Just outside Aviemore, you can see the freely grazing reindeer herd at Glen More. The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain's only herd of reindeer, found free ranging in the Cairngorm mountains. These extremely tame and friendly animals are a joy to all who come and see them. There are currently around 130 reindeer, approximately 50 of them ranging the Cairngorm Mountains and the remainder on the Glenlivet Estate. There is a daily visit to the reindeer, weather permitting, departing from the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre at 11.00 am. There is an additional visit at 2.30 pm during the Summer months. During the Winter months, this may be dependent on whether the Reindeer can be found. When it’s said they’re free-ranging, they mean it! Under the supervision of trained guides, visitors can feed and stroke the reindeer. They are not camera shy, so you'll be able to take some memorable snaps.
You might like to embark upon a scenic journey by steam train to Boat of Garten and then on to Broomhill (the station used as Glenbogle in the TV series “Monarch of the Glen”. The Srathspey Railway Company operates nostaligic trips between the two villages from March to October and through the festive season. The Company is housed in the recently-refurbished Aviemore mainline railway station, a charming Victorian building typical of its epoch. Individuals, couples, families or indeed larger groups will enjoy the experience and whether you require a light snack or lunch, their new catering service is there to serve your needs. The Strathspey Steam Railway line is currently being extended to Grantown-on-Spey.
The road up Glen More past Loch Morlich leads to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway which was opened in December 2001 to replace the old chair lift. At the top there is a panoramic restaurant, visitor exhibition and shop. On the slopes of Cairngorm, the funicular railway allows visitors a view of the high, wild habitat of the plateau. (As a conservation measure, there is no access to the plateau from the railway top station). In winter, the funicular services the Cairngorm skiing area and can be very busy.
Shopping, Eating and Drinking
The village of Aviemore offers fine shopping facilities for the outdoor enthusiast together with a range of local retailers offering gifts and crafts in addition to essential services. The village is also well served by a variety of restaurants, pubs, bistros and cafes serving a la carte, table d'hote to light snacks, including Scottish, Italian, Chinese or Indian menus. There is also a range of local services including car hire, a pharmacy and post office. If you are looking for a supermarket you will find one. If you want outdoor or skiing clothing or equipment, you will find plenty to choose from. And you will also find no shortage of shops appealing to passing tourists. For a quiet or lively night out, there are plenty of pubs to choose from. Café Mambo and RDs, both on the main street are the more lively pubs with music and deals throughout the week. For a quieter drink try the Winking Owl or MacKenzies. The Vault, Aviemore’s nightclub is located under the bank on the main street. It is open Thursday through to Saturday and will allow you to dance the night away.
The Cairngorm area is the ideal place for outdoor activities. Apart from the mountains themselves, there's also the Glenmore Forest Park to explore, watersports on Loch Morlich and Loch Insh, plus fishing, skiing, cycling and golf. Aviemore provides the perfect place to base an outdoor holiday providing snowboarding to kayaking, quad biking to clay pigeon shooting and a range of unbelievably beautiful walks almost everywhere you go.
The Cairngorm Ranger Service operates a programme of walks starting from the Ranger Base (located in the Mountain Railway Base Station) at Coire Cas. To check current details contact Ranger Base 01479 861703.
For that rainy day, the Leisure centre at Macdonald Highland Resort has a swimming pool with flume. It also hosts a techno gym and games room and has beauty/therapy treatments for that holiday treat.
As well as the red squirrel, pine marten, ospreys, badgers and other wild animals that have their natural home around Aviemore, you can experience Scottish wildlife past and present in the spectacular setting of the Highland Wildlife Park. You drive around the Main Reserve in your own car and then investigate the walk-round area by foot. The wildlife park is only 7 miles south of Aviemore the B9152 between Aviemore and Kingussie. Well worth a day out.
