Situated on the northwest coast of the Scottish Highlands, the Isle of Skye has become a major tourist destination in the country. With its lush scenery, quaint fishing villages, and castles galore, this is no surprise. Crossing over the Skye Bridge can open you up to a whole new world of adventure on the Isle.
The Isle of Skye is not only a top spot for adventure-seekers but also for a family getaway. The Isle has no shortage of things to excite tourists of all ages. If you’re wondering about things to do in Skye for families, you’re in luck.
Visiting the Isle of Skye is sure to be a treat for everyone in the family, from younger children to adults. From places to eat to activities to great views to take your breath away, here are the best things to do when you visit Skye. Our team can help arrange you perfect family tour of Skye
Where To Stay On The Isle of Skye With Kids
The first step to a great experience on the Isle of Skye is picking great accommodation. And luckily, there is plenty to choose from.
Nestled in the Isle’s Sleat Peninsula, Duisdale Hotel is a quaint family-run boutique hotel in the Isle of Skye. The building itself was first built in 1860 and has been updated to become a modern haven for visitors.
It is part of a collection of three hotels on the Isle of Skye called the Sonas Hotel Collection. This collection is committed to sharing the beauty of the isle with guests and this makes it perfect for a family vacation.
First, there are the rooms at the Duisdale which can sleep families of several sizes. Its master suite, for example, can sleep two adults and two children. Then there is the restaurant which is famous for its delicious meals made from local produce.
The food is so good that it has won Informal Dining Venue of the Year at the Scottish Hotel Awards. Another main attraction of the hotel is its ‘Tales by The Fireside’ series in which local historian Coinneach Maclean tells stories of the isle’s history.
These run every first Saturday of the month and are especially recommended for families with small kids.
Kinloch Lodge Hotel
The Kinloch Lodge Hotel has a history that goes back hundreds of years. Initially serving as the hunting lodge for Armadale Castle, the establishment is now run by Lord and Lady Macdonald of Skye. Together the pair have created a lodging that is a staple of the amazing Isle.
The Kinloch Lodge is unique in that it aims to give guests an escape into the Scottish highlands and a connection with nature. Besides a place to sleep, guests can forage down to the shore, which is only a short walk away. While doing this, they will have guidance from the lodge’s ghillie who has years of experience in the area.
Then there is the food, which is made using locally-sourced produce and cooked to perfection by head chef Jordan Webb. The lodge’s whisky bar also boasts over 122 bottles of some of the rarest blends in the world. It has truly earned its place as one of the best hotels on the Isle of Skye.
If you’re looking for a view and some amazing scenery while on the Isle of Skye, the Marmalade Hotel is for you. It offers stunning views of the village of Portree, the loch and the Cuillin Mountains. In fact, the centre of Portree is only a few minutes walk from the hotel itself.
When it comes to architecture, the Marmalade Hotel has both a historic manor house and a modern building side by side. Needless to say, it has become one of the top Skye attractions for this reason alone. This 4-star hotel offers all the amenities that a family vacation would need, from food on-site to free Wi-Fi and an off-street parking area.
Besides access to local attractions, there is also a garden area and sun terrace for families to relax in and get some fresh air. Its Chargrill restaurant, described as a tribute to Scottish farmers, also specialises in some of the best steak and seafood meals on the Isle of Skye.
If you want to put some luxury into your family vacation to the Isle of Skye, the Skeabost Hotel would be a great idea. The hotel is a very short walk from the two chapels of St Columba and is surrounded by natural beauty.
Set on its own private grounds, many rooms in the Skeabost have their own private entrances and are perfect for families looking to get away.
During the summer months, guests can take in the outdoors, walk around, and bond in all of Scotland’s beauty. And while they are surrounded by a lot of history, the rooms are modern and fitted with everything you’d need for a comfortable stay.
Its Pier View restaurant overlooks Loch Snizort and offers an absolutely stunning view to elevate any meal.
Cuillin Hills Hotel
If you needed any convincing about Cuillin Hills Hotel, Tripadvisor ranks it in the top 10% of hotels in the world. Needless to say, this Isle of Skye hotel should be at the top of your list. This 15-acre property overlooks Portree Bay and offers some of the most spectacular views you’ll find anywhere in the Scottish Highlands.
All rooms, some of which sleep a whole family, come with robes, Egyptian cotton sheets, and luxury soap. The hotel also has a parking lot that is free to use, 24-hour reception, and a host of other amenities for parents and kids.
Its on-site restaurant has also proven to be a crowd-pleaser, with steak, seafood, and an impressive selection of wines and whisky.
