Discovering Scotland: A Family Wonderland at The Fife Arms and Gleneagles

Our travel writer Jordi recently embarked on a family adventure through Scotland staying at the idyllic Fife Arms and charming Gleneagles. From fantastical playrooms to fuss-free dining, here’s what they uncovered.

25 June 2024

Discovering Scotland

Scotland is a land steeped in history and rugged beauty, renowned for its lochs, castles, and expansive highlands. Yet beyond its scenic vistas and cultural heritage lies a delightful surprise for families: it's a playground for children and a haven for parents seeking a blend of relaxation and adventure. Our recent journey to this enchanting land with my five-year-old son revealed that Scotland is incredibly accommodating to families, featuring hotels that are not just welcoming but are designed to enchant guests of all ages. Two such places, The Fife Arms and Gleneagles, stood out, each offering unique, family-centered experiences that made our stay memorable.

  • Holding falcons in Scotland
  • Childrens bag courtesy of the Fife Arms Hotel

Gleneagles: An Adventure Resort for All Ages

Gleneagles, set within a vast estate, is renowned not just for its golf, but as a luxury resort that offers many activities designed for children. It stands out as a family paradise where luxury and child-friendly fun go hand in hand.

For the youngest guests, Little Glen is a vibrant, colorful crèche that provides a stimulating and safe environment for children aged 2 to 8. This supervised play area features an indoor treehouse and slide, a toy campfire, wigwams, play stables with hobby horses, and the Gleneagles Express railway carriage, all set on a pretend grass floor dotted with cuddly wildlife chairs. It's designed to inspire play, interaction, and learning with bright, fresh color schemes and tactile furnishings.

Older children and teenagers have a special retreat in The Den, an unsupervised space filled with engaging activities. This area includes a cinema room, vast board games, arts and crafts, and table games like pool and air hockey. Additionally, giant games such as Connect Four, Jenga and a wall-mounted Scrabble board make The Den a perfect hangout for young guests seeking independence and fun. My son loved the life-sized chutes and ladders game.

Child-Friendly Dining

It's not just the playroom that's kid-friendly; Gleneagles excels in integrating child-friendly dining and activities into its offerings, ensuring every aspect of a family's stay is infused with thoughtfulness and excitement. The resort provides mini buffets specially designed for kids at breakfast, featuring a range of healthy and appealing options that cater to younger tastes. This thoughtful approach to dining extends to one of the resort's restaurants, which includes an entire playroom adjacent to the dining area. This setup allows parents to enjoy their meals while their children play safely nearby, fostering a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience for the entire family.

Unique Experiences

Additionally, the property offers a suite of unique experiences that turn every day into a new adventure. Children can take the wheel in mini Land Rovers, navigating a specially designed off-road course that teaches them basic driving skills while providing a thrilling experience. My son was obsessed. The adventure ropes course offers various difficulty levels for those seeking a challenge, promoting problem-solving skills and physical fitness in a fun and safe environment.

One of the highlights at Gleneagles is the creatively engaging scavenger hunt around the property. This activity is not only fun but also educational, encouraging children to explore their surroundings and learn about the area's natural beauty and wildlife. The scavenger hunt is designed to captivate children's imagination and curiosity, turning the expansive grounds of Gleneagles into a playground of discovery.

Of course, there's plenty to do as a family as well. We loved playing bocce ball on the lawn, and we did a family falconry lesson in which my son was the "bait" for the bird. To say we had a blast is an understatement.

  • Posing in front of the Fife Arms Hotel
  • Adventures ropes course at the Gleneagles hotel

The Fife Arms: A Storybook Setting for Children

Next up on our trip was Fife Arms. Nestled in the quaint village of Braemar, The Fife Arms is not merely a hotel—it's a gateway to an era long past, now reborn into a world of luxury and immersive Scottish allure. Once a Victorian coach stop, this historic inn has been meticulously restored to offer a blend of nostalgia and splendor that appeals to history buffs and luxury seekers. For families, however, the property transforms into something even more special—a magical playground where fantasy and reality merge to create an enchanting experience for children and adults alike.

Immersive Family Experiences

The Family Room is at the heart of this enchanting experience, a dedicated play area that seems to have leapt from the pages of a children's storybook. Designed to spark imagination and joy, the room is a safe, engaging space where children can freely explore and play. It is equipped with an array of amenities, including board games, an assortment of books suitable for various age groups, and table football, which provides endless entertainment. The inclusion of a play kitchen allows young guests to mimic and participate in cooking adventures. At the same time, a DVD player and an Xbox with various games cater to the digital preferences of older children. This room is not just about play; it's about creating a space where children can interact, learn, and grow in a fun and safe environment.

Adding to the room's charm are the delightful knitted red squirrels crafted by the local 'Deeside Knitwits.' These adorable creatures are playful accents and embodiments of local craftsmanship and whimsy. They serve as a testament to the community's involvement in bringing local culture and art into the everyday experiences of the hotel's guests. The squirrels, hidden throughout the room, invite children on a mini discovery tour, turning the space into a small adventure land where every nook and cranny holds a story.

While The Fife Arms itself does not feature a scavenger hunt within its walls, the hotel's intricately designed interiors and the art pieces that adorn its spaces provide a visual scavenger hunt of sorts. Every hallway and room is a gallery, each piece of art and decor telling its own story of Scottish heritage and artistic endeavor.

  • Fife Arms Hotel door
  • Playing at a Foosball table

Charming Local Village & Outdoor Adventures

Outside the hotel, the village of Braemar offers a wealth of exploratory options for little adventurers. The hotel's proximity to historical sites provides a tangible connection to Scottish history. At the same time, the nearby trails and the expansive beauty of the Cairngorms National Park offer families the chance to venture into the wild. These outdoor activities stimulate physical health and encourage a deeper appreciation of Scotland's natural landscapes and cultural past.

Both The Fife Arms and Gleneagles exemplify the best of Scottish hospitality, crafted with families in mind. From the whimsical play areas at The Fife Arms to the comprehensive, adventurous facilities at Gleneagles, these hotels ensure that family vacations are not just relaxing but full of discovery and joy. Whether through the interactive play at Little Glen, the exploratory scavenger hunts, or the historic charm of Braemar, families are guaranteed an unforgettable Scottish experience. Here, every family member, from the smallest tot to the most independent teen, can find something magical in the heart of Scotland.

  • Posing in front of the Braemar Castle sign
  • Jordi in front of Castle in Scotland

Ready to Book Your Scotland Family Vacation?

Get in touch with our travel experts today to learn more about this fabulous destination and what your next family vacation could look like! 

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Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Travel Specialist

Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a copywriter for Scott Dunn and freelance travel writer and editor who has explored over 60 countries and all seven continents, including Antarctica while five months pregnant.

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