- Exploring spooky underground Edinburgh: Buried deep beneath the Royal Mile is the Real Mary King’s Close, a warren of narrow, tenement-lined streets that was closed off long ago but in the 16th century bustled with hawkers and huskers. Costumed actors don’t miss a trick in telling colorful, highly entertaining, and largely imaginative tales of ghosts and murderers and the sorry plights of plague victims.
- Having a fun history lesson in Culloden: The ins and outs of Jacobite history can be a tough slog for all of us, but snazzy timeline exhibits and 360-degree film projections at Culloden Battlefield will keep you and the kids riveted. Best part of all, a guide takes you out to the heather-clad moors to describe the battle on April 16, 1746 that brought a quick end to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign to regain the British throne for the Stuart dynasty.
- Jumping on and off trams and buses on the banks of the Clyde: Seeing all the vintage buses and streetcars at the Riverside Museum provides a walk down memory lane for older visitors and a few hours of fun for their young companions. In this age of driverless cars, you’ll all be impressed by just how far motorized transport has come in just a few decades.
- Indulging in monster madness at Loch Ness: Is Nessie an elaborate hoax? Grainy film footage and photos of optical illusions in the kid-friendly galleries of the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in Drumnadrochit leave that question unanswered and don’t debunk the myth. One thing for sure, monster hunting is serious business, judging by the mini-submarines, research vessels, and underwater cameras engaged in the search.
- Discovering the Glasgow Science Centre: A titanium-clad pod on the banks of the River Clyde (the resemblance to the hull of a boat is no accident) is filled with family-oriented attractions that enlighten us all on everything from ship engineering to the complex systems of the human body. Topping it all off is a trip up 100m (328-ft.) tall, rotating Glasgow Tower.
- Taking a train ride: Just about any rail journey in Scotland is packed with scenery, but the West Highland line, from Glasgow to Oban or Fort William, comes with a big bonus—this is the route, past Highland lochs and mountains, that Harry Potter took from Platform 9 3/4 to Hogwarts. Among other rides sure to have everyone clamoring for a window seat: the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank and the crossing over the Firth of Forth on the Forth Rail Bridge between Edinburgh and Fife.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.