For a cake and a coffee with the chance to watch red squirrels, pine martins and birds – visit the Inshriach Potting Shed tea room, just outside Aviemore on the road to Feshiebridge. The cakes are yummy and being so close to the wildlife from the viewing area is amazing. Also from Sept/Oct 2017 they will be releasing recipes and baking tips on their blog. https://thepottingshedtearoom.com/blog
At the Cairngorm Brewery company, craftsmen brew the “Champion Beer of Scotland” and the “Champion Specialty Beer of Britain”, together with a range of other award winning ales, both cask conditioned and bottled. To date they have brewed eighteen different beers of which seven are available throughout the year. A further twelve beers are currently released as seasonals. The company does free tours of the brewery. Give them a call to arrange a tour - 01479 812222.
The Centre is based only 3 miles outside Aviemore on the Ski road towards the funicular railway. There is a small museum dedicated to Alec "Scotty" Allan. Top "Mushers" & extreme explorers from around the world have visited & signed photos that can be seen when you visit the museum area at the centre. As well as meeting the sleddogs and learning about the sport, you can take trips into the forest (subject to weather). Visit their website for information.
Based in Carrbridge, only 6 miles from Aviemore, Landmark has an amazing range of great attractions all sited in 30 acres of ancient Caledonian Pinewoods. The attractions include their Wildwatercoaster, a runaway Raft Ride for all ages in all weathers. The Red Squirrel Nature Trail with Treetop Trail and wildlife feeding area. 'Ant City', a giant adventure playground. The Pinnacle climbing wall. RopeworX(c) aerial challenge course. Skydive(c) 'parachute' jump. Electric mini-cars, remote controlled trucks. A working steam powered Sawmill. Clydesdale Horse demonstrations. Giant viewing tower. Fun Forest Maze. Microworld exhibition, Shop, Restaurant and Snack Bar. It's even fun in wet weather!
Participate in the working day of a Highland Shepherd and his dogs. Watch up to 8 dogs working sheep & ducks. Help to shear a sheep & bottle feed orphan lambs. Meet the friendly collie pups. Just outside Kincraig, 10 mins from Aviemore and Kingussie.
Cairngorm is Scotland's longest-established ski resort and, though it cannot compare to anything in the Alps or North America, it remains Scotland's largest ski area, with 28 runs and over 20 miles of pistes. When the sun shines, the snowfall is good and the crowds are thin, it can be a very satisfying experience. The season normally runs from January until the snow disappears, which can be as late as April. The Cairngorm Ski Area is about nine miles southeast of Aviemore, above Loch Morlich in Glen More Forest Park, and reached by a frequent bus service. You can rent skis and other equipment from the Day Lodge at the foot of the ski area or from Ski Road Skis at Inverdruie (on the way up to the mountain). You buy a lift pass from the Day Lodge at the top carpark. If there's enough snow, the area around Loch Morlich and Rothiemurchus Estate provides good cross-country skiing. The tourist office provides a free Cairngorm Piste Map & Ride Guide leaflet and a Ski Scotland brochure which lists ski schools and rental facilities.
Kincraig - Adventures on horseback. Riding through beautiful countryside. tel: 07831 495 397 0r (01540) 651 409
Perfect indoor centre on rainy days - Mega play hut with various-level soft climb areas, three mini golf courses, a games room and cafe. Beside the Hilton Coylumbridge on the ski road. tel: 01479 813 081
Situated at the foot of the Cairngorms, Loch Morlich is situated right at the heart of the National Park. They have a range of watersport courses, lessons and hiring of equipment. Go sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or canoeing - have a fun day on the water!! You can book online on their website.
There are so many walks in and around the Cairngorms National Park that you really are spoilt for choice. From short and long forest walks to the climbing of the Munros and Corbetts in the area. The views are stunning, walking in this area is a must for any tourist!
School of Snowsports provides as little or as much as you need for your snowsports up Cairngorm Mountain. From simple equipment hire to full packages (equipment hire, ski passes and lessons) and everything in between.
Full details can be found on their website below or call them on 01479 811 066.
The Rothiemurchus Estate welcomes visitors with something for everyone, including a fish farm, guided walks, safari tours, clay pigeon shooting and lots more. Naturally, walking is very popular, with walks of all grades, notably at lower level in the Rothiemurchus pinewoods.