Skye & the Fairy Pools, with Kids

Skye is one of the most famous of Scotland's islands, and it's hugely popular with tourists. Linked to the mainland by a bridge, it's ridiculously easy to reach.

Simply driving around Skye was stunning, but walking to the Fairy Pools was on our bucket-list. Overall we found a mix of budget and luxurious treats for the family, so this is what worked for us.

The Fairy Pools

Tiny figures heading off in search of the Fairy Pools of Skye

Skye is renowned for its mountains, hikes, hills and treks. We’re a pretty average family in the sense that we like a walk in the great outdoors, but we don’t want to push ourselves to reach the next snow-topped summit with a baby strapped to our back. If you’re looking for a nail-biting endurance hike, I am not the person to provide that, but if our family can reach the Fairy Pools, then probably yours can too.

The Fairy Pools are one of Skye’s most natural beauties. A series of waterfalls wonderfully appearing in the middle of nowhere. Despite the remote location, you’re rarely alone as this is a popular and gentle walking route. It undulates, rather than kids facing a steep uphill slog.

-Practical Tips for the Fairy Pools with Kids

Parking is busy, and works on a donation system. We left our three year old’s buggy behind as it’s not suitable for the terrain. He wasn’t the youngest tourist, as we spotted young babies in carriers. Pack snacks, pack wipes and nappy bags for the kids (as there are no toilet facilities) and dress for the weather. We wore head-to-toe waterproofs and walking-boots/wellies. Skye is exposed, and we could see the weather fronts coming in before they hit us. The rain would be upon us, then it would swiftly pass for the sun to beat down.

In search of waterfalls

The walk was fantastic – lots of little streams and rivers to cross. Stone bridges to leap across, pools to stare into, all surrounded by raw unspoiled countryside. Our four year old loved it. Our three year old clambered on daddy’s shoulders for a significant chunk of the walk, admittedly he was too young to achieve it alone but, as a team, we got there. The walk took around three hours, and it was a pleasure. FREE + DONATION FOR CAR PARK

Beachlife

Throwing stones at Sconser

Seek out a decent beach if you get decent weather. We spent an hour throwing stones in the water at Sconser, waiting for the ferry to Raasay. But for a more picturesque beach, we stopped at Glen Brittle on the west of the island. It has a cool coffee shop, Cuillin Coffee, for light refreshments. Cuillin Coffee doesn’t serve hot meals but think freshly baked bread, croissants, cakes, snacks, Teapigs and hot chocolate. FREE + OPTIONAL COFFEE.

Set Sail

Wee man Aboard the Seaflower

If you wish to combine a foodie experience, a few glasses of vino, and a boat trip, head to Portree to catch the Seaflower. This luxury catamaran will transport you (and your youngsters) for a few hours on the water, visiting the island of Rona or Raasay. It’s also a great way to see a bit more of Skye and other islands from a new perspective.

When we dropped anchor the white wine was opened, bowls of Cullen Skink were dished out, followed by a generous platter of langoustines and lobster. Kids are offered more child friendly dishes, such as tomato soup or ham/cheese sandwiches, but sadly my two quite like seafood so I had to share it.

The kids loved being on the water, spotting wildlife, ruins and castles, and the catamaran is powerful, making for a smooth journey. Find out more about sailings and prices here. This excursion isn’t cheap but it was a real highlight, including an excellent lunch as part of the package.

Portree

The colourful buildings of Portree harbour

Every island needs a capital, and Portree is where the locals go for a supermarket shop, the opticians, the chemist etc. It’s an essential hub. To me it’s a working Scottish town, and I was bemused to see so many international tourists wandering past the Co-op and the local pharmacy, I couldn’t quite understand the attraction. If you do wish to visit Portree, the colourful harbour is the main draw, perhaps pick up some fish and chips, sit on the harbour walls and stare out to sea. That, undoubtedly, is a lovely spot. FREE + optional fish n chips.

The view from Portree harbour

Soft Play

If the weather isn’t doing you any favours, and you’re losing your mind with the kids, then consider visiting Jurassic Land at the Aros Centre. Three-storeys of soft play, people! We grabbed a bite there, it’s very casual dining, nachos, soup and a sandwich type grub. There’s also a gift shop, and the centre hosts performances and events as a creative space. Info about and prices for Jurassic Land can be found here.

Sligachan Playground & Never-Ending Youth

Now that’s a backdrop

Sligachan Hotel has a playground set in the most outstanding scenery. The Cuillin range is on its doorstep. Kids can go mad on the flying fox, as parents grab a coffee in Seumas’ Bar or take a pew in the beer garden and take in the views. Tip – Bring wellies as the cork chips on the ground can be damp.

