Summer breaks with the family at Cairngorm Lodges
“What can we do with the kids when staying at Cairngorm Lodges in the summer?” is a question we sometimes get asked. So whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, here are a few of our tried and tested things to do to keep them amused – just pick a few and enjoy some quality family time together.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. You simply navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It’s a brilliant way to keep kids interested while the family are out and about enjoying the countryside. We are extremely lucky to have the only Scottish Geo Tour right on our doorstep – The Explore Royal Deeside Geo Tour which has 20 caches to find along the Deeside Way.. To add to your enjoyment, there are also a number of mini-trails leading you into some of Deeside’s historic landmarks, local estates, iconic villages, forestry trails and lochside walks – some 70 new caches in total have been hidden throughout the valley with more in the pipeline. All the caches are freely available – happy hunting!
If you fancy a day of full on activity in an organised setting then we have the following activity centres to keep everyone busy;
Deeside Activity Park – there is something for every family member here – from karts to quads to 4X4 driving and then orienteering and target sports ( archery, axe throwing(!), rifle range, clay pigeon & crossbow).
Landmark Forest Adventure Park – after a day here the kids are likely to sleep all the way back to your cabin! Much fun to be had with a wild water coaster, climbing wall, sky dive, tarzan trail, ropeworx, fire tower, maze, ant city climbing and much more. Our suggestion is to get here early and make the most of your day – a change of clothes is a good idea for after the water coasters!
Crathes Castle and Go Ape – combine a trip to a Castle, which I should add has beautiful gardens for the green fingered amongst us, with a trip to Go Ape. Go Ape is all about zip wires, jumping off Tarzan swings and high ropes crossings. Not for the faint hearted!
If you can’t manage to bring your bikes with you then don’t worry they can easily be hired at Cycle Highlands in Ballater. There are many off-road cycle paths, including the Deeside Way, which will take you along the River Dee on easy to cycle pathways which are ideal for kids.
The nearby Tarland trails are not to be missed and have something for all levels of ability.
For those lovely sunny days take a picnic and head out for a walk in the Scottish Highlands. One of our personal favourites is to go to Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate. Simply go as far round the loch as you are able and don’t forget to scan the surrounding hills for the majestic red deer. We often take our bikes here too.
Alternatively head to Loch Kinord for a wander around the beautiful loch, make sure you point out the crannog (man made island). Do make sure you visit the Burn O Vat too, everyone is sure to be impressed by the huge pot hole created during the last ice age. Entering the vat does involve clambering over some rocks so make sure you wear suitable footwear and if it’s been raining there is likely to be a waterfall inside the vat with a small cave behind it – who will be able to resist running through the waterfall to hide in the cave behind?! Best to take a change of clothes!
It’s hard to know where to start with castles as we are blessed with so many in this area! So here are just a few of our favourites;
Braemar Castle was built in 1628 and has a most interesting history. The castle is now managed by the local community and the guides who show you around love to impart their local knowledge and stories. The drive from Cairngorm Lodges to Braemar Castle is breathtaking and you will pass Balmoral Castle and Crathie Kirk as you head up the valley. Both of these are famous because of their association with the Royal Family and are very popular with visitors. The Royal Lochnagar Distillery and Visitor Centre is worth a visit , and not just for those who enjoy whisky! They offer various tours to allow visitors to gain some insight into this age old tradition. Please note though that children under 8 are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery.
We really love nearby Craigievar Castle too and again the guides have a fantastic knowledge of the castle and its history which makes the trip so worthwhile. This pink castle was the inspiration for the Walt Disney Castle. There are woodland walks around the castle to enjoy too.
One of our most iconic castles is Dunnottar Castle just outside Stonehaven. Dunnottar is a dramatic ruin on a cliff top overlooking the sea. Its colourful and sometimes dark past never fails to captivate its visitors. After a visit why not head into Stonehaven for some fish and chips on the beach front.
Enjoy a pony trek out with all the family. Nearby Glen Tanar Equestrian Centre offer one or two hour hacks through amazing peaceful countryside that is The Cairngorms National Park. The trek will take you round lochs and through streams – what a lovely way to spend time together which is very popular with our guests.
We are well known for our fishing on Royal Deeside and whether you are an absolute beginner or a bit of an expert its certainly the place to do a spot of fishing. We can set you up with a local ghillie who will provide you with rods and waders and tuition if required.
We run bee keeping courses at Cairngorm Lodges and are more than happy to show a family group inside a hive and give some insight into the fascinating world of beekeeping. We can also take you out to help catch swarms if the bees oblige during your stay – this is something that you will never forget! Just contact Sarah if you are interested. Bee suits will be provided.
Enjoy the forest:
For those days when you just want to hang out in your cabin in the Cairngorms, then let the kids roam free in the forest and do what kids love doing – a bit of exploring and den building. We are more than happy to supply nuts for you to feed to the red squirrels and many hours can be spent watching the wildlife come and go. When night time comes why not all head out for a walk in the dark and do some star gazing – no light pollution at Cairngorm Lodges.