The best Country Parks Central Scotland

Our favourite country parks and arguably the best country parks in Central Scotland, perfect for a family day out during the school holidays.

What do you look for in a good country park? Here’s what I look for;

Nice scenery, woodland, rivers and wildlife

Good walking routes, that aren’t too long for little legs but long enough that I feel accomplished!!

A good play area for different ages

Free to visit

Car parking

So now you know what I look for hopefully you’ll like some of my suggestions!

I’ve linked all the websites so you can check them out for yourselves!

Dalkeith Country Park

Ok, this has to be a favourite. Great walking routes through the woodland and down by the river. Plenty car parking. Amazing play area (Fort Douglas) with a new *Sky Maze* we haven’t been to this new bit yet but it looks fantastic.

Fort Douglas is chargeable (I’m sure last time we were there it was £19 for a family of four)

Bring your pennies for the Restoration Yard gift shop. It’s filled with lush bits.

Beecraigs Country Park

Top tick for beautiful scenery. The trees at Beecraigs are stunning. You can walk from the deer centre, to the fishing pond and to the huge adventure play park enjoying the peace and serenity (if you happen to be a young couple sans children 🤣) otherwise enjoy finding ‘fallen giants’ to climb across, sticks that turn into wands, swords, a horse, a dragon or whatever else they can imagine. The visitor centre has recently been upgraded and enjoys unspoilt views across the Pentland hills and the three bridges. The play park is great for all ages with a few different areas to choose from.

Camperdown Country Park

Recently upgraded this is, in my opinion, the best park you can visit near Dundee.

There’s plenty parking, a huge area for walking. Grassy areas for playing games or having a picnic. There’s also a small conservation zoo with a nominal entrance fee and some really good activities throughout.

Vogrie Country Park

Ok, we’ve only been here maybe twice? But it’s a v good park near Edinburgh. There’s parking. Good walking routes. Unusual sculptures. There’s also a Manor House - we’ve never been in so don’t know what’s actually there and is there’s a cost. The play park is small in comparison to other parks but it’s entirely free. Great place to have a family day out, have a bbq on a hot day and take along some games.

Calderglen Country Park

This is a favourite, it’s quite far from us though so we don’t visit too often. There’s a small car park. Conservation zoo with a nominal entry price. Great walks by the river with waterfalls and good places for little ones to climb! A recently updated play park with good range of equipment for all ages.

The cafe is awful. Don’t go!

Craigtoun Country Park

When we spend weekends at our caravan we’re here at least twice during the weekend. Plenty parking space, good simple walks on easy paths. Nice garden areas. There’s a fairy garden and a good play park. There’s also a few ticketed rides £1.50 per ride of the mini train, tractor and there’s small cars and bouncy castles. We’ve found that is can become pricey for something we wouldn’t consider to be a full day out so we don’t tend to pay for the activities and just enjoy what’s there for free!

Pittencrieff Park

{not technically a Country Park}

Known for its friendly squirrels, take a stroll into the town centre and buy some wild bird food and watch how close they come! There’s a great new play area for smaller explorers and a decent area for older ones too. There’s a conservatory with a beautiful range of plants. Plenty of grassy areas to take a picnic or games.

Loch Ore Meadows

The last time we were here the visitor centre had been torn down to rebuild another. The play park is very good with unusual equipment the kids will love. There’s a good track for bikes and scooters. Plenty of walking routes through the woods.

We really enjoy coming here.

Drumpellier Country Park

This place is a favourite from G’s childhood. Recently renovated this park is great for kids who are able to adventure themselves! I say this because I always get such fear when we’re here with Matilda (2). It’s designed like a Crannog but that means VERY open sides, fairly high up. It is accessible to parents but it’s normally very busy so hard to keep up with your child with kids running past all the time. It is very cool though, Eilidh and Oscar love it. There’s a large pond you can walk round, on the other side there is the old play park. There’s a visitor Centre with toilets and a cafe.

Muiravonside Country Park

A firm favourite of ours. It has a small farm with pigs, horses, chickens, llamas and beautiful highland cows too! There’s so many great walking routes either leading down to the riverside, up to the aqueduct (the canal follows along to Linlithgow which is a lovely walk) there’s also a good play park. There’s plenty parking. They recently brought in a £1 car park charge.

Chaterlehault Country Park

Just outside Glasgow in Hamilton this country park has something for everyone. There’s lots of different trails to follow, some follow by the River Avon. The play park is great for all ages. There’s plenty of grassy areas for playing games and picnics.

Pollok Country Park

There’s plenty hidden secrets within this park, from a lovely fairy trail to fields filled with lovely highland cows, plenty of walking routes and a National Trust house and cafe there’s plenty to keep busy for the day! The last time we went we found it kinda difficult to find where everything was - there’s not many information boards!

Are there any other great country parks you think I’ve missed? What would you add to the list?

Karen x