Family holidays in Scotland in 2023
Let us be your guide to the best places for families to see in 2023 on Scotland's glorious west coast.
Embrace the seasons
Every season has so much to offer those who choose to venture west - even (and perhaps especially) in the cooler months. 2023, or any year, isn't solely about the summer getaways.
Enjoy a cosy getaway on Coll - an official Dark Sky location. With no mountains to attract clouds, there's a great chance of clear skies and a spectacular date with the cosmos for star gazers of all ages. There's even a visiting planetarium in March and October 2023 at Coll Bunkhouse. And April and May are an optimum time to enjoy a view of the Milky Way on the island. There are also more than 20 beaches on the island, so by day, there's plenty of space to have some fun and make great memories among the dunes and machair.
Pack your bikes or walking boots for a great day trip over to Kerrera, just a few minutes sail from Oban, or Lismore, which is just off the coast of Port Appin. Both islands are small, quiet, and beautiful - and perfect for a day's hike or bike. The views and wildlife are rewarding. The ancient castles on each destination - and Lismore's Iron Age Broch - offer fascinating history lessons and are sure to spark young and older imaginations.
Later this year, the world's best cyclists will arrive in Scotland, ready to participate in the UCI World Championships. It's an indication of Scotland's standing as a cycling destination for road and off-road disciplines. Scotland's islands are home to incredible cycling itineraries - on roads that wind their way through spectacular scenery. Enjoy the peace and the crystal-clear waters of the Outer Hebrides from the saddle. The Hebridean Way is the ultimate challenge - doable at your own pace. Or each of the islands can be enjoyed individually on mostly rolling and single-track roads. Off road, head over the sea to Skye or Arran to ride trails with the most stunning backdrops. Magical.
Create your own unforgettable Five Ferries Island Hopping Adventure with Caledonian MacBrayne. It's the perfect way to enjoy the endless splendours of Arran and Bute - the beautiful islands in the Firth of Clyde as well as the wild, remote and unspoiled parts of the mainland at Cowal and Kintyre, via five distinct ferry routes. It's the ideal itinerary for a multi-destination mini-break or the ultimate cycling challenge! Reward yourself for the miles covered with our Cinq Bateaux Sweatshirt - a unique design, created in Scotland, for cycling and island fans.
Walk on the wild side
If you've enjoyed the delights and sights of the BBC's Springwatch and Winterwatch, you'll be familiar with the Isle of Mull. It's a spectacular location for the series and it's the perfect destination for those who enjoy the outdoors, nature, and wildlife. In less than an hour's sail from Oban or the Ardnamurchan peninsula, you'll be able to enjoy the thrills of wildlife watching at any time of year. Year round, you might spot red deer, otters - perhaps even eagles or osprey. As the waters around the coast begin to warm in spring and through to summer, basking sharks, minke whales, dolphins and the occasional orca are known to frequent the 300 miles of Mull coastline.
Wonder of the world
Once on Mull, don't miss a trip to the uninhabited island of Staffa - one of the world's wonders, formed from hexagonal rock columns which were created from volcanic eruptions and a blanket of lava which flowed into the Atlantic Ocean millions of years ago. The waves have created the marvellous Fingal's Cave - the inspiration for Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. From May to August, the island is home a breeding colony of puffins which nest in burrows atop Staffa's impressive cliffs. The experience will stay with you long after you return to the mainland.
Looking for some sun?
For an unforgettable break in 2023, Tiree is a must see. As its nickname - the sunshine isle - suggests, it's renowned for clocking up the most hours of sunshine in the UK. The island is framed by mile upon mile of white sand and glistening aquamarine waters - it's a bucket list destination. The beaches are beautiful and plentiful for an island of its size. You can enjoy views as far as Barra on the Outer Hebrides. Delve into the fascinating story of Skerryvore Lighthouse, built on one of the most dangerous rocks in the country.
Looking for some adventure?
The Isle of Lewis on the Outer Hebrides is packed with opportunities for adventure. It's a fantastic place to introduce the youngsters in the family to Gaelic and Hebridean culture and history. The experience of seeing the Calanais Standing Stones is spellbinding. 5,000 years of history stand before your eyes. The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village in Carloway brings the history and the old way of life on the islands to life. As you will undoubtedly have heard it's also home to some of the UK's most beautiful beaches. They are as interesting as they are stunning - with features like the Gneiss Stacks visible from Garry beach.
Our 2023 summer timetable is open for bookings. Don't wait too long - secure your spot today.