Speyside and the Cairgorm National Park is a magnet for tourists with truly something for everyone! Children make core memories with their families when they are young and that’s why they return as adults with their kids in tow. There is no shortage of activities and you will probably have to visit several times to squeeze everything in!!!.
Landmark Forrest Adventure Park
If you are coming to stay with us and have children of any age the Landmark has to be top of your list. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s worth a visit as an adult for the water slides and the forest tower. The rope courses are also great fun with a low-level version if you don’t quite have the courage for the big one!
You can easily spend a whole day in the park whether you take a packed lunch or dine on-site.
We are blessed with some terrific courses from our little own 9 hole in Carrbridge to the Spey Valley Championship Course which features Scotland’s longest par 5 at 635 yds. A little further south are the courses at Newtonmore and Kingussie, and just a short drive away are Boat of Garten Golf Club, the Abernethy Golf Club at Nethybridge and Grantown on Spey Golf Club. Green fees start from £18 and some of the courses hire out clubs if you can’t fit yours in the car beside all your luggage.
Family Quad Biking
There are a couple of operators in the area but our favourite is Cairngorm Quad Treks who operate from the Dalraddy Estate just 10 minutes south of Aviemore. Children as young a 9 can ride on their own mini quad and the course is really fun with amazing views across the Spey and up to the mountains. You’ll ride in the forest, across open fields, down by the railway and even through a river!! You’ll maybe even have to dodge some sheep on your adventure.
Definitely worth adding to your to-do list and the kids will love it. They also operate in the winter so you can even do this one on the snow!! www.cairngormquadtreks.com
We are blessed with two wonderful watersports facilities in Loch Insh Outdoor Centre and Loch Morlich Watersports. Children and adults can try their hand at paddle-boarding, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing, and if that seems like too much effort then why not just hire a pedalo for an hour to explore the Loch side. Wetsuits and all safety equipment are provided and lessons are available for anyone wishing to really perfect their skills.
Speyside Malt Whisky Trail
On the whisky trail of Speyside, you’ll find more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries, each with its own warm welcome and an invitation to see, smell, taste and absorb the magic of whisky. Each whisky distillery on the trail follows its own traditions, lore and recipes for everything from malting the barley to the height and size of its stills. The unique characteristics of each Speyside whisky distillery results in delightful, hand-crafted whisky from each one. All offer visitors a sample of the finished product and some include an informative nosing and tasting while others give an insight into the complex art of blending whisky and malt. Visit some of the biggest names in the business including Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, and you can even stop at a cooperage to see the oak barrels used to age the whisky being hand-crafted.
Visit the beach!
Yes, you read it right. We have our very own beach on the banks of Loch Morlich which is every bit as good as the Meditteranean on a hot summer’s day. There’s great facilities including showers to clean the sand off your feet and you won’t go hungry thanks to the food at the Boathouse Café or nearby Pine Marten Bar.
Speyside is a mecca for mountainbiking. Apart from an abundance of leisurely paths through the forest there are some top class trail centres in the area including Glenlivet and Wolftrax. Cairngorm Mountain have just opened a new bike park with specially designed downhill courses for beginners to more experienced riders. There are two magic carpet converyor uplifts to save your weary legs the effort of pedaling up to the top and for the more dedicated rider there are purpose built climb trails to take you to the top of upper blue and red trails.
If you don’t have your own bikes or can’t transport them then why not hire from us when you arrive. We have a selection of bikes for adults and children with Hamax seats for toddlers. Helmets and knee/elbow protectors are supplied. There are lots of paths and forrest walks nearby which are perfect for cycling in safety. www.carrbridgebikehire.co.uk
Cairngorm Mountain & Reindeer Herd
No visit to the area is complete without a drive up to Cairngorm Mountain for a ramble on the hill and to soak up the amazing views. You can ride the funicular railway to the summit, dine in the Ptarmigan mountain top restaurant and the kids will love the opportunity to go tubing in the adventure park. On your way up why not stop off to see the reindeer herd which roam freely on the hill. They are cared for and managed from a paddock at Glenmore which you will pass on the way up the mountain road. Remember that they are very busy in December due to their work with Santa Clause!! www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk/
Hire an all-terrain mobility scooter for fun forest walks
Nana’s and Grandad’s or any relative with mobility issues can join the family on an adventure walk in the forest thanks to the services provided by Highland Mobility Scooter Hire. Their all-terrain mobility scooters are capable of coping with the woodland paths around Carrbridge, Rothiemurchus and Glenmore. You can have a scooter delivered to your accommodation or for a small fee they can meet you at a pre- arranged location to hand the scooter over.
If you want something a bit more sedate to get around Aviemore or to put in the boot of the car for a day trip to Inverness then they also have smaller models to suit. www.highlandmobilityscooterhire.co.uk
Highland Wildlife Park
The safari park and zoo at Kingussie is well worth a visit. Polars bears, tigers and leopards are all on display along with camels, reindeer, pine martens, wolves and a whole host of creatures in a beautiful rural setting.
Walking and Rambling
With the finest scenery at your doorstep, you don’t even need the car or public transport to start your short walk before breakfast or your full days trekking. The lochs, forrests, hills and rivers are all accessible by foot from our lodge site. If you fancy going further afield, there is an endless supply of signposted routes and walks with convenient parking.
There is much to keep the ‘twitchers’ happy because of the variety of terrain in the region. From mountains to wet lands and everything in between, the area attracts birds of prey, family favourites such a woodpeckers and cuckoos as well as a variety of ground nesting birds. We have our very own family of ducks which frequent the lochan in the grounds and if you visit the RSPBs Boat of Garten Osprey Centre in spring/summer you will hopefully see the birds nesting from the specially constructed hide.
The River Spey is probably one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in the world. With steep channels to broad meandering flood plains it offers unrivalled fishing along it’s entire length. You need a permit to fish and they can be obtained from several different locations depending on which sections you want to fish. Details can be found on the RiverSpey.org site. www.riverspey.org/fishing/river-spey-angling-associations/
Photography and Painting
The ever changing light and weather, from glorious sun-drenched blue skies to moody and awe-inspiring landscapes, give the photographer and artist a limitless backdrop on which to hone their skills. Whether you prefer to trek for miles, or find somewhere a few yards from the road, the surrounding area will satisfy everyone.