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Snowboarding at Glenshee Snowsports Centre, Aberdeenshire © Steven McKenna/Ski-Scotland

Holidays

6 Winter Snow Holidays in Scotland

If you usually jet off to Europe or beyond for your winter snow holiday, why not plan a Scottish 'snowcation' at one of our six fabulous mountain ski centres instead this year?

We appreciate you might have some questions if you're new to Scottish snowsports, such as when can I ski in Scotland? Where should I stay when skiing in Scotland? What months does it snow in Scotland and where is the best snow in Scotland?

Read on for answers to these questions, ideas for the top six winter staycations and the best ski centres in Scotland.

Cairngorm Mountain, Highlands

Cairngorm Snowboarder

Cairngorm Mountain is found near the busy Highland town of Aviemore and offers amazing views over the UK's largest national park. The centre is easily accessed from the central belt by rail, road and bus. Ski holidays in the Cairngorms are ideal for skiers and boarders of all abilities.

There are 12 lifts and 32 runs, two mountain cafés (including the UK's highest), a shop, mountain garden and extensive car parking. There's also a great selection of snowsports schools, instructors, equipment hirers and other activities to choose from, at the centre and in the area, for the whole family to enjoy on holiday.

Overnight

There are loads of options for overnight stays here. Book one of the glamping pods at Eriskay Guest House in Aviemore. The Cairngorm Hotel offers lovely rooms and substantial meals. Or head for Fraoch Lodge in Boat of Garten, for a great family winter holiday stay and tasty home-cooked food. Alternatively, get closer to the slopes at Badaguish Cairngorm Outdoor Centre - their wigwams and lodges are just five miles away.

Eating Out

You'll not go hungry in and around Aviemore! The popular Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore serves outstanding meals. The Boat Inn & Restaurant offers delicious dishes and a bar with over 50 whiskies. Call into the Druie Café on your way too or from the slopes, or if you just want some satisfying fish and chips - head for Smiffy's in the town centre.

See and Do

There are great mountain bike trails at nearby Glenlivet Bike Trails and Laggan Wolftrax - hire a bike from Mike's Bikes in Aviemore. For rest days, take a tour of Glenlivet Distillery (winter opening from 1 December), or test your nerves at TreeZone Aviemore (open weekends during winter). The family can also go wild at the Highland Wildlife Park, wildlife-watching with Speyside Wildlife or visit the unique Cairngorm Reindeer Centre at Glenmore.

Glencoe Mountain, Highlands

Glencoe Mountain Uplift

Established in 1956, Glencoe Mountain is Scotland's oldest snowsports centre and one of the best ski centres in Scotland for experienced skiers and boarders. The views from the Meall a' Bhuiridh Massif are outstanding, and you'll also find the UK's steepest black run, the 'Flypaper', here. 

There are eight lifts serving 20 runs, equipment hire, snowsports school, a base area and mid-mountain café. If you are looking for somewhere to go sledging in Scotland, Glencoe Mountain offer a free sledging area and you don't even need to bring your own sledge, they provide them! There are 16 on-site micro-lodges (sleeping up to 6 people) and electric hook-up for caravans and motorhomes available year-round. 

Overnight

Aside from on-site accommodation at the centre, the Kingshouse Hotel is just over the road and offers stunning views of Buachaille Etive Mor. Further down the glen, The Clachaig Inn is dominated by mountains and renowned for its warm welcome. Spectacularly situated, at the gateway to Glencoe, the Bridge of Orchy Hotel is a popular option for outdoors folks. There are more overnight options in Glencoe village, Onich and Tyndrum.

Eating Out

Glencoe Café in the centre of the village offers Scottish roasted coffee and delicious home-baking. Nearby, in Ballachulish, the Laroch Restaurant & Bar has an enviable reputation for creating stunning dishes. For a real taste of Lochaber, head for Lochleven Seafood Café by Onich, where they cook what they catch. The Bothy Bar in Kinlochleven offers delicious food and stunning views and a short drive to the Real Food Café in Tyndrum is recommended for their amazing fish and chips. The Discover Glencoe website offers more options.

