The Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s largest national park and it has masses to do year round.
It is in the top 20 places to visit in the world according to National Geographic !
The Park is home to ancient pine forests, arctic mountain tops, lochs, rivers and moorland as well as some of the most iconic wildlife, and a quarter of the UK’s threatened species. In fact, 50% of the Park is designated as being of national and international importance for nature conservation.
It is 3800 sq kilometres in area, 40% larger than the Lake District and twice the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs & 1.4m visit it each year. It contains four of Scotland’s five highest mountains, is home to 3 of the country’s ski areas and has significant stretches of 2 of Scotland’s major rivers (The Spey and Dee).
From castles, distilleries and museums to gentle strolls and extreme sports, there is an abundance of exciting activities for the entire family to learn and enjoy throughout the year. Team that with the high quality food and drink (including beef and lamb, salmon and whisky) the area produces and it’s easy to see what brings people here. It was sadly the backdrop to the late Queen’s final journey from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh. She loved this place and it was a fitting sendoff.
It is truly stunning place!
Cairngorms National Park at a glance
- Water sports on the river dee (1hr) or the lochs further into the park
- Snow sports and The Lecht (1hrs 26 mins) and Glenshee (1 hr 40mins)
- Walking, Hiking and cycling – There are so many routes to choose. These can be a lovely stroll through the amazing landscape or tackle Ben Macdui (2hrs 30 mins away) the second highest mountain in the UK
- Distilleries- the famous Lochnagar Distillery is 1hr 30 mins away
- Royal Deeside (1hr)
- Balmoral Castle (1 hr 14mins)
- Beautiful Villages
- Braemar Gathering (1 hr 30mins)
Things to Do
The Cairngorms is a natural playground. The area offers watersports, snowsports some incredible walking, cycling routes and has 12 golf courses. It’s even home to the only dog sled centre, and the first permanent bridge-based bungee jump, in the UK. It is a feast for the senses and whatever sense you want to stimulate you will find the experience here !
Skiing in Cairngorms National Park (1 hr 30 Harestone)
Aberdeenshire can offer skiing on your doorstep. The ski centres offer skiing in winter and walking and cycling in summer!
This is one of the few places in the world where you could ski and surf in the same day!
The Lecht 2090, found at 2090 feet above sea level has 12 lifts and all equipment and clothing can be hired on the day.
Glenshee has the UK’s largest lift system home to 22 lifts and its 36 runs extend over three valleys and four mountains. The centre also has its own snow sport school, making it suitable for beginners through to advanced skiers/snowboarders.
Watersports Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is blessed with clean rivers and sparkling lochs, set against a backdrop of high mountains. It is in these mountains that many of Scotland’s iconic rivers are born from the Dee to the Don.
Fishing, sailing, windsurfing, paddle sports, rafting, wild swimming or the excitement of gorge walking are all within easy reach of many of the towns and villages in the Cairngorms National Park, including Aviemore, Angus Glens, Royal Deeside, Glenlivet, Atholl and Glenshee areas.
What’s more, there are two dedicated watersports centres in gorgeous lochside locations, one at Loch Insh and another at Loch Morlich, as well as many watersports guides who can help hone your skills.
Wildlife in the Cairngorms
You won’t find a better place to spot wildlife in the UK, especially rare breeds, as the Cairngorms is home to a quarter of Britain’s threatened species.
Want to see a wildcat, capercaillie, red squirrel, osprey, pine marten, golden eagle or rutting deer? In the Cairngorms you can, with the 9 national nature reserves across the park protecting an amazing array of wildlife, so you can see them up close and personal.
Cycling and Walking Cairngorms
Cycling and biking is one of the best ways to explore and discover the sights, nature and wildlife in the Park. All types of cycling is catered for here, from family friendly routes, stunning rides on quiet roads to some of the best mountain bike trails in Scotland for all ages and abilities.
For hundreds of years paths have played an important part in the Park’s rich heritage. Whether you are a walker, cyclist or horse rider there is so much choice from high mountains to wide straths, woods and water come to explore at your own pace.
The Cairngorms National Park is full of diverse, distinct and characterful villages and towns just waiting to be explored
The Victorian village of Ballater sits in the heart of Royal Deeside, Scotland at the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park, making it one of Scotland’s most scenic visitor spots.
With cosy cafes, quality restaurants, excellent shopping and great links to outdoor adventure, including hiking, climbing and skiing it is the perfect Cairngorms starting point. Golf can be played in the beautiful surroundings of the 18-hole Ballater golf club and fishing is available, with the appropriate permits, on the River Dee.
There are many castles located close to Ballater, the most famous being Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the Royal Family, described by Queen Victoria as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’. Other castles close by include Braemar Castle, Crathes Castle and Craigievar Castle.
Braemar is located at the heart of the UK’s largest National Park in the Cairngorms. Whether it is walking, snow sports, wildlife watching, visiting Balmoral Castle, a whisky distillery tour or attending the famous Braemar Gathering, there is so much to discover.
Why not try the exquisite Fife arms for an al a carte experience!
One of the Top 20 places in the world for a reason….
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