Five places to enjoy a physically-distanced day out

Friday, 18 September 2020

After months of being cooped up inside, it’s so nice to be able to get out and about again, albeit with a strict set of rules to follow.

Updated: 12 October 2020

While the rules may have changed across Scotland’s Central Belt with regards to travel, we can still get out and enjoy our local parks and beaches. In these areas we ask that you only use the train for essential travel.

For people in areas unaffected by the new rules, the railway is here to help you enjoy a day out. We just ask that you travel sensibly and follow our Five Rules for Safer Travel. These are in place for your safety. Don’t forget, you can still purchase a Kids for a Quid ticket when you travel Off-Peak. Some attractions have reopened and are offering one free child entry when you show a Kids for a Quid ticket. It’s best to check with the attraction first before you travel.

All of the cafes featured in the blog are still open and welcome your support. So, if you fancy some fresh-air fun, and a warming cuppa, here are five days out with something for everyone.

Balloch Castle Country Park

There’s something so uplifting about being surrounded by mountains, water and great views. And hopping off the train at Balloch Station gives you easy access to all of these. It’s on the southern tip of Loch Lomond and makes for the perfect starting point to a relaxing day out. Balloch Castle Country Park is a short walk from the station, either along the path on the edge of the loch, or by carrying on up the main road to the park gates. The Castle itself is no longer in use but it’s a great spot to enjoy views over the loch. There are lots of benches to relax on. Why not take a picnic with you to enjoy with the view. Be sure to wrap up warm. If you find yourself walking along the path from the park gates be keep your eyes peeled for fairies. You’ll be able to spot their houses easily, but will you spot them flitting around?

Closest station: Balloch

Aberdour Silver Sands Beach, Fife

Stepping off the train at Aberdour is a treat itself. The station is always immaculately kept and even won the Best Small Station of the Year back in 2018. But, moving away from the station for some socially distanced fresh air, Aberdour has two lovely beaches to enjoy. Black Sands Beach is closest to the town, being just a six-minute walk from the station. Or for a bigger beach, once you’ve reached Black Sands, carry on along the water for around ten more minutes and you’ll reach Silver Sands Beach. If you’ve got little monkeys in tow, there are a couple of great playparks along this route too – Shore Road Playpark is always good fun.

After some fresh air, a cuppa may be calling … if so, head for the Café at Number 16 on Shore Road. It’s open Thursday – Sunday and has great safety measures in place to let you fully relax. You’ll always receive a warm welcome and leave with a very happy belly.

Closest station: Aberdour


Troon Beach

Is there any better feeling than being beside the sea? Even with the unpredictable Scottish climate a day out at the beach can lift your spirits. There’s plenty of space at Troon beach to have a good time away from other people. If you’ve got little ones, take a bucket and spade and they’ll be happy for hours. The playpark on the beach front is brilliant for younger kids too. For the dare devils among you, kite surfing is hugely popular here. They’re brilliant to watch from the beach!

Once you’ve braved the elements by the water, Troon has some lovely cafes to warm up in. The Strawberry Cushion on Church Street serves some of the best traybakes and cakes – they’re honestly worth the trip to Troon alone. They’ve got lots of measures in place to ensure you can enjoy the café safely. Just a head’s up – the café is closed on a Sunday. We wouldn’t want you to experience the heartbreak of realising you can’t indulge in a Cookies and Cream Brownie that day …

Closest station: Troon

Rouken Glen, East Renfrewshire

One of the biggest appeals of this large park is its incredible playground. It’s huge! A kid of any age could happily spend an hour or so playing, and the best thing is it’s fully accessible so everyone can enjoy it together. Even if you don’t have little ones in tow it’s still a lovely park for a wander. There are easy walks around the park and boating pond, or for a more scenic route head along the trail into the gorge. Getting to Rouken Glen takes just 22 minutes on the train from Glasgow Central. Step off at Whitecraigs and you’ll find yourself across the road from the park. After all the walking or running around, The Boathouse Café within the park has indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy some coffee and cake.

Closest station: Whitecraigs

North Inch, Perth

Perth’s North Inch is the city’s biggest park and sits alongside the fast-flowing waters of the River Tay. It’s a beautiful place for a walk, particularly when the sun is shining. The circular walk around the Inch is 2.4km, and with it being flat, it’s easy for everyone to enjoy. For little ones, there’s another brilliant play park to burn some energy off. For a longer walk, loop the Inch then carry on along the banks of the Tay until you reach the railway bridge. Climb up the stairs and cross the river, listening out for the rumble of trains. They pass right next to you! Great for kids or train enthusiasts. Once you’re across the bridge, turn left and enjoy a wander along the Sculpture Trail.

For a warming cuppa after some fresh air, The Castle Café at the Black Watch Museum is a fantastic place to stop. A warm welcome, great coffee and delicious cakes await, all within a safe environment.

Closest station: Perth

We hope you consider using the train when planning a day out. We’ve put lots of measures in place to keep all of our passengers and staff safe. You can find out more about those measures here. If you ever have any questions about travelling during coronavirus, please do get in touch with us on social media. The team are always happy to answer any questions.

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