Children have it made. Their lives are just one long adventure. And as they say experience broadens the mind!
So what better to help develop all these fine skills than a visit to one of Scotland’s number one family attractions.
Ruaridh (6) and Flora (3) were chomping at the bit when we arrived with dad Kenny at The Landmark Park in the beautiful village of Carrbridge, a stone’s spit from Aviemore in The Highlands. The village is famous for its historic bridge and the World Porridge Championships.
We were spoilt for choice what to go on first. Height restrictions for Ruaridh and Flora meant they had to forego a couple of attractions, but there was plenty on offer to keep us all entertained.
2013 is the nation’s tourist board’s Year of Natural Scotland and the Landmark Park is an ideal spot to celebrate.
Set in acres of forest, this park is heaven for outdoor fans,which is why I found myself trying to catch up with Ruaridh as he skipped (and I fumbled!) my way round the Tarzan Trail. This wooden obstacle course is great for the nimble footed and there was a sense of happiness once we reached the end, without falling off! The Ropeworx proved even trickier and higher, especially with all the family watching from below!
Adventure Land was full of tunnels and slides for Ruaridh and Flora to wind their way round, while the pinnacle had to be conquered as we clambered up the 10 metre high climbing wall. Ruaridh and Kenny screamed their way round the runaway timber train roller coaster, while Flora and I opted for the more gentle option of mini motorbikes and getting lost in a labyrinth.
And if that is not enough there is a wonderful forest to trample round ,with a massive fire tower to enable you to see the stunning views around you and a working saw mill and Flora’s favourite, a huge Clydesdale horse.
We were hit by the famous Scottish rain, but sought sanctuary in the Bamboozeleum, a magic world of illusions and special effects, before heading outside to get soaked in style via the wonderfully terrifying (well for the old lady that is me!) wild water coaster.
After all that excitement we were worn out and in need of pampering. So where better than the nearby Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel. Based in the Cairngorms National Park, its an ideal haven for young families. As well as tastefully decorated rooms, where mum and dad are separated from thechildren in two rooms, the young ones enjoying bunk beds and even their own designer bath robes, the hotel has plenty on offer.
The hotel has an old style ski lodge look to the outside, but once in, its luxury all the way. Breakfast and dinner are served with pride in the Inverdruie restaurant, Ruaridh and Flora particularly impressed with the waffle making machine and Kenny still in raptures over the rib eye steak served with tasty Strathdon cheese, Scottish cuisine at its best!
There’s a bistro and coffee shop too and a nice informal lounge to people watch in. But with youngsters about, its all go and that means enjoying the two swimming pools, sneaking off for a sauna, before trying out the games room and outdoor play park, while Kenny enjoyed a pint in the nearby Woodshed Bar.
There is a dry ski slope and skate park, climbing walls and trampolines and junior quad bikes too. And to top it off for Ruaridh and Flora, a fun house, complete with a big soft play area and American Diner.
With all that going on, I needed a rest and David and Wray Maxwell offer that in Lets Relax,a Thai Spa housed in one of the lodges dotted round the hotel grounds, the others used as holiday homes.
The couple have lived and worked in Thailand and their signature massage ensures you relax and in style. David carries out a dry massage which relaxes the muscles in the back and neck (heaven!), before Wray gives a warm oil massage to ease out any tensions, so good it nearly sends you to sleep! The couple’s easy style and the calm surroundings leave you feeling happy and totally relaxed.
What a wonderful way to round off a weekend. It’s not just children that have it all you know!
The family friendly Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel is set in 65 acres of woodland in the Cairngorms National Park. Hilton Hotels offer a range of special deals and to find out more, log onto www.hilton.com or ring the hotel on 01479-810661.
The Landmark Forest Adventure Park will tire young and old out! Log onto www.landmarkpark.co.uk
Tourist information can be found at www.visitscotland.com which is also celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland.