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SPONSORED: Scottish things to see and do this summer

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As the summer holidays are now upon us, so is the opportunity to spend time with your friends and family, enjoying new and exciting experiences.

And while travelling to scorching hot foreign countries is still a bit of a grey area, what Scotland lacks in bikini and barbeque weather, it more than makes up for in unique architecture, activities and exciting events.

From outdoor theatre performances, to visiting ancient jails and castles, you’re sure to find an activity to suit you and your family in Scotland this summer.

Inveraray Jail

Experience one of the finest and best-preserved Jail and Courtroom complexes in the world.  Explore this unique collection of historic buildings brought to life by real characters from the Jail’s past.  Experience the true stories of what life was like for the men, women and children – some as young as seven – who were tried and locked up here many years ago.

Witness the forms of punishment used before the days of civilised courts; discover how criminals were branded with hot irons or even had their ears nailed to a post! Move through time and enter the spectacular courtroom; take your seat and listen to the actual trials which were held here.

Walk the narrow corridors of the Old Prison; see the cramped, overcrowded cells and be shocked by the young children trapped in a cell next to the lunatic.

Compare the old prison with the new – built in 1848. Try out the hammocks and the wooden beds, get strapped onto the Whipping Table or take a turn on the Crank Wheel.

Listen to dramatic true tales from the characters in the Jail’s past brought to life with the free interactive audio guides which are available in six languages.

Open every day, 10am to 5pm (last admission 1 hour before closing).

Inverness Crazy Golf

Inverness’ one and only Crazy Golf Course is now open seven days a week from 10am until 7pm (weather permitting).

Play the 14 fun and challenging holes set to test your golfing skills and offering a great day out for all the family.

And it’s not just golf you’ll find here. There’s also a large sandpit to amuse the kids, football pool, table tennis, a pool table, a picnic area and a coffee and ice cream kiosk on site – loser buys!

There’s no need to book, just turn up and have fun!

Inverness Crazy Golf is located just a few minutes away from Whin Park on foot – right next to the ice rink and the River Ness.

Brodick Castle

There is plenty to see and enjoy at Brodick Castle, Gardens and Country Park this summer. See the colours of the season in the extensive gardens, enjoy a visit to the Isle be Wild playpark with the family and explore the treasures inside the Castle.

Dramatically set against the backdrop of Goatfell mountain, the grand red sandstone Scottish baronial-style castle has stunning views over Brodick Bay to the Firth of Clyde.

The grounds and surrounds are worthy of a visit alone – from the WA Nesfield-influenced landscaped gardens to the woodland trails, wildlife ponds and waterfalls, there’s plenty to explore outdoors in Britain’s only island country park.

Brodick Castle is packed full of treasures too – it’s renowned for its impressive collections of period furniture, silverware, porcelain, paintings and sporting trophies.

Remember, Brodick Castle is neighbours with Goatfell – why not pay both a visit?

Events by Falkirk Community Trust

Falkirk Community Trust is hosting a range of events this July; fun for all the family.

David Walliams’ best-seller Mr Stink will be performed on the outdoor stage at The Helix on 7 July. Watching this heart-warming tale of a curious child, a homeless man and his friendly dog is the prefect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Pack a picnic, grab a chair and watch the extraordinary friendship unfold.

You can also join Falkirk Community Trust for Wonder With Grimm at Callendar Park on 16 July. Enjoy an evening of enchanting storytelling full of magic, puppetry, and music, as you enter the fantastical world of the Brothers Grimm with altered endings and a modern twist. Another activity perfect for kids of all ages.

Falkirk Science Festival is also here this summer – and what a line up they have in store! This year there are workshops available – both in person and online – and all are FREE. From magical baking, rocket making to pond dipping, Falkirk can’t wait to welcome you to the 2021 festival.

Inverness City Centre Outdoor Trail

Looking for something new and fun to do in Inverness? The Wild About Inverness City Centre Outdoor Trail takes you in search of animals which have been carved into the historic heart of Inverness over centuries.

At under 1km, this accessible route is free to explore and suitable for all ages. Locals will be amazed how many creatures have been hiding in plain sight! Visitors will wonder at the range of mythical, wild and domestic animals which adorn our buildings and monuments.

And to top it all off, the trail finishes with spectacular views from Castle Hill.

A free map/guide is available from the Ablekids Press shop on Market Brae Steps or it can be downloaded here. There is also a sticker activity book (5+ years) based on the trail priced £6.99. Written by Pauline Mackay and historian Norman Newton, this book has fantastic illustrations by Marjory Tait and 96 colourful stickers, all of which will keep children busy for hours.