I was sent the details of some family days out in West Lothian that I thought I'd share with you here. I'm yet to visit some of these attractions, so if you've been then do let me know how you got on. I'm keen to get the kids to Almond Valley now the weather is improving and like the sound of Five Sisters Zoo.
"Step into spring in West Lothian and discover the beauty of central Scotland’s playground. With nature walks, Highland Games, owl flying displays and family crafts there is something for everyone to enjoy.
For the animal lovers…
During springtime Almond Valley is alive with the cheeps of newly hatched chicks, the bleats of baby lambs, and all sorts of other noises from all manner of new arrivals on the farm. Even if the sun isn't shining there's more fun to be had indoors, exploring imaginative play areas and interactive museum displays, or enjoying a tasty treat in Morag's Milkbar. During the school holidays there will be further games, trails and Easter crafts.
Take a visit to Five Sisters Zoo and see how many animals you can spot! With lemurs, lynx cats, parrots, meerkats and bears there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained. If you’re looking to get up close with the animals go along to one of the feeding sessions which take place twice a day, not only will you get the chance to hold some amazing animals you’ll also learn more about their eating habits.
Visit the Scottish Owl Centre at Polkemmet Country Park and discover one of the largest collections of owls in the world! Get up close in one of the daily indoor flying displays or book your own private Owl Encounter. Capture the moment you held Africa's biggest owl or have fun shooting down the giant owl slide. Discover fascinating facts about the habits and habitats of these breath-taking birds.
For the lovers of the outdoors…
Put a spring in your step and join the Ranger on a walk through Hopetoun’s beautiful grounds. Discover the natural history of the beautiful flowers which signal the arrival of spring and enjoy a picturesque walk with the whole family. Enjoy a visit to the Stables Tearoom afterwards where you can treat yourself to some delicious soup and sandwiches followed by some tasty homemade treats.
Visit Polkemmet, Almondell & Calderwood and Beecraigs Country Park this spring and discover the outdoors. With mountain bike trails, orienteering and fly fishing available at Beecraigs Country Park and golf, a bowling green and a play area at Polkemmet Country Park it is a day out the whole family will love.
For the fashion conscious…
Banish the winter blues by indulging in a new spring wardrobe! Take a visit to The Centre, Livingston and explore the latest catwalk trends at high street stores including Topshop, Debenhams and River Island. With Nandos, Wagamama’s and Chiquitos all open late every evening you can enjoy a bite to eat after a bit of retail therapy.
Escape to West Lothian…
Treat yourself to a break at the Mercure Livingston Hotel with their Love Spring offer, where you can enjoy a two night stay with a delicious three course dinner. For more information and to book visit www.mercurelivingston.co.uk/love-spring.html.
For an idyllic peaceful retreat why not enjoy the perfect escapeat Hilly Cow Wigwams. You can take in the fabulous views of the Forth Valley and the Pentland Hills while relaxing around the campfire before retreating to the comfort of a heated wigwam. With a play park, games room and fully equipped kitchen on site, and a variety of walks and cycle routes surrounding the area, it is the perfect weekend getaway. To book please visit www.hillycowwigwams.co.uk.
Mid Lodge Cottage is the ideal place to spend a weekend with family or friends this spring. The self-catering holiday cottage sleeps six people and is located in the beautiful parkland in the exclusive Hopetoun estate within walking distance of Hopetoun House, which re-opens on April 18. To book visit www.hopetoun.co.uk/holiday-accommodation.html.
Dates for your diary…
Bathgate 2014 will take place on Saturday 31st May. Comprising of the world’s second largest pipe band event, the British Pipe Band Championships, and the long-established West Lothian Highland Games, the day is set to attract thousands of people to the town with one ticket covering the Meadow Park and Borough Muir festivities. International singing sensation, and local lass, Susan Boyle is Chieftain on the day and there will be Highland dancing, caber tossing and shot putting, as well as pipe band playing to enjoy throughout the day.
Come along to Howden Park Centre during the month of March and get in touch with your creative side. On March 14 join some talented West Lothian writers for an evening of poetry, reading and storytelling. Take part in the illustration workshop run by Gary Dewaron March 23and uncover your inner artist. Do you think you know The Adventures of Robin Hood? On 18 April join internationally acclaimed Visible Fictions for a silly and unexpected family show full of chases, explosions and a flaming baguette!
This year the Scottish Birdfair will be taking place at Hopetoun House during the weekend of May 10-11. With talks, workshops and fun filled children’s activities there is plenty to entertain the whole family.
Revel in the music of Simon and Garfunkel on March 1 when popular tribute band, The Sounds of Simon, come to The Regal, Bathgate. Enjoy a two-hour show featuring hits from four decades including favourites such as Homeward Bound, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs Robinson.
Test yourself this May and take part in the Bing Blazer! The 5km event will see participants set off from Capers Farm, Armadale on May 17, before testing themselves on the mystery obstacle course. With the destination and the course route remaining under wraps until a few weeks before the event you will need to train for the unknown!
Get running for charity on May 11 and raise money for Prostate Scotland by taking part in the Baw Bag Baw Buster Duathlon. The duathlon begins with a cross country 3k run, then a 10k part off-road cycle finishing with a 3k off-road run which ends atHilly Cow Wigwams. With prizes for the best pants it’s time to embrace your inner super hero and wear your pants on the outside!"
Hilly Cow Wigwam