With their interactive museums, indoor activities and boundless creative energy, Scotland’s two biggest cities can’t fail to fire up fun and imagination for children. With handy extras and the space you need to spread out, these family-friendly hotels, guesthouses and aparthotels will help you get the best out of your travels in Scotland with your brood.
This family-run B&B isn’t as humble as that label makes it sound: inside the regal 19th-century terrace are five individually designed rooms with super king-size beds and hospitality trays (just try to resist the Tunnock’s Teacakes). Ask for the Blue Suite, which easily accommodates four. Everyone loves the resident pets, Otis the bulldog and a wee black-and-white cat called Marag Dhubh (meaning “black pudding”). If the weather’s fine, you can even enjoy a picnic in the garden square.
Children will love the activity corners in this city-centre aparthotel, as colourful breakout spaces are stocked with board games, puzzle books and colouring activities to keep them entertained. Cots and infant beds are free, there’s babysitting upon request and in the summer, breakfast is on the house for under-16s. For those times when you just want to relax in the sprawling lobby, snacks and ready meals for sale will satisfy any grumbling tummies.
In a striking apartment block painted red, white and blue just off the Royal Mile, these serviced rooms make an ideal base from which to explore the lively historic heart of the Scottish capital. Bathtubs, fridges and kitchenettes (plus Netflix on the TV) make travel with children all the smoother. Infants stay for free.
There’s space to spread out in these 50 serviced dwellings in Old Town, which embrace their historic setting with details such as exposed stone walls. Each one has cosy sofas and well-equipped kitchens, plus groceries to start you off, including that sweet Scottish classic, shortbread. With a throng of attractions and street performers vying to impress, this high-energy location is a winner with children, although soundproofing means your little ones will still get a good night’s sleep.
This prestigious hotel may be used to glossy clientele rocking up to the reception desk, but it gives its littlest guests the VIP treatment, too. Sundays from 12.30 to 3pm are Sunday Lunch Kids’ Club time, with free entertainment for three- to 12-year-olds while the grown-ups tuck into a meal and listen to live jazz. The fun takes on a different theme each week, from pirates to exotic animals, so kids will never have the same experience twice.
In this contemporary hotel close to Glasgow Central Station, under-13s can stay in their parents’ rooms for free, and children up to the age of six get breakfast included. Rooms are soundproof, so little ones can be as noisy as they like. Older children will want to flop in the One Lounge, with its fun railway theme, toasties and snacks.
Adjoining the National Piping Centre, which it occupies alongside an Italianate church, the Pipers’ Tryst Hotel makes for a fascinating stay (don’t worry, the pipers’ rehearsal rooms are soundproof). Under-18s have to be chaperoned, but all the better excuse for the adults to delve into the Museum of Piping or brush shoulders with musicians in the lounge. The eight simple but snug rooms come with tartan throws and hot-water bottles to keep the wee bairns cosy at night.
For the best of city and country, book this home from home in the popular suburb of Bellahouston. Close to Glasgow’s biggest park and Ibrox Stadium, the base of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, this district is also a bouncing-off point from which to explore the Trossachs, Loch Lomond and the Clyde Valley. Board games in the guest lounge provide the evening entertainment, and you can use the guest kitchen to rustle up kids’ snacks – room seven even comes with its own kitchenette.