6 Things To Do In Scotland in September
One of the (very) few upsides of the UK lockdown for us was the fact that the knowledge that it could happen again at any time has really forced us to make the most of the freedom we’ve had this summer, and find some things to do in Scotland that we might not otherwise have thought of.
We’ve spent our time exploring our own local area, as well as venturing a bit further afield whenever we’ve had time, and I thought it might be nice to document some of the things we’ve been getting up to with a monthly roundup post. Then I realised that, whoops, this will probably be the first and last of those posts I’ll ever do (Well, this year, at least…), because September is normally the last month of the year that we actually DO anything of note. I mean, I’d like to think that we’ll just wrap up warm, and continue our adventures all autumn and winter, but I know from bitter experience that no amount of “wrapping up” is enough for me once winter has us in its grips, so… we’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what we got up to in September…
Things To Do In Scotland in September:
WALK ROUND EDINBURGH’S OLD TOWN
We started the month with a trip to Edinburgh, where I was able to expertly demonstrate my innate ability to look totally dishevelled in just about any situation. It was hard to believe this was our first trip to the city since our overnight there back in January: it’s been so long, in fact, that Max had completely forgotten he’d ever been there, which was a little bit sad, but at least meant it was all new to him again.
We’re still not really comfortable with the idea of going into restaurants etc, so we decided to just have a bit of a wander, walking up to the castle, then down through the old town. The city was much busier than I’d expected it to be (Although obviously nowhere near as busy as it would normally be at this time of year!), but it was easy enough to keep our distance from everyone, so it didn’t ever feel unsafe to us, and it was really lovely to hit up some of our favourite haunts again. Max, however, was NOT impressed by the fact that Edinburgh Castle does not have a single play-park to its name, and not even the promise of an ice cream helped us avoid the ensuing tantrum. Well, what’s the point of a castle without a playpark, I ask you?!
A TRIP TO VOGRIE COUNTRY PARK
Vogrie Country Park is a park (NO KIDDING!) near Dalkeith, where we met up with our nephew, George, and his girlfriend, Emma, who’ve just moved back to Scotland from Kent. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side that day, and we ended up spending most of our time sheltering from the rain under a large tree, but we did get the opportunity to sit/stand on some very large chairs, so at least that was something… Thanks to the rain, we didn’t get to see as much of the park as we’d hoped, but there’s a couple of pretty good play parks for kids, plus a miniature railway, which is only open on Sundays, apparently, but which I’m sure Max would’ve enjoyed.
LIMEKILNS BEACH AND CHARLESTOWN LIMEWORKS
I shared some photos from Limekilns beach in this post: it’s not a large beach, but it IS a very pretty one, as is the little village it’s attached to. Max had tons of fun playing in the sand, before we headed along the coast to see the Charlestown Limekilns , which are in ruins now (They were built in the 18th century, and ceased operation back in the 1950s), which made them wonderfully spooky and atmospheric. Max is currently going through an obsession with all things ruined and “haunted”, so while they’re obviously not the most child-friendly attraction I can recommend in Scotland, he was absolutely delighted by them, and not even remotely perturbed by the surprising amount of dead pigeons lying around, which had me convinced that we’d unwittingly found ourselves in the opening scenes of a horror movie. I’m really selling this, aren’t I?
Horror movie tropes aside, this is actually a fascinating place to visit if you’re at all interested in Scotland’s industrial heritage: or if you just like “very, very old, ruined, haunted buildings,” as much as Max does.
LINLITHGOW PALACE AND LOCH
Linlithgow is fairly close to us, so it’s a place we visit fairly often, to feed the ducks and swans, have a wander up to Linlithgow Palace – and, of course, let Max play in the play park next to the loch. Because it doesn’t really matter WHERE we go right now, we always end up in a play park of some description: I’m sure my fellow parents recognise the feeling…
We visited fairly late in the day this time, and the palace itself was already closed for the day, but we still had a nice walk around the outer walls, and enjoyed feeding the ducks in the loch, so I’m sure we’ll be back soon to continue Max’s obsession with ruined buildings!
THE WALLACE MONUMENT, STIRLING
We’d actually only intended to take a quick look at the Wallace Monument during our drive to Stirling last week, but there were two tickets left when we arrived (Children Max’s age get in for free…). and , before I knew quite what had happened, I was climbing up the (very, very long…) spiral staircase towards the top of the tower, muttering about how I do NOT cope well with very high buildings (I once had a full-on panic attack at the top of the Eiffel Tower: I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say I literally thought they were going to have to drug me or something to get me back down again…), and how this bound to be a very, very bad idea indeed.
Well, as it turned out, I was wrong about that: the tower is large enough at the top that, although it’s high, it didn’t feel scary at all, and the view is definitely worth climbing all those stairs. (Or it was for me, anyway: Terry had to do it while carrying Max, so I’m not sure he’d agree…). There are various rooms you can go into on the way up, housing artefacts like William Wallace’s sword, and other pieces of historical interest. Unfortunately for us, these weren’t remotely of toddler-interest, so we didn’t linger too long in any of them: definitely worth a look if you’re NOT accompanied by a two-year-old who just wants to get to the top of the tower, though!
Even if you don’t fancy climbing to the top, though, the Wallace Monument is still worth a visit: not only is it an iconic Scottish landmark, and one of those things that appears on every ‘Things to Do In Scotland’ list, the hill around the tower is also dotted with some fun wood carvings and other objects, like the miniature monument above. Max really enjoyed seeing these, although probably not as much as he enjoyed telling the two women we passed on the way down that he was going to turn their dog into a toad. Sorry, fellow tourists!
NORTH BERWICK, EAST LOTHIAN
Finally, if you’re a regular reader, I’m sure the seaside town of North Berwick will need no introduction: it’s one of my favourite places in the world, and a place I’ve featured here many times now. Despite that, this was actually Max’s first ever visit, and it was lovely to see him explore some of the places I loved so much myself when I was his age. After a walk around the harbour, and lots of fun on the beach, we got the requisite bags of fish n’ chips from the North Berwick Fryand ate them in – you guessed it – a play park. Well, we couldn’t NOT go to a play park, could we?
Add in approximately 675 random other play parks (I’m seriously thinking of writing a guidebook to Scotland’s playparks: it’s the one subject I know more about than literally anything else right now…), and that was our month! What did you get up to in the strangest September of all time?