Super-hip Mono (monocafebar.com) in Glasgow is a teenager’s dream place; it has an inhouse record shop and hosts all-ages afternoon live shows – look out for their Girls Rock events that feature gigs by some of the bands formed at the city’s Rock ’n’ Roll Summer School for Girls (girlsrockglasgow. wordpress.com). Oh, and their all-vegan menu rocks pretty hard too – try their take on Vietnamese Pho, lahmacun pizza or to-fish and chips.
Away from the city on the Isle of Skye, Eillishadder Art Cafe (ellishadderartcafe. co.uk) has some of the best views in the business, and an outdoor seating area to enjoy them from. The cafe uses local produce, organic when possible, and salads, herbs and vegetables from their own garden. They also display works and art and craft from talented local artists – the perfect place to pick up a present.
VIEW FROM ELLISHADDER ART CAFE - SKYE
Another remote place to eat – you’ll find the Abriachan Eco-Campsite and Cafe set high above the hills north of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way. A rough-hewn affair – you’ll perch on folding chairs and eat from rickety tables – this is outdoor dining at its most elemental. Run from a “21st-century croft”, with chickens and pigs to coo over, this is a super spot for a cup of reviving tea, chunky soups, or home-made tablet, and the owners are funny, hospitable and knowledgable.
If the weather isn’t playing ball, head to the capital of the country for an indoor day of play and education. A six-storey, magical adventure, Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and World Of Illusions (cameraobscura.co.uk) is a funpacked, very silly way to spend a day, and, whisper it, your children will learn about light, lenses and optical science while they’re killing themselves laughing. Wander around the mirror maze, see surreal optical illusions, and find out all about holograms. Make your way to the rooftop chamber to see live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table, and step outside for 360 degree rooftop views of the city.
CAMERA OBSCURA - EDINBURGH
A ride on the Jacobite steam train (westcoastrailways. co.uk/jacobite) is one of the greatest railways journeys in the world. Starting near Ben Nevis, it snakes through the deep lochs, rivers, and gorgeous, sometimes snowtopped, mountains. For many children, the most exciting section of the line is across the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films. If you’re lucky, the train will pull to a halt here to let you drink in the view. The route is 84 miles and a real holiday highlight.
JACOBITE STEAM TRAIN
For a gentler, more laid-back experience, head north to the Findhorn Foundation (findhorn.org). Set up in 1962, this eco-focused community has inspired countless numbers of visitors to live more thoughtfully. The village is spiritual, although it follows no formal religion or doctrine, and is a centre for those interested in sustainable living. Take a guided tour, or stay for the day (or even longer!) Day visitors can engage in community activities, help in the kitchens or gardens, or just meditate in the sanctuaries scattered across the park. The centre also hosts worldrenowned musicians and performers – try and catch a show. An inspiring place to give you food for thought for life beyond your holiday.
FAMILY HOLIDAY GUIDE 2016