Why Visit Aviemore?
The thing we love most about Aviemore is just how much there is to do once the snow has gone, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts: hillwalking, low level walking, mountain biking, pony trecking, fishing, quad biking, kayaking, canoeing, segwaying, gorge walking, river kayaking and tubing . . . the list goes on and on!
Aviemore is at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park with plenty of activities for all ages throughout the year.
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Things to Do
Macdonald Spey Valley (Dalfaber) Resort – this is a 5 minute walk from the house and has swimming pool, gym, clubhouse bar and steak restaurant. We have a family membership which gives access to the pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and gym for 2 adults and 2 children (we don’t charge for this). The food in the bar and restaurant is superb. The resort also has activities such as badminton courts, squash courts, tennis courts, table tennis, snooker and a championship golf course – these all need to be paid for!
Strathspey Steam Train – Running at the back of the house, this is a firm favourite in our household – afternoon tea in 1st class is a particular treat! The train travels from Aviemore to Broomhill, stopping along the way at the lovely Boat of Garten. Round trips take 1hr 50 mins. During the summer months there are 3 round trips every day, and in the December there are Santa and Mince Pie Specials!
Cairngorms Mountain Railway (Funicular) – Scotland’s only funicular (mountain) railway allowing everyone, not matter what your abilities, to reach the Ptarmigan Restaurant. From here you can enjoy stunning views over Strathspey, marvel at the mountain weather on any day, as well as relax and enjoy a meal or coffee n cake.
Highland Folk Museum – Situated in Newtonmore, the Highland Folk Museum shows you how our highland ancestors lived in very often difficult conditions, from the 1700s to today. An excellent visit, with the shinty-themed cafe and shop.
Cairngorm Brewery – Literally just round the corner from Glenlivet, the Brewery makes some fantastic beers, the Blessed Thistle and Trade Winds being our favourites. Oh, Black Gold also very good . . . in fact they’re all good! So why not go on the tour (Mon-Fri) and stock up at the shop.
Coylumbridge Hilton – The Hilton’s attractions are open to non-residents and are great wet-weather options, especially if you have young children. Cyril’s Treehouse soft play area is ideal for all ages (up to about 10). Great place to take the young ones on a wet day, or when you’re babysitting whilst your friends are on the slopes! There’s a good cafe and seating area to use whilst the wee ones play. There’s also a well designed indoor crazy golf course, and a video-game arcade including 10-pin bowling lanes. The American Style Diner is great with it’s old-style jukebox. The swimming pool is also very good and open to non-residents.
McDonald Highland Resort Cinema – The Spey Valley Cinema situated in the McDonald Aviemore Resort and shows one or two current movies. The auditorium holds 650 people, so it’s never short of space! Prices are similar to those you’ll find elsewhere, with a family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) costing approx. £22.
McDonald Highland Resort Leisure Club and Spa – Also open to non-residents, the McDonald Highland Resort has a swimming pool and spa; the pool has a flume and wave machine, with sauna and jacuzzis at the side of the pool. There is a small cafe with children’s soft play area, also within the pool area.
The Speyside Centre – Located between Aviemore and Grantown on Spey, the Heather Centre has exhibitions, wildlife viewing stations, art gallery, gardens, garden centre and shops and restaurant.
Landmark – Landmark Forest Adventure Park is a great visit for young and old alike. Activities include the Ropeworx, Tarzan Trail, Wild Water Coasters, Ant City, Runaway Timber Train, Wild Forest Maze, the Bamboozeleum and many more. There is also a restaurant, the Pinewood Grill and shop. Upgrading your ticket to a weekly pass is well worth it, and if you’re planning on visiting Aviemore again then a season ticket is a must!
Rothiemurchus estate – There are so many activities to take part in in the Rothiemurchus Estate, it all depends on what you enjoy doing! There are land activities such as mountain biking, pony trecking, quad biking, land rover safaris, tennis and fishing. If you want to get on the water you can go canoeing, gorge swimming, river kayaking and river tubing. Lots to do – best to visit their website!
Loch Morlich – The watersports centre is on the edge of the loch on the beach! There are lots of activities to take part in including kayaking, canoeing, row boats and windsurfing, and a nice cafe with great cakes overlooking the loch.
Highland Wildlife Centre – With its emphasis on animals endangered in the world’s mountains and tundra, the Highland Wildlife Centre is a great visit. The wolves and tigers are particular favourites of ours, along with the Japanese Macaque monkeys – particularly entertaining at feeding time! The centre has a nice restaurant and shop.
Treezone – Part of the Rothiemurchus Estate, Treezone is a high ropes course with 34 different challenges including zip wires, balance beams, hanging platforms and much more. Minimum age is 7, minimum height 1.1m. The full course should take about 1-1.5 hours to complete with the final obstacles reaching almost 40 feet!
Loch Insh Watersports – Another water sports activity on Loch Insh, with sail sports, paddle sports, raft building, fishing, rowing and pedalo’s on the loch. A lovely spot for a picnic too!
The Ski & Snowboard School – The only ski and snowboard school on Cairngorm Mountain with lessons every day between December and April, either on a course of private lessons – so if you’ve always fancied hurtling down a snowy mountain but don’t currently have the skill, why not book some lessons?!
Aviemore Sled Dog Rally – The world famous Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain 30th Anniversary Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, Glenmore Forest Park, 26 & 27 January 2013
Astronomy – Dark Skies – If you’re into star-gazing, or perhaps a keen Astronomer, some of the darkest skies in Scotland are to be found in the Cairngorm area, and a copy of the Philips Dark Sky Map is included in our display of local information & attraction leaflets.
Places to Eat
The Skiing Doo – This is one of our favourite places to eat . . . but it took us a while to find out how good it is! We’d been coming to Aviemore for over 20 years but had never visited the Skiing Doo, thinking it a bar and a place where young people hang out. But it’s simply a family friendly place to eat with great food, great beers (from the Cairngorm Brewery) and a fantastic selection of ice creams. Well worth a visit.
Scottish Steak Club – in the Macdonald Spey Valley Dalfaber resort, it offers a fabulous Scottish menu with the emphasis on steaks of every type and size.
Smiffys – The local ‘chippie’ which is so much more! Serving suppers of all sorts, as well as ice cream and coffee, Smiffys is great for taking out and sitting in. Another firm favourite of ours.
The Chippy – opened recently and owned by the same folk who own Smiffys, the Chippy is is a takeaway near Costcutter in the new development near the steam train crossing.
Cairngorm Hotel – Fabulous menu of Scottish fare, and good value too. Well worth a visit.
Old Bridge Inn – If you walk towards the village centre, but continue along the road rather than going through the underpass, you will come to the Old Bridge Inn. Great food, great coffees, nice atmosphere.
La Taverna – Italian restaurant you see when entering Aviemore from the South. Good food – always busy and noisy!
Roo’s Leap – Interesting menus and good food quality. Situated outside the railway station.
International Starters (IS) – Situated on Grampian Road it has a reputation for providing great quality food at very reasonable prices. Menu from all over the world!
The Coffee Corner – Next door to Waterstones, it’s an ideal place for a nice coffee and cake, or even a hassle-free breakfast! The minute steak sandwich is particularly good, and the soup is always home made and delicious!
The Coffee Pot – At the end of the Myrtlefield shopping centre, the food is good, staff are nice and they do a mean bacon roll! Also has a nice selection of painting/photos on sale.