Activities and Places to Visit
Castles and Houses
Within an hour's drive of Newtonmore is Ballindalloch Castle with its magical gardens. Home to the only Lady Laird in Scotland the castle is part of a working estate with its own distillery and golf course. Ballindalloch has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546 and offers a range of activities for all ages, including a number of walks around its grounds. There is also a tearoom and shop onsite.
Cawdor Castle lies to the south east of Inverness and was built following William Shakespeare's Macbeth, whose lead character was made the 'Thane of Cawdor.' The medieval castle is surrounded by lovely gardens and is definitely worth a visit if in the area.
The closet castle to Newtonmore is Blair Castle on the outskirts of the village of Blair Atholl. The castle is home to the Duke of Atholl, who is the only man in the country to have permission to maintain a private army.
A 15 minute drive from Newtonmore is the Dalwhinnie Distillery, which is open all year round to allow visitors the opportunity to see how the whiskey is lovingly created. You can also enjoy a full day exploring the art of the whiskey distilleries in the area following the Speyside Whisky Trail. Stop off at the Speyside Cooperage and watch the oak casks being crafted using traditional methods. Don't forget to pick up a bottle of your favourite whiskey to share with friends and family.
Just a short drive from Newtonmore is the Highland Wildlife Park where visitors can learn about the wildlife in Scotland, as well as endangered species from the world's mountain and tundra regions.
For visitors with cars, drive through the main reserve to see European Bison, yaks, Tibetan wild ass, elk, reindeer, camels and wild horses. For those a little wary of driving through wild animals, why not join the keepers as they feed the tigers, snow monkeys and Scottish Wildcat. The park is also the only one in the United Kingdom to have polar bears. Visitors can discover the secrets behind the capercaillie, as well as see the red pandas, lynx and wolves while they enjoy a day at the park.
In Aviemore is the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre where around 150 reindeer roam. Each day guests visiting the centre can join the guides as they go in search of the herds that live in the wild and are free to roam. There is also the Sleddog Centre in the village, which is one of only five working centres in Europe. Living at the centre are 30 dogs that are from around the world, and guests can be as hands on with them as they like before setting off in the buggy to enjoy some of the beautiful views. Night time rides are also available where the dogs guided by floodlights give visitors the chance to see some of the red deer that live in the area.
Outdoor Adventure Activities
The Active Outdoor Pursuits centre in Newtonmore has a wide range of adventure activities available for both individuals and groups, including skiing, snowboarding, canoeing, white water rafting, kayaking and canyoning. All ages and abilities are catered for at the centre, which is able to take full advantage of the Cairngorm's varied landscape.
Laggan Wolftrax has become one of the best mountain biking trails in Scotland. Named after the Wolf of Badenoch the route sweeps through areas of the Highlands that are excellently managed by the Forestry Commission. The black double diamond route is the most well-known amongst experienced cyclists due to its technical difficulties. Other routes are also available for children and novice riders, and onsite you will find a regular uplift service, experienced guides, a good quality workshop, bike hire, shop and café.
For climbing enthusiasts head to Hilladventures where there are experienced navigation coaches and guides on hand throughout the year to provide tailored adventures.
Quad Bike Tours based in Kinlochlaggan is a must for thrill seekers. This adventure-based activity centre is designed to cater for visitors looking to test their driving skills with a spot of quad biking and off-road driving. There are also Land Rover safaris and clay pigeon shooting.
Loch Insh and water sports
Near Aviemore and at the gateway to the Cairngorm National Park is Loch Insh, where a range of water sports are available to suit all levels of abilities. On offer is sailing, rafting, fishing and rowing. There are also land activities available for anyone unable to take part in the water sports, including archery, skiing, mountain biking and walks. The Boathouse Restaurant is also one of the nicest in the area and has beautiful views of the sunset.
In under an hour's drive from Biallid House, guests can be searching the black depths of Loch Ness for the famous monster. The large freshwater loch is around 23 miles long and has a long mystical history when it comes to 'Nessie.'
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is located in the village of Drummadrochit and examines the history of Scotland's second largest loch, as well as giving visitors the chance to pick up souvenirs.
Boat cruises of the loch are available and well worth it if you are interested in finding out more about the infamous monster lurking below the surface. You can also visit Urquhart Castle, which lies on the shores of Loch Ness.
The Highland Folk Museum
On the outskirts of Newtonmore is the Highland Folk Museum, which provides a living history for all the family to enjoy. Set in 80 acres, the museum has 24 buildings ranging from the 18th century Township to the working croft. The museum is also a great spot for seeing the red squirrel.
The aim of the museum is to give visitors the chance to see how residents of the Scottish Highlands lived from the 18th century up until the 1950's. There is a fully equipped school house with teacher, a Highland cottage and Shinty pavilion, as well as other historic buildings to see and visit. Children will love the play park, and there is even an old fashioned sweet shop selling sweets by the quarter pound.