We at Love Scottish Islands are all for making your life easier and one of the questions that we are often asked is, “What are the best Scottish Islands to take my family to”? So, below is the third in a series of articles explaining what are, in our opinion, the best Scottish Islands to take your family to. Enjoy!
#3 – Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides It is close to the port of Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland and is very accessible via the Skye Bridge or even from the Western Isles. The roads on Skye are generally excellent, but the minor roads are often single track in places, but they are still of good quality. There are four ways to get to the Isle of Skye. The most obvious one is to go over the Skye Bridge. Secondly, you could take the traditional Skye Ferry from Glenelg to Kylerhea. Thirdly, there is a Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry from Mallaig to Armadale, at the southern end of Skye. Finally, you can reach Skye from the Outer Hebrides, where the Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry docks at Uig, in the northern end of Skye.
The main village of Portree has a good variety of shops, hotels, and other accommodation as well as being the administrative centre for the island. Doctors are available at medical centres in Broadford (0141 822460), Dunvegan (0141 521203) and Portree (0141 612013). There are various local Bus services operating on Skye. The main roads are covered by the Citylink services between Kyleakin, Broadford, Portree and Uig. Stagecoach buses operate many other local routes including Armadale-Kyleakin, Portree-Dunvegan, etc. There are aslo several Taxi firms in most of the main towns on Skye. There are Tourist information Offices in Broadford, Dunvegan and Portree.
Dunvegan Castle towards the North of Skye is well worth a visit. Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. On display are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred Banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod will defeat their enemies. Another of the castle’s great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique ‘mazer’ dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O’Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of the clan’s most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1596.
Other places to visit include Skye Serpentarium. This is an award winning reptile exhibition & breeding centre, refuge and shop that’s unique in Scotland. It’s informative and fun. Enjoy watching a world of snakes, lizards, frogs and tortoises in natural surroundings. Also, there are frequent handling sessions.
Another excellent attraction for kids is the Glendale Toy Museum. Set in the North West corner of the Isle of Skye this family friendly museum is unique in that not all the toys are hidden behind glass . Many of the games can be enjoyed , demonstrated and played with. Unfortunately, 2012 will be the last year for this fascinating Museum, so get there whilst you can!
Finally, another excellent attraction for kids is The Faerie Glen (Fairy Glen). It is not an easy place to stumble across accidentally, but is well worth the effort of finding. Visitors will need to turn right, off the main road from Portree, just before entering Uig. The strangely shaped, Tolkienesque hillocks are impossible to miss, as the road winds its way through the centre of the Faerie Glen. There is a stone circle, and a beautiful brook, which is a perfect spot to picnic in sunny weather.
Further information can be found by visiting the Isle of Skye page on www.lovescottishislands.com