Whether you’re a parent with a batch of stir-crazy kids on your hands, or a teacher planning next year’s activities, this selection of north and north east sites mixes education and exercise to make field trips fun.
The north and north east of Scotland are brimming with historical intrigue and natural beauty.
But during the pandemic, many favorite educational and recreational closed their doors – or gates – temporarily. Now that restrictions are easing across the country, popular sites are coming back to life and welcoming guests again.
The National Trust for Scotland helped spotlight five popular field trip destinations around the north and north east that are back in business. Each one offers opportunities for a summer excursion or a fascinating educational experience.
Use our clickable map to learn about each location, and read on to see what educational resources they offer teachers and families.
Highlands: Balmacara Estate
Balmacara Estate shows off the history and culture of Highland crofting. Visitors and students can spend time with the world-famous Highland coos and learn about the social and environmental impacts of crofting.
The National Trust offers advice for teachers on how to take advantage of learning opportunities at the site. Groups can alternate between an up-close look at modern crofting and the historic village of Plockton. Or, take to the trail and enjoy a walk along the shores of Loch Alsh.
Glencoe National Nature Reserve
The Ranger Service offers a wide range of activities and lessons on the history and habitats of Glencoe. Walks around the wilderness area include rivers, lochs, meadows, woodland, bogs and moorland.
The Woodland Walk 45-minute, 1.5 km trail, take visitors through a variety of critters’ habitats. It concludes at the historic site of the tragic Glencoe Massacre. Here, in 1692, 38 men, women and children of the MacDonald clan were murdered by government troops they had welcomed into their homes.
The Ranger Service is on hand to help teachers guide their students through the rich landscape and history of the nature reserve. More resources for class trips are available through the National Trust.
Aberdeenshire: Mar Lodge Estate
Scotland’s largest nature reserve is nestled in the cradle of the Cairngorms. The reserve offers adventurers the opportunity to hike four of the five highest mountains in the UK, including Ben Macdui.
Since acquiring the land over 25 years ago, the National Trust has been working to preserve and expand the ancient pinewood forest. School groups and families who visit can learn more about the conservation efforts and the many walking opportunities on site.
Located just 16 miles west of Aberdeen, Castle Fraser was completed in 1636 after 61 years of construction. The exterior is almost unchanged from the original construction, and offers a rare glimpse into the 17th century.
The castle and grounds offer learning opportunities in history and conservation, as well as panoramic views for the casual visitor.
Moray: Brodie Castle
The Brodie family have owned the lands around the castle for 800 years. The castle itself dates back to the 16th century, with Victorian garden installations that bring the 70-hectare property to life.
Schoolteachers can take students on a tour of the castles historic hallways, an in-depth study of the estate’s artwork or an outdoor adventure around the garden and grounds.