Snuggled in the north of Cairngorms National Park, just a short hop from Inverness and also within easy reach of Aberdeen, Carrbridge is the ideal base for exploring all the beauty of the Cairngorms and beyond.Picture-perfect with iconic spots including the famous packhorse bridge, and lying in the shadows of the Monadhliath Mountains, the village of Carrbridge makes for a dreamy getaway.
Getting there and things you should know
Lying just north of Aviemore, Carrbridge is the northern gateway to the stunning Cairngorms. Ideally, the village is best accessed by car to enable you to easily explore surrounding areas and beyond. Carrbridge lies just off the A9, which dissects the centre of the country from Perth to Thurso, via Inverness. However, it also benefits from being on the Highlands Main Line, with Carrbridge Railway Station making the area accessible for all.
While being a picturesque location in its own right, Carrbridge also acts as a gateway to a plethora of spectacular sights and must-do activities while in the Cairngorms.
Landmark Forest Adventure Park, located in the village, is perfect for keeping the kids entertained, with rides, a monkey trail, nature walks, mini diggers and even a dinosaur kingdom to explore.
Carrbridge Golf Course is also a very popular and picturesque spot for a leisurely round.
For something more historical, you can also visit the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands – The Old Packhorse Bridge, built-in 1717. On two separate occasions, the parapets and side walls were badly damaged, giving the bridge the worn but characteristic appearance it has today. Nearby in the historic parish of Duthil, the Old Parish Church and Churchyard provide yet more history. Originally built in the 1400s, the church has been rebuilt on several occasions.
Just west of Carrbridge, Sluggan Bridge crosses the River Dulnain and is a lovely spot for a walk, picnic and photographs. The stone bridge may be more modern than The Old Packhorse Bridge, but it’s no less attractive.
The town of Grantown-on-Spey, just a few minutes along the road from Carrbridge, is the perfect location for outdoor adventurers. Skiing, climbing, hiking and snowboarding are just a few of the activities to be enjoyed here, not to mention the spectacular array of wildlife which can be found in the area.
Just south of Grantown-on-Spey, Nethy Bridge is a picturesque village with a truly spectacular outlook. Bask in the glorious views on offer in and around ‘Forest Village’ – as it has become known, thanks to its proximity to Abernethy Forest.
On the banks of the River Spey, just south-east of Carrbridge, Boat of Garten is another beautiful village well worth a visit, while between Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten, Loch Garten Nature Reserve makes for a lovely day out. Here, you can try and spot a host of wildlife, including ospreys, goldeneyes, Scottish crossbills and capercaillie.
Places to eat and drink nearby
Located in the heart of Carrbridge village itself are several lovely spots to grab a meal or quick snack. Carrbridge Kitchen is a well-regarded café, perfect for a quick pit-stop before heading out to see the sights or to fuel up before tackling a local walking trail or climb. The Carrbridge Hotel and Cairn Hotel are also centrally located, just along from The Old Packhorse Bridge.
Elsewhere, 1896 Gallery in Boat of Garten not only makes for a good couple of hours perusing the artwork and crafts on display, but also houses a quaint coffee shop where you can kick back with a hot drink and slice of delicious local cake.
Nethy House Café and Rooms is ideal for a quick bite or warming coffee when in Nethy Bridge, while The Barn at Rothiemurchus is an equally good find in Aviemore.
Did you know…
Carrbridge might be small but it packs a mighty punch, especially when it comes to events. Alongside the traditional Carrbridge Live Art and Music Festival, you can also come to the Highlands village to experience the World Porridge Making Championship and the Carrbridge Gathering and Scottish Open Chainsaw Carving Championship.