Top 5 Spooky Family Days Out in Scotland – Halloween Special

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Nowhere does Halloween like America but this year if your family is looking for history and atmosphere on All Hallow’s Eve then you should definitely let Scotland cast its spell.  Here is Tots2Travel’s Top 5 spooky days out to frighten your little devils.

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Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

Mary King's Close1 EDINBURGH The Real Mary King’s Close – what’s underneath your feet in Edinburgh can make you shudder – Mary King’s Close is a seriously creepy subterranean warren of underground streets.  A few hundred years ago this close was home to entire families therefore all age of visitor can relate to the tales unravelling before them.  Many ghost-hunters have explored the streets to see if the area is haunted but most modern tourists are attracted to the social history experience on offer.

The worst version of the close’s story is that the streets were bricked up during an outbreak of the plague leaving the inhabitants to slowly perish.  Discover the truth from costumed tour guides who uncover a slice of Edinburgh street life frozen in time since the 17th century.

Costumed Character Tour Guides

Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

witch-949055_12802 AYRSHIRE – One of Scotland’s best loved hoot of a poem about witches, the devil and haunted graveyards is ‘Tam O’ Shanter’.  Its liveliness engages kids with Scots literature, if you don’t mind the booze references.  The poem tells the raucous tale of drunken Tam who walks home inebriated and spies witches having a fair old party accompanied on the bagpipes by the Devil in Kirk Alloway.  When Tam’s spotted by the wildest witch, Cutty Sark, the coven makes chase but Tam escapes over Brig o’ Doon on his trusty mare Meg.  The tale’s a whirlwind of witches, music, pub banter and devilment.  By taking a trip to Ayrshire you can visit Kirk Alloway, the bridge Tam famously galloped over, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and the Tam O’ Shanter Inn.

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Courtesy of Rosslyn Chapel

3 Nr EDINBURGH – Rosslyn Chapel – only a few miles to the south-east of Edinburgh is a truly mesmerising small chapel that shot to fame in the ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

The carvings are so intricate, compelling and prolific that finding a spooky selection is an activity for the little ones – how many green men can you find?  Or you can tell them the eery tale of the apprentice, murdered by his jealous master after creating the impressive Apprentice Pillar.

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Courtesy of Rosslyn Chapel

vampire-311325_12804 ABERDEENSHIRE – Slain’s Castle – North of Aberdeen is the small fishing village of Cruden Bay and a short walk from here are the ruins of Slains Castle.  A crumbling castle is always atmospheric but this particular one piqued the imagination of author Bram Stoker.  It’s said to have inspired his famous novel ‘Dracula’.  Would your kids like to visit a spooky castle that led to the creation of the world’s most famous vampire?  The Walk Highlands website gives a detailed description of the route to the castle and what it entails so you can see if distances and terrain suits your family.

Lewis' Callanish Stone Circle

Lewis’ Callanish Stone Circle

5 LEWIS/ORKNEY/SHETLAND – Stone Circle – if you want to go for something less obvious, perhaps leaning towards the pagan or spiritual rather than witches or ghouls, then an atmospheric stone circle may inspire your little ones.  Some of the best stone circles in Scotland can be found in Orkney, Shetland and Lewis but there are some on the mainland too – click here to find out more from Visit Scotland.

Whatever you choose please do make sure your Halloween is terrifyingly terrific…

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[Additional Notes – The Real Mary King’s Close – Over 5’s only, however visitors with children under 5 can book tours 1 hour and 15 minutes apart to swap over allowing both parents to visit.]

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38 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lakisha

    October 12, 2015

    I love Halloween its one of my favorite holidays and I would love to experience it in another country. I would probably find all the green men in Rosslyn Chapel. lol

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 13, 2015

      Rosslyn is mind blowing, no pictures can do justice to the craftsmanship – especially when you think they were working before electricity, power tools etc!

  2. Reply

    The Traveling Gals

    October 12, 2015

    Ooh those all sound like seriously spooky places. Great article!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 13, 2015

      I love the history and stories behind them all e.g. Tam O Shanter’s one of my favourite poems so to be able to visit so much linked to it is pretty cool.

  3. Reply

    Maggie

    October 13, 2015

    Love spooky places and stories! These looks awesome.

  4. Reply

    Maggie

    October 13, 2015

    Love spooky places and stories. These look awesome!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 13, 2015

      I love a bit of history too.

