Eat - Drink - Play - Relax - Shop

Things to do in Aviemore and the Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park is one of the top 20 places to visit in the world, according to National Geographic Magazine.

It is the UK's largest national park and the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the UK, providing a home to 25% of the country's endangered species, four of Scotland's highest mountains and Britain's favourite picnic spot so there really is something for everyone here.

Whether you are hoping to escape and relax, thrill seeking or simply want a fun family holiday, the Cairngorms and Aviemore are the place to be.

Here are just a few of our favourite places to eat and things to do, to give you a taster of what there is on offer.

Eating and Drinking


Andersons Restaurant, Boat of Garten

This relaxed and informal bistro style restaurant (recommended by Nick Nairn) is committed to using local Scottish produce when it is in season, which means their menu changes each month, as do their daily specials. In peak season booking is essential and be aware that they are sometimes closed on Tuesdays.

Ben Macduis Inn, Aviemore

A fun bar/restaurant day and night. Serving real local ales and a range of meals and snacks. Great value for money and very large portions! They welcome dogs.

​Cairngorm Hotel, Aviemore

“The Cairn” serves food from 7.30am-9.30pm every day either in the coffee shop, bar or restaurant. Live music on some Thursday evenings in the traditional bar. Hot Highland Buffet every Thursday, traditional Sunday lunches.

Garth Hotel Restaurant, Grantown-on-Spey

A lovely traditional hotel with a great home-cooked Scottish menu.

Glenmore Lodge, Glenmore

The friendly Lochain bar and grill at Glenmore Lodge, (Scotland’s national outdoor training centre) welcomes non-residents. The bar is open daily from 5pm until late and food is served until 7pm (Monday, Tuesday) and until 9pm from Wednesday to Sunday. You can also enjoy drinks outside on the terrace with great views of the mountains.

La Taverna, Aviemore

This ever popular family-run Italian in Aviemore puts on a great value value buffet every night, as well as pizza and pasta dishes a la carte.

Letterbox Restaurant, Newtonmore

A small family run restaurant serving locally sourced fresh scottish produce. Evening meals (including vegetarian/vegan menu) available Monday to Sunday, 4.30pm to 10.30pm.

Muckrach Country House Hotel, Dulnain Bridge

A stunning example of a Victorian shooting lodge that underwent a total renovation and now offers a stylish brasserie-style restaurant which serves simple, stylish and delicious dishes made using local ingredients sourced from the Scottish Highlands. Muckrach prides itself in giving every guest a memorable experience. They also have a lovely bar for pre or post-dinner drinks. Booking is recommended.

Royal Tandoori, Aviemore

Indian food to sit in or take away, as well as a separate function room for large groups and a children’s menu.

Skiing Doo, Aviemore

Fun and friendly restaurant with huge portions - steaks, burgers and the like - open noon until 9pm. The Doo Below is situated underneath the restaurant too, great for apres ski and open till 11pm.

​The Boat Country Inn and Restaurant, Boat of Garten

Offering a casual and hearty seasonal pub-style menu with their own take on classic dishes and speciality nights throughout the week. The cosy bar offers an extensive selection of over 50 whiskies and variety of gin. Dogs are welcome too!

The Cairn Hotel, Carrbridge

You can enjoy a country pub atmosphere with a real log fire on a chilly day or outdoor seating on a sunny day. They serve great pub lunches and suppers, always with some friendly banter and maybe some real ale or a wee dram.

​The Craigellachie Speyside, Craigellachie

A 40-minute drive north on the A95 from Nethy Bridge, this stylish small hotel is the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner. The Copper Dog pub downstairs serves quality local fare, with live music on summer evenings, and the Quaich bar is home to more than 900 whiskies!

​​The Cross, Kingussie

This exclusive restaurant offers a three-course menu with several choices for each course or you can select their six-course signature tasting menu. Both menus change regularly and are designed around the best of the seasonal produce which they source as much as possible from Scotland’s wonderful larder. The Cross is the perfect setting to celebrate a special occasion or simply an opportunity to sample some delicious local cuisine. It’s essential to book so that you don’t miss out!