Why it’s a Good Idea to Hire a Private Driver for Your Family Trip to Skye
When planning a family vacation to the Isle of Skye, one thing you should consider is hiring a private driver for your time there. Some people are unsure about the added expense of a driver but doing this affords you several benefits.
Less stress and more local knowledge
One of the biggest benefits you will get from hiring a private driver is that you have access to local knowledge. If you are here on holiday, odds are you and your family are probably not local to the Isle of Skye, which means you won’t yet know the best spots to visit, routes to take and restaurants to dine at.
A family visit to the Isle is not the best time to figure this out by yourself, either – you want to make the most of your time.
Having a private driver means you’re less likely to get lost or waste time trying to find your way. Instead, you’ll have access to shortcuts and hidden gems and can focus on the fun things in your Skye itinerary.
Plus, should you decide to take a road trip or day trip, you won’t have to take on the stress of driving yourself. Instead, you can focus on enjoying your vacation on the Isle of Skye.
More time with the kids
Let’s face it, when you’re on vacation with your kids, you want to actually spend time with them. But if you’re having to drive yourself while exploring the Isle of Skye, more of your visit will be spent searching for directions than actually bonding with them.
All things considered, a huge amount of time can be saved by hiring a private driver. You only need to show up and enjoy the experience.
Luxury holiday feel
You have probably seen celebrities being escorted by bodyguards into their private cars. By hiring a private driver, you will get a sense of that too! Live the high life with your family’s personal chauffeur who will be up for taking you wherever you want to go, in style.
Best Family Activities Isle Of Skye
So, what do you do with your family when you get to the Isle of Skye? There is no shortage of things to do that will appeal to everyone of any age. Here are some of our recommendations:
Visit the Fairy Pools
The Isle of Skye has an abundance of natural sights and the Fairy Pools are one of the most popular. The Fairy Pools are clear blue pools found on the river Brittle. They are famous for their striking blue colour and are a major tourist attraction.
Most visitors begin their journey to the Fairy Pools from Carbost, which is on the west coast of Skye. From there, it is a 10-minute drive to the pools, where there is a parking lot available at the end of a single track.
Once you arrive at the Fairy Pools, you have the option to take photographs or enjoy some wild swimming if you’re feeling brave. The fairy pools are especially appealing to outdoor enthusiasts and kids who are fascinated by their unique appearance. Getting a family picture near the blue waters is certainly recommended.
Needless to say, the Fairy Pools should be on your itinerary for an Isle of Skye vacation.
Explore Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland, having been occupied by the same family for over 800 years. This makes it a perfect historical adventure during a family trip to the Isle of Skye.
Within Dunvegan Castle, which has been immaculately preserved over the years, there are several artefacts available for view. These include the mystical Fairy Flag and Sir Rory Mor’s ceremonial gourd.
Dunvegan Castle has seen many famous visitors over the years, from Sir Walter Scott to Queen Elizabeth the Second. And should you put Dunvegan Castle on your holiday itinerary, your family could take a peek into Scottish history.
Dunvegan Castle is open from 1 April – 15 October every year, so keep this in mind when planning your trip to the Isle of Skye. Besides Dunvegan Castle itself, you might also want to plan a trip to the coral beach which is within the same area.
The coral beach is famous for its bleached white sand and abundance of sun-kissed algae. Considered a bit of a local wonder, a walk to the coral beach after a visit to the castle could be a great day out with your family.
Visit the Staffin Dinosaur Footprints
Speaking of history, Staffin, which is on the east coast of the Isle of Skye, is home to actual dinosaur footprints. More specifically, An Corran Beach in Staffin is home to dinosaur footprints which were first discovered in 2001 when a local was taking a walk. However, these footprints have been dated back 170 million years!
If you have kids who are fascinated by dinosaur footprints, this will be a treat for them. Getting to the beach is only a 35-minute drive from Portree and there is a car park available for visitors. If you or your kids want to know more about dinosaur footprints, consider going to the Staffin Dinosaur Museum for the day.
Besides this prehistoric gem, An Corran Beach is also a great place for a walk on a sunny afternoon.
Take a private boat tour with Stardust Boat Trips
Given that the Isle of Skye is surrounded by water, a boat trip would fit right in with your vacation. When it comes to boat trips on the Isle, Stardust Trips are highly recommended. This is because you will not only explore the surrounding waters of the Isle of Skye but will also catch glimpses of some incredible wildlife.
A boat trip with Stardust begins with a departure from Portree Harbour. During the boat trip, which will explore Portree Bay and the Raasay Sound, those visiting Skye will be able to catch a glimpse of the white-tailed eagle.
