Living in Scotland, if we stayed indoors everytime the weather was a bit miserable we would suffer rickets and severe cabin fever.
Of course there are some days it is just too wet to venture out, but if it’s merely drizzly then the old saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing’ holds true.
Getting the kids out for even an hour can lift everyones mood, give you a break from the same four walls, and give you some amazing memories that you might have otherwise missed out on. There are so many benefits to getting the family out and about. From getting more exercise and vitamin D. It has also been found that being outdoors can reduce stress and improve concentration.
We defintely have our go-to places to visit in our area, and I bet you have similar places nearby. So don’t let the weather stop you! These are my favourite places to go with the family.
Here in the UK none of us are far from the coast. So my first pick is always the beach. We are really lucky to live less than half an hour from some really great beaches here in South West Scotland – but unfortunatley the weather is not so cohesive with beach life, so the beaches are wild and rugged, not so much resort towns.
Our favourite is a small, mainly unknown place called Powfoot near Annan. A small fishing village that once upon a time was considered as a seaside resort and then sadly abandoned, it has a quant old school feel to it. There are no shops and 90% of the days we have gone we have been the only people on the beach. Kids love rock pools and this beach is full of them. It has a long stretch of sand and on the other side a small shingle beach meaning there are endless possibilities with the kids.
Check out beaches along the coast away from the usual hotspots. You will find a lot of the main beaches pretty deserted at this time of year except from the odd dog waker. They make great places for an adventure. From flying kites in the wind, uncovering dinosaur eggs (odd shaped stones!), hunting for crabs and making footprints. You can explore imaginative play and start learning them about nature. All kids are fascinated by water and can happily play away throwing stones in the sea, river or loch – whatever you have nearby. Give them a stick and draw in the sand – great to starting to recognise shapes and letters.
You don’t need to spend money taking kids to attractions when they are little – most of the time it will be wasted they don’t appreciate it and have just as much fun running around somewhere free! I will never get bored of the seaside, it gives me a great feeling everytime we go and the fresh air does wonders for the kids sleep! Take a towel and change of clothes – wellies are a must! Always check tide times when visiting the beach and look out for small ones getting stuck in clay sand and deep rockpools! Most local authority websites have good info regarding local beaches.
My next pick of the places to visit are the castles that are all around us. In our home town of Lochmaben. We have some ruins that have an incredible history, a castle built by an English King and in constant battle for centuries. As a child my imagination was tested by the places we visited and I want my kids to have the same inquisitive mind. One of my favourite castles to visit is Caerlaverock castle. A triangular moted fairytale castle. It conjures up dragons and knights and together with a 3 year old boys imagination this place has brought us a lot of enjoyment. There is a nature trail around the castle and into the woods and the castle itself is stunning to see.
Most castles have a small fee for entry but lots are free or have days when they operate an open door policy so check it out.
Websites like Historic Scotland and English Heritage have lots of information for visitors, it’s always worth checking if they have events on. Visiting castles helps explore history and can teach us parents a thing or two as well. I bet if you check it out there will be some historic attractions in your area that you’ve never visited – check them out!
Nearly everyone will have a forest nearby and walks in the woods can be just what you need if you live in the town (the wildlife you can spot is amazing, we have a rabbit burrow that often has a lot of activity and the kids get excited seeing them.) There are often owls and other birds of prey amongst the tree tops and any toddler worth his salt will be able to invent his very own Gruffalo or Bear Hunt!
Walking down to the village green to feed the ducks, round the local golf course and to the building site (my son like most 3 year olds loves diggers and noise, so we take a walk down to where they are building new houses and stand by the fence for him to point at all the machines and tell me what they do! He also loves seeing the progress of the buildings and imagines who is going to live in the houses!) are all other favourite outings.
When they are little they can learn so much from being outdoors, from teaching colours, to learning letters and numbers. My kids are definitely more likely to pick things up when having fun than from a book. And when you get home you can relate what you have learnt to things in the books they have at home.
So where are your favourite places to go with the kids in your area? Are you a fair weather person? It’s not a bad thing I know a lot of peope hate the wet weather!
We were lucky enough to know an amazing photographer Helen Hobbins who came along with us one day on our adventures. She captured all of the amazing images featured in this post.
Helen studied graphic design before taking up photography as a hobby six years ago. Since then she has taken lots of courses, the latest being specific to childhood and lifestyle photography. Her style is to capture natural, timeless shots. Staying away from the posed studio type images. She loves doing out and about shoots, I can attest that she really endeared herself to the children so much so, that they forgot she was snapping away, leading to the incredible shots you see in this post.
For more information about Helen Hobbins Photography you can check out her Instagram page Here