Things to do with Kids on Arran
Things to do with kids on Arran
Travel writer Kim Kjaerside tells us about his recent trip to the Isle of Arran with his young family. Enjoying a well-earned retreat on the Clyde island, Kim gives this heartfelt insight and helpful tips on things to do with kids on Arran - no matter the weather or budget.
We arrived at Ardrossan Ferry Terminal with plenty of time before boarding, I always like to see the ferry arrive into the harbour - there's something special about it. This was my daughters second time on the CalMac ferry to Arran and now two years old, a lot more excited about the journey as we drove onto the car deck. Moments later we took a seat in the Mariners caféteria and swiftly were served by the food counter. Visit Arran and you can be guaranteed true Scottish hospitality and delicious local produce served from the moment you step onto the ferry. After deliberating over the tantalising menu, we opted for the Cullen Skink pie, (really tasty!) and our little girl the Mull of Kintyre Cheddar Cheese macaroni which was soon after finished. I then headed out on the deck to take in the view as we approached Brodick, armed with my camera.
An island with activities for all ages
The island makes for a perfect family retreat away from the daily routine and our busy lives in the city. Visiting the Isle of Arran for our daughter's birthday weekend seemed the obvious choice as it never disappoints. There are lots of activities for children of all ages around the island, even for the grown-up ones with the Arran Distillery , Arran Brewery , retail shopping at beauty outlet Arran Aromatics and The Old Byre for some tastings and retail therapy! For the rest make sure to check out Visit Arran .
We have over the years stayed in various locations around the island - until this day, Lamlash still wins our hearts. We had chosen a fairly new build, Seaview Cottage. Its location by the waterfront and with an open fire made it ideal for our family retreat. Well-appointed with two bathrooms and beautifully designed with good quality fittings throughout our accommodation boasted uninterrupted views over the Holy Isle - we even seen the occasional red squirrel hopping by.
One of our highlights during the weekend was visiting Old Byre Visitor Centre by Machrie. With high quality and beautiful Scottish clothing, great foods cooked by Lorna and her husband, (you should taste the Pides, their speciality). Outside you will find Archie and Gregor's playground (their sons), with some of the best views towards the Mull of Kintyre. My daughter could have played on for many more hours!
Take in the scenery and wildlife
In searching for things to do with kids on Arran, just south of Machrie, you'll find the Machrie Moor Standing Stones and if you're up for a longer stroll, the Kings Caves walk takes in the beautiful west coast of the island. In this region we have also spotted eagles several times, so bring binoculars and look up! Heading further south you could make a stop at the Kildonan Hotel and see the otters and seals basking on the shores right outside the hotel's new restaurant and bar. Alternatively, should you fancy some deer spotting, Lochranza at the top of the Island is the perfect spot!
Our evening meal was back in Lamlash at the Drift Inn which is a family pub run by Euan and his wife Amy. They pride themselves, like many establishments on the island, on serving the best of local Arran and Scottish produce. I experienced my first ever taste of whole Partridge and my wife enjoyed a lovely Anglers Platter of fresh seafood. A great selection of Scottish beers and whisky's too.
Outdoor activities and fun-filled adventures
Our second day was spent around Brodick, the biggest village on the island and included a stroll along the promenade where my daughter was trying out her new balance bike. After a bit of retail therapy at the Old Byre and browsing the quaint little shops, lunch was at the Douglas Hotel. We spent the afternoon in the Auchrannie Playbarn, perfect for both babies and toddlers and the number one venue when considering things to do with kids on Arran. There are other onsite activities, like swimming, Segway, bike hire and much more, check out Arran Adventure . On the island you'll find a number of ideal activities for families, including the Arran Heritage Museum and Brodick Castle and Country Park (open summer season). Wherever we visited, the attraction always catered for young children, from restaurants to activities centres, which was refreshing to find.
Then there is also the outdoors aspect which I love and cannot wait to introduce my daughter to when older. We already do a fair amount of walking with her, but on Arran you'll find so much more to do and the island is so accessible from the mainland with the 50-minute sailing from Ardrossan.
Before saying goodbye and heading for the ferry terminal, we made it back to the Little Rock Café, for one of the best coffees on the island, brilliant lunch and a perfect setting too. We are already planning our next trip back to Arran to create more family memories.
Follow Kim Kjaerside on Twitter @kimkjaerside and read his blog here