The playground is also next to the iconic Sligachan bridge, a popular photogenic spot, and a gateway into the hills. It’s said that if you wash your face in the river you’ll stay looking young forever, but I didn’t chance it. I don’t want the boys looking 3 & 4 forever – weird! FREE + coffee

The playground at Sligachan

Sligachan Hotel

We stayed at the refurbished Sligachan Hotel. The new owners have really modernised this old drovers inn, a hotel that’s a core part of Skye’s climbing history. It even contains a wee climbing museum highlighting the great climbers who put Skye on the map.

Seumas’ Bar is a cool aprés-hike hang out, which means you can wear what you want, you can bring your dog, bring your kids, have a meal, have a dram, hear some tunes. Be a parent, but still be cool. Kind of…

There’s also a more traditional restaurant, with relatively healthy kids food on the menu, such as mushroom soup and beans on toast.

We stayed in the Pinnacle Suite, which meant that we essentially had our own self-contained bedroom, with television, separate to the boys, who occupied the living room. Once the kids were finally asleep we could hang out without disturbing the cherubs. It’s a beautiful room, so read my full review of the hotel here.

The hotel also offers camping, self-catering and will whip you up a packed lunch if you preorder. For hotel prices and booking check here.

Nip Over to Raasay

Raasay

Skye is the connection point for the tiny wee island of Raasay. We spent two nights on Raasay and loved it, but it’s perfectly feasible as a day trip. Discover what you could do with your family on Raasay here.

Our Story

We drove from Aberdeen to Skye and caught the ferry to Raasay in one day. Two night were spent on Raasay, before returning to Skye to explore and overnight. The Fairy Pools and the Seaflower trip were definite highlights. Skye has more to offer, such as castles and crafts, but we’ve reviewed what we experienced, a great balance of free activities in the great outdoors and luxury treats.

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the follow box and You’re In, join the conversation on Facebook, or check out the bonny photos on Instagram. For any queries or opportunities please email scots2travel@hotmail.com. Images and text copyright of Scots2Travel. Check out our Privacy Policy here. Scots2Travel were guests of the Seaflower and guests of  VisitScotland at the Sligachan Hotel for review purposes.

 

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17 Comments

  1. Reply

    Yvette Morrissey

    November 12, 2018

    I’m visiting Skye in 2 weeks and going to Portree- so excited! Great tips, thank you!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 12, 2018

      It’s quite a vast island, hope you get time to explore the island as thoroughly as possible. Enjoy.

  2. Reply

    Helen

    November 13, 2018

    Oo I’ve never thought to visit Skye before, but it looks stunning! The hotel also looks so luxurious and the perfect base 🙂

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 13, 2018

      This was my fourth trip but my first experience of the Fairy Pools. It was a great contrast, walking through the wilds of Scotland then checking into a stylish hotel!

  3. Reply

    Kira

    November 13, 2018

    We love adventures and I must admit I’ve never even heard of Skye before!! But it looks the perfect place 🙂

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      It’s famous here for its beauty, its mountain range, the Skye Boat Song, and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape 🙂

  4. Reply

    Laura (@dearbearandbean)

    November 14, 2018

    What a beautiful place to visit, somewhere I’ve never been!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      It’s one of those places that’s small yet big at the same time, a small island, yet vast mountain ranges that leave you breathless.

  5. Reply

    Susanne Arbuckle

    November 14, 2018

    I’m always looking for new ideas for things to do on Skye and the catamaran trip sounds superb! I’ve also still to visit Raasay so I now have 2 new ideas for my next visit 🙂

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      Combine all three – Skye and the catamaran trip that will drop you off on Raasay for a few hours exploration, perhaps a distillery visit or a hike.

  6. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    November 14, 2018

    I love that hotel! It looks more like an apartment! I’ve been to Skye a couple of times (both times before the bridge) – my children have never been though, so I’ll add it to our list!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      It’s newly refurbished, so really fresh and modern.

  7. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    November 14, 2018

    What a beautiful island. I love the look of the hotel too!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      Wild yet stylish, a great mix on any island.

  8. Reply

    Cath - Passports and Adventures

    November 14, 2018

    I’ve never been to Skye but it sounds wonderful. Scotland is somewhere we’d love to explore and Skye is top of that list!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2018

      Skye is hugely popular, easy to reach via the bridge, yet retaining the wild, remote vibe.

  9. Reply

    ChelseaMamma

    November 14, 2018

    It looks like a gorgeous island, I would love to visit the Fairy Pools…..hopefully we will get back to scotland soon

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