​The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore

This cosy, candle-lit restaurant sits on the banks of the River Spey. Working closely with local farmers and suppliers, they keep the menu as full of local produce as possible. They also have a cosy bar area where you can eat and drink in front of the open fire with regular live music, and dogs are welcome too! This is a popular venue for both locals and tourists so we recommend that you book.

​The Rowan Tree Country Hotel, Kincraig

This is a relaxed and very good restaurant serving the freshest, principally Scottish ingredients. Meals are served daily between 5.30 and 8.30pm.

​The Wee Puffin Restaurant, Grantown-on-Spey

A relaxed restaurant in Grantown where you won’t leave hungry!

​The Winking Owl, Aviemore

This lovely gastro pub is owned by the Cairngorm Brewery and has an impressive selection of real ales to go along with its hearty menu. A kids menu is available too.

Cafés


Carrbridge Kitchen, Carrbridge

The Carrbridge Kitchen is a fantastic Scottish fusion café/restaurant serving delicious breakfasts, lunches, and of course, coffee and cake. Over the summer months, it is also open some evenings for dinner but do check before you go. Great, friendly service and beautifully presented, with a wood-burning stove to warm you up on chillier days.

​Cobbs Café, Glenmore Visitor Centre

Open daily from 9.30/10am until 3/3.30pm (4pm Saturday and Sunday). Where you can buy hot and cold food and drinks, snacks, ice-cream as well as some small gifts.

High St. Merchants, Grantown-on-Spey

This gem of a café and gallery is a firm favourite with local and visitors alike. Pop in for a delicious scone, tasty lunch or pint of Two Thirsty Men beer (brewed right next door!). Also open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Just Delicious, Grantown-on-Spey

This friendly family-run café and deli serves a great selection of freshly-made soups, sandwiches, panini, jacket potatoes, salad bowls and home-baking in comfortable surroundings. Takeaway also available.

Nethy House Café, Nethy Bridge

A delightful little café with home-cooked food and fantastic coffee as well as friendly service, in the heart of Nethy Bridge. You can also buy local craft and photography, and dogs are welcome. Open 10am-5pm every day except Wednesday.

​​Red Squirrel Café, Glenmore

Lovely homemade bakes and squirrel watching from the window.

​​Route 7, Aviemore

Route 7 is a great place for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack, open 9am-4.30pm every day. They serve pizza from their wood-fired oven at weekends from 12-3pm. Look out for their pop up street food nights in the summer season. Being bike friendly, they have a free bike wash-down area and compressed air for your tyres!

​​The Druie, Rothiemurchus

This cosy and friendly café predominantly uses produce from the Rothiemurchus Estate. They have a lovely outdoor seating area which is perfect for sunny days (and dog friendly). They can also provide great packed lunches that you can order in advance.

​​The Mountain Café, Aviemore

Owned by a passionate and incredibly talented kiwi chef, for many frequent visitors it’s almost impossible to visit the area without a breakfast or coffee and cake in the multi-award winning Mountain Café. You often need to wait for a table as they don’t take bookings but (unless you are starving) it is worth the wait.

​​The Sugar Bowl, Kingussie

A lovely little coffee shop which also sells some great gifts. Breakfast, lunch, drinks and coffee are served every day other than Monday.

​​The Wild Flour, Newtonmore

A lovely wee café that serves homemade treats in a relaxed atmosphere.

Play

Biking

There are countless biking routes and trails all around the area, with new ones being created all the time, from family friendly routes to trails for the more adventurous. There’s also the Sustrans National Route 7 that passes through Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge.For more information visit www.sustrans.org.uk

There’s also some fantastic trail centres in the area, described below.

For bike hire and further information on the wealth of biking routes and trails in the area, get in touch with the following places:

Basecamp Bikes, Grantown-on-spey

www.basecampmtb.com or 01479 870050

Bothy Bikes, Aviemore

www.bothybikes.co.uk or 01479 810111

Mikes Bikes, Aviemore

www.aviemorebikes.co.uk or 01479 810478

Also offer bike hire drop off and pick ups

Ride Cairngorm, Boat of Garten

www.ridecairngorm.com or 01479 831729

Glenlivet Bike Trails

Enjoy the purpose-built mountain bike trails at the heart of Glenlivet Estate, with not only fantastic fun-packed, flowing single track trail, but spectacular scenery and stunning views.

