Twice the size of the Lake District, the Cairngorms National Park has more mountains, forest paths, rivers, lochs, wildlife hotspots, friendly villages and distilleries than you can possibly imagine.
So you want to get away from it all? Looking for extraordinary things to do that will thrill you? The mighty, majestic Cairngorms National Park is the place for you.
The Cairngorms are calling…
Mother Nature dealt the Cairngorms a hand full of aces. That's not fair, but that's how it is. Five of the UK's six highest mountains lie inside the park, and there are 55 Munros - mountains over 3,000 ft. There are huge forests of ancient native trees, cascading waterfalls, and more wildlife than you can shake a capercaillie at.
More people come to ski in the Cairngorms than at any other resort in the UK. Hillwalkers and rock-climbers will never run out of routes to try. There are oodles of top-class mountain-bike trails, cross-country skiing trails, pony treks and orienteering courses. Should you be into husky racing, well, you can do that here, too.
You can also enjoy some downtime amid the glorious scenery. Why not browse the bookshops and bars in Aviemore or make your way along the Malt Whisky Trail?
In just one day…
The Cairngorms National Park is huge, but from the bustling outdoor hub of Aviemore you could have all these adventures in just one day:
- Pretend you're Father Christmas and visit the UK's only free-grazing reindeer herd at Glen More. A present of a carrot might be appreciated.
- Take a ride on the highest railway in Britain. You'll step out of the top station at a giddy 1,097 m (3,599 ft) above sea level.
- Go windsurfing and have a smoothie at a beach cafe. It might be 40 miles from the sea, but Loch Morlich has its own golden sand beach, complete with watersports centre.
- Travel back in time on a steam train on the Strathspey Railway.
- You might just have time to fit in a reviving dram of single malt whisky at the Glenlivet Distillery at Tomintoul, part of the world renowned Malt Whisky Trail.
Take a waterside stroll
Where there are mountains there is usually water, and you'll find plenty of crashing waterfalls, chucking streams and hidden lochs to explore. Loch an Eilein is a jewel of a loch with a 13th century island castle. It has been voted Britain's Best Picnic Spot in a nationwide competition by Warburtons and the woodland path around its shores is suitable for motorised wheel chairs and off-road buggies.
Fancy a snowball fight in August?
The Cairngorm plateau is the highest, coldest and snowiest plateau in Britain. You can still see snow patches up here in the heat of summer, and in winter it is a place of savage beauty. The creatures that call this home have adapted to the harsh conditions - mountain hares, snow bunting, golden eagles, ptarmigan, capercaillie and wildcats all find shelter here amid the winter snows.
Be inspired by our natural wonders
The Higgs boson has been making science headlines the world over in recent years. The idea for this revolutionary idea popped into the head of physicist Peter Higgs while he was walking in the Cairngorms in 1964. So if you're looking for inspiration, come and walk through our wonderful hills and see what drops into your head!