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Aberdeen City & Shire

Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve

Britain’s largest nature reserve and a wildlife wonderland in the heart of the Cairngorms

Things to do

Guided tours

Guided tours are available for groups by prior arrangement and our ranger service runs a programme of regular guided walks during the summer months. 

Catering can also be arranged for groups. 

Please telephone 01339 720164 for further details.


We welcome school visits at Mar Lodge Estate. For more information, please see our Learning pages.

Nature spotting

Mar Lodge Estate is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. On the moors, red grouse, meadow pipits and skylarks are active, while treecreepers, willow warblers, stonechats and great tits are at home in the woods. Fortunate birdwatchers may even spot a golden eagle soaring high above. 

But perhaps the most spectacular display comes in autumn when red deer stags start to rut – their roaring and clashing battles echo across the glens.

Download our guide to Birds on the Mar Lodge Estate and see what you can spot on your next visit.


Hill-walking on Mar Lodge Estate is unsurpassed. Scale the peak of Ben Macdui (1,309m), one of our 15 Munros and the second highest mountain in the UK. There are several mountain bothies, as well as opportunities for wild camping.  

From the Linn of Dee and Linn of Quoich car parks there are a number of low-level walks to be enjoyed, with views of the rushing falls. There are also some waymarked woodland walks from the Linn of Dee car park.

Throughout the estate, there are many reminders of the area’s human history, from Mesolithic remnants and post-medieval townships to the remains of 19th-century sheep farming.

Outdoor activities

You can even bring your horse on holiday to Mar Lodge Estate, part of the British Horse Society’s Horses Welcome scheme. 

There are miles of off-road riding on the estate and hill tracks for riders and horses of most abilities. These include 30-minute and one-hour loops around the lodge grounds and policies for leisurely hacks, or half- and full-day rides in Glen Quoich and Glen Lui for those seeking to enjoy the wilderness experience to the full.

Holiday accommodation

Self-catering holiday accommodation is available in Mar Lodge itself and in various smaller lodges on the estate. 

Hire a Venue

Mar Lodge is available to hire for functions and events such as weddings and private parties. Please see our venue hire pages for more information.

Walks here

Linn of Dee

15 minutes
½ mile (0.8km)
Pay & Display car park with toilet facilities (available Mar - Oct) at the Linn of Dee

Glen Lui

1 hour 15 minutes
1 1/3 miles (2.8km)
Pay & Display car park with toilet facilities (available Mar - Oct) at the Linn of Dee

To find walks at National Trust for Scotland places, download the Trust Trails app.

NTS Trail App