Raasay with Kids

Dining with a view at Raasay House

For those who don’t know, Raasay is a small island, just off the Isle of Skye, and Skye is an island off the west coast of Scotland. It offers stunning scenery, as well as a range of organised outdoor activities. Reaching Raasay perhaps sounds complicated, but getting there is relatively straightforward. Simply drive to Skye (no ferry required), then catch a 25 minute ferry to Raasay. But what does Raasay offer? Here are the highs and the lows.

Getting There

The small Caledonian Macbrayne ferry departs regularly from Sconser on Skye for the main village on Raasay. A short but beautiful crossing, costing only a few quid for foot passengers (kids under 5 were free), it’s also possible to take the car. (Check the timetable and prices here.) Waiting for the ferry on a wee beach on Skye was a pleasure (although admittedly this is weather permitting).

Disembarking the ferry and walking to our accommodation.

When the ferry docked at Raasay we meandered off the ramp, carrying our few belongings and toys, following the road uphill to see where it took us. We instantly relaxed – the views are breathtaking and, thankfully, the sun was shining.

Raasay House

A room with a view at Raasay House

As the ferry arrives the outline of Raasay House comes into view. It’s metres from the harbour. Once the country house of the Macleod clan, this hotel offers budget group/dorm style accommodation, right up to luxurious suites and family rooms.

It has a bar, a restaurant and a bistro so it’s the main venue to eat and drink on the island. But the main attractions of Raasay House are the endless activities and sports available. Options include kayaking, coasteering, sailing, archery, climbing, abseiling, boat trips, bus tours and bike hire. We had a session of Canadian canoeing on a small loch, and it was blissful. The instructor was great with kids, took them to an island to ‘hunt for treasure’, and brought a bag of inflatable ducks to pursue across the water. Bike hire also enables guests to explore the island further. For accommodation click here, for activities find out more here.

Raasay Distillery

Whilst not aimed at children (there are no family rooms) this new distillery provides stunning modern accommodation that may work if you’re travelling with one child or a baby in a travel cot. Distillery tours take an hour, and they’re an option for anyone aged eight and over. As well as talking about whisky, the guide explains the history of the island. The hotel is located in the converted Factor’s House (again, a few minutes walk from the harbour). Whilst I undertook the distillery tour Mr Husband took the kids for a short walk nearby.

Grab the Walking Boots

There are multiple walking trails and hikes available all over the island. As our tots are only wee, we undertook a tiny walk in the central village called Temptation Hill, but the more adventurous could attempt Dun Caan (the highest hill on Raasay) or hike to Inver (the favoured picnic site on Raasay of the Royal Family) or Hallaig (the largest settlement on Raasay before the Highland Clearances). The tidal island of Fladda is another challenge, reach it and return when the tide is out!

Exploring Raasay

Brochel Castle & Calum’s Road

If you have a car or bike seek out the ruins of Brochel Castle, once a MacLeod stronghold. The famous road is a bit of a curiousity, built by one man, Calum MacLeod of Arnish, over a decade from 1964-74. He was single-handedly trying to prevent the depopulation of the township of Arnish by connecting it to the rest of the island. The story has inspired songs and books, and it’s a pretty unique aspect of the island’s history.

Chill Out

Propping up the bar at Raasay House

Usually I provide a list of activities in a town or region, but part of Raasay’s appeal is that you just chill out, eat, drink, talk and explore. Don’t rush taking in the views. Obviously the weather plays a huge factor in such an outdoor playground as Raasay, but if it rains then grab a coffee, read the paper, let the kids draw or play with whatever toys they have. Just be.

The Seaflower

If you wish to see Raasay without an overnight, and fancy some excellent local seafood thrown into the mix, then set sail from Portree aboard the Seaflower. This catamaran is so smooth on the water, and sails round to Brochel Castle where the boat drops anchor and the crew dish up a platter of locally caught lobster and langoustines, bowls of cullen skink, accompanied by generous glasses of white wine. We spotted porpoises and sea eagles, took in Raasay from a different perspective, and ate exceptionally well. The kids enjoyed the food, the adventure and the ride. Click here to read about the tours available.

Other Facilities

A general store is essential for supplies and basics (closed on Sundays so do bear this in mind for food necessities). The island also has an art gallery and a lovely silversmith and gift shop called The Silver Grasshopper.

Our Story

We drove directly from Aberdeen to Skye and caught the 3pm ferry to Raasay. Scots2Travel spent one night at Raasay Distillery, then one night at Raasay House. We didn’t take the car so spent most of our time around Raasay’s main village. Next we returned to Skye, spending one night at Sligachan Hotel and exploring the island’s Fairy Pools – more info on this to come.

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38 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kathi

    October 22, 2018

    I didn’t know there was a distillery on Raasay – that would be an interesting one to visit for sure! But you really convinced me with the canoeing – that’s right up my alley!!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      It’s new! The whisky isn’t even ready yet – 2020 is the earliest batch.