The blue trail is a great introduction to cross country riding, while the red trail provides challenges for the experienced.

Laggan Wolftrax

Over 20 miles (35 km) of purpose-built trails wind through Laggan Forest, with superb views of the Monadhliath hills on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

There are routes from an easy-going green trail to a black run that’s probably the most technical bit of single-track in Scotland. In the bike park you can ride big berms and tabletop jumps.

Breweries and Distilleries

Balmenach Distillery, Cromdale

Cairngorm Brewery, Aviemore

Dalwhinnie Distillery (near A9 south of Newtonmore)

Two Thirsty Men brewery, Grantown-on-Spey

Malt Whisky Trail (www.maltwhiskytrail.com for details on visiting the Trail’s nine distilleries including Glenfiddich (Dufftown), The Glenlivet (near Tomintoul), and Cardhu (near Rothes))

Castles

Ballindalloch Castle, between Grantown and Aberlour

Balmoral Castle, between Ballater and Braemar

Blair Castle, Blair Atholl

Brodie Castle, near Forres

Cawdor Castle, near Inverness

Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit

Cinemas

Eden Court, Inverness

Spey Valley Cinema at Macdonald Highland Resort, Aviemore

Vue Cinema, Inverness

Fishing

Abernethy Angling Association

Spey salmon and sea trout fishing available. Find out more and pick up permits at Boat of Garten Post Office.

Badenoch Angling Association

Salmon, trout and pike fishing available on the river and in lochs. Permits can be bought online or at the newsagents in Kingussie.

Rothiemurchus

Fishing at Rothiemurchus for all abilities with pike, rainbow and brown trout, on the river and in lochs. Permits available from the Rothiemurchus Fish Farm.

Golf

Abernethy Golf Club

Abernethy is a traditional Highland golf course, built on natural moorland, and surrounded by majestic pine trees. The course is suitable for golfers of all standards.

Boat of Garten Golf Club

Designed by one of the grand-masters of golf course architecture, James Braid (1870-1950), “The Boat” is set alongside the River Spey in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, only 10 minutes drive from the bustling village of Aviemore.

Carrbridge Golf Club

Carrbridge Golf Club is a friendly club with a good mix of players of all ages and standards. Carrbridge welcomes everyone from seasoned competitors through to those just taking up the sport, the solitary golfer or groups of friends.

Aviemore Spey Valley Championship Golf Course

Recently voted one of the best golf courses in Scotland, Spey Valley features some of the most breathtaking views in the world, offering golfers a glimpse right into the very heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Horse Riding

Highland Horse fun in Kingussie can organise pony treks of any duration from an hour up to a full day - an inspirational way to see the landscape at a leisurely pace on their lovely Highland ponies. If you are a more experienced rider, hacks are also possible.

Outdoor Activities

Alvie Estate

Archery

Clay pigeon shooting

Deer feeding

Fishing

Paintball

Pony trekking

Segways

Aviemore Kart Raceway

Arrive and drive sessions

Group bookings

Backcountry Scot

Bike adventures

Packrafting adventures and hire

Craggan Outdoors

Archery

Bushcraft

Clay pigeon shooting

Climbing and abseiling

Gorge walking

High ropes

Laser tag

Mini quads

Paintball

Full on Adventure

Canyoning

Gorge walking

River kayaking

River stand up paddleboarding

White water rafting/tubing

Glenmore Lodge

Kayaking and canoeing courses

Mountaineering courses

Mountain biking courses

Ski touring and off-piste courses

G2 Outdoor

Canyoning

Gorge walking

White water rafting

Zip trek park

Loch Insh Outdoor Centre

Kayaking

Open canoeing

Pedalos

Private tuition available

Rowing

Sailing

Stand up paddleboarding

Tour boat

Windsurfing

Loch Morlich Watersports

Canoeing

Kayaking

Sailing

Stand up paddleboarding

Windsurfing

Lessons also available

Rothiemurchus Estate

Archery and clay pigeon shooting

Feed the deer

Pony trekking

Segways and Quad biking

Tennis

Treezone

Wildlife watching and photography

4x4 off road safari

Shinty

Shinty (or Camanachd in Gaelic) is played regularly at Newtonmore and Kingussie. Games are held regularly on weekday evenings or at weekends and all spectators warmly welcome! It’s a fast-paced and thrilling traditional Highland sport and is a huge part of the Highland culture particularly in these two villages, who are fierce shinty rivals! See their websites/facebook pages for match details.

