This is to be the first in a series examining some things you can do in the Highlands with kids. Having visited much of the region over the last few years, I can tell you there's plenty of fun to be had with your little or not so little ones, and often you can sneak in some learning on the side without them even noticing. In my family there are four of us, myself (obviously), my partner Stella and our two boys 'E' and 'A'. We most commonly visit historical sites due to our interests and the overwhelming and stunning variety of these across the highlands and into Aberdeenshire, but in later blogs I will also write about other places you can visit.
Today I'm going to be talking about Brodie Castle in Moray, a beautiful building run by the National Trust for Scotland. When we visited in early July 2021, there were certain areas of the castle itself we weren't allowed to go in, but overall we were very impressed and we would definitely consider a second visit when we might be able to see more of the interior. As with most historical sites, the older bits aren't very wheelchair friendly but there's plenty of other things to see and do here if this is an issue for you.
We travelled to Brodie Castle by car. I imagine there are other means of reaching the area, such as by coach, but most people would arrive this way due to convenience. Unfortunately it's often very slow and complicated to travel around Scotland without four wheels. The car park was spacious by the way and I don't think you would have trouble finding somewhere to leave your vehicle.
It was lunch time when we got there and we had brought a packed lunch. There were plenty of picnic tables by the entrance to the Playful Garden and so we immediately sat down to eat, however if I may make a suggestion, there are much nicer tables offering greater privacy further into the gardens, provided of course you can stand the incessant complaints about hunger from the kids!
The Playful Garden, entered through a huge pipe in a hill, was actually a surprise to me and proved the highlight of the visit. Boasting fantastical statues, giant cutlery and musical instruments to name a few, it was a wonderland of sights, sounds and smells (beautiful flowers and herbs). Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the most appealing to children, and jumping back and forth over a stream took up a good fifteen minutes of the boys' time while Stella and I enjoyed strolling amidst the shrubbery.
The gift shop and ticket office was fairly typical and we managed to get past without having bought any toy swords or sweets. It was then on to the castle.
Brodie Castle is similar in style to many of the other faintly pink fairy-tale castles that dot this region, Lickleyhead Castle included, and is not especially large by the standards of some others. The interior was magnificently decorated however and the guides were both helpful and extremely knowledgeable. There are some magnificent works of art within and stories about the former occupants were fascinating. I especially liked the collection of antique clocks and the carvings on one wall taken from a Catholic Church in the 18th century.
There were woodland walks that we could have gone on, but we gave this a miss as the rain started.
We left Brodie Castle entirely satisfied and would recommend a visit to families with younger kids perhaps up to the age of twelve.