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48 hours in Aviemore, Scotland | Junior Jaunt

Embrace the outdoors on a family weekend in this welcoming town in the Scottish Highlands, which has activities for every weather and season

Posted: 1 March 2018
by Rebecca Hay
Loch an Eilien
Paddling on the banks of Loch an Eilein just south of Aviemore

Children love the chance to let loose in the great outdoors, making the beautiful wee town of Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands is a natural playground for families. It's small but it is geared up for every interest, with walking, skiing and biking on offer, alongside plenty of fun attractions, shops and restaurants.

It’s handy for exploring the Cairngorms National Park, the tourist hotspot of Inverness and the beautiful beaches in of the Black Isle peninsula. It is also an ideal stop off if you are venturing further north.


Lochan Uaine in the Glenmore Forest, Aviemore. Photo by Visit Scotland

Getting there

All roads lead to Aviemore and getting there could not be easier. Travelling by car, you can head up the scenic route of the A9. Inverness is only 30 minutes away and there are regular daily  flights from all points of the UK.  Trains run from London and the Caledonian Sleeper is also an option with a stop in Aviemore. And for the brave and fit, the National Cycle Route 7 from Glasgow to Inverness passes through town.


The Highlands Hotel in Aviemore has more than just comfy beds for families.

Where to stay

Macdonald Aviemore Resort has a cluster of hotels right off the main street which cater for all tastes and pockets. At the centre is the Macdonald Highlands Hotel, a great option for families thanks to its activity centre complete with a swimming pool, soft play, cinema and even supervised sessions where parents can relax elsewhere. 

There are a host of restaurants and relaxing bars too, and fhe rooms are well appointed and tastefully decorated. Prices are from £179 per night for a family of 2 adults and 2 children up to the age of 12 years, sharing a family room and subject to availability.

>> Find out more at Macdonald Hotels

Alternatively, there are plenty of old fashioned bed and breakfast or self-catering options. You can find a full list on the Visit Aviemore website


Ropework X at Landmark Forest Adventure Park

What to do

Landmark Forest Adventure Park in the nearby village of Carrbridge (home to the World Porridge Championships and a very beautiful historic bridge) has something for all the family and is great in winter as well as summer. Set in acres of woodland, home to the famous red squirrels, you would not know from looking from the road what was behind the trees.

Designed by a very eccentric and fun loving team, the park has attractions aimed at all ages from sit-on bikes and a Ant City climbing section for the toddlers, moving up to a rope trail for the middle sized up and a tricky rope trail and sky dive for the older children and brave adults, plus a great climbing wall too.

There is a scary roller coaster and fun wet slide as well as a magical maze, crazy shooting gallery and illusionist exhibition. When you need a rest, the new addition of the butterfly house is a great stop off and there are some lovely trails and a fire tower to tackle. Food and drink, toilet facilities and a shop are on site too as well as free parking.

>> Find out more at Landmark Park


The Butterfly House at Landmark Forest Adventure Park

Ride Scotland's only funicular railway to enjoy a day of skiing or snowboarding on Cairngorm Mountain.

Skiers and snowboarders have some great trails and make their way up them via Scotland’s only funicular railway. It takes you deep in to the Cairngorms Mountains with some magical and panoramic views at over 3,500 ft. Ski Norwest, run by canny Northumberlander Tim Davey, is based at Macdonald Aviemore Resort and from here you can sign up and get your equipment, before you are whisked off to the mountains for some fun or lessons.

>> Ski Norwest offers a package including two nights dinner bed and breakfast at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, two days equipment hire, two days ski lift pass and one full day of ski instruction from £324 per adult, £298 per child aged 13-16 and £204 per child  aged 12 and under. Find out more at


48 hours of fun in Aviemore by Rebecca Hay
Family ski time in the Cairngorms

Photo by Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Coach potatoes and animals lovers can coo over Britain’s only free ranging reindeer herd at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre where you can see where they eat, drink and sleep. There are trips out to see the reindeers on the hills too or you can simply adopt one!

>> Find out more at Cairngorm Reindeer Centre


Ptarmigan restaurant at first light.

Where to eat and drink

There are tons of options in the town and surrounding areas, from cafes and takeaways to more upmarket restaurants.

Ptarmigan is Britain's highest restaurant, offering panoramic views of Loch Morlich and a menu of locally sourced produce. It sits at Top Station on the Cairngorm Mountain. It's an ideal lunch spot during a day on the slopes but also worth taking the funicular up specifically to enjoy a unique family dining experience.

Back in town, The Winking Owl pub has a extensive whiskey list and a selection of Cairngorm ales for parents and a kids' menu for the little ones.

There is family-friendly fine dining Scottish Steakhouse at Spey Valley Golf and Country Club, with a children's menu which is full of grown-up dishes made smaller rather than the same boring fishfingers and beans.

Aspects at Macdonald Highlands Hotel has a similar attitude to young diners, serving up Scottish meats, crab and salmon.

There are lots of trails for walking in the Aviemore area.

Find out more about Aviemore and plan a trip at Visit Aviemore

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Discuss this story

Fabulous article on a wonderful part of the world and nice to see Scotland being recognised as a great holiday resort.

Posted: 16/04/2018 at 10:02

I agree, Aviemore is something special and well worth the visit. Well done Junior for featuring it, makes us Scots very proud!

Posted: 16/04/2018 at 10:26

One of my favourite parts of the world and if you haven't taken your kids to The Landmark Park in Carrbridge, you have missed a trick, all the fun of the fair outside too, ticking all those boxes and having fun!

Posted: 17/04/2018 at 09:57

What a lovely article, think I will have to take a look up in Scotland, looks like there is lots to do and see.

Posted: 17/04/2018 at 12:20

From a Dad's view, the mixture of different and fun sports to try and the friendly pubs inside the resort and in Aviemore, means its a man's paradise too.

Posted: 17/04/2018 at 15:58

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