  2. Reply

    The Money Shed (@themoneyshed)

    October 22, 2018

    Wow! These photos look amazing. This looks a great place to go with your family during a long weekend!! Just with it was closer to Leeds!!!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      It was a mini adventure 🙂

  3. Reply

    Little Steps/Dean B (@LittleStepsTwit)

    October 22, 2018

    This looks amazing and a perfect getaway! We’ve never even been to the Isle of Skye, would so love to visit Raasay too. Maybe visit the Isle of Skye first 🙂

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      A great mini break to combine both destinations.

  4. Reply

    Sonia Cave

    October 22, 2018

    Oh my goodness this looks right up my street. The scenery is just stunning, and I would love to have a go at that canoeing. I adore hiking and I’d need more than a short stay it seems to fit everything in. I fact you can get rooms to suit all budgets and needs, that is a fantastic idea to draw the visitors in

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      The views were staggering.

  5. Reply

    Mellissa Williams

    October 22, 2018

    I’ve never heard of Raasay before but it looks ever so picturesque. My husband and I will definitely go to the distillery. Your hotel looked luxurious too!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      The distillery hotel is new and contemporary. Raasay House is historic, ideal for families and couples, with a restaurant and cafe, plus a huge array of outdoor activities. Hope you make it here soon.

  6. Reply

    Anosa

    October 22, 2018

    Today I just learnt there is a place that I didn’t know existed in the UK, well close enough. Raasay sounds like an amazing place to explore.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 22, 2018

      So many weird and wonderfully named Scottish islands. I’ll hit you with some more over time 🙂

  7. Reply

    Lucy Dorrington

    October 22, 2018

    It’s amazing that there’s so much to do on such a small island, what a great day out!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 23, 2018

      I didn’t think we’d be so occupied but we lucked out with the weather and enjoyed every minute.

  8. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    October 22, 2018

    Wow the scenery is amazing. I can imagine all the fun you guys had.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 23, 2018

      It’s so beautiful

  9. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    October 22, 2018

    Oh wow, what beautiful views. I love taking a CalMac ferry!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 23, 2018

      Bring on those west coast adventures 🙂

  10. Reply

    Chloe Ciliberto

    October 23, 2018

    Omy goodness, I’ve never even heard of Raasay before but it looks so beautiful and such a peaceful stay. I love the hotel and all the activities that are on offer sound like so much fun. What a perfect family retreat. x

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 23, 2018

      The ferries are really regular and so affordable so I was surprised at how remote it was yet how easy it was.

  11. Reply

    Jenni

    October 23, 2018

    Oh my this place looks amazing, I love the pictures. Another place to add to my ‘must go to’ list.

  12. Reply

    Sarah | Digital Motherhood

    October 24, 2018

    This looks beautiful! What amazing scenery.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 30, 2018

      It was breathtaking.

  13. Reply

    scrapbookadventures365

    October 24, 2018

    Oh I would love to visit here, never heard of it before but then again I haven’t been to the Isle of Skye so that might be why. Love how much nature and fresh air activites there was on your trip, the distillery sounds cool too.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 30, 2018

      Pleased to introduce you to some of the highlights of Scotland. Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Reply

    Leta Elliott

    October 25, 2018

    The island looks absolutely stunning, and such a lovely place to stay. Wonderful

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 30, 2018

      It felt wonderfully off the beaten track.

  15. Reply

    pigeonpairandme

    November 2, 2018

    So beautiful…..Having visited other places where the pace is different to our regular London buzz, I know my family would appreciate Raasay. Nothing beats a chance to just ‘be’. #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 2, 2018

      I’m not saying that the kids stop being loud, exuberant kids, but the pace does slow down, there are fewer choices to make, which is so refreshing, and the scenery makes you appreciate so many aspects of life.

  16. Reply

    bavariansojourn

    November 2, 2018

    Skye is on my 2019 travel bucket list, and now Raasay, what a beautiful place, and so much to see and do! Thanks so much for joining in with #culturedkids too! 🙂

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 2, 2018

      You could easily hop over to Raasay for a day trip either on a Calmac Ferry or the foodie delight that is the Seaflower. We opted to stay two nights and felt we barely scratched the surface.

  17. Reply

    museummum

    November 2, 2018

    I’ve just discovered a new island! Well, new to me at least. What a great place to unwind, the scenery is stunning. I hope to visit the Scottish islands one day, when the youngest kids are able to take part in all the outdoor activities on offer #culturedkids

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 5, 2018

      Scotland does have a bad habit of surprising you with new islands! 🙂

  18. Reply

    Tanja

    November 3, 2018

    it looks like a great place for a family holiday #culturedkids

  19. Reply

    Cultural Wednesday

    November 4, 2018

    Wow that looks stunning, beautiful accommodation and great walking ….what more could you want. #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 5, 2018

      So quiet as well, really peaceful yet friendly . The kind of place where you stop and get chatting with folk.

  20. Reply

    Diary of a Londoness

    November 4, 2018

    This is a new discovery, although you always come up with places I have never heard of. The scenery in Raasay is just breathtaking. #CULTUREDKIDS

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 5, 2018

      Pleased to hear it! And I’m not even making them up!! Scotland has so many wee islands to discover and explore. Each with its own personality and unique offering. I’ve barely started!

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