superb sculptures and beautiful gardens. It was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations from christenings to coronations.

Today you can meet the costumed characters in the roles of bodyguards, court officials, maids of honour and servants who will welcome you into 16th century life. Families can have fun in the palace vaults where children can try out activities such as dressing in period costume and playing medieval instruments. Don’t miss a guided tour with knowledgeable staff who will bring the castle’s infamous characters and history to life in great detail.

Other highlights include the Great Hall, Chapel Royal, Castle Exhibition, Regimental Museum, Great Kitchens, Tapestry Studio and the nearby Argyll’s Lodging, a 17th century town house.

There is also a restaurant, the Unicorn Café, which offers a range of hot and cold drinks and food. Marvel at the spectacular views from the roof top terrace while you enjoy a freshly-prepared Scottish meal.

4. Go Ape

Just 20 minutes away situated amongst the Stunning scenery of the surrounding Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Aberfoyle (Stirlingshire), Go Ape is a great day out for all the family.

Go Ape in Aberfoyle can boast two of Britain’s longest zip wires, each stretching over 400m long, flying customers 150 feet above the ground and over a 90 foot waterfall. This is reall a mecca for Go Ape pilgrims, thrill seekers, adventure lovers & those that just want to get out and have some fun in Loch Lomond.

5. SeaLife

SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium is just 30 minutes from Glasgow, situated on the stunning Loch Lomond Shores.  Explore an amazing underwater world and take a fascinating journey from the Loch Lomond shores to the ocean depths through seven themed zones, including their Tropical Ocean Tunnel. Get up close to over 1500 creatures, including Scotland’s only Giant Green Sea Turtle, the largest collection of sharks in Scotland and our playful family of otters.

Find out how it feels to touch a starfish and other creatures living in the interactive rockpool then head to our Observation Deck for unrivalled views of Loch Lomond, or relax in the café. With fun talks, animal feeds, special events and a quiz trail, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy at SEA LIFE Loch Lomond.

6. Can You Experience

Can You Experience provides a variety of land and water based outdoor activities to suit all ages and abilities on and around Loch Lomond. For a chance to view a wallaby, enjoy a picnic on a secluded island beach or hike to a Loch Lomond island summit for tremendous views why not try their unique Island Hopping Canoe Safari.  If you are amore of a thrill seekers then jump aboard the 1.5 hour Loch Lomond exhilarating rib boat ride!  For those that want to keep their feet on dry land then Can You Experience also offer Segway safaris, archery, rifle shooting, abseiling, adventure races and much much more.

If you can’t decide which activity you prefer, why not pick and mix a few of the activities and create an action packed full day experience at Loch Lomond – special rates apply to full day multi activity sessions. 

7. Soar Intu

Soar Intu, Breahead really has everything for a fun family day out. From the Snow Factor – and indoor ski slope to indoor sky diving, paradise island adventure golf, an Odeon cinema, ten pin bowling, climbing wall and much more, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s an easy 30 minute drive from the Waterfront and right on only an extra 15 minutes in to the city of Glasgow if you want to combine it with seeing the city. Open until late and with plenty of restaurants to choose, the children certainly wont be disappointed with this excursion! 

8. M and D’s Theme Park

For any thrill seeker families look no further than M&D’s – Scotland’s theme park. With over four terrifying white knuckle rides and more than 20 kids’ rides and attractions – you’ll be certainly be able to get your fill of rollercoasters and rides.

If you aren’t feeling so adventurous then why not try their ‘glow in the dark’ indoor bowling? A massive indoor complex including a gigantic soft play area, bars and restaurants and lots of seasonal events.  You can also discover AMAZONIA, Scotland’s only indoor tropical rainforest packed with exotic animals, birds and creepy crawlies!

9. Portnellan Farm Speed Boat Tours

Take a fun and thrilling speedboat trip tailor-made to your requirements with Portnellan Farm Speed Boat Tours. The 20 foot bowrider takes up to seven people in comfort and is an ideal way to explore the loch and its islands. At 24 miles long and up to five miles wide, the loch contains over 20 islands and numerous islets, many of which are steeped in history and are home to many species of wildlife. The northern end of the Loch resembles a Norwegian fjord, with steep craggy mountains rising dramatically out of the water, whilst the southern end is broad and open. No matter where you are on the Loch you are guaranteed spectacular views in every direction. Start at the farm pier and head north past the ‘Spit’ of Inchmurrin Island and the Loch Lomond golf course. Cruise slowly through the ‘Narrows’ arguably one of the most beautiful areas on the loch towards the picturesque village of Luss before returning via the eastern shore past Inchfad and Inchcailloch.

10. Pony trekking

Located at the southern tip of Loch Lomond near the town of Balloch, Loch Lomond Pony Trekking will take you up in to the hills on horseback to experience the stunning countryside and fantastic views of the loch.

Whether you are an experienced rider or a complete novice, Loch Lomond Pony Trekking provides the ideal opportunity for to experience the very best that Scotland’s first National Park has to offer.

Guests will go on a leisurely trek through the tranquil countryside onto the more rugged terrain of the surrounding moorland on our wonderful ponies.

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