Cairngorms National Park Travel Guide

The Cairngorms National Park, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, was voted one of the top 20 places to visit in the world. The UK’s largest National Park offers so much to do, including water sports, snow sports, wildlife watching, and some fantastic walking and cycling routes.

Five of the UK's six highest mountains lie inside the park as well as huge forests with ancient native trees, spectacular waterfalls and some of the best wildlife in Scotland. You will also find some of Scotland's best cuisine in the area, including venison from deer that range across the hills, beef from Highland cattle, salmon and trout from the local rivers and lochs, and whiskey from age-old distilleries.

Header image credit: Graham Norrie​​

Getting There

The Cairngorms National Park is just a three and a half hour drive from our port in Newcastle and takes in some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. Take the A1 north from Newcastle following the coastal road through Berwick upon Tweed to Edinburgh. Then take the M90 to Perth and follow the A9 which takes you around the western edge of the park.


Why visit Cairngorms National Park?

At twice the size of the Lake District, the Cairngorms National Park has some of the most spectacular mountains, forest paths, rivers, lochs, wildlife hotspots, villages and distilleries in the whole of the UK and its long list of visitor attractions will have you coming back again and again.

The park is a rare wildlife stronghold and among its many residents you can spot reindeer, ospreys, eagles, wildcats and the elusive red squirrel. The lochs are home to rare birds, otters, wild brown trout, arctic charr and pike, and Loch Garten is famous for the Osprey Centre, where these iconic birds can be watched alongside other wildlife native to the Scottish Caledonian Pine Forest.

Image credit: Paul Wordingham​

Cairngorms National Park

What to See in Cairngorms National Park

There are many attractions in the Cairngorms National Park catering for all ages and all weathers. For an exceptional view of the park a ride on the funicular railway is a must. The two-kilometre long funicular ascends the northern slopes of Cairn Gorm and is the highest railway in the UK. When in Scotland a trip to a distillery should always be on your itinerary, so take a tour of The Glenlivet Distillery Visitor Centre where you can sample a special ‘dram’ drawn straight from the cask.

The park is also home to a number of castles, including the Scottish royal residence, Balmoral Castle, and the 17th century Braemar Castle just down the road, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Image credit: Nick Bramhall​

Where to stay in Cairngorms National Park

​ There is a great selection of friendly accommodation in the Cairngorms National Park to choose from. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts, guest houses, hotels and self-catering accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Please check out our partner to find the perfect accommodation in the heart on the Cairngorms National Park.


It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.​​