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Magnificent seven

kids playing on beach on Colonsay

School summer holidays are nearly here. A magnificent seven weeks of fun lies ahead for youngsters. If you are looking for ways to give them a summer to remember, we've collated some ferry good ideas that may be just the ticket, from day trips to longer stays on the west coast. A summer bursting with excitement and long-lasting memories awaits. (And remember, those under 5 travel for free with Caledonian MacBrayne).


Ferry good

The ferry journey itself is all part of the adventure for some youngsters, especially if they don't make crossings regularly. Stepping aboard, and the feeling of traveling by boat can be magical - it's as exciting as a new destination. And, if your youngster needs more support to prepare for the sights and sounds of the whole ferry travel experience, we have prepared a story board to help.

Little girl on deck of vessel looking out at the sea


A quest

For those who love a gripping story of invaders, adventurers, warriors, and explorers, you're in for a treat on Mull and Iona. The islands are accessible from Oban or via Lochaline and Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan. Take part in The Quest -a family adventure map that retraces the steps of those who came to the islands centuries ago - in search of land to conquer or to settle upon. By taking part in The Quest, you'll learn all about the islands in the most entertaining and fact filled way.


Tales of times gone by

Iona is a magical place for all ages. Catch the regular ferry from Fionnphort on Mull. Vehicles require a special permit, so cars are few and far between, making it the perfect place to saddle up and explore. Iona Abbey and Nunnery is an obvious stop - there's a well-designed trail and quiz for youngsters which help to bring the story of St Columba and the island to life. If you can, head to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean which looks out across the Atlantic. A perfect spot to watch the sun set on an extra special day.

Iona abbey

An island for all ages

Arran is an island for all ages. If you're looking for some down time for yourself, the local spa - Auchrannie Resort - caters for you and the younger members of your party with its onsite activities. For family fun, take a tour of a real working farm at Bellevue. All ages can get involved in helping with farm tasks - collect the eggs, learn about food production, meet the animals, and feed the resident alpacas. If you have a keen interest in animals and wildlife, the Octopus Centre - Scotland's first community led visitor centre, will introduce you to some of the marine wildlife that call this part of the world home.

farmer feeding alpacas

Wizards and dinosaurs

Head west and take the ferry over the sea to Skye, a perfect trip - and even more special if you have a young dinosaur fan. By all accounts, researchers say that the island was a stomping ground for dinosaurs in the middle Jurassic period, 170 million years ago. You can hunt for evidence at An Corran beach, near Staffin and Brother's Point near Culnacnoc, the latter was discovered after a storm in 2020. If you travel home on the Road to the Isles, you might catch a glimpse of what looks like the Hogwarts Express which takes this route daily around Loch Shiel and out to....Mallaig Hogwarts.


Adrenalin Rush

If you're looking for a new challenge this summer, choose an action-packed water sport adventure in the clear turquoise waters of Scotland's islands. On the Outer Hebrides - take advantage of the local equipment hire spots and guides to try your hand at kayaking or paddle boarding. It's bound to give you a new perspective on the landscape as you uncover caves and coves or get even closer to the local wildlife.

Head to Tiree for a spot of windsurfing or surfing - an excellent place to learn since the waters are warmed by the Atlantic Gulf Stream, and the waves are of such quality that people from around the world come here to surf and compete. Before you dip your toe in the water this year, be sure to brush up on some water safety with the RNLI Guide

We hope our younger travellers enjoy their summer break and we also hope that this guide gives their older companions some inspiration to help introduce them to the islands and give them the best memories to look back on for years to come. Whether you're looking for a day trip, short break, or longer trip - the islands have got you covered.

man paddleboarding on Gigha


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