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Lia Vincent

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Scotland with Kids, Including Hogwarts Express!

We hopped around Europe with our 3 kids spending 3 nights in each spot. We totally fell in love with Scotland and we can’t wait to come back.
Here’s a run down on what we did. We needed more time. There’s so much to do here!

We stayed at the Kingsmill Hotel and Spa. This is the hotel that Adventures by Disney uses for their group tours so I knew it would be family friendly. It is an older hotel that isn’t super updated but felt very authentic. The service was great. I was really impressed with the attitude of the staff, attentiveness in the restaurant and bar and the front desk. The housekeeping was even friendly walking down the hall. It had a very homey feel and we were perfectly happy with this choice.
They had a great indoor pool with hot tub and steam room that was open until 9PM. We had a family suite. This was a large ground floor room with a king bed and sitting area. It has bathrooms and a bunk room (basically the size of a walk-in closet) with 2 sets of bunk beds.
The hotel doesn’t have air conditioning but the Scottish Highlands do not get hot. They gave us a large fan for airflow which was perfect.
The hotel is located on the outskirts of the city of Inverness. It took about 10 minutes (and 10 roundabouts) to get to the city center which is still very quiet. We had Pizza Hut delivered for the kids one night and my husband and I ate in the restaurant at the hotel. Everyone was happy.
There is a nice park with playground directly across the street from the hotel and the grounds are beautiful. We noticed the hotel (and a lot of places in Scotland) was dog friendly. If only it was close for us to bring our dog. Ha!

During a stay in the Scottish Highlands you have to search for Nessie. I’ve heard of the Loch Ness Monster as basically a fairy tale but I don’t think until I started planning a trip to Scotland that I realized exactly where it lived. We took an hour only Jacobite cruise on the Loch Ness which is the name of the body of water. There are a lot of Lochs in the area and Ness is the one with the monster. The cruise told the story of how it was spotted and people who have searched for it for almost 100 years. There’s even a man who they said 20 years ago left his wife and job to buy a cabin on the banks of Loch Ness to search for him. Alas he has not found him and has resorted to selling trinkets to tourists with no regrets.

I was on a mission to see the Hairy Coos or the Scottish Highland cows. I had read that the Culloden battlefield was a great area to see them. There are actually some that live on the battlefield. Another fun fact - this is one of the filming sites for the show Outlander. I haven’t watched this show so this was lost of me but I know a lot of people love it.
The kids loved running around the grass area. It’s 14 pounds per adult for the museum with a guided tour. They did a family pass for 30 pounds (I was so impressed with how there were family discounts everywhere in the UK) but you can walk around the outside area for no charge.

Keep your eyes peeled - Just down the street we found the Hairy Coos.

Another spot we hit was Rothiemurchus we. This is an outdoor activity place in a National Park. There’s a farm store, barn (which is their cafe), gift shop and more.
There are so many activities here. They have things for small children to adults.
Our kids did the Landry cars (PowerWheels sized Land Rovers) and fishing. The Landry’s go around a small track in the forrest. They go pretty slow. I would recommend this for 8 and under.
On property they have several stocked ponds with rainbow trout. It was 17 pounds per kid for a pole, net and bait. You were permitted one fish for this as well if you wanted to take one home.
We are not fishermen so I was having a hard time helping the kids cast their poles. I had the kids go fish by some young teens who noticed their inability and started helping them. It was perfect. The teenagers were so nice. They made it a competition between the boys to catch one. They quickly each caught a trout. They showed them how to hit it in the head (they were going to keep one) and how to release the other. The kids were on cloud 9.
There is so much to do here. They had falconry experiences, ATVs, horses, ropes course and more. It is also a place you visit on an Adventures by Disney tour. If you’re coming on your own make sure to prebook what you want to do. The activities sell out especially in the summer.

We also spent a full day to ride the Jacobite Steam Train. This is on the West Coast of Scotland from Fort William to Mallaig. It is the train featured in the Harry Potter films.
There are a bunch of ways to make this happen.
If you’re driving yourself, there are round trip train rides from Fort William. It gives you a break in the town so you can enjoy a quick lunch.
If you’re not going to ride it then you could go to Fort William and take pictures at the train, and then there is a spot to wait while it goes over the Glennfinnan Viaduct with easy parking, toilets and a cafe. In the town of Mallaig there’s a neat Haggrid’s gift shop for all the merchandise. This town is right on the with views of the Scottish Isles. I would love to come back and visit the Isle of Skye.
The train ride is beautiful though so we booked a tour. We were driven in a mini bus from downtown Inverness. They also have these day trips from Edinburgh. We made stops along the way. We rode the train one way, had time for lunch (amazing fish and chips!) and then we journeyed back with stopping to watch the train pass the viaduct.
It was nice to sit back and relax and let someone else drive for the day.


The people of Scotland were so friendly. I might even say best overall service as far as friendliness than anywhere I’ve been in the world.
Make sure to bring your rain gear even in the summer. It went back and forth from sunny to raining without any notice.
If you’re renting a car just a reminder that they do drive on the left. Inverness was the perfect place to do this with minimal traffic and mostly coy try driving. We had the kids say “Left side Daddy!” regularly to help. You can rent a car with a credit card and USA driver’s license. No special license in required. The cars are smaller here. We had a mid-size which was equivalent to a Mercedes C class. It was a good thing we only had carry on bags to fit in the car.

It’s a wonderful country and we can’t wait to go back.


Lia Vincent

Scotland with KidsIncluding Hogwarts Express!

OKC Travel Agent Near Me

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I have been in the travel industry since 2002. I manage our store front travel agencies and locations for All Inclusive Weddings - Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Vincent Magical Vacations - Disney, Vincent Events - Groups & Corporate Incentive Trips, & Vincent Vacations!I also manage our large group of independent travel agents, who work from home.  I LOVE helping couples with their Destinatio...  Read More >>>

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