The white-tailed eagle is one of the rarest birds of prey in the UK and getting to see it is a bird-watcher’s dream. Besides the white-tailed and other sea eagles, several other aerial and marine critters such as puffins, grey seals, killer whales, basking sharks, and dolphins can be spotted during the boat trip.
Hike to Fairy Glen
Fairy Glen is a gorgeous place within the Isle of Skye that is shrouded in both history and mystique. In fact, some would consider it a magical place. As the name would suggest, Fairy Glen has ties to Scottish folklore of Faeries and the belief that flowing water might attract them.
Given the abundance of water around Fairy Glen and the Isle of Skye in general, some believe that there is some magical activity going on there. If you and your kids would like to find out, you can strap on some hiking boots during your vacation and take a trip to Fairy Glen.
The most common way to get to Fairy Glen is by driving from Uig and then hiking the rest of the way. Once you arrive at Fairy Glen, you will be greeted by the lush emerald valley and, if you’re lucky, maybe some actual faeries.
Whether or not you believe in magic, Fairy Glen is certainly a great destination to visit with the family while on the Isle of Skye.
Another possible adventure for your kids and your hiking boots, the Quiraing is a strip of land located in the Trotternish Peninsula in the north of the Isle of Skye. It is considered one of the most stunning views in Scotland and is a must-see for any visitor to the Isle.
Getting to the Quiraing will require you to leave from either Staffin or Uig, following a single-track road. There is also a car park when you arrive at the starting point. Keep in mind, however, that walking the Quiraing is not advisable on a windy day so check weather conditions before proceeding.
But if you can make the hike, it is very much worth it. There are four stages to complete the hike and while this might take hours, it offers you a priceless view of the beautiful isle.
Visit Kilt Rock
Kilt Rock is famously shaped like a pleated kilt and is a must-see for visitors. Located on the Trotternish Peninsula, Kilt Rock has basalt columns resting on a sandstone base and is known to produce a beautiful, haunting sound when the wind blows.
Not too far from Kilt Rock is Mealt Falls, a fabulous waterfall and another popular tourist attraction to cap off a day out.
Cruise on the Sea Flower To Rona and Raasay
Want to get the most value for your money while visiting the Isle of Skye? Then visit multiple destinations at once with the Sea Flower boat trip which takes you to both Rona and Raasay.
This boat cruise begins with a departure to Rona Harbour at 9 am. During the cruise, visitors are encouraged to spot local wildlife such as seals which can be seen from the boat. Once they arrive at Rona, guests have 2 hours to explore the island before returning for lunch on the boat.
From there, the cruise will depart for the next destination which is Raasay by 2:30 pm. Once again, you’ll have 2 hours to explore the sights such as Raasay Distillery, Brochel Castle, and Calum’s Road. After this is done, guests will return to the boat and depart for Rona Harbour.
Best Restaurants For Families On The Isle Of Skye
Besides activities to enjoy with the family, this popular isle also has an abundance of fabulous restaurants. In fact, many of its food establishments attract visitors from mainland Scotland and all over the world.
So, if you’re making a visit to the Isle of Skye, consider visiting some of its best restaurants.
The Old School Restaurant
Serving diners since 1985, the Old School Restaurant is popular on the Isle of Skye for its Scottish and British cuisine. Some of its dishes include fish and chips, fresh seafood and sticky toffee pudding. All of this is made with fresh local produce and is sure to tickle your tastebuds.
For families with kids, there is a dedicated kids’ menu that the little ones are sure to love. The Old School Restaurant also has a private car park on-site, so guests can conveniently drive in.
The Edinbane Inn is one of the top restaurants on the Isle of Skye and for good reason. This acclaimed restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star and is regularly on lists of the best places to eat on the Isle.
If you are looking to visit the Isle of Skye with your family, consider making a reservation at the Inn. Its menu offers squid, haddock, pork, roasted vegetables, and plenty of other meals that parents and kids are sure to love. The bread served at the Inn is also made fresh every day!
There is a private car park on-site so you can easily drive up to the Edinbane Inn, or take a walk depending on where your accommodation is. But keep in mind that non-residents of the Isle of Skye have to make their reservations 2 weeks in advance.
A visit to the Edinbane Inn can make your Isle of Skye vacation all the more luxurious for the whole family. Whether the parents want a romantic date night or fine dining or the whole family is coming along (not to worry, the restaurant has a kids’ menu), it is sure to be a highlight of the trip.
Antlers Bar and Grill
Located in the Portree Hotel on the Isle of Skye, a visit to the Antlers Bar and Grill is highly recommended. The hotel menu boasts evergreen favourites like fish and chips, burgers, and smoked salmon. Its kids’ menu is also full of treats like macaroni and cheese, fish and chips, and ice cream.
