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Go island-hopping on weekend family breaks in Scotland

Kids love a boat ride. It adds a sense of adventure to those weekend family breaks in Scotland. Using trains and ferries, it's easy to see some of Scotland's finest scenery.

Arran is just a short train and ferry ride away from Glasgow. Take the train to Ardrossan then hop on board the Caledonian MacBrayne (www.calmac.co.uk) ferry to Brodick. Sailings are plentiful and take around 55 minutes. A 5-day return ticket costs £10.10 for foot passengers, or £62 for a car and passengers.

On Arran, explore Brodick Castle and grounds. It is even possible to arrange a stay within the grounds, at the National Trust's Shore Lodge, with accommodation from £15 per person per night. Kids will love the idea of having the castle grounds to themselves after the tourists have left for the day. Booking details are available on www.nts.org.uk.

The Isle of Bute has long been a favourite holiday destination for Glaswegians, and retains its old-fashioned Victorian charms. Stella McCartney chose it as the location for her wedding in 2003. Caledonian MacBrayne ferries leave for Rothesay from Wemyss Bay which is on the rail-line from Glasgow (www.scotrail.com). Rothesay is an elegant, if slightly crumbling resort, dominated by its impressive castle, while the rest of the island is great for family walks.

Tobermory on Mull will delight kids who will immediately recognise its pastel-painted houses from the children's TV show Balamory.  When they tire of wandering the streets of the charming harbour town, look into the possibility of whale and dolphin watching trips.

Mull is reached by ferry from Oban, after a scenic rail journey on the West Highland Line from Glasgow. The ferry journey from Oban to Craignure on Mull takes around 45 minutes and costs £8.25 for a 5-day return tocket for foot passengers, or £59 for a car and passengers. As you sip a local malt whisky and watch the sunset. you'll congratulate yourself on choosing one of the best weekend family breaks in Scotland.

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