The Best Hotels to Book Near Highland Wildlife Park

Stay in the heart of the Cairngorms for a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park
Stay in the heart of the Cairngorms for a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park | Courtesy of McInnes House Hotel / Expedia
Photo of Suzy Pope
4 October 2021
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If you’re heading to the Cairngorms in Scotland in the hopes of spotting a wild mountain hare, or perhaps the elusive Scottish wildcat, the Highland Wildlife Park is your best bet. Accommodation can be found out in the wilderness, or in the heart of nearby villages like Kingussie and Aviemore. Whether you’re looking for a village B&B or a lavish hotel out in the countryside, we’ve got the pick of the best – all bookable with Culture Trip.

McInnes House Hotel

McInnes House Hotel
Courtesy of McInnes House Hotel / Expedia
The McInnes House Hotel has rooms for couples, families and groups within their collection of nine boutique bedrooms. It’s in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, surrounded by untamed Scottish wilderness, yet just a five-minute walk from Kingussie train station – so it’s ideal if you’re arriving by rail. The restaurant serves Scottish staples, like haggis bon bons and home-made steak pie. A rotation of seasonal mains keep things fresh, making the most of the natural bounty in the surrounding countryside.

Cairngorm Guest House

Cairngorm Guest House
Courtesy of Cairngorm Guest House / Expedia
In Aviemore, the outdoor activity capital of Scotland, the Cairngorm Guest House sits against the dramatic backdrop of heather-clad hills. The cute, Victorian building houses contemporary rooms to suit both couples and families. Guests enjoy access to the lounge, which is crowned with an original Victorian fireplace that crackles away in the winter months. Kids will love the selection of board games. Breakfast is served in the dining room where a Cairngorm-style cooked breakfast awaits, or creamy Scottish porridge to fuel a day of outdoor adventures.

Rowan Tree Country Hotel

Rowan Tree Country Hotel
Courtesy of Rowan Tree Country Hotel / Expedia
On the banks of Loch Alvie, just a few miles from Aviemore, this country hotel is full of personal touches. In the winter months, a roaring fire provides a warm welcome in the lounge, where you can peruse local guidebooks. Each bedroom is individually styled – from vibrant, striped walls to cooling blue tones and handmade patchwork quilts. There’s a drying room for boots and skis, and a bike wash if you want to make the most of the surrounding Cairngorms National Park. A wildlife area in the garden encourages the local fauna to stop by. What’s more, you can choose between fine dining in the restaurant or a slap up meal in the snug bar. Don’t leave without trying their famous porridge with double cream and Drambuie.

The Boat Hotel

The Boat Hotel
Courtesy of The Boat Hotel / Expedia
The focus is the food here at the Boat Hotel, where the concept of a “pub with rooms” is elevated to “restaurant with boutique rooms”. The Boat restaurant serves pub classics made with fresh, local produce and a pinch of luxury. Tuck into Scottish dishes, like haggis pakora and cullen skink, for a true taste of the Highlands. Classic rooms are contemporary, while deluxe rooms have four-poster beds, and garden rooms have private terraces overlooking the grounds to the Boat of Garten steam railway.

Argyle Guest House

Argyle Guest House
Courtesy of Argyle Guest House / Expedia
This cosy little B&B started life in 1891 as the Argyle Temperance Hotel and is on the Crown Estate of Glenlivet, famous for its nearby whisky distillery. These days, it acts as a gateway to the outdoor activities and wildlife trails of the Cairngorms National Park. Botanical-themed rooms are decorated to reflect the local flora – they’re also pet friendly, so bring your four-legged friend. The included breakfast is a choice of slow-cooked Scottish oats and cream, or a continental tray of pastries and cold cuts.

Sonnhalde Guest House

Sonnhalde Guest House
Courtesy of Sonnhalde Guest House / Expedia
In the idyllic village of Kingussie, this guesthouse is just a five-minute walk from the train station. There’s also free parking on site if you’re arriving by car. You’re at the gateway to Cairngorms National Park here, an eight-minute drive from the Highland Wildlife Park. An open fire greets you in the lounge, where big Victorian bay windows look out towards the Cairngorm mountains. Rooms are traditionally decorated, as if frozen in time from the Victorian era, and come with ensuites or shared bathrooms. Breakfast is included, to set you up for a day in the great outdoors.

Dalrachney Lodge Hotel

Dalrachney Lodge Hotel
Courtesy of Dalrachney Lodge Hotel / Expedia
Stepping into the drawing room with its heather-purple carpet and tartan finishes, there’s no doubt you’re in the Highlands at Dalrachney Lodge Hotel. A fire spits and crackles in the fireplace, a clock ticks on the oak mantlepiece and a towering bookshelf is filled with classics. The former hunting lodge motif continues in the bar and restaurant, where you can sip a dram of local Glenlivet by the fireside and enjoy a full Scottish breakfast in the morning. Set in the wilderness 15 minutes from Aviemore, this is a nature-lover’s paradise – the hotel runs wildlife-spotting and photography trips to see ospreys, red deer and black grouse less than a mile away.

The Steadings at the Grouse & Trout

The Steadings at the Grouse & Trout
Courtesy of The Steadings at the Grouse and Trout / Booking.com
Just under an hour’s drive from the Highland Wildlife Park, the Steadings at the Grouse and Trout is just eight miles away from Loch Ness, so you can enjoy a truly Scottish getaway. The Grouse & Trout restaurant is a destination in itself, serving locally sourced produce made into lavish dishes like whole roasted flichity grouse with venison stuffing, or Stornoway black pudding on a bed of foraged brambles. Away from the city lights, the grounds of the Steadings are a perfect place to stargaze – you can see the Milky Way on a clear night and possibly even the Northern Lights in the depths of winter. A local astronomer is available for stargazing tours, too.

Macdonald Drumossie Hotel

Macdonald Drumossie Hotel
Courtesy of Macdonald Drumossie Hotel / Expedia
On the outskirts of Inverness, a stay at Macdonald Drumossie Hotels puts you a 40-minute drive from the Highland Wildlife Park and everything else the Cairngorms has to offer. Cut crystal glasses in every bedroom are perfect for a wee dram, and every ensuite has a separate bath and shower. The award-winning chefs at the Grill Room restaurant whip Scottish produce into perfectly pink cuts of meat and sweeps of jus topped with wild flowers. Afternoon tea is a lavish affair, with the Laurent-Perrier Rosé champagne option pulling in visitors from far and wide.

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