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10 Tips for Visiting the Isle of Skye with Kids

The Isle of Skye, with its enchanting landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is a fantastic destination for families with young children. From exciting outdoor adventures to fun indoor activities, Skye offers a treasure trove of things to do that will captivate little ones and create lasting family memories.

Travelling to the Isle of Skye can be a little daunting for a family because many of the top things to do are outdoors and may not suit very young children or be of interest to older ones.

Since we live in the Isle of Skye and have two young children, we’ve had plenty of practice travelling around here as a family!

Here are some tips to ensure your family trip to the Isle of Skye is both magical and stress-free.

Isle of Skye with Kids

1. Plan a Child-Friendly Itinerary

Skye’s vast array of attractions can be overwhelming, so planning a child-friendly itinerary is crucial.

My biggest tip is to SLOW DOWN. Travelling with kids has a way of forcing us to focus on doing less, but I think this is a bonus in Skye because you can get a real sense of the island and explore some off-the-beaten-track places. They’re not worried about ticking off the popular things to do!

Focus on sites that will delight young imaginations and are easy to navigate with little ones. Plan for one big morning activity and one in the afternoon, and anything else is a bonus.

Some options you could include:

  • The Fairy Pools: There is a bit of a hill at the start to go down (and therefore back up!), but other than that, it’s a shorter hike to take with young kids. You can also turn back whenever you want to.
  • Dinosaur Footprints at Staffin Beach: This is a must-see for kids who love dinosaurs. Staffin Beach is the easiest to access, but Brothers’ Point is also an option.
  • Fairy Glen: A whimsical landscape of small conical hills, easy walking paths, and a large rock that looks like a ruined castle. Be aware that there are sharp drops off this, so it’s not really for little ones to climb.
  • Beaches: Beaches are great for kids to explore, climb over rocks, and look in rock pools.
  • Cafes and Tearooms: Plan stops at child-friendly cafes and tearooms where the whole family can relax and enjoy a treat. Many of these spots offer stunning views and cosy atmospheres. A couple of our favourites are An Crubh in Sleat, which has a small children’s toy area, and Gasta in Portree, where you can sit inside or out. They also do pizzas, which are always a hit with our kids!

These are just to give you an idea of what’s available. We’ll mention plenty more as we go through our top family travel tips!

Dinosaur Footprint Isle of Skye

2. Choose Comfortable Family Accommodation

Selecting the right accommodation can make a huge difference to your stay. Skye is a larger island than many people realise, especially because you can often travel on single-track roads or travel slower on main roads behind campervans or other tourists.

Have a look at the main activities you want to do on your trip and then book somewhere central to them to reduce driving time. That’s not to say you can’t stay further away if it suits you, but then try to group the further activities into one day, for example.

Look for family-friendly options like cottages, B&Bs, or hotels with family rooms and essential amenities such as kitchen facilities, laundry services, and Wi-Fi.

When we travel, we always have to have separate rooms for our kids so we can enjoy the evening once they’re asleep. This means we’d rather stay somewhere more remote with an amazing view than in Portree, for example, but you may think the opposite!

Isle of Skye with Kids - Beach

3. Pack for the Weather

Skye’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers, waterproof clothing, and sturdy walking shoes for everyone. Bring along child-sized rain gear and extra clothing in case of muddy adventures. Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent (smidge for midges) for those sunny or buggy days.

We have waterproof overalls and jackets that we put our kids in for walks where they might want to sit down or for beach adventures. These and wellies (gumboots/rainboots) are generally enough for them, although our eldest has hiking boots for longer walks.

They also have fleece vests/jumpers that keep them really warm underneath their waterproofs if it’s chilly.

For swimming, they have wetsuits and wetsuit shoes.

4. Engage in Outdoor Activities

Outdoor adventures are a highlight of Skye and can be tailored to suit young children:

  • Easy Hikes: Trails like the Fairy Pools or the Fairy Glen, as mentioned above, can work well for kids. However, don’t discount other walks too. Scorrybreac in Portree is a good one for kids, as is the woodland trail that leaves from the end of the Isle of Skye Candle Centre car park. There is also the walk to the Otter Hide in Kylerhea. Check out Walk Highlands for easier walks on Skye.
  • Beach Exploration: Beaches are so good for kids to explore. Ours can spend hours there! Glenbrittle Beach is easy for kids to get to because car parking is right next to it. An Corran, where the dinosaur footprints are, is also good when the tide is lower, as are many of the beaches on the northern side of the Sleat Peninsula. Coral Beach and Talisker Bay are short walks away from car parks.
  • Wildlife Watching and Boat Trips: Short boat trips from Portree or Kyleakin can give kids a chance to see seals and sea birds up close. You could also get the boat from Elgol to Loch Coruisk and have a picnic before returning.