See and Do

A visit to the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven (for the world's largest indoor ice-climbing wall) is a must for outdoors enthusiasts. There are walks aplenty in this stunning part of Scotland, just remember to #ThinkWINTER if you're heading into the mountains, and Fort William with its many attractions and Nevis Range are close by.

Glenshee Snowsports Centre, Aberdeenshire

Glenshee uplift

Spread over four mountains and three valleys, Glenshee is the UK's largest snowsports area. Located between Blairgowrie and Braemar, the 'fairy glen' is the closest centre to Edinburgh, offering outdoor snow activities for all. Twenty-two lifts take skiers and boarders up to 3,500 feet. Experienced skiers will love the black-graded 'Tiger' and 'Sunnyside' is perfect for intermediates.

There are three cafés here - Tea@the Shee is open all year and two mountain cafés open during the season. A catering trailer will also operate during the 20/21 season. There's on-site equipment hire, Glenshee Ski & Board School offers lessons and a small shop sells essentials.

Overnight

Rest your head near the slopes at Spittal of Glenshee, where you'll find Dalmunzie Castle Hotel, Dalmunzie House, Gulabin Lodge and Glenbeag Mountain Lodges. Down the glen, Dalnoid Cottages and Treehouses recently featured as one of the best treehouse stays in the world in the London Evening Standard! The Strathardle Inn in Kirkmichael is also a great overnight option. There are many other places to stay, including the luxurious Fife Arms in Braemar.

Eating Out

The Kirky Bar & Restaurant in Kirkmichael, half an hour's drive south of Glenshee, serve delicious home-cooked food. Call into the Wee House of Glenshee on your way to or from the slopes. The Dalmore Restaurant in Blairgowrie serves excellent dishes, as does the Meikleour Arms Hotel & Restaurant or visit The Bothy in Braemar for lunch or a light bite.

See and Do

Fond of a G & T? Then don't miss Persie Distillery. If you prefer whisky, there are two distilleries in nearby Pitlochry. With many summits to reach, Glenshee is a paradise for well-equipped and experienced winter walkers - just remember to #ThinkWINTER. Dundee, the UK's first UNESCO City of Design, with it's many cultural attractions including the V&A, is half an hour from Blairgowrie or use Braemar as a base to explore lovely Royal Deeside.

The Lecht 2090, Moray Speyside

The Lecht snowboarders

Small and perfectly formed, The Lecht 2090 is accessed via one of the UK's highest roads running between Cockbridge and Tomintoul - you may have heard about it from weather broadcasts! It is arguably the best ski centre for families and beginners, and intermediate skiers and boarders are well catered for too.

The purpose-built Day Lodge houses all facilities under one roof including the ticket office, self-service restaurant, bar, equipment hire and the Boarderline shop. Out on the slopes, 13 lifts take skiers and boarders as high as 2,500 feet and around 60% of runs are blue-graded. The in-house Ski School offers lessons to suit all levels.

Overnight

For great value try the Smugglers Hostel in Tomintoul - the highest hostel in the Highlands. The hospitality at Hilton Grand Vacations at Craigendarroch Suites near Ballater is outstanding and they have luxurious lodges in the grounds. Or head for the comfort of the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey - it's also a great place to learn about the area's wildlife. There are many other places to stay near The Lecht.

Eating Out

Unwind after a day on the slopes, with something tasty from the Clachan Grill. Rothesay Rooms serve the finest flavours using the freshest Scottish produce. Enjoy a delicious brunch, lunch or home-baking at Rock Salt & Snails in Ballater or taste Scottish food with a contemporary twist at the Clockhouse Restaurant in Tomintoul.