Snowsports

Aviemore & Glenmore Ski School

XC ski tracks are cut at Glenmore when snow conditions allow. Equipment is available to hire there by the hour or by the day.

Cairngorm Mountain

Cairngorm Mountain has a reputation as one of the most beautiful places to ski and snowboard in the UK and is located just a short drive from the lodge. With a wide range of routes on offer, 11 lifts including the funicular train and a fun park/terrain for freestylers when conditions allow. Lessons and hire gear are available.

Hire Gear

Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports (01479 810175)

Nevis Sport (01479 810239)

Lessons

Aviemore School of Snowsports (www.theskischool.co.uk or 01479 810145)

Freeski (www.free-ski.co.uk or 07495 028578)

G2 Outdoor (www.g2outdoor.co.uk or 01540 651784)

Cairngorm Sleddog Centre

The Cairngorm Sleddog Centre is the only daily working sleddog centre in the UK and offers a wide range of activities for the whole family, from kennel and museum tours to sleddog trips and safaris.

Sledging

Probably the most popular place to sledge is at the Hayfield, Glenmore (close to the snow gates on the Cairngorm Mountain road) or on the lawn at the front of the MacDonald Hotel building in Aviemore.

Walking

There are endless options for walks across the Cairngorms National Park from low and easy loch walks to extremely strenuous hikes up Munros. A great place to look for and plan the right walk for you is Walk Highlands.

Relax


Hair and Beauty

Ampla Vella, Kingussie

Beautique, Aviemore

The Retreat, Aviemore

Massage / Pampering

Aviemore Beauty & Alternative Therapy Centre

More than just a beauty salon, Aviemore Beauty is an alternative therapy centre too. An extensive range of therapies are on offer, and you can expect the highest standard of treatments from carefully selected local therapists.

Cairngorm Beauty Therapy & Spa, Aviemore

A luxurious spa which promises to soothe away the stresses of life, rejuvenate and re-energise the body and allow you to indulge your senses, boasting a fantastic 5 person hot tub and infra red, hot rock sauna.

Lets Relax Spa, Hilton Coylumbridge

Specialising in Thai massage, choose from a range of relaxing massages, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Pure Balance Holistic Therapies, Kincraig

Treat yourself to a luxurious hot lava shell massage, pure aroma facial or stimulating body scrub.

Shopping


Balliefurth Farm Shop , Nethy Bridge

This award-winning family-run butcher and deli stocks a range of local produce, including fruit and vegetables, locally-made honey, pies and a range of gluten-free and organic products.

​Deli Mair

A local deli with deli counter, fresh bread, take-away coffee and a great selection of other local produce.

Elephants in the Pantry, Grantown on Spey

A modern deli where you can choose from a great selection of food and drink including locally-sourced products, fine wines, artisan spirits and homebaking. Soup, delicious cakes, teas and coffees can also be enjoyed at the front of the deli.

Macdonald Highland Hotel Shop

The shop at ‘the centre’ sells luxurious and stylish Scottish products mixed with a large selection of high end merchandise and clothing.

Rothiemurchus Farm shop and Deli

Rothiemurchus is passionate about its home-grown produce and offers a great selection of meat, fish, cheeses, coffee and teas, cakes, preserves and chutneys, drinks, chocolate and shortbread, to name just a few.

The Cairngorms Farmers Market

If you enjoy cooking, you may like to pick up your own local ingredients and create some delicious meals yourself, the Cairngorms Farmers Market is the closest one to home with regular dates throughout the summer. You will be able to find out where and when these are on by looking in the Visit Cairngorms What’s On guide.

​​Supermarkets

If it’s convenience you are after, there is a Tesco, Co-op and Aldi in Aviemore. There is also a Co-op in Kingussie and Grantown on Spey. Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco also provide home delivery to most properties in the area.

Ready to book?