The Antlers Bar and Grill is open for both lunch and dinner and the latter tends to be accompanied by live music. This makes it perfect for families with small kids who want a bit of excitement during their meal.
With the restaurant’s famously warm atmosphere, a menu that is a hit with kids and adults, and entertainment to boot, a visit to the Antlers Bar and Grill would be perfect for a vacation.
The Scorrybreac Restaurant is right above the harbour in Portree, Isle of Skye. This gives the restaurant easy access to fresh seafood caught by the fishermen of the Isle. This, in turn, has made it one of the top seafood spots on the Isle of Skye.
The meat used for its non-seafood dishes is also sourced on the Isle of Skye, so you’re getting freshness all around. The restaurant is renowned for its wine selection too, which includes some very rare bottles. These, however, are not sourced on the Isle of Skye but from the La’art du Vin based in Edinburgh.
For families visiting the Isle of Skye with kids, this can be a chance to teach them about fine dining. It can also be an opportunity to teach the kids about nature and where our food comes from.
But make sure to book ahead as Scorrybreac Restaurant only has eight tables in-house. If you and your family are looking to eat at this popular Isle of Skye restaurant, it is best to book well ahead to avoid disappointment.
Stein is the sort of restaurant on the Isle of Skye that can easily be visited multiple times in a single trip. The food served is made with locally-sourced produce and the establishment has attracted a following for its great taste.
Stein is also suitable for all sorts of occasions. Whether a light lunch while on an Isle of Skye day trip with the kids or a three-course dinner, Stein can easily cater to guests—and all at an affordable price.
Interestingly, the menu at Stein is not set in stone but changes daily according to what produce is in season and available. This means you and your kids can visit several times and try a new thing each time.
This makes dining at Stein not just a meal but an Isle of Skye adventure that kids and adults alike will love.
The Red Brick Café
The Red Brick Café operates out of Jansvans, a business that has existed on the Isle of Skye for over 50 years. Offering both takeaway and eat-in, the Red Brick Café is especially known for its pastries and hot drinks, making it perfect for a simple lunch with the kids.
With daily specials and a plant-based menu, the cafe will probably appeal to all members of the family and offers a bit of casual dining while on the Isle of Skye. While many of the popular restaurants on the Isle of Skye offer a fine dining experience, the cafe gives customers a bit more of a grounded experience.
As any family with kids will tell you, they can often be fussy eaters on holiday. And sometimes, simpler is better as is the case with the Red Brick Café.
The Chargrill Restaurant is the on-site restaurant at the Marmalade Hotel. While the hotel is famous in its own right, the Chargrill Restaurant has also become popular for its food and its views.
The Chargrill Restaurant specialises in cuts of meat and seafood that are prepared in the traditional Scottish way. Widely considered one of the best steakhouses on the Isle of Skye, the Chargrill Restaurant boasts a fine selection of wines and whisky as well.
All this can be enjoyed in its dining area which doubles as a viewing platform. Because of its location in Portree, it has some of the best views of the whole Isle of Skye and it is worth visiting for this reason alone. Luckily, the fantastic food seals the deal.
The Shed Elgol Bistro
If while visiting the Isle of Skye you intend to take a trip to Elgol, make sure to stop at the Shed Elgol Bistro. Considered one of its best offerings, the Shed Elgol Bistro serves Scottish and British food in the evenings and has built quite a following.
From fish and chips to soups of the day, the Bistro’s popularity among tourists has endured over the years. Then, there is its fine selection of gins, wines, and whisky that are the perfect end to a day of family adventures.
If you’re looking to pay a visit to the Shed Elgol Bistro, keep in mind that bookings are mandatory and a table might be hard to find during high-traffic periods.
Crossing the Skye Bridge onto the Isle of Skye can be the start of an unforgettable family vacation. This is because the Isle of Skye has so much to offer the entire family that’ll keep you coming back for more.
First, there is an abundance of amazing hotels to fit families of all sizes. From the luxury residences to the more homely ones, you’ll find something to fit your tastes.
Then, after you’re settled in, you and your family can begin exploring the sights of the Isle of Skye. You can visit the Fairy Pools for wild swimming and in search of mystical creatures, see real-life dinosaur prints, and take a private boat tour to see the wildlife of the isle. By the end, you will not only be entertained but educated as well.
If you’re wanting to tickle your tastebuds, there is no shortage of restaurants to enjoy. From fine dining experiences created by Michelin chefs to casual lunches with your loved ones, the Isle of Skye has become a foodie’s paradise for a reason.
It can be a struggle to decide where to take the family for vacation but you should definitely consider the Isle of Skye.