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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

This, the largest national park in the UK at 4,528sq km, covers almost 10 percent of Scotland. The land is blanketed in ancient Caledonian pine forest and heather-clad moorland, scarred by deep glens, and you’ll find five of Scotland’s six highest mountains here.

It’s a world-class adventure playground for skiers, munro-baggers and mountain-bikers, and is one of the best places in Britain for spotting wildlife, including Britain’s largest mammal, the red deer, plus golden eagles, ospreys, and pine martins.

While you’re there 

Bag an effortless (summer) Munro by taking the funicular up Cairn Gorm, the 6th highest Scottish mountain. To reach the summit you have to pay for a guided walk. Alternatively, walk it all for free, from the car park.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

The Cairngorms is a year-round destination depending on what you want to do.

Aviemore, Scotland’s most famous ski resort and sports capital, is a good base and the jumping off point for skiåers, snowboarders, munro-baggers and tourists generally. Its streets are lined with specialist mountaineering and outdoor equipment stores and you can pick up visitor information on activities, walking routes and local attractions. There are nine visitor information centres and 10 ranger bases.

When to do it

The National Park is open all year round. The activities you will be able to do will depend on the season and weather conditions.  Skiers and snow-boarders obviously have a fixed season in winter. Summer is high season for families and walkers.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Fife Arms

Braemar , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[10.9 miles]

This Victorian hotel in Braemar is the place to stay for those seeking a sumptuous, maximalist, modern art-clad Highland hideaway.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Ballater, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[21.5 miles]

Queen Victoria’s favourite tipple was said to be Scotch whisky and claret. Nudging up to Balmoral, her beloved holiday home in Royal Deeside, this picturesque stone distillery, in the shadow of the majestic Munro, Lochnagar, was founded in 1826.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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