Visiting the Kelpies with Kids – Falkirk – The Kelpies have been on our bucket list for a while so we were lucky to visit in September 2020 with the new Covid safety precautions in place.
Clearly, I’m not saying Go Today!, but check the latest Covid guidance and add the Kelpies to your bucket list. They offer a beautiful, unique and artistic outdoor experience.
Arrival, Cycling & Parking – Visiting the Kelpies with Kids – Falkirk
When we arrived there was ample parking, and a roadside steward allowed drivers to pay contactlessly. It was seamless, but don’t forget your card. It’s also possible to arrive by bike, as the Helix Centre (home to the Kelpies) is on a path network linking sixteens communities with around 26 kilometres of paths: ideal for dog walking, buggies, wheelchairs, cycling and jogging.
The Visitor Centre was shut when we visited, so it was simply a case of following the path next to the canal to the Kelpies themselves. These sculptures do not disappoint, they are utterly stunning at a distance and close up, and they’re free to visit (except for parking charges). The terrain is buggy-friendly, but there are little moats around each kelpie, and a small bridge/walkway connecting the horses so keep an eye on kids near water.
Tours usually take you inside the Kelpies, tours that have understandably been suspended due to Covid-19. Check the website to see if/when the tours will be resurrected – https://www.thehelix.co.uk/kelpies-tour/
The canal setting and boat houses moored here are quirky and interesting in their own right – if you can tear your eyes away from the sculptures.
History – Visiting the Kelpies with Kids – Falkirk
The steel Kelpies were created by sculptor Andy Scott and completed in 2013, sitting at 100ft/30 metres high. As such they are the largest equine sculptures in the world. The idea and inspiration links back to the cultural heritage of the Clydesdale horses that worked the canals in the area.
Food, Drink and Toilets
When we visited, the Plaza Café toilets were open daily from 9am to 4pm. The Plaza Café was open on weekends only from 9.30am-4.30pm with a reduced menu. But check these details before you go.
We turned up midweek so the cafe was closed, but there were little vans selling coffee, cake and ice cream. Grand for a wee snack or a treat, but we couldn’t find any food suitable for lunch, but this may change. If you find yourself in the same position then I’d personally recommend driving to The Boardwalk (near the Falkirk Wheel) – it offers a great menu, quick service, family friendly environment, lovely decor and very popular, yet they usually have a table free as it’s a spacious venue.
The Helix is home to a quite wonderful playground. Allow extra time for the kids to run wild.
Whilst you’re in Falkirk be sure to check if the Falkirk Wheel is operating. It is WAY more interesting than I expected, and the boat trips were fascinating. [We visited the Falkirk Wheel pre-Covid in 2017.]
In September 2020 we drove directly from Aberdeen, visiting the Kelpies en route to overnight at Crossbasket Castle near East Kilbride.