Want to introduce your kiddo to buckets of fresh air, tons of outdoor activities and the Great Outdoors? Try the Isle of Skye with a toddler. Over the past week our little family has covered some serious ground from one end of the British Isles to the other. From our little home in Bristol, to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands then on, past ancient castles, glittering lochs and snow-dusted mountains to the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye.
As a result my SD cards are now positively bursting with landscapes, so photogenic that a quick browse through the holiday snaps makes it hard to believe we were ever there. Now home, I am bombarded by pangs for the sea, wide open spaces, beautiful scenery, eerie rock formations and fresh seafood. There isn’t a huge amount of ready-made toddler entertainment on the remote Isle of Skye and it does take a while to get from A to B on the island, so its worth coinciding car-time with naps. But our toddler delighted in outdoor activities like splashing in waves and fairy pools, hiking past waterfalls, resting on mossy ledges, spotting animals and playing on the beach.
If you’re planning a trip to this stunning Scottish Island, here are five highlights for outdoor activities and days outs on the Isle of Skye with a toddler. It’s worth noting we left the buggy behind and sling/backpacked it for the entire time we were there.
1. Visit the Fairy Pools
Just the name of this place excites my make-believe, Tinkerbell-loving self. While there isn’t a fairy in sight, this is a lovely gentle walk alongside the River Brittle which trickles down from the Black Cuillin mountains morphing into a waterfalls, a babbling stream or crystal clear pools. The shallower bits are perfect for toddlers to splash in wellies and there are a couple of picnic benches next to the car park, complete with BBQ hot plates.
2. Walk to Talisker Bay
A gentle stroll alongside hills that erupt from the sea as waterfalls cascade from the cliff-sides into the saltwater. Perfect terrain for toddler-sized legs. The beach is slightly trickier for kids – swooshed with shingle, silvery black sand and large, smooth stones, it’s great for ‘stepping stones’. Sheep dot the hillsides and an ethereal mist transforms the landscape as it shifts throughout the day, draping the mountains in fog one minute, igniting the hillsides burnt orange the next.
3. Animal spotting on the Isle of Skye with a toddler
“All I can see are sheep’s faces“, announced my dad on his telescope findings. I think he’d had a couple of Easter beers… it’s true there are a lot of sheep on Skye, we even encountered a few dead ones…but there’s plenty more besides. Animal spotting makes a great outdoor activity with toddlers on Skye – as well as sheep, young animal and bird-enthusiasts will love trying to spy highland cattle, Golden Eagles and cows. Stop in at the Serpentarium, or seek sea life on a Glass Bottom boat for even more wildlife.
4. Find a park with gorgeous views
Park on the Isle of Skye are few and far between, but the bonus is they are often empty and the setting is breathtaking. If you’re a whisky fan, there’s a lovely little outdoor kids play area just down the road from the Talisker Distillery, so you can send your other half off for an hour while the toddler wears themselves out at the park.
5. The Fairy Glen
There be magic in these parts. The Fairy Glen’s green cone-shaped hills are enough to convince anyone that fairies do in fact live here. Totally gorgeous and a magical outdoor activity for kids. NB. this place is not sign-posted from the road.
6. Isle of Skye’s famous lighthouse at Neist Point
One of Scotland’s most famous lighthouses, Neist Point and surrounding Keerpers’ Cottages have taken a battering from the weather over the years. It’s a tricky walk up and down with a toddler as the path can get quite steep at times – if they’re little enough, strap them into some kind of carrier to make life easier. But the lighthouse at the end and flatter, sheep grazing area is quite fun for them. The views are spectacular – dramatic, vast and unspoilt – as is most often the case on Skye.
7. Carry them up the Old Man of Storr
Okay, so you might need a good Haggis breakfast for this one. If you’re up for hiking with a couple of extra stone on your back, than the Isle of Skye’s Old Man of Storr is a good hike to do with a toddler…if you’re happy to carry them up the steep rocky path. The view from the top – or even just half way up – is totally worth it though and you can spend hours trying to work out if you can see the Old Man’s face or not!
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