The best country parks near Glasgow and Edinburgh
Central Scotland’s top parks for kids and families including Craigtoun, Mugdock and Dalkeith Country Parks
Almondell and Calderwood Country Park, near Broxburn
Bordering two estates, Almondell and Calderwood Country Park offer two parks in one, each with its own distinct personality. Calderwood is an unspoilt haven of wildlife and nature, perfect for walks and discovery, while Almondell is home to the educational visitor centre and play park.
Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow
Home to red deer and Highland cattle, this popular country park has something for everyone. Nature walks, mountain bike trails, a visitor centre with farm shop, picnic benches and BBQ hire, plus a large adventure play area.
Calderglen Country Park, East Kilbride
You can easily spend a whole day at this well-loved park and find plenty to do. Check out the residents of the mini zoo, explore the tropical glasshouse and ornamental garden, and eat lunch in the Courtyard Café. Then climb all over the adventure playground – or, if you’re little, head for the toddler play park – and explore the extensive and beautiful nature trails and walks.
Chatelherault Country Park, near Hamilton
This five-star visitor attraction has 500 acres of countryside and woodland, and over 10 miles of pathways. After that, and a go on the adventure playground, you’ll be needing a visit to the Oaks Café. Don’t miss the visitor centre and exhibitions either.
Craigtoun Country Park, near St Andrews
A firm favourite with families, Craigtoun has much to offer on a sunny day. Row around the boating lake, take a ride on the miniature railway, visit the adventure playground and fairy glen, ride the pedal cars, play crazy golf and more.
Dalkeith Country Park, near Edinburgh
Just five miles from Edinburgh city centre, this country haven has two rivers, beautiful woodland walks and a wide range of wildlife to spot. The hugely popular adventure playground will re-open in 2015 and will be ‘even more daring and heroic’ than before, they say.
Mugdock Country Park, near Milngavie
With a play park for little ones and adventure playground for older children, Mugdock has something for all ages. ‘Walk Mugdock’ guides are available from the visitor centre shop, so you can choose a route that’s right for you. Or pick up a leaflet and do the History Trail, Tree Trail or Scavenger Hunt.
Polkemmet Country Park, near Whitburn, West Lothian
Spot a heron, deer or fox in the ancient woodlands, stroll along the riverside walk, have fun in the play area then grab some refreshment in the visitor centre. Polkemmet is also home to a 15-bay floodlit golf driving range, plus a picnic area and BBQ hire.
Pollok Country Park, Glasgow
Glasgow’s largest park is just three miles from the city centre, but an unrivalled place of tranquillity for wildlife and humans alike. As well as woodland and riverside walks, Pollok is home to heavy horses and Highland cattle, a playpark, picnic area and the fabulous Burrell Collection.
Vogrie Country Park, Gorebridge, Midlothian
This popular Midlothian park has four miles of beautiful woodland walks, adventure play area, miniature railway, and the well-used Cedar Tree family-friendly café. Be sure to have your photo taken on the two giant chairs and enormous trike sculpture.