  5. Reply

    DT

    October 13, 2015

    Wow, they ARE spooky!
    — DT | Here I Scribble

  6. Reply

    Stacey Eckert (@HomemakerStacey)

    October 13, 2015

    It would be a dream come true to be able to visit Scotland during the holidays! Wow, it looks really spooky! I love all the history behind it!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 13, 2015

      I’ve visited Edinburgh loads of times and had no idea what was under my feet. There’s a lot of subterranean Edinburgh! Hope you get to visit soon.

  7. Reply

    Ally Fiesta

    October 13, 2015

    I get spooked easily so this would be ultra scary for me! I like the glamour part of Halloween 🙂

  8. Reply

    Emily, Our house now a home

    October 13, 2015

    With all of that natural history it is a given that it would be spooky for sure. I visited Scotland when I was in middle school and it was such a beautiful place, there was a feeling of mystery around with with all of the old buildings.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      School trips can be comedy! Where did they take you? Edinburgh and Glasgow I’m guessing.

  9. Reply

    Bianca

    October 13, 2015

    I am such a huge fan of spooky places! This is great!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      Thanks!

  10. Reply

    lorigraceh

    October 13, 2015

    My niece has Scottish ancestry. I’m going to share this with her. She’ll absolutely love it/1

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      That’s a nice gesture – I hope she enjoys it and sees a new side to Scotland.

  11. Reply

    Samantha

    October 13, 2015

    Halloween is probably one of my favourite holidays! It’s so spooky and great and I love watching scary movies, visiting haunted places – so cool! Great post!!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      Thanks. Hope you have a spooky time.

  12. Reply

    thenavynest

    October 13, 2015

    Incredible. I am seriously so jealous and my husband would be too. We love traveling and we love Halloween. This looks amazing.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      Thanks. Hope you make it to Scotland soon.

  13. Reply

    Johanny

    October 13, 2015

    Talking about Halloween, I visited an amazing place in Phillip- Easter State Penitentiary! It was crazy!!!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      Ok, I’ve been to Alcatraz – bit predictable I know but never Phillip Easter State Penitentiary. Is it still operational or a historic site? I’ve never heard of it.

  14. Reply

    My Desert Love

    October 14, 2015

    Wow – my kids love historic memoirs and contemplating all the different ways of life. This would certainly be an incredible trip for them. To get a real taste of the past! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      The Real Mary’s Kings Close would be right up their street then. I’d never want to be there after it closes though!!!

  15. Reply

    Kristy

    October 14, 2015

    I didn’t know all the this history of Scotland. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      Thanks.

  16. Reply

    anniesnomsblog

    October 14, 2015

    Having been born and bred in the UK, it amazes me how there can be such amazing things that I didn’t know were almost on my doorstep! These places look seriously fabulous, I’m going to have to take a trip!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 14, 2015

      On your doorstep and sometimes literally under your feet 🙂

  17. Reply

    Britney

    October 14, 2015

    Not sure what happened to my comment, I’ve had a couple issues commenting on blogs today.. maybe it’s the lack of coffee lol!
    Now back to what I had said earlier lol. I would love to visit these places. I’d probably chicken out, but within reason, I suppose. I love scary things, but I hate them, it’s a love/hate relationship. The most I’ve visited was made up haunted houses and those scare me, but it’s awesome knowing these places are all over the world! If I ever get the chance to visit Scotland (it’s on my one day list) I will try to get into one of these places for a visit for sure!

  18. Reply

    Evi

    October 14, 2015

    Looks like a lot of fun! I love the history behind it! I would love to go The Real Mary’s King Close!

  19. Reply

    Lauren White

    October 15, 2015

    I love Halloween and those look like some super spooky places! 🙂 I’d love to travel there someday!

  20. Reply

    andelec

    October 15, 2015

    Halloween or not, I would love to visit Scotland!! Definitely on my list of places to explore!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 15, 2015

      So much to do for its size – really good mix of city, nature, cosmopolitan then wilderness. Hope you make it one day.

  21. Reply

    andelec

    October 15, 2015

    Halloween or not, I would love to visit Scotland! It is definitely on my list of places to explore!!

  22. Reply

    Emily Rose

    November 2, 2015

    Underground streets and secret tunnels! How exciting!! I would love to go here and take a look around. Plus the spooky castles. I never really thought about it before, but it might be cool to go twice to the same castle once at night and once in daylight. It would be interesting to experience the difference! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      November 4, 2015

      I did that with a temple in Malaysia as by night it was beautifully lit up. Definitely worth seeing twice.

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