Boat of Garten, also called The Osprey Village, is around 4 miles north of Aviemore in Scotland’s highlands. It’s at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and surrounded by beautiful walks and views. Ospreys chose to come here when they returned to Scotland, and you can see them at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre. There’s a festival in honour of the birds on May 25, a day of wildlife themed events, which also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Cairngorms National Park.
Jump aboard the Strathspey Railway and step back in time. Experience the romance of travelling by steam train on this 20 mile round trip through Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill, which you might recognize as Glenbogle, from the TV series Monarch of The Glen.
There’s options to travel first class and to have lunch or afternoon tea while having a relaxing trundle through the captivating Cairngorms.
It’s also the 150th anniversary of the original Highland mainline and some special events are planned. There’s on board whisky tasting on April 28.
Boat of Garten train station was surrounded by snowy mountains in March 2013.
There were slight flurries of snow as the whistle blew and the steam train powered up and left Boat of Garten station en route to Broomhill.
Next to the station at Boat of Garten is The Boat Hotel, where you are assured a warm Highland welcome. I stayed in one of the garden rooms, and enjoyed gorgeous views overlooking the railway to the hills beyond. It’s a perfect spot to stay while exploring the highlands, or to simply take advantage of the many walks and trails on the doorstep. You’ll get plenty action at the Cairngorm Ski Resort while the hotel is adjacent the Boat of Garten Golf Club. Meanwhile kids will love the Landmark Forest Adventure Park at nearby Carrbridge.
The hotel’s bistro boasts 2 AA rosettes for its food and service. Tuesday nights are dedicated to fish and chips, and the fresh Buckie haddock with light fluffy chips comes wrapped in “The Daily Catch”. It was absolutely delicious and one of the biggest and freshest fish I’ve ever tasted.
Although the hotel might have some exquisite and stately looking décor, it’s laid-back, welcoming and not at all stuffy. As well as romantic couples seeking a quiet Highland hideaway, you’ll also find families and people with dogs. Everyone is welcomed and catered for. The staff are particularly helpful and discreetly attentive. There’s real fires, comfy lounges and intimate bars where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine or a few wee drams. And if you have a penchant for a dram, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival runs from May 2 – 6. Expect to find 350 events with tours and tastings organized throughout the area which is home to over 50 distilleries.
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