Welcome to the breathtaking Cairngorms National Park, where winter really comes to life and the spectacular destination of Badenoch, home to whisky, ancient historic ruins and amazing outdoor experiences, has everything you’d need for a perfect winter break.
Badenoch is home to a number of communities, with the largest being Newtonmore and Kingussie. The small town of Kingussie is positioned overlooking the Cairngorms mountain ranges, close to the imposing Ruthven Barracks, which is open all year round. A 5 minute drive is the smaller sized village of Newtonmore, with similar surrounding views and the claim of being the almost geographical centre of Scotland.
Make it Memorable…
Looking for a unique and wintery experience? Look no further than Cairngorm Alpacas, just outside of Newtonmore, who offer alpaca walks throughout the winter months, so you can experience the magic of the Cairngorm National Park with these gentle creatures. This is available between Thursday and Sunday through the winter and booking is essential.
Nestled along a picturesque loch is, Loch Insh Outdoor Centre, through the day they offer experiences on the water, but by night they also explore the night sky. They’ll teach you how to observe the night sky with your naked eye and smart phone, and lead you to some magical local places to capture stunning photos.
The dark trees of Loch Insh provide a dramatic contrast to the night sky, making it a perfect place to see the Milky Way galaxy, constellations, planets, and even the Northern Lights (if you’re lucky!). Their guides are passionate about astronomy and will do everything they can to create a memorable experience for you and your loved ones. This is available on various dates throughout the winter, from October – March.
For something a bit more fast paced why not hit the Glice rink with the kids. The rink sits loch side for iceskating in the most scenic of settings!
Along the High Street of Kingussie you’ll find Eleven41 Gallery, the home to a stunning collection of landscape photography by Ed Smith. Smith’s photos capture the beauty of the Cairngorm Mountains, from the snow-capped peaks to the lush forests and sparkling lochs.
You’re welcome to explore the gallery with a locally purchased coffee and slice, gaze at the photography on the wall and if you’re lucky Ed will even be in the gallery himself. Ed is happy to talk about his passion for photography, enabling you to see into the images, learning the story of the day the image was taken. The gallery is open 15th Nov – 23rd Dec, Wednesday and Thursdays.
A short drive between Kingussie and Kincraig is the Highland Wildlife Park. Discover Scottish wildlife and endangered animals of the world’s mountains and tundra in their spectacular setting.
Explore the drive through reserve in your own car and then investigate the walk-round area on foot. The wildlife park has a wide and diverse range of animals, from native species such as the Scottish wildcat to those from further afield such as the amur tiger and polar bear. Making winter the perfect time to visit the Highland Wildlife Park in Badenoch. The Wildlife Park is open everyday during the winter apart from Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Make it Delicious…
Nestled close in the almost geographical centre of Scotland is Dalwhinnie Distillery, the highest distillery in Scotland – and one of the most atmospheric. In winter, the distillery is transformed into a winter wonderland, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and frost-covered fields providing a stunning backdrop for a whisky tour and tasting.
Your tour will begin with a visit to the distillery’s visitor centre, where you’ll learn about the history of Dalwhinnie and the whisky-making process. You’ll then be taken on a guided tour of the distillery, where you’ll see the mash tun, washbacks, stills, and casks.
After the tour, you’ll enjoy a tutored tasting of three Dalwhinnie single malts. The whiskies will be paired with handmade Scottish highland chocolates, making for a truly decadent experience.
If you’re looking for a street food experience in the forest then you have to visit Alvie Forest Foods. You’ll be able to experience seasonal ingredients foraged, grown and reared on Alvie & Dalraddy Estates and used to create contemporary street food dishes. Why not stop in after a walk up Duke of Gordon Monument, enjoy their delicious food in their cosy yurt before embarking on your next winter adventure.
The Old Post Office Cafe and Gallery in Kincraig is an absolute gem of a place with delicous lunches and homebaking. You can also browse local artists work as well as owner/artist Ann Vastano’s stunning work depicting the local landscapes which adorns the walls.
Stopping into the Capital of Badenoch, the town of Kingussie you’ll find the slither of a door that opens up into a world of fine food and drinks, The Cheese Neuk. Situated on the High Street The Cheese Neuk offers delicious creamy cheeses, mouth watering meats and some of the finest wines available to humanity! Coorie into The Cheese Neuk and watch the winter night unfold.
Make it Playful…
Your winter, your level of adventure. We have glens and hidden gems to explore for all abilities in Badenoch.
Embark on a magical winter walk through the ancient pines of Glen Feshie, where four sparkling lochans await. As you emerge from the trees, the lochans come into view, their icy surfaces reflecting the winter sky. Take a moment to breathe in the crisp air and appreciate the stunning scenery.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb to the top of Farleitter Crag for even more breathtaking views. From here, you can see the lochans spread out below you like the paw of a polar bear.
Nestled in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Laggan is a hidden gem of a walking destination. This beautiful loch is crowned by a sandy beach, surrounded by towering mountains, lush forests, and rolling hills, making it the perfect place to explore in Badenoch.
A short distance away is Pattack Falls, these falls are rarely visited so often you’ll be able to enjoy these waterfalls all by yourself.
Kingussie Walk, Loch Gynack
Sitting above Kingussie is Loch Gynack and a wonderful walk that will give you hints and flavours of the surrounding countryside, but at a more accessible pace. After a walk around the loch stop in at Kingussie and relax at the Duke of Gordon Hotel and bar, tasting a well deserved local frothy thirst quencher.
Badenoch is only a short two and half hour drive from Edinburgh or Glasgow along the main A9 road, that is always maintained and kept as clear as any road in Scotland.
Wherever you stay in Badenoch there’s plenty to see and do during winter and cosy interiors to relax in, with something warming in hand. Use this itinerary to plan your next winter break in Badenoch