Destination guide: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Heading up to the Scottish Highlands, with its beautifully rugged landscape and snow capped peaks, was a wonderful experience for us during the Easter holidays. We spent a lot of our time within the Cairngorms National Park as it is not only picturesque but also has lots to offer in terms of family attractions and activities. If you’re planning a trip to the Cairngorms, have a browse through the photos below for a glimpse of what you can expect.

If you’re interested in highland heritage, visit Blair Castle and Gardens, Blair Atholl

Arriving to the sound of bagpipes, we knew this was a day out which would give us an insight into the history of the Scottish highlands. Stretching from the medieval period, the castle has been adapted throughout the years, to suit the needs of the Atholl family. Chapel ruins, pretty stone bridges, woodland and a red deer meadow also lie within the castle grounds, as well as a very cool adventure playground. Read more about our trip to Blair Castle and Gardens.

For a fun family day out, visit Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Carrbridge

The adventure park has a really good mix of attractions for families with children of all ages, from the Ant City play area for younger kids, to the Skydive parachute jump simulation for thrill seeking teens! As well as the main attractions, there are walks through the forest including a tree top trail and a wildlife feeding area. The huge Forest Tower also gives amazing 360 degree views of the park and forest as well as the mountains in the distance – that is, if you’re brave enough to venture to the top! The butterfly house is well worth a visit too, with a pretty pond and tropical plants to admire. Read more about our day at Landmark Forest Adventure Park.

While you’re in the village of Carrbridge, it’s definitely worth seeing the very pretty 300 year old Bridge of Carr, the oldest stone bridge in the highlands.

To see an unusual range of animals, visit the Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie

It was great to see a range of different animals we hadn’t encountered at other zoos, such as polar bears and super-cute arctic foxes. Being within the Cairngorms National Park, the land is naturally rugged and hilly, creating interesting enclosures for the animals to explore. There were also some great viewpoints around the park, to take in the amazing sights of the snowy peaks in the distance. Read more about our visit to the Highland Wildlife Park.

To enjoy the views over the Cairngorms, visit Cairngorm Mountain Funicular Railway, Aviemore

The funicular railway transported us up the Cairngorm mountain to the top station and the Ptarmigan restaurant and viewing platform. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to see from the viewing platform on this occasion, but an information board showed us what we would have seen if it had been a clear day! Nevertheless, the funicular train had been a fun experience and we were able to send some postcards to family and friends from the highest post box in the British Isles. Read more about our experience of the Cairngorm Mountain Funicular Railway.

To meet Britain’s only free-ranging reindeer herd, visit Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, Glenmore

The Cairngorm reindeer herd was introduced to the Cairngorms from Sweden in 1952, the sub-arctic qualities of the mountains being an ideal home for the reindeer. The trip began at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre in Glenmore, from here we drove in convoy for around one mile, followed by a 30 minute walk up to where some of the reindeer were gathered. We were then able to approach them, hand feed them and even stroke the ones who were willing to be stroked. They were so gentle and friendly, and it was a wonderful experience to visit them in their natural environment. Read more about our adventure on the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre hill trip.

To relax (and maybe indulge in a spot of afternoon tea), visit Strathspey Railway, Aviemore

Departing from Aviemore, the train took us on a very picturesque journey through the Cairngorms National Park, passing through Boat of Garten and on to Broomhill Station, while we enjoyed a selection of delicious sandwiches, scones and cakes, plus tea. After allowing us to stretch our legs and take in the scenery, the train made the return journey to Aviemore, approximately a 2 hour all round trip. Read more about our indulgent afternoon on the Strathspey Railway.

 

What about the weather?

Our trip to Scotland took place in April and hats and gloves were a must! Going from a scorching hot day at Chester Zoo one day, to shivering our way around the Highland Wildlife Park the following day was quite a shock to the system! Luckily we had packed base layers, which got a lot of use over the week. We found walking boots and waterproof trousers very useful too. There was actually very little snow left on the mountains during our trip (which was a little disappointing as we haven’t had ‘proper’ snow at home for a few years), but when we returned home the following week we were surprised to hear there was heavy snowfall and the highlands had been covered in a fresh scattering of snow!

 

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

 

13 thoughts on “Destination guide: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

  • May 12, 2017 at 11:24 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts from the highlands of Scotland. They have all been filled with wonderful and varied days out. You really did make the most of your visit there. Your photos are gorgeous and show off the stunning scenery of the highlands. It sounds like you went well prepared for the changes in the weather and really made the most of your holiday. The Red Deer might have been my favourite part, though that 300 year old wall is very impressive too.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
  • May 13, 2017 at 8:33 am
    Permalink

    Looks like so much to see and do! We are planning a trip to Scotland later this year, hoping it warms up a bit first!

    Reply
  • May 13, 2017 at 9:13 am
    Permalink

    It is a beautiful part of the country. Been camping and walking as a student up there. Also spent family holidays there, staying in B&Bs which was abit more luxurious. I remember feeding the reindeers. Very unreal coming over the hill and finding them, even though we were expecting to. #CountryKids

    Reply
  • May 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm
    Permalink

    Cairngorms National Park is really picturesque! Love the photo of the Bridge of Carr it’s like something out of Lord of the Rings. What a fantastic adventure you had! We’d love to visit Scotland #CountryKids

    Reply
  • May 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm
    Permalink

    Oh we really must plan a trip to Scotland to explore.My kids are desperate to go to the Highland Wildlife centre especially. Mich x #Countrykids

    Reply
  • May 14, 2017 at 7:27 pm
    Permalink

    I absolutely love Scotland and we would love to visit Aviemore. We visited the East Coast this year. A really informative post and such beautiful photos too. Shared on twitter and pinned x

    Reply
  • May 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm
    Permalink

    I was born in Fort William, your post reminds me of how much I want to take my own kids to visit Scotland, but I don’t think I can face the drive from Hastings just yet! Lovely post 🙂 #countrykids

    Reply
  • May 15, 2017 at 4:49 am
    Permalink

    We’ve not been to the east of Scotland yet as we have been exploring the west. We have just come back from the glorious small isles and we were discussing exploring the mainland for a change next year. We always choose May for the time of the year because it’s normally warm enough to camp and the midges aren’t in force for the year! We saw wild tame (if there is such a thing) deer on Rum and think my now obsessed almost 2 year old would love the deer sanctuary!! May post this over to my OH as inspiration for my next holiday!! #countrykids

    Reply
  • May 15, 2017 at 9:41 am
    Permalink

    I was just saying to my husband that we needed to take the kids up there. And now your post is tempting me even further. I spent many childhood holidays in the Cairngorms visiting Aviemore, Blair Atholl etc. Such a beautiful part of the country, and so much to do! Thanks for the inspiration! #countrykids

    Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. I particularly loved reading about the bag pipes and reindeer. #CountryKids

    Reply
  • May 17, 2017 at 10:14 am
    Permalink

    The Cairngorms are so beautiful. We last visited them in April time too and I remember how quickly the weather changed as we drove around – one minute we would be in spring with beautiful sunshine and the next we were in the middle of a blizzard. We only had a brief stop in Aviemore (we were looking for gold postboxes at the time) but if we visit again, the funicular railway and Strathspey railway will be on my list of things to do! So lovely to more of the sights around the Cairngorms through your photos 🙂 #countrykids

    Reply
  • May 17, 2017 at 8:37 pm
    Permalink

    I would never have thought there were so many things to do! I can imagine us enjoying the same activities and would love to visit although the weather does always put me off a little bit. #CountryKids

    Reply

Leave a Reply