Over May half term we spent a long weekend in Falkirk, Scotland with the kids. We did a number of fun things so we’ve suggested 10 Things to do in Falkirk with Kids.
- Where is Falkirk?
- Falkirk Wheel – Things to do in Falkirk with Kids
- Mini Golf at Falkirk Wheel
- Cycle from Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies
- Helix Park & The Kelpies
- Helix Park & The Kelpies – Adventure Playground
- Helix Park & The Kelpies – Kelpies
- The Dunmore Pineapple – National Trust for Scotland
- Falkirk Parkrun & Helix Juniors Parkrun
- Blackness Castle
- Bo'Ness Railway Museum & Railway
- Callendar House and Park
When we told people we were going to Falkirk with the kids, everyone asked if we were going to see the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel. They also followed up the question with what else is there to see in Falkirk and where exactly in Scotland is Falkirk?
Where is Falkirk?
Falkirk is a large town in the lowlands of Central Scotland. Set right in the middle of Glasgow and Edinburgh (around 20 miles each way), Falkirk is around a 4 hour drive from the North West of England where we live.
We had a few false starts in Falkirk (the town centre I’m looking at you) but we had a fun weekend and did get really lucky with the Falkirk weather in May as we had sun and blue skies all weekend which was a real treat.
If you’d like to watch our Instagram Stories of the weekend do check out our Falkirk Instagram Highlight.
Top of the list of things to visit in Falkirk with kids is the Falkirk Wheel.
Falkirk Wheel – Things to do in Falkirk with Kids
The Falkirk Wheel is the world’s only rotating boat lift and links the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It replaces 11 locks that previously did the same job. The Falkirk Wheel opened in 2002 as part of the millennium link project. The Wheel is an engineering marvel and has become a must-see family-friendly visitor attraction.
When we visited in May 2022 it was a celebration weekend and alongside the trip on the wheel itself, there was zorbing, bouncy castles, music playing and lots of people eating nice food and generally enjoying the carnival atmosphere.
You can see how the Falkirk Wheel moves around in this Instagram post below, just click on it. In summary though the Falkirk Wheel is a fab thing to see with or without the kids. I’d highly recommend a trip on the Falkirk Wheel itself. The trip takes just over half an hour and when we visited in 2022 tickets were £13.50 for adults and £8 for children. Under 5’s are free. You can book tickets and get updated prices here.
Mini Golf at Falkirk Wheel
Mini Golf at the Falkirk Wheel was brand new in 2021. Each round is just £5 per person and fun for all the family with waterway-themed holes.
Mini Golf at The Falkirk Wheel is suitable for friends, families, schools, youth groups, days out, birthdays or corporate events.
If you fancy a go at Mini Golf at the Falkirk Wheel just head to the Cargo Yard coffee pod to pay and collect your putters, balls and scorecard.
Cycle from Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies
When you have finished having fun at the Falkirk Wheel, you can cycle from the Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies. If you don’t have your own bike, then you can hire a bike from Outdoor Trax, or for over 16’s, hire an E-bike for a more leisurely cycle to the Helix Park and Kelpies.
Distance: Falkirk Wheel – The Kelpies: 20min/4.2 miles
Helix Park & The Kelpies
There is so much to do at Helix Park & The Kelpies, whether you cycle from the Falkirk Wheel, drive and park, or take public transport.
There are two sites at Helix Park & The Kelpies so to speak, interconnected by a walkway that you can either cycle along or walk which takes 10-15 minutes.
Helix Park & The Kelpies – Adventure Playground
Many people won’t end up visiting this side of the site which is a shame, and is definitely something you should check out if you’re travelling with kids as the Adventure playground is huge, amazing and more importantly is Free.
There is also a Splash Play that operates on weekends and local school holidays.
Helix Park & The Kelpies – Kelpies
I’ve wanted to see the Kelpies for ages now. Like the Angel of the North you truly can’t imagine how truly huge they are until you are standing right in front of them.
We were so impressed with the Kelpies when we were in Falkirk, we went three times. To be fair we only had to go back twice at night as we hadn’t left it late enough the first night to see the Kelpies lit up as it wasn’t dark. Timing your nighttime visit is definitely something to think about when you visit the Kelpies, although somewhat frustratingly the car park barrier comes down at night, regardless of when sunset is so you have to walk further at night to see them in their full glory. Could be a good reason to utilise the excellent bike routes in Falkirk.
You can also book a Kelpies Experience Tour a 30 minute guided walking tour, in doing this you get to experience a Kelpie from the inside and view the breathtaking engineering and design. Click here for details of how to book your Kelpie Experience Tour.
The Dunmore Pineapple – National Trust for Scotland
Both strange and beautiful, the Pineapple has always amazed and inspired visitors. It was built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse where he could appreciate the views from his estate. At this time, pineapples were among Scotland’s most exotic foods.
Falkirk Parkrun & Helix Juniors Parkrun
Falkirk Parkrun is a free, fun, and friendly weekly 5k community event. Walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you! The event takes place every Saturday at 9:30am. (For Parkrun tourists from the UK note the slightly later start time!)
Helix Juniors Parkrun is a free, fun, and friendly weekly 2k event for juniors (4 to 14 year olds). The event takes place at 9.30am in Helix Park, Westfield, Falkirk, FK2 9EE. See Course page for more details.
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Blackness Castle sits at the end of a small peninsular and when you walk around the walls it almost feels like you’re in the sea itself.
When we visited there was a small but interesting exhibition on inside and our visit took around an hour.
Try not to bet on parking in the really small (up a narrow road) car park. Park in the village itself or even better, park at the Bo’Ness Railway Museum and cycle along the coastal path to Blackness, avoiding the parking issue altogether.
We had a fabulous meal in Blackness at The Lobster Pot and would highly recommend this quirkly decorated pub. Take some time to read some of the poems and notes on the wall.
Bo’Ness Railway Museum & Railway
At Bo’Ness Railway you can enjoy a scenic ten mile return train journey to Manuel along the Forth Estuary, through woodlands, past waterfalls and over the Avon Viaduct.
The really friendly volunteers welcome you aboard and invite you the soak up the atmosphere of their award-winning heritage railway through the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear.
When you get back from your train journey you can visit the Bo’Ness railway museum. It’s not as big as York Railway Museum that’s true but if you’re into your trains its a great place to spend an hour or two. It’s also a great wet weather day activity.
As mentioned above you can also cycle from here to Blackness Castle along the coastal path.
Callendar House and Park
Callendar Park covers over 170 acres and houses the magnificent Callendar House. Having driven through some sixties flats to get to the park I was totally wowed by the place. You can read more about Callendar Park in our post about family cycling in Falkirk here, but save to say it’s a real jewel.
Callendar House was also recently used as a film location for the hugely popular Outlander TV Series. Visit Scotland has an excellent Outlander Film Location map which you can access here, to download the Outlander map click here. Follow in Jamie and Claire’s footsteps for yourself with this fantastic Outlander audio guide created also by Visit Scotland.
We popped into the newly refurbished Callendar House Tearoom for coffee and a scone after Parkrun (see above) and some cycling! It’s a great spot.
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.