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    Self Drive

    Winter Highland Cosy Cairngorms

    2 reviews

    Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

    From: £3,000.00

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Rachael Gavan
    View Rachael's Profile

    Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands
    Trip Type: Self Drive
    Accommodation: Luxury
    Deposit From: £773

    Grading: Your Own Pace

    Carbon Footprint: 129kg ? What does this mean?
    Click here to find out about our carbon labelling project and what we're doing to be more sustainable.

    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Imagine snuggling up together with a warming dram, the crackling fire chasing the last of the icy outdoor air away. After a day outside exploring the charms of the winter highlands, you have definitely earned this.

    Embrace the stillness of the winter landscapes, the rich smell of the evergreen pine forests, the sparkle of ice crystals and cracking of frozen puddles under your feet. As you explore the Cairngorms National Park you may catch glimpses of the local wildlife wearing their winter coats and marvel at the incredible star-strewn skies that seem to go on forever.

    Experience true Scottish hospitality during this luxury Highland getaway. 

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip

    Although the above itinerary is already a fabulous complete trip, we know that everyone is different. Maybe you also want to experience a tutored chocolate tasting or explore a coastal castle while you are here. Or dial up the adventure with a winter wild swimming experience. From guided winter skills or bushcraft and survival days, there is something for everyone. Create a customised trip that is specially tailored just for you. 

    See below for more details of the options or get in touch with us here at the office, we would love to chat with you and help you build your perfect adventure. You can also visit our Winter in Scotland page to help answer some of your questions about this time of year, for instance, what’s the weather like, if you can see the Northern Lights, things to do, what food is in season, and much much more.

    Trip Highlights

    • Enjoy fabulous scenic winter hiking in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park with an expert guide (great options for all abilities)
    • Relax in your luxurious 5* hotel and cosy up with a hot drink in front of the fire
    • Gaze in wonder at the endless stars in the clear winter night skies
    • Breath cool clean air and enjoy rejuvenating treatments in the spa
    • Customise the itinerary to create your perfect trip with optional upgrades and extra days

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Arrive In The Cairngorms

    Make your way to your accommodation within the Cairngorms National Park, your home for the next four nights. This afternoon you’ll settle in and enjoy a relaxing deep tissue or hot stone massage. The perfect way to start your trip. This evening enjoy a welcoming drink as you admire the varied artwork in the bar of your flamboyant and unique hotel.

    *Optional Upgrade: Private Art Tour Of The Hotel & Installations

    Day 2 – Royal Balmoral & Endless Stars

    Meet your guide at your accommodation this morning before stepping out to explore the estate of the Royal Family’s beloved Highland residence, Balmoral. Enjoy the quiet of the winter months as you explore these trails together through the trees and discover the unique Royal memorial cairns. Afterwards, if the castle is open you can take a tour and see the ballroom full of family artefacts.

    Tonight you will have an early dinner and, if the sky is clear, we head out after dark to enjoy the crisp, clear night sky where the stars never seem to end. Scotland has some of the largest expanses of dark sky in Europe so the number of stars visible, even with the naked eye, can be absolutely breathtaking. When you are wrapped up cosy with a hot drink you can spend hours enjoying the glorious celestial show on display. If you are really lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive ‘Northern Lights’! (B, L)

    Day 3 – Hike In The Shadow Of Lochnagar

    This morning you will be met by your guide and head off to hike around a sparkling loch which sits in the shadow of atmospheric Lochnagar. This mountain was immortalised in verse by Lord Byron, including the line “I sigh for the valley of dark Lochnagar”.

    In the afternoon enjoy a tour and tasting at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, which was issued a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1848. You may also have a chance to stop and see Crathie Kirk, the tiny church that is the regular place of worship for the Royal family when they are in residence at Balmoral Castle. (B, L)

    Walk details: 12.5km//7.75 miles | 170m/ 558ft ascent | approx. 3.5 hours

    *Optional Upgrade: Polar Bear Plunge Wild Swimming Experience

    Day 4 – Wild Side Of Royal Deeside

    After breakfast, you and your guide will head out for a relaxing hike in this beautiful landscape. There are lots of options to choose from and together with your guide, you will pick what suits the weather and your preferred level of challenge for today. As you walk together you’ll learn about the history and the local winter activities of this area.

