Free attractions in the north west of Scotland

When you’re this far north in Scotland, the tourist sites are few and far between.  We did, however, happen upon three rather good places to note.  Friends of ours who had done a similar route to us had given us some ideas for free places to explore and stop near, and sometimes recommendation is the best way to go!

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Smoo cave is right at the top of the country and is a huge cave that you can walk down in to.  It’s free to enter, although at certain times I think there is a tour you can pay to be part of.  we all loved walking into the cave to see the waterfall inside, so powerful and made us really appreciate how a cave can get to be that big!

Smoo cave

Inside Smoo Cave

Knockan Crag is one for the geology buffs.  It’s a huge national nature reserve with plenty of parking, toilets and an unmanned visitor centre.  There are marked trails to walk along too.  Knockan Crag is important as it’s an area that helped to shape the thinking of geologists due to the Moine Thrust.  There are loads of displays in the visitor centre with some hands on interactive stuff to keep the kids entertained.  We did the short walk as it was very cold when we were there, I’d have liked to do more if it wasn’t so cold as the views were spectacular.knockan crag

The view from the trail at Knockan Crag

Beinn Eighe is another national nature reserve and like Knockan Crag has lots for the family to do.  It has an indoor visitor centre and small shop.  It’s displays are more about the wildlife in the area, so lots about birds and mammals you may see.  Again there are some self guided trails that start from really small, aimed at really small kids with puzzles along the way, to a bit further with more information on wildlife.  We had some lovely weather when we visited and managed a good walk.  I really do like these centres where you just go and do your thing easily!

All three of the above sights are free to enter and free to park.  Make sure you have a good map of the area like this one if you’re planning to drive and explore Scotland.

If you’re at all interested in the highlights of Scottish Nature and you’re deep into the highlands, then I would thoroughly recommend a visit!  I’m sure there are more to add to this list too, but these were where we visited and can give first hand recommendations for.


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