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Self Catering - The Retreat

Although there are countless things to do and places to see in the Aviemore area, many of our guests take advantage of Aviemore's central location within the Scottish Highlands to visit places of interest further afield. Below are a few suggestions of the many attractions that can be visited and tours that can be taken within a day and still leave time to relax in Strathspey House or enjoy dinner or entertainment during the evening in Aviemore.

Inverness, Culloden and Loch Ness
 
Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and was recently given the distinction of being named a city. The nineteenth century castle stands overlooking the River Ness and houses an interesting museum. Follow peaceful and picturesque walks by the side of the River Ness, crossing over quaint footbridges to the tranquil Ness islands. Close by the Ness islands is Bught Park which offers boating, a large children’s play area and a superb Floral Garden. The city has excellent leisure facilities at the Aquadome pool, a multi-screen cinema and state-of-the-art indoor bowling arena. For shopaholics, or souvenir hunters, Inverness has out-of-town retail parks, a pedestrianised High Street plus the modern and extensive Eastgate indoor shopping mall.
 

Culloden battlefield is a National Trust of Scotland site and is situated a few miles SW of Inverness. The Scottish Jacobite uprising, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, was finally crushed by the Duke of Cumberland and his Hanoverian army in 1746 on this heather clad moorland. This battle was the last to be fought on British soil. The battlefield is stirring and evocative with an excellent visitor centre portraying the romantic, yet disturbing, events of the uprising.

 

Loch Ness is the most renowned expanse of fresh water in Scotland for its size, beauty and, of course, Nessie! Drumnadrochit, a small village located on the shores of Loch Ness about twenty minutes drive from Inverness, has two popular Loch Ness Monster exhibitions. Just outside the village lies the spectacular Urquhart Castle, dating back to the 1200s, and a favourite spot for Nessie hunting. The extensive ruin is run by Historic Scotland with an impressive visitor centre.  

 

Fort Augustus is situated at the south end of Loch Ness. This very picturesque village is an ideal spot to watch sailing boats navigating the locks connecting the Caledonian Canal with Loch Ness.

 
 
 
 

Elgin and Nairnshire
 

The historical town of Elgin is famous for the remains of it’s medieval cathedral, the second largest in Scotland. The cathedral was burned by the Wolf of Badenoch (who resided at Loch –an –Eilean castle near Aviemore) in 1390. Climb the North Tower to experience great views over the town.

 

The seaside towns of Lossiemouth and Nairn have excellent beaches. Nairn also boasts a superb beachside public park with a range of leisure activities.

 

Cawdor Castle, a few miles SW of Nairn, typifies the romantic, fairy tale Scottish castle. Home to the Thanes of Cawdor since 1370, the restored castle is traditionally furnished and visitors can relive yesteryears by interpretation displays. The castle is surrounded by beautiful grounds which are also open to visitors.

 

Fort George is impressively situated on a peninsula into the Moray Firth mid distance between Nairn and Inverness. Nestled by the sea, the extensive military barracks and stronghold was completed in 1769. The unique and cutting edge artillery fort was one of the most advanced in the world of it’s time to withstand modern warfare. Run by Historic Scotland, and still used today as a military barrack, the fort houses reconstructed barrack rooms, a regimental museum, audio visual centre and magazine store. Fort George is also an excellent location for dolphin watching.

 
 
 
 

Royal Deeside
 

The quaint village of Ballater is conspicuous for the number of ‘By appointment’ signs on the shop fronts. Set in magnificent scenery, the village’s Royal connections are documented in the Old Royal Station which incorporates the unique Royal Waiting Room, specially built for Queen Victoria.

 

Balmoral Castle, home to the Royal Family, is situated between Ballater and Braemar. The castle and grounds are open to the public on certain months of the year and offer a glimpse of how the Queen and her family spend their holidays in Scotland.

 

Nearby is Crathie Church where the Royal Family worship during their stay at Balmoral. The church is open all year to visitors.

 

The village of Braemar is the eastern gateway to the Cairngorm Mountains. Famous for the Royal Braemar Gathering, held in early September every year and the restored Braemar Castle.

 
 
 
 
Pitlochry and the surrounding area
 

Pitlochry is located about a one hour drive south of Aviemore. The Victorian town is famed for its traditional main street. The town has the added attractions of a distillery and a Scottish Hydro Electric visitor centre with unique salmon ladder.

 

A few miles north of Pitlochry is the battle site of Killiecrankie, managed by the National Trust of Scotland. The battle was fought in 1689 at which the Scottish Jacobite forces routed the Hanoverian Government army. The battle is famous for the “Soldier’s Leap” when a government soldier, fleeing from a group of clansmen, made a gigantic jump across the river gorge to safety. The surrounding forest, dramatic river gorge and informative visitor centre make Killiecrankie well worth a visit.

 

Slightly further north, neighbouring the attractive village of Blair Atholl, lies Blair Castle dating back to 1269. The castle is privately owned by the Dule of Atholl who has the distinction of having the only private army in the country. The castle has thirty rooms open to the public exhibiting fine antique furniture, ancient armour, old paintings, china and costumes. Impressive garden grounds are also open to the public.

 

Even further north, but still only about ten miles from Pitlochry, is the House of Bruar and the splendid Falls of Bruar. The House of Bruar is a large luxury shopping centre built in traditional style and selling mostly Scottish goods including everything from Speyside salmon to Pringle clothing and hand made chocolate. A short walk leads up the spectacular river gorge, across picturesque stone footbridges, with breathtaking views of the famous Bruar Falls.

 

 

 

 

Speyside Malt Whisky Trail
 
Follow the only maly whisky trail in the world and see where famous malts such as Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich are distilled. With a total of eight distilleries and the only working cooperage (where the barrels are made) in Britain - this is a must for all whisky enthusiasts and those who want to know more about one of Scotland's iconic goods. The trail is 70 miles in length and passes through outstanding glens, historic towns and the beautiful Moray coast. 

 
 
 

Grampian Castle Trail
 

Step back in time to experience Scotland’s heritage on the country’s only Castle Trail. The trail offers a selection of eleven different and distinctive castle styles. Ranging from the fairy tale magic of Craigievar Castle, to the rugged splendour of Kildrummy Castle ruins, to the isolated tower house of Corgarff Castle and to the elegant country house grandeur of Leith Hall. The signposted trail is easy to follow and can be tailored to suit tastes and time constraints.

 
 

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle

Fort Augustus and canal locks
Fort Augustus and canal locks

Culloden Battlefield
Culloden Battlefield

Loch Ness Monster Exhibition
Loch Ness Monster Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fort George
Fort George

Lossiemouth Beach
Lossiemouth Beach

Elgin Cathedral
Elgin Cathedral

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle

Ballater's 'By Appointment' shops
Ballater's 'By Appointment' shops

Crathie Church
Crathie Church

 
 
 
 
 
 

Falls of Bruar
Falls of Bruar

Pitlochry's Main Street
Pitlochry's Main Street

Blair Castle
Blair Castle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Glenmorangie Whisky Stills
Glenmorangie Whisky Stills

 
 
 
 
 
 

Castle Trail Sign
Castle Trail Sign

 
 
 
 
 

For enquiries/bookings, please contact:
Glenn & Fiona Armstrong
01479 812 453