Scotland offers plenty of family-friendly accommodation for you to choose from if you know what you’re looking for! Each family has different needs, so There are means knowing what is going to suit the needs of your family and enhance your visit to this beautiful country.
To help you find the perfect place to stay we’ve laid out the different types of family accommodation in Scotland below, with some tips on what to look for in each one. What suits you and your family will largely depend on how many of you there are, and the ages of your children.
You will find most accommodation provides its “AA star rating” as a guide to what you should expect when you stay. This is different from any review ratings you might find, though these are equally helpful, and gives you a quick reference to standard, facilities and budget.
You can find a detailed description of the rating system here.
Types of accommodation in Scotland for families
Hotels are usually a great option for shorter stays when you won’t be spending too much time in your room and you don’t require any extra facilities for cooking or laundry.
However, there are a huge variety of places to stay available, so how do you know which ones are the most family-friendly hotels in Scotland?
Travelling with a baby or toddler means you need room for a travel cot, as well as all of the other equipment you have to bring with you. [BABY TRAVEL LINK]. So choosing the most economical room may not be the best option especially if you’d like them to sleep in a separate room.
If in doubt, contact the hotel directly. The travel cot can be provided by either you or the hotel if they have them available. Note that most hotels will only offer a travel cot with a very thin mattress, usually of the type that comes with the cot and not the more padded mattress you may have at home.
For older children who require their own bed, there are plenty of different styles of room available to suit your needs.
Look for the following room types when choosing a family-friendly hotel:
Family Room: These come in several different configurations so double-check what’s being offered. It could be:
– A double bed and a single bed
– A double bed and a fold-out couch
– Two double beds
Triple Room: This could be either a double bed and a single bed, or three single beds.
Family Suite/Junior Suite: Families needing a little more space should look for a hotel with a family suite, which would usually give you a separate living area and bedroom.
Studio: A Studio is where the bedroom, living area, and a small kitchen are all in the same space. This might work for younger children who can sleep through light or noise.
Apartment: Holiday apartments are a popular choice for families looking for accommodation in Scotland because they also include a kitchen and have a separate living and bedroom space. Once your children are older you’ll likely want to be able to put them to bed and stay up a bit longer, so having a separate sleeping place becomes more important. And of course, having a kitchen is very budget-friendly and helps if you have a fussy eater in your group!
A Bed and Breakfast is usually where someone has opened up rooms in their home for guests to use. At a minimum, this would be a bedroom and bathroom (either a private bathroom or sometimes shared with other guests) and might also include a living area.
Breakfast is also offered in the morning, often in the form of a full cooked Scottish breakfast with, for example, bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and haggis or a continental breakfast like bread, cereal, meats and fruits are available too.
B&B’s are a popular choice with those looking to stay somewhere a little more intimate than a hotel. It also gives the opportunity for families with older children to have their own room. However, not all Bed and Breakfasts are family-friendly so you’ll need to check this before booking.
Airbnb/Holiday Homes & Apartments
Holiday Homes and apartments can be found in many different areas. Sometimes they will be part of a complex but they may also be standalone house the owner has chosen to rent. You’ll find them on Booking.com or other holiday home-specific sites. Not all will allow children
Airbnb is prevalent across Scotland. You’ll find both rooms available in a shared house with hosts and entire houses for rent. It’s another popular option for families as it has the same benefits as a holiday apartment, but they are also often in more remote areas where you may not be likely to find other accommodation.
Make sure you add the ages of your children to the “guests” part when searching as it will filter to show family-friendly properties first. However, also check the listing itself and message the host if you’re unsure as some do not allow small children.
With these types of properties, you’ll often need to look carefully at the listing and photos to ascertain if it’s the right choice for your family. Some will offer highchairs and cots for babies while others don’t. Sometimes there may be a staircase or an open fire with no safety guard. If you can’t tell from the listing then message the owner with any questions you may have!
Hostels aren’t just for backpackers and hikers, they can be a great source of family-friendly accommodation in Scotland too. While they do have dormitories with bunk beds available they also have private rooms that would certainly suit families, and they’re often ensuite too. Family rooms range in their bed configuration but can include a double and single, or a double and bunk beds.
You’ll also have full access to living areas, kitchen facilities and often laundry facilities too, at a fraction of what you might pay for an entire holiday apartment or Airbnb. Of course, you’ll be sharing the space with other travellers, but that becomes part of the fun!
Campsites, Caravan Parks, and Holiday Parks can be found across Scotland, often overlooking the sea, lochs, or mountains. They encompass pitching sites of various sizes for tents, space for campervans or caravans, and sometimes even cabins or pods for more of a “glamping” vibe!
The benefit of Holiday Parks is that they usually have a lot of shared facilities and outdoor space that’s great for children. You’ll even find some with extensive adventure playgrounds and swimming pools.
Staying in a Castle is high on many bucket lists for Scotland, and it’s definitely possible when you’re travelling with a family. You’ll find rooms and suites just like in hotels but some estates will also have separate self-catering accommodation on the grounds that suits families too, and even facilities like a spa and swimming pool that may be suitable for children as well as adults.
House sitting is where you’re able to stay in someone’s property while they’re away, usually in return for looking after their animals. This form of travelling may not suit everyone but there are house sits available for anything from a few days to several weeks or even months, and they can be found anywhere across the country.
Setting up a house sit could save you a lot of money in accommodation, and means you get to explore somewhere new that you may not have thought of with all the local knowledge of the owners. You can check out properties available in Scotland on Trusted Housesitters and filter by the family-friendly option. You’ll need to sign up and agree on the stay with the owners so it’s a little more work than just booking accommodation, but it can really be worth the effort.
You’ll also come across some more quirky accommodation for families in Scotland too. This is becoming more and more popular and allows the place you stay to become part of the adventure.
There are lots of glamping sites, cabins, or wooden pods available. Some have ensuite bathrooms but many are shared. They may suit families with small children or older children who can have their own pod!
These can be an excellent idea but as with the Holiday Homes and Airbnbs, you’ll need to look at each listing carefully and perhaps contact the suppliers to see if it’s the right place to stay for your family.