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Winter Escapes in Scotland

Experience Perthshire and the Cairngorms on our Scottish winter escapes. With miles of great low-level paths and easy-going forest trails these are the perfect places for year-round walking in Scotland.  

Immerse yourself in the vast landscape and tranquil forest trails of Scotland's largest National Park on our Cairngorms Winter Escape self-guided walking holiday, or for more of a cultural twist head to Perthshire, land of castles and local folk heroes, on our Perthshire Winter Escape trip. Both trips offer hand-picked welcoming hotels, most with log fires where you can take refuge and cosy up of an evening after a day of exploring.

Discover Winter Escapes

  • Facts about the Cairngorm National Park
    Facts about the Cairngorm National Park

    The Cairngorm National Park is the perfect place for year-round walking, along with a myriad of other activities from stand-up paddle boarding and rock climbing to ski touring. On both of our Cairngorms Winter Escape and Perthshire Winter Escape trips you'll enjoy walks in the park. Here are some interesting and fun facts about the park.

    • After being originally proposed as an idea by Christopher Addison in 1931, and some minimal protection in the interim years, the area was finally established as a Nation Park in 2003. It was one of the first pieces of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. The park boundaries were later expanded in 2010.
    • The park is the UK's largest, covering an area of approximately 4500 square kilometers, and protecting a wide range of wildlife and habitats. 
    • Home to many native species the park is a protected haven for rare Scottish species like the wild cat, pine martin, red squirrels, osprey, golden eagles and capercaillie, alongside Caledonian forest specialists like crested tits, crossbills and tundra experts such as ptarmigan, mountain hare and snow bunting. 
    • Located within the park, and forming part of the Cairngorm Plateau is Ben Macdui (1309m) the second highest mountain in the UK, and the highest in the park. 
    • The park is home to the UK's only herd of free-roaming reindeer. The reindeer were reintroduced to the Cairngorms from Sweden in the 1950s and are cared for by the staff and volunteers at the Reindeer Centre. 
    • Balmoral Castle, favourite Highland retreat of Queen Victoria, is located within the park near Braemar village. The castle's popularity with the royal family mean that the estate is a popular filming location and has featured in The Crown (Netflix series), Victoria (TV series), Mary Queen of Scots (2019), The Queen (2006) and many more. 
    • There are 6 whisky distilleries in the National Park, including Glenlivet and Royal Lochnagar!  

     

     

  • Tips for eating and drinking in the Highlands
    Tips for eating and drinking in the Highlands

    No holiday, or a walking holiday in the Scottish Highlands for that matter, would be complete without experiencing the best of the region's cuisine. Historically the British Isles, least of all the Scottish Highlands, haven't exactly been renowned for fine dining. However, things have certainly changed in the past couple of decades as tourism has increased in the Highlands the locals have risen to the challenge keen to show-case their local larders. From local venison and salmon featuring on the menus of Michelin-Guide-listed restaurants, to small-batch coffee roasters, a smattering of gin producers, mouth-watering afternoon teas, freshly caught fish and chips, local breweries and of course many whisky distilleries. There is plenty to try, treat your taste buds and sample these regional highlights from the Cairngorms and Perthshire. 

    • Visit Cafe Calluna in Pitlochry and savour the rich flavours of Glen Lyon coffee, an Aberfeldy based roaster alongside an indulgent brownie or home-baked slice of cake. Why not buy a bag of beans to take home as a souvenir?
    • For a sophisticated dining experience we recommend Knockendarroch Hotel's restaurant in Pitlochry. Nibble canapes in the lounge with a pre-dinner drink before a delicious three course meal. 
    • Buy a freshly baked loaf from the Watermill Tearoom in Blair Atholl for your packed lunch and enjoy a wonderful hillside picnic-lunch with a view. 
    • The Baronial Dining Room, complete with Minstrel's balcony, in the Atholl Arms of Blair Atholl is the perfect to step back in time while enjoying great local produce from the surrounding Perthshire countryside. Meanwhile the walkers bar at the hotel is the perfect place to relax with a local ale after a day out on the trail. 
    • Just a 15 minute taxi ride from Aviemore you'll find The Cross at Kingussie restaurant (Michelin Guide-listed and with 3 AA rosettes) - head here for a modern dining experience. 
    • Fancy a beer? Well, technically it's ale, but Cairngorm Brewery located in Aviemore produces a range of core and seasonal ales. Visit their shop to sample as part of a tasting session, or purchase in a local pub after your day's walk.

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