The Cairngorms is renowned for its exceptional scenery, wildlife and beautiful lochs, and right at the heart of it all is the Rothiemurchus Estate. It provides locals and visitors will forests to explore and activities to all year round. Come rain, come shine, come snow, Rothiemurchus will have more than enough for adventurers to do.

Historic Highlights

The Rothiemurchus Estate has been under the stewardship of the Grant family since the 16th century, however its name can be dated back to the 8th century. The Grants own the stunning country house known as the Doune of Rothiemurchus. It was home to the Grant family since the 16th century. During the Second World War, the house was used as an army base but was abandoned until 1980 when Johnnie Grant began the restoration of the Doune. This project cared for the heritage and upkeep of Rothiemurchus under the Rothiemurchus Estate Maintenance Trust, and is still in place today.

What to do

The Rothiemurchus centre is the perfect place to discover everything that there is to do on the estate. There are maps for self-guided tours, information on the surrounding wildlife and you can book a range of activities. One of the most popular free activities is to take a scenic walk around Loch an Eilein which means Loch of the Island in English. It surrounds a small island which is home to the ruins of a 15th century castle. The walk takes around two hours and follows a footpath through the towering pines of Rothiemurchus forest. This is a favourite trail for cyclists and dog-walkers.

For the more adventurous visitors, there is white water rafting on the Findhorn River. This activity is ideal for the rainy weather when the water levels are high. It lasts around three hours and is £55 per adult. Participants are provided with lunch and all the necessary equipment, as well as transport to the river.

Rothiemurchus has some great activities for large groups or parties, such as stag and hen-dos. Groups can take part in mini-Highland games involving tossing the caber, archery and tug-of-war. This is perfect for a large, competitive group. It costs £42 per person and lasts around two hours.

For something a bit more peaceful, visitors can try wildlife watching and photography. There are various options for guided tours to observe the wildlife, in particular ospreys.

Where to eat

These activities build up an appetite and there are plenty of places for a quick coffee stop or family dinner. The Drui Café at the Rothiemurchus centre is open from 9.30am-4.30pm daily. It offers freshly baked cakes and scones, locally roasted coffee, breakfast and lunch. It is the perfect stop in between activities and in need of an energy boost.

On route to Aviemore from the Rothiemurchus centre is the Old Bridge Inn. It sits on the banks of the River Spey and was converted from a riverside cottage. This cosy bar and restaurant is often host to local and visiting musicians. The restaurant provides some of the best local produce in a comfortable, candle-lit atmosphere. If gin is your drink, they have an extensive selection. Advance booking is recommended as it is usually bustling with locals and visitors.

The famous Mountain Café was opened in 2004 by New Zealander head chef Kirsten Gilmour, and the queue for a table has been out the door ever since. Their award-winning breakfast and lunches can be enjoyed with some incredible views of the mountains. Be sure not to fill up on the main courses though, because the beetroot chocolate cake is not to be missed.

Where to stay

Rothiemurchus has a brilliant camping and caravan park, surrounded by Caledonian pine trees. Despite its rural setting, the park has modern facilities such as a heated building with showers, toilets and a launderette. There are 17 sheltered pitches for caravans which all have electric hook-ups. From the campsite, visitors can easily access some of Rothiemurchus’ walking and cycle paths.

The Coylumbridge Hotel has a Fun House for children which has a soft play area, crazy golf and amusement arcade. Every day, there is a range of kids' clubs, giving the parents time to dine in one of the hotel’s restaurants or relax with a treatment at the Thai Lodge. The Woodshed hosts weekly BBQs and quizzes. It has a cocktail menu as well as giant-sized nachos and pizzas.

For a more unusual stay, there is the Loch an Eilein cottage. This one bedroom 19th century stone cottage is found on the shores of the loch. If visitors can take their eyes away from the exquisite views, they can enjoy the newly refurbished interior which reflects the colours of the loch and surrounding forest. Ideal for a romantic and relaxing getaway.

Where to shop

The Rothiemurchus Estate Farm Shop is full of local produce. The shop stocks Rothiemurchus’ Highland beef and wild venison which is expertly butchered by the in-house butchers. There is also fresh rainbow trout and artisan cheeses. In the spring, award-winning beekeepers Bryce and Elizabeth Reynard move their bees to the moors to catch the best blossoms possible for the honey which is sold on and off the comb.

Spey Valley Shopping is part of the MacDonald Aviemore Resort, and offers deluxe items. Their fashion department stocks the latest from designers such as Barbour, Joules and White Stuff. They have a beautiful selection of handmade Scottish jewellery from designers such as Sheila Fleet. For a touch of the Highlands to bring back home, there are plenty of home furnishings such as cushions and mugs. There are, of course, local whiskies and gins too.

What to do nearby

A short drive from the estate is Loch Morlich. Here, visitors can partake in water sports such as windsurfing, canoeing and paddle boarding. During the summer, Loch Morlich is packed full of families, sometimes sunbathing as though there were on a beach in Spain. There are many walking trails surrounding the loch.

For the daring, Zip Trek Park is an absolute must. The zip wire course is made up of 14 wires through trees and over a breath-taking gorge. The wires are initially short in length, building up to the final one which is 550m long. The session lasts approximately two hours, and is an adrenalin filled gem within the Cairngorms.