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5 Ideas for Relaxing in the Cairngorms

With its rugged mountain scenery, pretty lochs and ancient pine woods, the Cairngorms National Park provides a stunning backdrop to any day trip or weekend away.  If you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to recharge the batteries, why not immerse yourself in the area’s outstanding beauty and tranquil scenery?

Whether you’re looking for a day trip in Speyside or somewhere to spend a short break, the Cairngorms National Park is a wonderful place in which to truly unwind.  From woodland walks to tearooms, here are a few ideas on how you can enjoy a lazy day in the area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Potting Shed at Inshriach Nursery 

As you follow the B970 south of Aviemore from Inverdruie to Feshiebridge, look out for Inshriach Nursery – home of the fabulous Potting Shed Tearoom.  This gem of a tearoom has been voted ‘one of Britain’s best cake shops’ by the Observer and the amazing cream and chocolate-laden cakes on offer mean it can sometimes be difficult to find a parking space!

Choose from a selection of 5-10 delicious cakes, including a gluten-free option, which are baked on the premises by the Norwegian owner.  As well as the amazing selection of sponges, you can enjoy tea and coffee served in beautiful vintage cups, and watch birds and red squirrels from the glass-walled viewing area, overlooking the nursery’s wildlife feeding station.

Afterwards, stretch your legs in the wild woodland gardens and browse the array of hardy, slow-grown plants available to buy.

Revack Highland Estate

Tucked into the north of the National Park you’ll find Revack Estate, two miles from Grantown-on-Spey.  There is a restaurant and cafe in which you can relax, again with a view of birds and red squirrels feeding, and a shop stocking a range of gifts, clothes and jewellery.  You can choose from a number of walking trails on the Estate, taking you through peaceful woodland and showering you in lovely views of the countryside.  There is also a woodland adventure playground for little ones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Sculpture Trail, Feshiebridge

Slightly further along from Inshriach Nursery on the B970 you cross the thundering River Feshie, one of the Spey’s major tributaries.  Shortly afterwards, you’ll see a Forestry Commission sign on your right for The Sculpture Trail car park (for which there is a small charge).

This scenic circuit is a wheelchair-accessible loop through woods and into a wild walled garden, with views of surrounding mountains.  Dotted along the trail are twenty wooden and stone sculptures by the late Frank Bruce.  These sculptures are reflections on Scottish culture, politics and our relationship with the developing world.  It’s an idyllic spot in which to enjoy a short walk and bask in stunning scenery.

Boat of Garten Walk

Starting in the picturesque village of Boat of Garten, there is a pleasant walk along the River Spey and through woodland.  As well as soaking up views of the Cairngorms and the fast-paced Spey, keep an eye out for wildlife – you might even catch a glimpse of the local osprey and the rare capercaillie.

After your walk, head to Anderson’s Restaurant for great food and drink, and a menu full of fresh, local produce.

Glenmore Forest Park

Sprawled around Loch Morlich and in the shadow of the Cairngorm Mountains, Glenmore Forest Park is another peaceful place in which to unwind.  Its Caledonian pine wood is a spectacular place in which to walk or bike, with a variety of trails from which to choose.  There is also a Visitor Centre where you can find out more about the forest and its trails, or simply rest with a cup of tea in the cafe.

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