If you have particularly young children, you can also consider a backpack carrier so that you can do longer walks or even just go to sites where it may be a little more dangerous for them to wander about on their own.

At 19 months, our eldest walked all the way to the lighthouse at Neist Point, but we had reigns on him for part of the way where there were sharp drops.

Man and toddler on the Isle of Skye

5. Dive into Local Culture and History

Introduce your children to Skye’s rich history and culture through engaging and interactive experiences:

  • Dunvegan Castle: Explore the castle and its gardens. The castle itself is better for slightly older children (not our 2-year-old, for example…), but the gardens are great.
  • Skye Museum of Island Life: Step back in time and see how people lived in the past, with exhibits that are fascinating for curious minds.
  • Armadale Castle, Gardens, and Museum of the Isles: This is a great spot for kids, with lots of gardens to run around in, a playground, den building area in the woods, and the Museum of the Isles with a kids scavenger hunt and colouring and books to read as well.
Armadale Castle & Gardens

6. Enjoy Family-Friendly Dining

There are lots of dining options on Skye, but you may want to plan ahead. If you want to dine in Portree or at another specific place, we recommend reservations. Some places don’t take them, and in that case, we’d arrive early.

There are also lots of takeaway options all over the place, like Pizza in the Skye in Portree or various chippies. Some restaurants, like the Old Inn in Carbost or the Claymore in Broadford, also do takeaway.

We’d suggest lunches out where possible, and then, if you have self-catering you can enjoy a night in without worrying about getting in somewhere.

Picnic lunches are a great way to go with kids, so you don’t have to be on a schedule or scrambling to find somewhere to eat. You can pick something up from the bakery in Portree or the new Skye Pantry in Broadford or pre-order a packed lunch to pick up from the Isle of Skye Baking Company.

7. Capture the Magic

Skye is incredibly photogenic, and capturing the magic through photos and videos is a wonderful way to remember your trip. Encourage children to take their own pictures or draw what they see in a travel journal. This can be a fun way for them to engage with their surroundings and create a keepsake of their adventures.

Use this trip as an opportunity to unplug and connect with nature. Encourage kids to observe wildlife and listen to the sounds of the outdoors.

Many beaches have old shards of pottery or sea glass. These are considered to be “litter” as they’re not natural to the environment, so you can look for them together and then take them away with you.

Isle of Skye with Kids

8. Pack Snacks

While there is generally a cafe or somewhere to eat near most attractions, sometimes they can be busy or not open on the day you’re there.

We always carry lots of snacks for our kids just in case our plan for eating out doesn’t work out.

9. Rainy Day Activities

Sometimes, the weather on Skye is less than ideal. While adults might just put on waterproofs and deal with it, that’s not always an option with kids, especially younger ones.

We do still go out in the rain, but if it’s also windy or if it’s constant instead of passing through occasionally, it can be a bit miserable for everyone.

In that case here are some of our favourite things to do in Skye in the rain with kids:

  • Armadale Castle, Gardens, & Museum of the Isles: As mentioned above, it has a museum, which is great for kids. If the rain isn’t bad, you can also be sheltered in the forest, building dens out of sticks, or exploring between rain showers.
  • Dunvegan Castle: If you have older children interested in castles, a rainy day is a good time to visit Dunvegan. If it clears, you can walk through the gardens.
  • Other Museums: There are many smaller museums, like the Giant Angus MacAskill Museum in Dunvegan and the train museum in Kyleakin.
  • Fingal Centre in Portree: There is a swimming pool here, which is a good option if the day is totally washed out!
  • Third Ridge Climbing Wall: This is a good option for kids 6+. It has a small bouldering area and a climbing wall. Make sure you book ahead online so that someone will be there to help.
  • Cinema at Las: There is usually always a kids option on offer, and also Skye Story, a film about how Skye came to be.
  • Local events at halls: See if any local halls have events, such as craft markets or music events. It’s easiest to ask your accommodation provider about this since they will likely know where to look for information.
Dunvegan Castle Isle of Skye

10. Stay Flexible and Have Fun

The key to a successful family trip is flexibility. Allow for spontaneous adventures and be prepared for changes in weather and plans. Whether it’s discovering a hidden waterfall or making friends with another child in a playground, these unexpected moments often become the most cherished memories.

The Isle of Skye offers an unforgettable experience for families with young children. Its magical landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality make it a perfect destination for creating treasured family moments.

Plan, but be flexible, and focus on fun rather than ticking off boxes! We hope you love your time on the Isle of Skye with kids!

Sonja x

More About Skye

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