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A warm Highland welcome awaits you this winter – and all year round!

Written by Jacky Brookes
Glencoe in winter: one of our wonderful Highland landscapes to explore
Glencoe in winter: one of our wonderful Highland landscapes to explore
The Scottish Highlands are a pretty special place to visit during the colder months. No one does winter like the Highlands!

Many of the Trust’s places across the Highlands stay open all year round to offer a warm welcome and to make your visit here even more memorable.

Here are some ideas to help you plan a Highlands trip and create some special memories.

Highlands
The great outdoors is transformed into an awesome wonderland in the coldest months of the year.

Wonderful winter walks

  • Stroll to Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel on a level path that’s perfect for pushchairs and wheelchairs, or make a short climb up to the viewpoint above our visitor centre to be rewarded with superb views of both the Monument and railway viaduct. For something more energetic, bring your walking boots for the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail and take to the open hillside overlooking the West Highland Railway, following it round to Glenfinnan’s train station. Or explore the lochside wetlands on a Forestry Commission boardwalk and cross the Callop river to climb the pine-clad knoll of Torran Dubhais, which rises above Loch Shiel.
  • Walk around the splendid Brodie Castle estate, view the pond from the wildlife hide and roam around the shrubbery, which are accessible and free to all.
  • Explore a calendar of colour and scents at Inverewe, cultivated with care and a hefty dose of creativity. You’ll be amazed at what you can see in winter – look out for the huge California redwoods that tower into the sky (you can’t miss them!). Discover the inspirational places captured by our 2017 Poet-in-Residence along our cultural poetry trail.
  • Experience the atmospheric Culloden Battlefield where the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to a tragic end. Walk around the windswept moor where the Jacobites made their final stand, or learn more about the battle by joining one of our tours of the battlefield. The tour lasts 45 minutes and is followed by a 30-minute highlight tour of the museum.
  • Pop into Glencoe Visitor Centre and get some help to select the perfect route for you in Scotland’s most famous glen. Plus, get all the latest daily weather and hill conditions info. A seasonal highlight is the walk along the edge of Loch Achtriochtan for some of the best views of our winter birdlife. Whooper swans join us from Iceland for the winter whilst dippers are still present searching for food under the icy water. Look out too for goldeneye ducks.
Family standing beside Brodie Bunny
Heritage and fun combine across the Trust’s Highland places.

Family experiences

  • Come face to face with Scotland’s biggest rabbit sculpture at Brodie Castle’s Playful Garden, then meet some of the quirky characters that are connected to this castle, home to the Brodie clan for 400 years. Take a tour of the castle to delve deeper into its fascinating history.
  • Take a trip to our modern, family-friendly Culloden Visitor Centre which provides a fascinating insight into the last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil. Discover how a bloody hour-long fight changed life in the Highlands forever.
  • Glencoe’s spectacular mountain landscape is the perfect place to introduce children to the wonders of wildlife and geology. There’s a wide range of easy and more challenging walks to discover, whether you have a toddler or a teenager, plus pond dipping (if our pond is not frozen over) and sledging when the snow arrives! Complete your family adventure with a hot chocolate treat in our café.
  • An essential visit for all young Harry Potter film fans: spot the viaduct crossed by the Hogwarts Express and the island where the Triwizard Tournament was held! Older children are sure to get a dizzying thrill when they climb up the dark, narrow staircase and emerge onto the roof of Glenfinnan Monument, while younger ones can enjoy a bit of stone skimming down at the lochside.
  • Take a cultural trip around award-winning Inverewe, following the Poetry Trail, and be inspired by this amazing place.
Great gift ideas and wonderful quality Scottish products are bubbling over at our Trust shops!
Great gift ideas and wonderful quality Scottish products are bubbling over at our Trust shops!

Festive shopping

  • Brodie Castle shop is full of brilliant ideas for Christmas gifts, as well as our range of Christmas-themed events over December.
  • Scottish and exclusive gift ideas galore! From amazing Celtic brooches to ruana wraps, head for the brilliant Culloden Visitor Centre shop to browse the full range.
  • Glencoe’s shop and café will come together this winter while our visitor centre improvements take place. So browse for gifts, unique crafts and souvenirs, plus a great range of walking essentials and outdoor books, while you wait for your drinks and food.
  • Pop into Glenfinnan Visitor Centre for a hefty dose of Christmas gift inspiration – from exclusive Glenfinnan mementos to the best in local food, crafts and jewellery. Find the perfect present for all the Harry Potter and Outlander fans in your life.
  • Over the winter weekends, the Inverewe shop has a wonderful choice of gifts for everyone – all ready and waiting for you to visit in their ‘winter home’ at Inverewe House. Take a look at the beautiful Spirit of Inverewe poetry book – a great gift idea for Christmas!
Hot chocolate and cake at Culloden café
Warm up after a winter walk at one of our welcoming cafés.

Welcoming cafés

  • The welcoming Victorian tearoom at Brodie Castle is a great place to head after a walk around the Brodie estate.
  • After a walk around Culloden Battlefield and a visit to our exhibition, a warm welcome awaits at our café where you’ll be spoilt for choice with our mouthwatering selection!
  • It’s all change at Glencoe this winter with a major project underway to transform the visitor centre. Our café has moved into a cosy new home while work progresses, still offering tasty soups, freshly prepared sandwiches and cakes. Pop in to warm up and relax after your walking exertions.
  • With Glenfinnan Monument as your backdrop, catch up with friends or family for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea. Winter at Glenfinnan offers a tranquillity that’s not to be missed.
  • After a walk around the beautiful heritage garden at Inverewe, warm yourself up with hot drinks and cakes at our cosy and welcoming Bothy café.
A ptarmigan in Glencoe
Don’t forget your camera and binoculars!

The wonders of winter wildlife

  • The pond on the Brodie Castle estate is teeming with over-wintering wildfowl activity. Watch out for the red squirrels that might be keeping an eye on you from above!
  • Culloden Battlefield is home to a wealth of wildlife throughout the year reflecting the varied moorland landscape. Come and see how we’re trialling grazing goats to manage the battlefield for heritage and wildlife benefit.
  • As the weather gets colder and the tops of the hills are covered by snow, red deer move lower in search of food. They can often be seen browsing the lower slopes of the Glencoe hills. With their keen senses they’ll spot you before you spot them!
  • At Glenfinnan Visitor Centre, lucky visitors may spot both golden eagles and white-tailed eagles soaring overhead or the movement of trout and salmon in the calm waters of Loch Shiel. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of these wildlife treats, the sight of the winter sun falling below the horizon at the far end of the loch must be one of the most evocative landscape views (and photo opportunities) in Scotland.
  • Celebrate Scotland’s ‘Big 5’ in their natural habitat at Inverewe. Enjoy searching for the red squirrel, red deer, golden eagle, otter and harbour seal – and call in at our hide to view the wildlife on Loch Ewe.