Walking in Scotland is the perfect year-round activity, so who says you should miss out in the autumn and winter? Our twin-centre self-guided walking holidays in Perthshire and the Cairngorms are the perfect way to continue getting out into nature over the winter. Alongside the easy-going, largely low level, valley and forest walks that we recommend on your trip don't miss these top 5 things to see and do on a winter break in the Highlands.
1) Visit the grounds of Blair Castle
Blair Castle is a jewel in the Perthshire countryside, located in the heart of Blair Atholl village and set among the sprawling forested grounds of Atholl Estate. Don't miss a visit to the grounds in winter, when the castle itself is closed to visitors - you may even have them to yourself! The castle is the home to Europe's only remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders. This ceremonial infantry regiment are the personal bodyguard of the Duke of Atholl, chief of clan Murray who have called the castle home for over 750 years.
2) Visit a Perthshire distillery
On our Perthshire Winter Escape you'll be overnighting nearby Blair Atholl and Edradour distilleries - make sure to visit at least one. You can check opening times and tour offerings on the distillery websites. Charming Edradour, in Pitlochry, is the smallest traditional distillery in the country.
3) Relax by a log fire in your hotel bar nursing a wee dram (preferably from a local distillery)
Spend your days out on the trail, soaking up the wintry landscape. Then, in the evening return to your hotel bar, grab a seat by the fire and sample Scotland's "water of life"!
4) Experience the Cairngorm's free-roaming herd of reindeer
On our Cairngorms Winter Escape you'll have the chance to visit The Reindeer Centre near Aviemore. A unique experience where you can meet members of the herd at the visitor centre in Glenmore or on a guided walk up on the hill - weather-permitting. The herd is the only one in the UK and have been cared for while roaming the Cairngorm National Park freely for over 50 years. Do check their website for opening times and book a visiting slot.
5) Walk the peaceful trails around Loch Garten RSPB Reserve with a set of binoculars
In the Cairngorm National Park there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife and bird-watching. However, the RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Garten is the perfect place to slow down and take a winter stroll along the loch's tranquil shores. Look out for elusive species along the way; from crested tit to capercaillie, the largest grouse species native to these ancient Scot's pine forests.