Where to take kids for a christmas break uk in 2023? Cairngorms Christmas Guide

Want to see snow at Christmas? The Cairngorms are a magical place to visit with friends and the finest festive activities. 

Welcome to a winter wonderland nestled in the heart of the Scottish Highlands – the Cairngorms. If you’re on the lookout for an enchanting and budget-friendly Christmas getaway with your family, look no further! In this blog post, we’ll explore why the Cairngorms are the perfect destination to make your Christmas and New Year celebrations truly special. From captivating landscapes to exciting activities for the whole family, the Cairngorms have it all.

Why the Cairngorms for Christmas?

Escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the festive charm of the Cairngorms. Picture a landscape adorned with snow-covered peaks, picturesque villages, and an abundance of holiday cheer.  There is a good chance you will be able to play in the snow on Cairngorm Mountain or take a crisp festive walk in the beautifully scented pine forests. 

Here are some of the experiences we know you will enjoy. 

  • Take the kids out sledging – we generally do not get much snow in November but sometimes it does arrive on the hilltops in October.  If you are lucky, you might just get to throw a few snowballs on Cairngorm Mountain or at least enjoy a brisk walk on fair days.
  • Get your skates on – the community run Ice Rink is now in its third year (igloo is a proud sponsor again) and offers fun for all ages. They have bob-skates available for little ones as well as Penguin and Polar Bear skating aids to help everyone stay the right way up on the ice. Centrally located within the Macdonald Aviemore Resort.
  • Visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd and Highland Wildlife Park  – get up close to these beautiful animals at The Cairngorm Reindeer herd before they go out on their travels with Santa Claus.   You might even be able to stock up on some reindeer food for Christmas Eve.  The Highland Wildlife Park has 3 wonderful Polar Bears, and if you are lucky,  you might just see them playing in the snow – their favourite past time. 
  • All aboard for the Santa Express.  Travel back in time on the local steam train and enjoy some special trips to reminisce or delight the kids.  Lunches and special days are available but must be booked in advance as they are so popular. 
  • Go shopping on Santa Claus Drive –  a nod to Aviemore’s past, the new shopping centre is situated in Santa’s old village.  Now a little mecca for locals and tourists with a range of shops that will help you but the perfect presents for your loved ones.  From luxuriously warm clothing and equipment in Tiso, Speyside Spirits in The Snug, perfume and a bit of everything in Home Bargains.  You might just tick everything off your list.
  • Aviemore also has some other great shops that are most welcoming in the run up to Christmas.  Go to FatFace for some great service – who doesn’t love FatFace after all!   There are lots of other mountain equipment shops including Ellis Brigham, Nevis Sport and Mountain Warehouse.  Support local by visiting Aviemore Boutique for stylish gifts,  Backcountry for preloved equipment and clothing, or The Village Store for lots of gifting ideas. 
  • Take a trip through to Grantown on Spey – the charming High Street here has a lot of independent businesses for truly unique gifts. Check out Ewe & Me for gifts, Two Thirsty Men for all things beer, The Candy Coo for sweet treats and the excellent Bank Studio for local art.
  • Have to buy something for the person who has it all – why not try some new bike gear from Aviemore Bikes and get the best of help and advice.  
  • Perhaps you have some serious foodies in the family.  You must visit Rothiemurchus farm shop for some seriously good local venison and beef, a range of lovely cheeses and accompaniments, along with lots of other tasty goodies and tipples.  Also worth checking out is The Deli in Aviemore main road, Walkers for some real Scottish shortbread, or the Kilted Fudge Company for sweet stocking fillers. 
  • We all know you cannot go wrong with gifting alcohol. Why not go local and go the extra mile by purchasing a local gin, whisky or hand crafted beer. The Cairngorm Brewery have a fantastic shop full of real ales and some local spirits.  Buy in mini kegs or bottle packs.   If you love gin, or know someone who does ( we love gin here at igloo) why not purchase from local distilleries at KinraraInshriachSpeyside Byron’s,  Cairngorm Gin and Caorunn at Balmenach. 
  • Get your toast for the bells at local whisky distilleries – with Speyside malts being the envy of the entire world, this present will be appreciated.  Local bottles include Dalwhinnie,  SpeysideAngels’ Nectar and Tomatin.
Feel the cold snow on your Holiday in the Cairngorms