Best Family-Friendly Self-Catering in Scotland – Hotels, Apartments & Glamping – If you’re starting to mull over travel once more, we’ve pulled together the best family-friendly self-catering we’ve experienced in Scotland over the years. So when it’s safe to explore again, you’ll have fresh ideas about where to stay – from luxury suites to rural escapes with hot tubs. *Contains affiliate links
As lockdown eases, be sure to check what facilities are actually available when you book (i.e. swimming pools and restaurants) and find out how each destination has adapted its offering due to Covid-19. Check it’s safe to travel and that you’re permitted to do so. This post offers a rich mix of self-catering; from luxury hotels, to city breaks and rural glamping. There’s something for everyone, so let’s crack on.
North of Inverness, this beautiful hotel has two stunning apartments available. One is a penthouse, the other is an accessible, wheelchair-friendly ground floor apartment. Rustle up dinner in your own kitchen, or dine in their new restaurant, ‘Mara’. By day, chill in your own living room, or curl up in one of the public lounges and drawing rooms. Minutes from the beach, next door to the famous golf course, and a ten minute walk into town, Links House is a smart and luxurious option.
The Lodge at Dumfries House, Ayrshire
Run by the Prince’s Foundation, it’s hardly surprising that these cottages are beautifully finished – I mean, who would deliver shoddy workmanship for His Royal Highness? Fantastic accommodation on a fascinating estate with lots to see and do. Be sure to drop inside Dumfries House for a guided tour. New Cumnock’s heated Outdoor Pool is down the road too.
Glen Dye, Royal Deeside
We escaped to Glen Dye’s lodge for a weekend escape, and it comes complete with its own riverside cabin for holding barbecues on long summer evenings. It also has its own wood-fired outdoor hot tub, which does take a long while to heat, but is a truly novel experience. Glen Dye’s airstream caravan is a stylish and unique accommodation offering for couples, so why not get the whole gang together – socially distanced of course.
Rural Escape with Hot Tub
Forest Holidays has a range of properties across the UK. We were very at home at their Strathyre site, and spent hours in the hot tub.
You can keep yourself to yourself in these smart mobile homes with hot tub. But if you’re more sociable, Argyll Holidays are the closest to the package holiday I’ve found in Scotland. Baby discos, quiz nights, a pool, a bar, a restaurant, activities, courses and classes – there’s so much to do for all ages. And the views of Loch Goil from their Drimsynie resort are sublime.
Portsoy Sail Loft Hostel
As far as hostels go, Portsoy Sail Loft is a very smart offering, complete with a hot tub. As a hostel, expect a reworking of the shared facilities, such as kitchens, toilets and shower facilities. Check out prices and availability here.
Craigduckie Shepherds Huts
Adorable pastel huts, and a farm up the road offering tours or a lambing experience in Spring, Craigduckie’s huts were a joy to visit. Dunfermline is a mere ten minute drive away, and Edinburgh can be reached in around thirty minutes. [Private shower room and toilet.]
For a spooky, atmospheric offering, these cosy glamping pods are located on the site where Macbeth is set to have met the three witches. Set on a family farm, it’s a lush location to roast marshmallows and chill out. [Private shower room and toilet.] Discover a list of family-friendly things to do and see in Morayshire here.
Comrie Croft, Perthshire
Tuck the family into a Nordic Kata for a Scandinavian inspired adventure in Scotland. Ideally situated to explore Crieff, Comrie and Perthshire, this campsite is hugely popular with mountain bikers due to its excellent bike trails. [Private toilet, and shared shower facilities.] Discover more child friendly activities in Comrie and Crieff here.
Gilsland Caravan Park, North Berwick
This site offers glamping and large mobile homes, but we stayed in a rather smart studio. A double bed for mummy, and a bunk bed for the tot. Located just out of town, we drove down to North Berwick to explore further, and loved the National Museum of Flight. Discover more things to do in the area here.
