A stay at lovely little hideaway-for-two Forest Cottage is bound to bring out the hopeless romantic in anyone. After all, how could anyone not fall in love in this heart-stirring, picture-perfect Highland mountain landscape? But if you are looking to impress a loved one, celebrating your special anniversary, enjoying your honeymoon, or even preparing to pop the question - we have put together our edit of the most romantic things to do and places to go in the area. This itinerary is perfect for couples staying for a 3 or 4 day long weekend or midweek break.
Morning: For your first morning, we prescribe a leisurely walk around Loch an Eilein to familiarise yourselves with your surroundings, slow down a little, and fully immerse yourselves in the sights, sounds and scents of this beautiful place. It’s about 3 miles in total round the loch and should take you around an hour or so. Listen out for birds of prey overhead, including osprey between April and August, and look out for goldeneye ducks on the loch. You’ll also get your first sight of the ruined 14th century castle on the island - more of which late in the week...
Lunch: Take advantage of the fact that this day doesn’t require any driving, and treat yourselves to a long lunch with a bottle of your favourite good wine back at Forest Cottage.
Afternoon: After lunch, meet up with your ranger guide nearby the cottage, for your private Land Rover Safari around Rothiemurchus, where you’ll learn about the history, people and work of the estate. You will meet Highland cattle at the Dell Farm, and feed hinds by hand at the Deer Farm. The tour gives you an exclusive view of the historic Doune house and farm - not normally open to visitors. Your ranger guide will supply you with binoculars and (if needed) a warm Rothiemurchus tartan blanket for you both to keep cosy under. You’ll also be treated to hot drinks and biscuits. If you’ve been moved by the heart-stirring romance at the centre of historical blockbuster “Outlander”, you’ll be thrilled to learn that the safari also takes in the mountain views at Tullochgrue, where some of the scenes in Series 1 were filmed. You can imagine you are Claire and Jamie Fraser for a brief moment, before mounting up again into your Land Rover for the journey back. (Click here for more information.)
Evening: For dinner, you can work up an appetite with a walk into Aviemore to The Old Bridge Inn. This atmospheric old inn is a local’s favourite, and drinks can be enjoyed by the river in the summer and by the open fire in the winter. Their excellent dinner menu is based around local produce - a great range of local ales and whiskies too. It’s a good idea to book, especially at weekends. Your walk back home will take you back over the old bridge over the Spey and up the Old Logging Way back to Rothiemurchus (but if you prefer to take a taxi home, we understand!).
Morning: Take a drive or a cycle to Loch Morlich, and if the weather is on your side, hire an open Canadian Canoe, paddle around the loch and take your favourite picnic for two, to enjoy when you land.
Afternoon: A short cycle or drive further up the mountain road takes you to Glenmore Lodge. From the lodge you can cycle or walk around 1.5km to the beautiful “Green Loch”, where legend says the faeries wash their clothes, turning the water its characteristic, enchanting turquoise. If you want to go a little further, continue on up to the Ryvoan Bothy up an easy-to-follow path, taking shelter there if the weather is unfriendly and maybe enjoying a flask of hot tea when you arrive.
Evening: After all that exertion, treat yourselves to a delicious 7 course tasting menu prepared, cooked and served at Forest Cottage, with everything cleared up for you afterwards. See our website for how to book.
After dinner: If it’s a clear night, take a moonlight stroll down to the water’s edge where the forest opens up and enjoy some stargazing over the dark waters of the loch. (Tip: don’t forget a torch!).
Morning: Enjoy a walk together around the Uath Lochans or Bear Paw Lochs near Glen Feshie. This 90 minute circuit will take in water lilies and dragonflies in the warmer months, and will reward you with wonderful views down over the lochans.
Afternoon: Take life at a leisurely pace with afternoon Tea for Two, taken in your own private First Class compartment on the Strathspey Railway. The lovely old steam train will take you via Boat of Garten to sweet little Broomhill Station, the fictional Glenbogle Station from Monarch of the Glen.
Pre-dinner swim: Work off those scones and cream with a refreshing dip in the waters of the loch. One of the best places to swim is opposite the island castle itself, according to the Wild Swimming guide!
Evening: A romantic dinner for two in style, at one of the best restaurants in the region, The Cross at Kingussie. A six course tasting menu with matched wines is £95.
Morning: Drive 40 minutes north west from Aviemore to spend the morning wandering the stately rooms and magnificent gardens at Ballindalloch Castle, a sixteenth century castle which looks straight out of a fairytale. Towers, dungeons, grand fireplaces and other Scottish baronial features inside, and three beautiful but very different gardens to explore in the grounds. Dovecots, fountains, richly perfumed roses, roe deer grazing along the banks of the River Avon...a perfectly romantic idyll.
Afternoon: By now you will likely feel quite at home in your surroundings, but why not see them from a new perspective with a pony trek around the Rothiemurchus Estate. Your ride will be taken at a gentle pace up over the heather moor with stunning views of the Cairngorms.
Evening: Enjoy dinner at the lovely Muckrach near Dulnain Bridge, with cocktails (or indeed one of their 70 whiskies and 30 gins!) in the stylish bar or the library to start off, and a dram or two in front of the fire in the drawing room to complete the evening.
We hope your stay at Forest Cottage is perfectly romantic, and that you find your own favourite special places and make lifelong memories here during your holiday. For over 200 years people have been falling for the simple charms of this wonderful little house - and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it too!