    After lunch, you will be collected from your hotel by a landrover and head off to explore the wild glen of a local estate which sits in the heart of Britain’s largest nature reserve. Make sure you take your camera and keep your eyes open for the abundant local wildlife. You may spot mountain hares in their white winter coats, or the rusty red colour of the local deer herds. (B, L)

    Day 5 – Depart

    Enjoy a hearty Scottish breakfast before you depart for your onward journey. (B)

    Self Drive
    Winter Highland Cosy Cairngorms

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Price from: £3,000
    Duration: 5 Days 4 Nights

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This holiday is based in the luxurious and unique 5* Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. Here you can enjoy genuine Scottish hospitality, relax in comfort and enjoy the inspiration of your artist-influenced surroundings. Accommodation is in double, twin or family bedrooms.

    Meals Read More

    Breakfast is included each morning.

    Lunches are included on your guided days. On your self guided days you are free to choose from the local cafes and delis.

    Dinners are not included so that you are free to relax and choose options that work best for you. Your guide will not eat with you in the evenings but they will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

    Trip Grading Read More

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Scotland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle low level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready.

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip Read More

    *Day 1 | Private Art Tour Of The Hotel & Installations

    Enjoy a private tour of the major pieces of the extensive art collection in your hotel. Hear the stories behind the unique artwork that is both housed here and the pieces that were commissioned specially and literally painted onto the walls.

    *Day 3 | Polar Bear Plunge Wild Swimming Experience

    Are you brave enough to try out the delights of winter wild swimming? This challenging pastime has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, and it is easy to see why. The rush of endorphins on entering the water and the tingling high afterwards makes for a memorable day. All finished off with lots of cosy layers and a retreat to a warm cafe for hot drinks and cake of course!

    Chocolate Experience & Stories By The Fire

    This morning we head to the Southern fringes of the Cairngorms National Park to the beautiful little town of Pitlochry. Here we visit a unique and internationally award winning Chocolate Kitchen, where you will be led on a gourmet chocolate tasting by an expert chocolatier and learn about how these delights are created. After lunch in a traditional pub, settle in by the fire with a drink as a local storyteller regales you with Scottish myths and tales of the past.

    Winter Skills

    From our centrally located accommodation, we can go where the weather and snow conditions are best. Hike into this wilderness and learn essential ice axe and crampon winter techniques from our experienced and qualified guides. At the end of the day relax by the fire and reflect on your new skills. This is the perfect active winters day.

    Winter Bushcraft

    With our bushcraft day, we head into the pine forests where our skilled guides teach you essential bushcraft skills which will enhance your knowledge and understanding of this environment. Fully immerse yourself in the wilderness – make a fire, forage and prepare wild foods and make your own winter shelter.

    Coastal Castle Exploration

    Today you and your guide head East to the coastline and the iconic Dunnottar Castle. This romantic and haunting ruin is wonderfully photogenic and was once the home of one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Explore the quaint fishing harbour town and before you go, make sure that you leave time to treat yourself to an extravagant sundae at the flamboyant Aunty Betty’s on the promenade. This fun kitsch ice cream parlour is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Chris Page

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Chris a Question

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Scotland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle low level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready!

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 2 reviews of Self-Drive – Winter Highland Cosy Cairngorms



    Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

    That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.


    Gunvor Rottensten

    Reviewed on 12/02/2020

    Age: 80 - 90
    Country: Luxembourg
    Trip Date: 29/01/2020
    Trips Taken: 10

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Our Cozy Cairngorms trip gave us all we had been promised. We loved the Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar, the massage on the first afternoon was just what we needed after our walk, and the afternoon with Katie very interesting and enjoyable.


    Inga Ebert

    Reviewed on 10/02/2020

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: Luxembourg
    Trip Date: 29/01/2020
    Trips Taken: 9

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Super trip and so glad that it was made possible. Loved to be in Scotland this time of year and we had excellent weather. And we arrived 29 jan and toured with you but then we continued to Ballater and walked another 3 days (seven Bridges, Sgor Buidhe and Loch Muick circuit) and then to Inverurie where we walked from Pittodrie house (several walks around Bennachie) so we only returned home yesterday - blown by the wind! But another succes story!! Will be back in Scotland 2 april.

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