A guide to Scotland's best national parks

#30DaysOfScotland, Days out, Rural



Discover the best national parks of Scotland

There has never been a better time than now to visit Scotland's two beautiful national parks. Discover fascinating wildlife, try your hand at some exhilarating outdoor activities or just bask in the Scottish sunshine whilst enjoying a traditional family park. The National parks in Scotland are such a significant part of Scottish culture that we feel they deserve a guide of their own!

Cairngorms National Park

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The Cairngorms National Park is the largest park in the UK, located in north east Scotland, established in 2003. The unspoilt wilderness of this spectacular landscape provides hours of fun for any age or ability. The Cairngorms National Park covers 4,500 sq km of stunning mountains, vast green forests filled with wildlife, friendly villages and picturesque clear lochs across four regions.

Enjoy some of the best hill walking in the country, ski down snow covered mountains, explore Britain’s highest and biggest mountain range – this special place will take you back to your childhood and allow for the best exploration you could possibly experience.



A sanctuary for wildlife

A staggering 25% of the UK’s endangered species can be found in the Cairngorms National Park providing a wealth of exploration when it comes to seeking out the wildlife inhabiting the area. If the idea of discovering some of the UK’s most fascinating bugs and animals is an appealing idea to you, then you can join an organised tour, go out and about with one of the park rangers or visit the famous RSPB Osprey Centre at Loch Garten. However if free-roaming is more your thing, then you certainly won’t be disappointed when taking a simple stroll in the woods either, you are sure to bump into a red squirrel and see a wide variety of birdlife.

The rich density of wildlife to be found makes it a dream for photographers, with the land providing many opportunities to capture some stunning shots.

Why not engage your little ones and get involved by downloading our fun countryside treasure hunt and give them the opportunity to get competitive and be the first to tick off all the items to spot!

A rich cultural landscape

Separated by the great bulk of the mountains, different areas of the Cairngorms National Park have their own distinct identity and cultural traditions, however the diverse areas all share the same strong connections to the same environment. Scotland’s Cairngorms Park is steeped in character and history waiting to be explored, you can delve into the past at the many castles and other historical sites such as the open Highland Folk Museum. Although much of the culture stems from previous story and traditions, the culture of Scotland today lives on and can be clearly seen in this area. With rich heritage and focus on music, you will find huge amounts of live entertainment at all time of the year being displayed to all visitors to the area, helping to celebrate the diverse nature of Scotland.

A place for adventure

The Cairngorms is a natural playground, the area offers such diverse terrains and landscapes which provides the perfect opportunity for sports of all nature. For the more adrenaline seeking of you the area offers water sports, snow sports and some incredible walking and cycling routes. It’s even home to the only sled dog centre, and the first permanent bridge-based bungee jump, in the UK. If you are after a more relaxed, low-level sport there are plenty of short walks to be explored and golfers are very well catered for, with 12 courses available in the park.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park was Scotland’s first National Park and comprises of 720 square miles of some of the finest scenery in Scotland, beautiful mountains, glens and lochs. It is a location of diverse rich landscapes from rolling lowland landscapes in the south to high mountains in the north, and many lochs, rivers, forests and woodlands encompassed in-between.

The landscapes in this region provide a wealth of exploration, providing hours of fun for the whole family. Many days can be spent appreciating the area of outstanding beauty or getting involved with the vast amount of activities on offer.

Dizzying heights

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a treasure trove of mountains, munros and magnificent corries waiting to be discovered, they are sights of pure natural beauty and makes for an un-missable opportunity. The area is very popular with hillwalkers and ‘Munro baggers’ alike partly due to its close proximity to Scotland’s largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, but also due to its spectacular scenery and high density of accessible hill tops.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park contains some extensive mountain areas in the north for the more experienced climber including Ben Lomond and Ben More,however if you aren’t quite seeking such a daunting challenge, then there are 19 corbetts which are mountains taller than 2,500 feet waiting to be climbed!

The photo opportunities from these mountainous vantage points are spectacular, being surrounded by 360 degree panoramic views makes for an unforgettable experience.

A culinary adventure

It is impossible to mention Scotland without making some kind of reference to the presence of food and drink within their culture.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park definitely does not shy away from offering the opportunity to showcase the vast and delicious produce available in the region. It is celebrated vividly in the form of festivals and events located directly in the parks, a few not to be missed are Trossach’s Beer Festival, 10th Annual Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival and Mhor 4th Annual Festival. From haggis to kippers if you are looking to taste some of the traditional Scottish delights you certainly will not be disappointed. There are also an immense range of eating venues for you to try covering every palate.

A place for adventure

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With Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park consisting of such a large amount of land space, you might need a helping hand when it comes to planning what to do when you get there. Just like the Cairngorms there is a wealth of sporting activities for you and the family to try your hand at, making for cherished holiday memories.

What better way to spend a day in the Scottish sunshine than with a day out on the water trying your hand at a water sport or out in the depths of the countryside enjoying a leisurely cycle, there really is something for everyone. If the idea of heading out into the forests with just a backpack fills you with terror then do not worry, there are plenty of schools and instructors on hand to help you out along the way, and you can then take your new found skills back home with you to show off to your friends and family.

Book one of our Scotland properties to explore the Trossachs National Park.

Posted by Hayley on 27th December 2016