During our visit to Scotland we decided to take a road trip up the coast of Angus as far as Stonehaven and then turn inland to see the Pine Forests, visit the queen at Balmoral and then turn back and head back through the Cairngorms in search of some snow.
During our visit I purchased an Explorer pass which can gain you entry into 77 properties all over Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle and Arbroath Abbey was included and was on our route up the coast, so our first port of call for the day.
You enter the Abbey into a small shop and museum which depicts the timeline of the Abbey in an interactive way which the kids really enjoyed.
The museum also tells of the story of the day the Stone of Destiny came to the abbey in 1951 which was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland
Arbroath Abbey itself is the ruins of a Tironensian monastery, founded by William the Lion in 1178, who is buried there.
The Abbey is also famously associated with the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, which asserted Scotland’s independence from England.
Whilst all this was fascinating, for the kids it was the chance to run around and explore the grounds that kept them entertained.
We met the gardener who was marking out where rooms would have been in the abbey who engaged the kids with things to see and rooms to explore.
He also pointed out doors that we completely missed where you could go up to the upper floors of the Abbots House and get a spectacular view of the abbey from above.
Abroath Abbey is an ideal place to visit if you want to spend a day exploring Angus, as you cannot spend much more than an a couple of hours there.
Once we had finished exploring we continued our trip up the coast in search of Dunnottar Castle, stopping first at Lunan Bay, reportedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland.
The kids had a blast running up the sand dunes and then sliding back down them again.
We then headed up to Dunnottar Castle which is the castle that Disney based Merida’s castle on for Brave. You can read all about our visit here.
It was then time to head inland for a glimpse of Scotland’s every changing scenery from the coast, through the pine forests.
Our one disappointment was that being February, many of the tourist attractions were closed to visitors until April, but we did stop for that all important photo by the gates of Balmoral.
Once we found Braemar Castle we then headed back south along the A93 through the Cairngorms.
The only way I can describe the drive is one straight out of a car advert.
The road was empty, the scenery stunning and the farther in we got, the more snow we found as the road climbs higher than anywhere else in the UK, passing by the ski runs of Glenshee.
We weren’t cruel enough to keep driving though, we did stop for some snow play too.
Having a snowball fight with a spectacular sunset going on behind you is a very special experience.
I did feel a little sorry for those who had tried to come skiing as there was not enough snow to ski.
Once we were snowballed out, it was then time to head back through the glens, back to our holiday cottage in Angus.
This was by far my favourite day out during our holiday as we saw so much of the country and it has made us promise that we will return as there is so much more to see!