If Princess Merida in Disney Pixar's film Brave has inspired your little girl (or you!), a holiday in its home nation Scotland, is a fab way to keep the magic alive.
The Oscar-winning film is the first first Pixar movie to focus on its Princess star’s right to choose her own destiny.
The film has been recognised as a tribute to the wild and beautiful Scottish landscape and its rich heritage. With flights to Aberdeen starting at just £90pp, discover a fun and family-friendly Scotland holiday with these Brave activities!
Horse-Ride in Aberdeenshire
Princess Merida’s trusted steed is Angus, a black Clydesdale horse who helps her escape from the castle and swiftly carries her over the highlands and deep into forests.
Riding on horseback is one of the most rewarding ways to explore the Scottish landscape, and children will cherish the experience forever. Aberdeenshire is home to fantastic scenery, boasting both a striking coastal line and rolling green hills and valleys.
The Corrylair Farm Trekking Centre near Huntly offers a number of scenic routes around the county, perfectly tailored to match all levels of abilities and ages. Aberdeen city is an exciting family destination for a Scottish holiday, with its Snow Sports Centre, Doonies rare breeds farm and the Codonas theme park to explore.
Treks at the Corrylair Farm Trekking centre start at £20 for children and £25 for adults.
Archery in Strathyre
Princess Merida is very skilled with a bow and arrow; she beat the clan princes at archery in order to secure her own hand in marriage!
The whole family can practise this medieval skill in the forests of Scotland, with companies like Forest Holidays incorporating light-hearted challenges and competitions into sessions while children and adults can learn how to shoot a bow in a safe and fun environment. All the equipment is provided for; all you need to bring is a long sleeve top!
Forest Holidays provide archery sessions from £21 for one hour or £35 for three hours.
Visit the Bears in West Lothian
From the scary attack of Mor’du to the witch’s curse that transforms Princess Merida’s mother and brothers into bears, it’s safe to say that a Brave-themed holiday wouldn’t be complete without seeing real live bears!
The Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian is now the proud home of three bears, Carmen, Peggy and Suzy, who were all rescued from the circus. The zoo’s campaign to rescue the bears eventually raised the £80,000 needed to build the bears a nice new home.
They have been at the zoo since March and enjoy their new home which has an indoor and outdoor enclosure and even a purpose built stream and waterfall. After visiting the bears there are lots of other animals to meet, from lemurs, parrots and donkeys to snakes, birds and meerkats.
Entry to the Five Sisters Zoo for a family of five costs £26.
Explore Scotland’s Magical Castles
Princess Merida lives in DunBroch Castle, a fictional palace that was inspired by the real castles of Scotland. Discover the actual castles of Scotland that helped the filmmakers create Princess Merida’s home and be enchanted by their regal banquet halls, impressive architecture and majestic locations.
One of the main castles to inspire the DunBroch design was Eilean Donan Castle, built around the 13th century and fully restored to its former glory in 1932 after centuries of destruction and renovation.
This striking castle is one of the most recognisable icons of Scotland, built on an island where three lochs meet; it has a distinct arched bridge and the archetypal tower house structure of Scottish forts. The castle is located on the main tourist route to the Isle of Skye on Scotland’s west coast.
Dunnottar Castle also grabbed the attention of the Brave film-makers. Perched on top of a dramatic cliff top, Dunnottar Castle boasts one of the most impressive locations in Scotland, and inspired the Brave team to move DunBroch Castle to overlook the water.
The remains of Dunnattar are enough to give visitors an idea of how grand a palace it was, especially when you consider that its guests included William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish Crown Jewels.
Entry to Dunnottar Castle is £2 for under 16s and £5 for adults, entry to Eilean Donan for a family of five (two adults, three children) costs £16.
Where to Stay
Forest Holidays have a great choice of cabins in Scotland and they specialise in outdoor family fun. There are two forest sites in Scotland from where you can easily reach the activities mentioned here.
Take a day trip to enjoy horse-riding, castle sight-seeing or visiting the zoo before coming back to relax in a forest cabin and look at the stars from a private hot-tub!
Not only can you book an archery session to enjoy during your stay, with Forest Holidays you can also explore the forest with your own Forest Ranger guide and learn how to canoe on Loch Lubnaig.