Visit The Largest British National Park For Incredible Outdoor Adventures

Heading to the United Kingdom is a treat for travelers. Whether you're one for rich history, castles, fish and chips, or you love to dig into royal family drama, there's always something new to discover. A visit this way is also a chance to take advantage of amazing landscapes if you happen to be someone with a passion for the great outdoors.

The United Kingdom hosts an impressive collection of varied terrain to explore. Diverse upland and lowlands throughout the region have been formed by rivers and glaciers over the centuries. While each comes with its own advantages for outdoor adventures, many of the most spectacular natural areas you can experience in the U.K. fall within the parameters of national parks.

The U.K. hosts 15 national parks in total. While each is legally protected to conserve nature and cultural heritage, the largest of the group is one you won't want to miss when outdoor adventure is calling. The Cairngorms National Park is located in the scenic Scottish Highlands about 127 miles north of Edinburgh and encompasses no less than a quarter of all of Scotland's native forests. The Cairngorms National Park also hosts around a quarter of all the endangered and rare species in the entire U.K. For those looking to get out and explore the great outdoors, this is a treasure trove of opportunity.

Adventures on the water and the trails

The wild terrain that encompasses much of Cairngorms is perfect for those adventurers who enjoy heading into the unknown. Across 12 special protection areas, 19 conservation areas, and 46 sites of special scientific interest, the opportunities are vast. When travelers show up to the Cairngorms National Park, they'll find themselves faced with 1,748 square miles of terrain to explore –- an area larger than all of Luxembourg.

The Cairngorms National Park is open to outdoor adventurers year-round. If you're here when the weather is warm and watersports are your passion, you're in luck. The park hosts beautiful lochs and rivers alike including the Dee River and the River Spey. These waterways provide guests with picture-perfect places to enjoy everything from windsurfing and paddle boarding to fishing, sailing, and rafting. While visitors are certainly able to adventure on the water independently, the park hosts two watersports centers at Morlich and Insh on the loch where you can book guided outings too.

For unforgettable hiking experiences in Britain, this national park has you covered. The network of trails here showcases the sheer size and beauty of the dramatic Scottish terrain. Caledonian pine forests, an iconic feature of Scottish landscapes, are sure to inspire and are showcased on trails that wind through the Rothiemurchus Estate and the park's Glenmore area. Resources like Walk Highlands can help those tackling the trails on foot or bike customize their outings according to skill level. 

Unique outings and winter excursions

When you're an adventurer who is always on the hunt for a new view and challenge, a trip to the Cairngorms National Park is a chance to indulge in some spectacular climbing and mountaineering fun. The Glenmore Lodge operates Scotland's national outdoor training center right at the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains within the park. Here, outdoor adventurers can enjoy skill development courses alongside experts that last anywhere from a weekend to five days at a time.

There are also opportunities for outdoor adventurers to enjoy horseback riding fun during their park visit. Companies like Highland Horse Fun provide short and long-distance rides through the national park as well as options to sign up for multi-day outings. Mountains, rivers, and glens are on breathtaking display when you ride along routes that were once used for cattle droving.

While the warm weather options for adventure are certainly vast, the outdoor fun continues across the park when the snow falls too. Many travelers with a love of winter sports are excited to find that Britain's largest national park hosts three of Scotland's five ski resorts. Cairngorm Ski Resort alone hosts over 18 miles of ski trails to discover. Of course, your winter outdoor adventure options aren't limited to skiing as resorts here are popular among those looking to enjoy tubing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing as well.