Centrally located in the Scottish Highlands just south of Inverness the Cairngorms National Park is easy to get to by car, plane, train or bus.

By Car

The main road travelling north, the A9, connects central Scotland with the Cairngorms National Park, which means you can arrive from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee in the south and Inverness in the north.

The A9 enters the National Park in the south at Killicrankie/Blair Atholl and travels through the west of the Cairngorms, exiting just north of Carrbridge. The road continues to Inverness or you can branch off onto the A939 at Grantown-on-Spey to head to the east of the National Park through Tomintoul and onto the Lecht Ski Centre and ultimately the Royal Deeside region including Braemar and Ballater.

Alternatively, when travelling north, you can take the A93 from Perth and enter the Cairngorms National Park just south of Glenshee, travelling up the east via Glenshee Ski Centre, to Braemar and Ballater. Stay on the A93 to head out to Aberdeen or turn onto the A939 to head through Cock Bridge, The Lecht Ski Centre, Tomintoul and Grantown-on-Spey.

For travel when you’re here, there’s also a wealth of options; in addition to ‘traditional’ bus or train, ebikes and regular bikes are gaining popularity as a sustainable way to travel. You can view a list of places where you can charge your electric car here.

Approximate travel times

From the North
Inverness to Aviemore40 minutes
Inverness Airport to Aviemore50 minutes
From the South
Glasgow to southern Cairngorms1 hour 45 minutes
Edinburgh to southern Cairngorms1 hour 40 minutes
Perth to southern Cairngorms50 minutes
Dundee to southern Cairngorms1 hour 15 minutes
From the East
Aberdeen to Ballater1 hour
Within the National Park
Killicrankie to Aviemore1 hour

By Plane

You can fly to Inverness Airport, Aberdeen Airport, Glasgow Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Dundee Airport.

Inverness is the central airport for the Highlands and is only a 1hr 30mins flight from London and a 30 minute drive to the Badenoch & Strathspey area of the National Park. British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe fly to Inverness from various British destinations.

From there you could hire a car or make use of other public transport to reach the park.

AirportGetting to the Park
Inverness Airport1hr 30mins flight from London and a 30 minute drive to the Badenoch & Strathspey area of the National Park.
British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe fly to Inverness from various British destinations.
Aberdeen Airport1hr 30mins flight from London and a 1 hour drive to the Royal Deeside area in the east of the National Park.

British Airways, Eastern Airways, bmi, Flybe, Loganair, Easyjet, KLM and Air France fly to Aberdeen from various British and European destinations.

By Train

The Caledonian Sleeper train departs London Euston and stops in 6 destinations in the National Park including Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge (on request). Trains also run to Aberdeen where you can easily hire a car and drive to the Cairngorms.

The Cairngorms National Park is well connected by rail within Scotland via the Scot Rail train lines that run from Perth to Aberdeen and to Inverness through Aviemore. The main stations include Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge.

Information about trains from Scottish cities and towns to the park can be found at National Rail Enquiries or Trainline. The Caledonian Sleepers are overnight train services running between Scotland and London – getting you to your destination refreshed and ready to start your day. The sleeper trains stop at Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge making the Cairngorms very accessible from London.

Why not use our very own Strathspey Steam Railway between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill at Nethy Bridge? Timetable details here

Trains in the West of the Park
There are railway stations in the west of the National Park at Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carr-Bridge.

Trains between London’s Kings Cross and Inverness stop off at either Kingussie or Aviemore in the National Park. There are 10 services each way daily and a Sleeper Service from London Euston. 
Trains to the East of the Park
Aberdeen is the nearest railway station to the Royal Deeside area in the east of the National Park.

There are regular services to and from Aberdeen including and a Sleeper Service from London. You can drive to the Park in an hour from Aberdeen station or catch a bus or even cycle on the Deeside Way

By Bus

Both CityLink and Stagecoach operate regular buses to and from the park.

The Aviemore Adventurer bus operates between Aviemore and Cairngorm Mountain 7 days a week, hourly throughout the day and has space for bikes and skis. View the timetable here.

Express Coaches
Express coaches from London Victoria, and all over the country make the journey up through Scotland to the Cairngorms National Park in the west and to nearby Aberdeen in the east.

Travel with Citylink and Megabus or Megabus Gold for overnight sleeper service
Local Buses
Stagecoach01463 239292
01343 540298
01382 614552
01224 597590
Maynes Coaches01542 831219
Speyside Dial-a-bus01343 562533
Strathdon A2B Dial-a-bus01224 665599

Packing Essentials

Many people who visit the park are keen to enjoy the great outdoors. There are plenty of walking trails and cycling routes to suit all fitness levels and abilities. If you are new to these outdoor activities and like leisurely hikes and bike rides you’ll be surprised at how much there is to choose from.

This essential kit list will help you to enjoy time outdoors.

A word about the weather: In Scotland, it is generally warmer in spring and summer than in autumn and winter. However, you should expect rain at any time of the year. Temperatures can range a great deal, too. Snow is likely in the winter and can stay for a long time at higher altitude although rarely at lower levels. That means you should be prepared for a variety of weather year round.

Waterproof jacketA good quality jacket with a hood is useful all year round in Scotland. Choose a lighter weight jacket for the warmer seasons and a heavier weight jacket for chillier months.
Walking boots or shoes Waterproof boots or shoes with soles that have good grip are useful for general walking in the Cairngorms National Park. Make sure you have worn them a few times before setting out to do a longer walk on holiday otherwise the footwear might rub your feet.

If you plan to hire a bike bring trainers or casual footwear that you can wear while cycling.
Walking socksWalking socks are far more comfortable for wearing with walking boots or shoes.
Walking PolesWalking poles can be a good balancing aid on uneven trails. They have also been proven to lengthen walking endurance and can help to reduce leg muscle soreness.
Rucksack or daypackIt’s useful to have a small pack, between 10 and 20 litres in which you can carry spare clothes, food and water while exploring.
BaselayersIf you plan to be fairly active, such as walking or cycling, it’s a good idea to have a sports specific baselayer. A baselayer is made of synthetic fabrics or wool (merino).
(Cotton is not advised for wearing as a baselayer when you are active because when you sweat it holds the wet and damp and it will leave you chilly.)
Sports specific baselayers are breathable, therefore allowing sweat to pass through the fabric. Wearing two thinner baselayers will keep you warmer than wearing one thicker layer.
In winter, you can add baselayer leggings as well as a top layer to keep you warm.
Mid-layerA fleece jacket or a lightweight insulated jacket is very useful as an outer layer. It can also be worn as a mid-layer over a baselayer and underneath a waterproof jacket. You can adjust to suit the weather. Insulated jackets can be made with a synthetic or down filling.
Just in case items
Gloves and hatSunglassesMidge head net
Sun hat and sun creamMidge repellent sprayUmbrella
Water bottleCamera

The full list of Aviemore transport options can be found below:

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