Dundas Castle Glamping
On the outskirts of Edinburgh, Dundas Castle offers luxury glamping on its estate. A wood burning stove provides heat, and an expansive decking area makes dining al fresco a joy in good weather. [Private toilet and shower cubicle.]
Mar Lodge, Royal Deeside
The National Trust for Scotland has a host of self-catering properties at its fingertips, from castles to stately homes. It’s a remarkable collection that seems to pass under the radar a little. The minimum stay is often 3 nights or more, but we visited the historic Mar Lodge just outside Braemar and it was a privilege. We were following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria – she was also a guest here! Skiing, castles, Balmoral itself, beautiful hikes and walks, and distilleries – it’s all on your doorstep.
Moness Resort, Aberfeldy
In lush green Perthshire, these self-catering cottages are particularly reasonable, especially when you consider there’s a pool onsite. Moness also has a restaurant, if you don’t fancy cooking each evening. Discover prices and availability here. Find a list of family friendly things to do and see in Perthshire here.
Cairnton Cottages, Morayshire
These cottages felt like home. Not flash, but roomy, comfortable and isolated. A welcoming base after a day exploring Morayshire.
Highland Apartments by Mansley, Inverness
With views over the river, these smart apartments were at the centre of the action. From here, we visited Loch Ness, Culloden and dined out in the centre of the city. What’s not to love? For prices and availability, click here.
Sandman Signature Hotel, Aberdeen
This boutique hotel offers a bar, parking and restaurant, but several rooms have kitchens for more of an apartment feel. Great location in Aberdeen’s city centre, and free parking too.
Skene House, Aberdeen
I’m a particular fan of Skene House’s Rosemount duplexes, which are available with one or two bedrooms. Every apartment comes with a furnished kitchen and its own living room, so ideal for family living. Free laundries, wifi and parking are bonuses, and the city centre location is excellent too. Read a review of their Whitehall property here to get a sense of the vibe.
Aberdeen Altens Hotel, Aberdeen
Slightly out of town, Aberdeen Alten’s self-catering hotel rooms are quite straightforward – think rustling up a bowl of pasta rather than roasting a chicken. But the reason I mention this location is the swimming pool – as this is one of the few hotels in Aberdeen with a pool. There’s also a restaurant if you wish to wine and dine. Discover a list of family friendly things to see and do in Aberdeen by clicking here.
Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall, Orkney
Located near Kirkwall’s harbour, Ayre Hotel is within walking distance of the ferry – especially handy if you dock at 11pm, as we did. The self-catering accommodation is within a modern block, a few steps from the hotel. It has a lift, making it accessible for buggies and those with mobility issues. Visit the hotel for breakfast, a quick drink or to dine at the restaurant. It’s also within walking distance of the sights of Kirkwall, and the town’s bars and restaurants.
Wheems Self-Catering Cottage, South Ronaldsay
This site is known for glamping, which I found a little bit basic, but their cottage was cute and down to earth. You can also purchase fruit, veg and supplies from the honesty shop. Located on South Ronaldsay, with excellent sea views, it’s ideal for visiting the Italian Chapel and the Tomb of the Eagles. Discover a list of family friendly things to do and see in Orkney here.
Hotels with Self-Catering Facilities
I’ve stayed at several quality hotels, that offer self-catering too. I suspect they will be of a high standard, judging by their hotel room, but I haven’t personally stayed in their self-catering cottages. If that changes I’ll update this accordingly. But do take a glimpse at the self-catering options at Douneside House in Aberdeenshire (book here) and Crieff Hydro in Perthshire (book here). Both hotels have pools too.
I hope this list gives a great starting point for a more self-contained exploration of Scotland. There are many more fantastic self-catering properties across the country, but these are the ones that I have personally stayed in, and can give an honest review of. If you book accommodation be sure you’re happy with the cancellation/transfer policy and have checked the viability of your travel plans. Stay home and stay safe till the time is right, and enjoy the research.