The Cairngorm National Park is the largest national park in the UK, covering 3800km of wild and unspoilt countryside. It contains a whopping 10 national nature reserves and 4 out of 5 of Britain’s highest mountains. It’s a great place for families to reconnect with nature, and have an adventure exploring this unique environment which has been voted one of the Top 20 places to visit in the world by National Geographic Traveller magazine. Read on for a guide to the best family friendly places to visit in the Cairngorms.
1. Loch Morlich
When the sun is shining, there is nowhere better to be than Loch Morlich beach. This is the UK’s highest beach near Aviemore, and is a white sandy beach fringed by pine forest and mountains. During the summer months, there is sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and caneoing. There is also a 3.5 mile bike ride / walk around the edge of the Loch.
There are some great family friendly walks in the Cairngorms which aren’t as strenuous as some of the long distance or mountain trails in the area. Glenmore Forest Park has lots of easy walks including the buggy friendly walk up to the famous Green Loch, and the circular walk around Loch Morlich. Other family friendly walks include the Osprey Walk at Loch Garten, the Wildcat walk around Newtonmare and Anagach Woods in Grantown. There are also good walks for families at Loch Insh.
3. Go Pony Trekking
Horseback is a great way to explore the Cairngorms, and gets you to places which 4 wheels can’t take you. Alvie Stables offers superb riding in the Cairngorms National Park and caters for novice and experienced riders. Families are a speciality and children over the age of 3 are welcome.
4. The Strathspey Steam Railway
Take a trip back in time and travel on a steam train from Aviemore to the Boat of Garten and Broomhill. There isn’t a lot at Broomhill but you could take your bikes and cycle the 5 / 6 miles back from the Boat of Garten to Aviemore.
5. Landmark Forest Adventure Park
The Landmark Forest Adventure Park is a great day out for families in the Cairngorms. Featuring rides, the Red Squirrel Nature Trail, a Butterfly House, Lost Labyrinth and lots of climbing attractions, families will have a jam-packed day out here!
6. The Highland Safari Park
See over 200 animals including Hamish, the first polar bear to be born in the UK in 25 years at the Highland Safari Park. This fantastic day out includes a drive around the safari park followed by a walking tour around the rest of the park. There are loads of animals to see including big cats, polar bears, Scottish wildcats and beavers.
7. Loch Ness
Not strictly the Cairngorms, but Loch Ness (and the monster!) is less than 1 hours drive away from the Cairngorms. Definitely worth a day out!
8. The Highland Folk Museum
This superb open air museum has over 30 historic houses and loads of actors which bring the history of the Highlands to life. And it’s free!
Rothiemurchus is a large estate in the Cairngorms with loads of activities to enable you to explore this area. These include a hairy coo safari, red deer feeding and quad biking. It is also the home of the famous Loch An Eilein (loch of the island) which is a stunning loch surrounded by forest and hills with a magical island ruin in the middle.
10. RPSB Loch Garten
RSPB Loch Garten is the ideal place to see ospreys when they return to Scotland to breed. Children can use the binoculars and telescopes to see the birds in their nest whilst exploring the trails in this Caledonian Forest. A great day out for bird lovers!
Can you recommend anymore family friendly things to do in the Cairngorms?