See and Do

Try mountain biking at Glenlivet Bike Trails. Walk from Tomintoul to Scotland's Grand Canyon - at 660ft wide, 300ft high and 6 miles long, the Ailnack Gorge is nowhere near as big, but still a spectacular hidden gem. See the stars in Scotland's newest International Dark Sky Park, explore 90 miles of stories along the Snow Roads or visit some of Moray Speyside's many whisky distilleries.

Lowther Hills Ski Club, Dumfries & Galloway

Lowther Hills Ski Club

Not all of our centres are located in the north. Lowther Hills is a friendly, community-owned club located near two of Scotland's highest villages - Leadhills and Wanlockhead - in south-west Scotland, and is managed by volunteers.

To use the club's tows and changing facilities, you have to be a member but annual fees are modest, even if you're based further afield, and membership is open to all. Skiers and boarders should bring their own equipment, as there's no equipment hire here.

Overnight

The Wanlockhead Inn is Scotland's highest pub and offers glamping accommodation.  Blackaddie Country House Hotel combines high-class accommodation and award-winning food in nearby Sanquhar - they also offer cookery classes once a month. The Buccleuch Arms Hotel in Moffat offers lovely rooms and fine food in the Blue Coo Bistro and Bar or choose a luxurious stay in Cornhill Castle near Biggar.

Eating Out

The Wanlockhead Inn offers tasty pub grub and their own on-site produced beers from Lola Rose Brewery. There's a great selection of cafés in Sanquhar including Café A' the Airts, Burnside Tearoom and Harveys Café. For a fine dining option, head for the Limetree Restaurant at Hartfell Guest House in Moffat.

See and Do

Don't miss the mountain bike trails at Drumlanrig Castle, along with Rik's Bike Shed for bike hire, repairs and spares and 7stanes Ae and 7stanes Mabie are under an hour away. Crawick Multiverse near Sanquhar is a must-visit attraction. An ascent of nearby Tinto Hill, an ancient Iron Age fort, offers fine views, or walk alongside the Grey Mare's Tail near Moffat to reach stunning Loch Skeen. The walk can be extended to climb White Coomb.

Nevis Range, Highlands

Nevis Range Back Corries

Snowsports at Nevis Range, near Fort William take place high on the slopes of Aonach Mor - the UKs eighth highest mountain. This centre is home to the UK's only mountain gondola which takes visitors to a height of 650 metres, where the views over Lochaber are unsurpassed.

Thirty-two runs are accessed by 11 lifts and there is also great off-piste-itineraires snowsports available in Back Corries and Coire Dubh. There are two cafés here - the Pinemarten at the base station and the Snowgoose Restaurant and shop at 650 metres. Equipment hire if available at the base station.

Overnight

There are many places to stay in Lochaber. For a luxury break, enjoy the sumptuous comfort of Inverlochy Castle Hotel. The Ben Nevis Guest House is ideally located at the entrance to Glen Nevis, as is the Nevis Bank Inn. The Garrison boutique hotel offers chic, comfortable stays in the centre of town. For more modest lodgings, try the Ben Nevis Inn & Bunkhouse. And don't miss the luxury accommodation offered by Riverbeds in their stunning Wee Lodges and Seabed Lodges.

Eating Out

There is no shortage of great places to eat out in this area. The aforementioned Ben Nevis Inn offers lovely food, at the foot of Ben Nevis. For something fishy, don't miss The Crannog and the Wildcat Café on the High Street offers speciality coffees, teas and delicious plant-based food. For a special occasion, choose the Lime Tree An Ealdhain Restaurant.

See and Do

Lochaber is known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK and there are endless things to do outdoors all year round. Other attractions include the mighty Caledonian Canal with its amazing Neptune's Staircase. Take a short drive to the Commando Memorial above Spean Bridge for dramatic views of the Grey Corries. Walk beneath the Glenfinnan Viaduct and learn more about the history here at Glenfinnan Visitor Centre. Or discover the area's amazing geology at the Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre.