ENTERTAINING THE kids
IT IS a fact of life that, unlike our pictures, the sun won’t always be shining on Arran. But at least there is plenty to do to keep the children entertained on a rainy day. There’s no grander place to shelter when it rains than Brodick Castle, which can be seen overlooking Brodick Bay as you arrive on the ferry. Castles always seem to hold a certain fascination for young children and this one certainly won’t disappoint. The tall, dignified building beckons you in with the glow of its warm red sandstone. As you walk through the building castle guides will point out secret doors and tell mesmerising stories of ghosts and grand ladies to the budding young historians. There are self-guide quizzes to do as you make your way around, as well as special events and exhibitions in the summer and the Ranger Centre hosts exciting classes for children ranging from bird box making to Young Naturalist events. There are three swimming pools on Arran – two at the Auchrannie Hotel and Spa Resort in Brodick and one at the Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot. Both the spa pool at the Auchrannie and the Kinloch facilities are open to the public all year round. Youngsters can splash away the hours while you sit and relax by the side of the pool. The Auchrannie also has its Playbarn, which is guaranteed to fill a rainy day with hours of fun for younger children. Even better, parents of younger children can relax with a coffee or a snack while the kids play in safe surroundings. For older children there is also loads to do in the games hall, which can be hired out for badminton, tennis, squash and countless other sports. The Family Fun Park at the Balmichael Visitor Centre in the Shiskine Valley, which opened last year, has various activities for kids on a rainy day, including a American-style diner and cinema, as well as a whole host of outdoor attractions including bouncy pillows, ice rink, go-karts and a terrifying pole drop. There’s an interesting presentation of artefacts and a record of island life throughout the centuries at the Arran Heritage Museum in Brodick. The plethora of information about Arran is well suited for all ages, so children should enjoy learning about the island just as much as adults.