For Christmas 2018 we ventured up to the heart of Scotland and rented out a little 2 bedroom cottage in Aviemore. Located next to the Cairngorm Mountain range, we had crisp clear views of the snow capped hills and access to beautiful lochs. Within easy walking distance of our cottage we found Loch an Eileen. This loch is full of history as it has a castle that stands in the middle, alone. Another short drive took us to Loch Morlich. Clear, still waters lined a small beach on which the kids ran freely and threw stones into the waters edge.
Although we are a family of 5, and Booking.com came up with the suggestion, the Gardeners Cottages only have 4 beds. There is a cot available, but our kids are small enough that they shared beds. The duvets are large and warm, and the beds themselves are very comfortable. Heating is provided by small storage heaters which can be switched on and off at will, and there is a lovely wood burning fire in the living area. The bathroom has underfloor heating and a warming towel rack which means no cold chill when coming out of the bath!
The cottages are self catering and the kitchen is fully stocked with every utensil you could possibly need. Baking trays, measuring jugs, saucepans and even a cafetière sit in the cupboards. There were a few basic supplies like tea and coffee left for us, and the owners had made a lovely chocolate cake for our arrival.
I loved the old pulley hanging clothes airer in the kitchen. Very quirky and old fashioned. But great for hanging sopping wet clothes from adventures in the outdoors! Wood was provided for the fire, as was a basic selection of towels. Everything was lovely, clean and presentable.
A Christmas Touch
The cottage was very homely, and as we went at Christmas time, the owners had put up a (very!) small tree and a few Christmas touches around the rooms. The whole ambience of the cottage was very peaceful, set near to Inshriach forest where wildlife ran in abundance. We saw a great spotted woodpecker, blue tits, pheasants, and even red squirrels.
We occupied the right hand side of the cottage and another family were in the left. Along the drive was the main house where the owners of the properties lived. A few other lodges dotted around the area, but they were enough distance away that nobody was disturbed by the presence of other people.
The cottage was very comfortable, we wanted for nothing and so, in all, we had a very nice, quiet, relaxing break from school, work and Christmas at home!
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You will not be disappointed. The location is fantastic, situated next to many outdoor facilities, including the Rothiemurcus activity centre where you can partake in clay pigeon shooting, tree top adventures and many more endeavours. We visited the Reindeer centre, about 6 miles from where the cottage lies, for some Christmas eve magic.
I would definitely recommend the cottage and also Aviemore as a destination to visit, if you want to truly have an outdoor holiday.