We visited Aviemore at Christmas 2018. Aviemore is set in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park and I chose the destination in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights. The Cairngorm area is the most northerly Dark Sky Park in the world and so I was hopeful that we could get a glimpse of the natural phenomenon. Aviemore became one of the first skiing resorts to be established in Scotland with the opening of the chairlift in 1961. After the ski centre opened, the population of the village grew. As such, the resort has since grown into Britain’s most visited ski resort during the winter months.
We stayed at Gardeners Cottage, in Inshriach Gardens and were greeted by homemade cake, a warm open fire, and silence. My accommodation review is here if you would like to have a read. I would 100% recommend this property to anybody wanting a home away from home and in the depths of nature!
The Cairngorms are home to the oldest and largest herd of free range reindeer in the UK. In the run up to Christmas they allow visitors to come and say hello, and the keepers educate everybody in the lives of Father Christmas’s livestock. They allow a full on experience for a great price, and memories that the kids will remember for years to come. As with most places in the run up to Christmas, Father Christmas makes an appearance and a festive trail keeps the kids entertained. You can find information on how to get there via this link – Cairngorm Reindeer
Christmas Eve Parade
The reindeer are also part of a very important tradition in Aviemore at Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the Christmas parade is a much looked forward to event. The parade is led by Drum Major Duncan Macdonald with Badenoch & Strathspey Pipe Band, with Santa being pulled by The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd. The parade includes characters from panto and finishes at the Cairngorm Hotel, opposite the railway station. The local children are incolved with hand made floats and decorations.
We lined up at the sides of the road, while the roads were closed for safety. It was a magical experience to be part of. And the fireworks at the end, was the longest display I have ever witnessed! The panto characters put on a small show at the Cairngorm Hotel, while we all joined in with a festive sing song.
The Cairngorm ski centre is in full swing from December. They offer Skiing, from beginners to experts, freestyle, and snowboarding. They also rent our equipment if you want to try it out without the commitment of purchasing gear.
The Rothiemurchus Centre is somewhere I would have liked to have visited as they provide a full range of activities. For the adventurous holiday maker, there is paddle boarding, off-road vehicles, quad bikes and so much more. A full day and more can be packed in here, so we will definitely return to see what there is to offer.
Aviemore is home to many Lochs, and I would thoroughly recommend visiting one or two. Loch An Eileen is a minute away from Gardeners Cottage and Loch Morlich is on the road into Aviemore. There are views on those lochs that you will never forget. From the sun’s reflection in the still water, to the snow topped mountains in the distance. I have never seen such beauty. For those of you who like being on the water, water sports are available at Loch Morlich. Loch Morlich also holds a ‘seaside award’ for it’s clean beach and water bathing quality. Yes, that’s right. It has a beach too!
Aviemore At Christmas
I am in full mourning mode this year as I want to go back to Aviemore at Christmas. We are booking up to go next year and hopefully staying a bit longer to take full advantage of the surrounding area, and what Aviemore has to offer.