Aviemore is situated smack bang in the centre of spectacularly beautiful Cairngorm National Parkin theScottish Highlands. The small town is the closest you can get to the Cairngorm Mountains – which, although not quite the Alps, offer the best skiing you’ll get anywhere in the UK. The Lecht, the Cairngorm and the Glenshee are the top ski spots.
For a place with Scottish wilderness all around, and an abundance of rare wildlife, Aviemore is amazingly accessible. The arrival of the railway sealed Aviemore’s fate as a top tourist destination, setting it on course to be Scotland’s first real ski-town resort.
This is the place for fans of outdoor pursuits. If you don’t find your perfect activity here, you’ll be hard pressed to find it anywhere, since the area offers cross-country and downhill skiing, golf, horse riding, climbing, walking, bird-watching, fishing and myriad water sports –not to mention husky racing.
As well as being the gateway to some intrepid adventures, Aviemore is alive with outdoor equipment shops, good pubs and restaurants. There are also plenty of family friendly attractions including the Aviemore Folk Museum – a fascinating look at life in the HIghlands over the past three centuries.
AVIEMORE'S TOP 10
10. Caingorm Reindeer Centre See the only wild reindeer herd in the British Isles – and yes, Rudolph is here at Xmas.
5. The Fun House Aviemore’s family attraction for fun inside and out. Plonk the kids in the crèche for a welcome break.
9. Landmark Forest Adventure Park A great place near Aviemore for more robust youngsters.
4. Cairngorm Sleddog Adventure Centre One of a kind –a museum, kennel tours and Sleddog trips. All together now – “Mush”.
8. Highland Wildlife Park Enjoy the animals then beat a retreat to the café.
3. The Bridge of Carr One of the most photographed bridges in Scotland. Simply jump on the train from Aviemore.
7. Cairngorm Summit The highest plateau in Scotland – beautiful views but watch out - high winds could see you getting blown around like tumbleweed.
2. Cairngorm Mountain Railway Will get you naturally high. The track hugging the side of the 6th highest mountain in the UK.
6. Cairngorm Brewery Walk from,or maybe stumble, your way back to Aviemore.
1. The Strathspey Steam Railway Runs from Aviemore to the neighbouring village of Boat of Garten. Spectacular scenery as standard.
Cycle Cairngorms raises funds for people with disabilities and is run by the Speyside Trust based in Aviemore. Forgotten your bike? No excuses. There are plenty of for hire at this September event.
The Aviemore Half Marathon is held in October each year. The first miles take in the Glenmore Forest area.
The Aviemore Big Splash is held in August and competitors (or, people with a screw loose) are launched into the water from a variety of contraptions including wheelie bins, shopping trolleys and snowboards.
Aviemore Sled Dog Rally Watch them doggies work the four mile course which ends at Loch Morlich. Held at the end of January with over 200 mushers in attendance.
Thunder in the Glen is an annual Harley Davidson motorcycle meeting in Aviemore in August. Over a thousand bikers turn up to enjoy a weekend of entertainment.
Vans Dawn of the Shred is an annual Aviemore event. The ski and board championships are held every winter in Cairngorm, The Lecht, or Glenshee – the three main skiing areas.
The Cairngorm Extreme Soap Box Challenge takes place in July. See who will get crowned ‘King of the Mountains’ in a course featuring a vertical drop of over 700 feet!
The Scottish Hydro Challenge takes place at Aviemore’s Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club in June. Part of the European Challenge tour, it’s a platform for the next Ryder Cup stars.
Get your hiking boots on and set off for Aviemore and Cairngorms annual Walking and Mountain Festival held during May.
A Torchlight Procession is held in Aviemore on Christmas Eve, a wonderfully atmospheric start to Xmas.
Grantown on Spey Highland Games Piping, Highland dancing, tug of war etc during August.
WHEN TO GO
From snow to sunshine, the weather in Aviemore and CairnGorm makes it a fascinating place to visit for meteorologists. Scottish weather tends to be changeable but on the Cairngorm Mountains it can be extreme. Temperatures have been known to drop as low as -27 °C, and the wind can get up to 170mph – the strongest ever recorded in the UK. The Cairngorms are also the snowiest in Britain.
Temperatures during the summer can be the highest in the UK, with an average of around 25°C, but winter frequently sees temps drop below zero.
Rainfall can be expected at any time of year. When visiting Aviemore it pays to pack waterproofs whenever you travel.
· Situated in the centre of the Cairngorm National Park, Aviemore is easy to reach by car. The A9 trunk road runs from Dunblane (off the M9), which goes directly to Inverness. Scottish Citylink operates a coach service from Glasgow.
· By train, Aviemore is located on the Edinburgh to Inverness route. Taxis meet most train arrivals for onward travel to hotels. The Caledonian Sleeper is a relaxed way to get to Aviemore from London directly.
· By air the town is linked to Glasgow International, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports by local buses. Inverness airport is the closest airport and only an hours’ drive.
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