The Scottish Deer Centre in Fife is a popular tourist attraction that aims to educate and entertain visitors with a diverse range of animal species, with an emphasis on deer. The park is currently home to 14 different species of deer as well as birds of prey, wildcats and wolves.
Review of The Scottish Deer Centre
Set in 55 acres of lovely Fife countryside, The Scottish Deer Centre is an animal conservation park that looks after 14 species of deer from around the world as well as wolves, otters, wildcats, and birds of prey.
The park is one of the most family-friendly places I’ve visited and it seems to be set up to entertain children almost at the same level as conserving the animals.
Once inside you’ll find a varied collection of creatures from across the globe with wolves, brown bears, Asian otters, northern lynx, various birds of prey and more all vying for your attention in enclosures that try to recreate what they’d be used to if they were living in the wild.
Thankfully there are strong fences between these enclosures so they can’t get to each other, which is probably a good idea seeing as the wolves aren’t kept that far from the red deer. Can you imagine the carnage if they got out?
But the main draw to this attraction are the deer (…well, obviously…) and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to get up close to them during your visit.
The park can be easily walked around via the wheelchair-friendly paths and the deer will come bounding over if they think you’ve got food for them, which is great because unlike a lot of animal attractions, at The Scottish Deer Centre you’re encouraged to interact with them.
The set-up is similar to East Links Family Park where you can get up close and personal with the animals by feeding them bags of food pellets, and in a similar vein to the East Lothian park you can buy the pellets near the entrance.
As soon as the deer see you with the snacks they’ll come running over, although being semi-wild animals they can be a little skittish if you try to touch them. It’s quite an experience though and kids will love feeding these gentle creatures.
There’s a definite educational element to this attraction as well (which is something I highly commend) and the Scottish Deer Centre is actively involved with breeding programs to conserve all species of deer, just like the RZSS have accomplished over at Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park.
They really do offer a great day out, and as a family attraction you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend an afternoon than visiting the Scottish Deer Centre – and to my mind mums and dads will enjoy it just as much as the kids.
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Things to do at The Scottish Deer Centre
The enclosures are very well-maintained and they’re a real pleasure to walk through, with deer taking up the majority of the site and bears, lynx, raptors (the bird type, not the Jurassic Park type…) and wild cats living in the other enclosures.
There are a few seating areas to stop and take a break during your walk around the park and once you’ve completed a circuit you can send the kids away to burn off some energy on the go-kart track and the indoor play park.
The indoor barns play park is particularly well done and as it’s indoors the younger members of the family will be able to enjoy their visit whatever the weather is doing. It’s a nice touch having a covered area like this and it means you won’t have a wasted day if the skies turn grey.
They’ve even put picnic tables in there so you can eat a packed lunch hidden away from the often miserable Scottish weather. I only wish all other family attractions in Scotland would think to put a cover over their picnic benches.
There’s also a falconry area with a beautiful collection of birds where the keepers put on daily shows so you’ll get to watch them swooping about up close. Next to that is an enclosure with some playful otters and yet again there are regular feeding shows to watch.
Families will likely want to take a picnic along with them as there are a couple of outside eating areas, but there’s also a nice little courtyard cafe if you fancy something cooked on-site.
The courtyard includes a decent shop that sells everything from whisky to clothes and a really good selection of home-grown locally-produced food.
The Scottish Deer Centre is a first-class tourist attraction and it gets a massive thumbs-up from me mainly because the keepers have got so much pride and enthusiasm for the animals they look after. If they can instil even a tiny bit of that onto the children who visit I think our wildlife might have a bright future yet.
- It’s great fun feeding the deer, and the falconry and otter displays are superb. If you like animals you’ll love the Scottish Deer centre.
- I love the fact there are animals other than deer at the park. The Scottish wildcats, in particular, are a real show-stealer.
- Kids will love this attraction, partly because of the cute furry critters but also thanks to the children’s play park. This attraction is very, very family-friendly.
- This is one of the few attractions I’d recommend visiting at the weekend rather than mid-week as the Scottish Deer Centre hosts regular school tours which means it’s often packed with hordes of excitable children Monday to Friday.
- There’s an on-site cafe but there’s also a covered picnic area. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash consider packing a picnic.
- If you’re looking for an entire day of family-friendly activities you might consider heading north on the A91 to Scone Palace which is a huge historic building/castle that both adults and kids will love exploring. Alternatively, head east to St. Andrews Cathedral for an equally interesting historic attraction.
The Scottish Deer Centre,
Bow of Fife,
Photo gallery and video
Things to do near the Scottish Deer Centre
- Hill of Tarvit Mansion and Garden. Cupar KY15 5PB. 10-minute drive. A large Edwardian mansion that was originally built in the 17th-century, now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. The house and landscaped gardens are open to the public for self-guided tours.
- Blackhouse Rossie Estate. Collessie KY15 7UZ. 7-minute drive. Country estate and manor house. The gardens offer a range of activities including a putting green, garden and woodland walking trails, a garden café and more.
- Lindores Abbey and Distillery. Abbey Rd, Newburgh, Cupar KY14 6HH. 13-minute drive. Lindores Abbey has links to the earliest written references to Scotch whisky. The distillery offers tours around the modern whisky-making complex as well as apothecary experiences where you can make your own spirit.
- Lomond Hills Regional Park. East Lomond KY15 7AE. 20-minute drive. An expansive park with several walking trails and a large reservoir. The park is easily accessed thanks to a road that runs through it and a car park located in the centre.
- Falkland Palace. East Port, Falkland, Cupar KY15 7BY. 14-minute drive. Renaissance palace that was the country residence of Mary Queen of Scots. The palace is open to the public for tours and the grounds feature formal gardens, an orchard and the oldest surviving tennis court in the world.
More places to visit in Central Scotland
- Loch Leven – Kinross: Complete Visitor GuideLoch Leven is a large expanse of water situated in the rural Scottish county of Perth and Kinross. The National Nature Reserve is renowned for the number of wildfowl that live there and in fact, it’s home to more breeding ducks than anywhere else in Europe.
- Culross – Fife: Complete Visitor GuideThe historic village of Culross is situated on the banks of the Firth of Forth where it overlooks the petrochemical works of Grangemouth to the south and the Longannet power station to the west.
- Ben Lawers – Perth & Kinross: Complete Visitor GuideScotland’s 10th-highest Munro is one of Central Scotland’s most popular tourist hotspots, famed not only for the fantastic walks to the massif summit but also for the wonderful views visitors get to enjoy along the way.
- Schiehallion Mountain – Perthshire: Complete Visitor GuideSchiehallion mountain lies between Loch’s Tay, Rannoch, and Tummel roughly 10 miles north-west of Aberfeldy in Perthshire, and it’s renowned amongst Scotland’s hillwalkers as being one of the easiest Munro’s to ‘bag’ in the country.