16 February 2012

A Mini Break to Aviemore



We headed up to Aviemore for a midweek break for Graham's birthday. I thought you might like to hear a bit about our trip, the hotel we stayed in, the food and have a look at a few photos.

We were only going for three days and we needed a plan! The first thing we both agreed on was a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, near Aviemore. It costs £20 for the two adults and a child who is under five. It was £10 each for a ticket for Graham and I (£1 donation on each ticket) and Cooper got in free.
Tickets for the Highland Wildlife Park are available with Tesco Clubard Rewards, where you get £20 worth of rewards for every £5 tesco clubcard voucher. That means you pretty much get into the wildlife park for free, just by shopping at Tesco and using your clubcard to collect points. We always think it is a great bonus, considering we shop there anyway.


As well as days out you can also use your rewards for restaurant visits and even holidays. There are 600 rewards to choose from. So if you don't have a card, make sure your sign up. You can find more details here.

Back to the trip.

It was a lovely drive up. Such beautiful scenery and snow on all the hills surrounding us. Some of the roads were a bit small for all the lorries that went thundering past us. I have to admit, I was a tad nervous.
We booked The Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten, near Aviemore.

The Hotel was gorgeous. We loved our room. I wasn't one of those bland, faceless rooms you get in many hotels. There was good quality furnishings and lovely textiles. Our room was cosy without being small and we even had a wee seating area at one end of the room, which we made good use of once we had put Cooper to bed. The bathroom was rather luxurious too, with a roll top bath and shower cubicle. Cooper loved the hotel. Deep bubble baths, running down the corridors, sitting beside the fire playing with his animals, dining in the bar and meeting a dog named Major.







The first night we just settled in and went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner., we chose the Osprey Bar, with it's low lighting, candles and flickering log fire. The food was excellent.

Cooper and I both had Linguini with Tomato & Pesto Genovese Sauce and Graham had Ricotta, Spinach and Mushroom Cannelloni. For dessert I had Fresh Raspberry Cranachan with Toasted Oatmeal and Whisky Cream, oh my goodness that was divine. I was glad Cooper couldn't have any and Graham didn't want any! Graham had a Vanilla & Star Anise Creme Brulee with Homemade Shortbread, which he really enjoyed and Cooper had a small slice of Chocolate Torte and most of Graham's shortbread. This was the best meal we had while we were away. We visited two restaurants, that looked like they had good veggie options, but they were frankly disappointing.

At Papa Rock I had a barely cooked and unseasoned Halloumi Kebab on a Bed of Tumeric & Vegetable Rice, which was one of the blandest meals I have ever had the misfortune of trying. They did a little better with Cooper's as was given had a goodie bag with colouring and snacks. Graham's veggie burger was deemed ok. The waiting staff seemed bored and uninterested.

At Roo's Leap the food was ok, although my veggie burrito was too hot for me to enjoy. Cooper was very excited by the kangaroos on the walls and the staff were lovely with him, so I would maybe return there.
We made our trip to the wildlife park on our second day in Aviemore. The park was vast and the scenery was just breathtaking.





You drive around most of the park, but you can get out and walk around quite a large area, taking in lots of animals and scenery as you go. It was a wee bit chilly in the morning when we arrived. A cool -6 degrees. Crisp, shall we say?

While we were in the park we saw Japanese macaque or snow monkeys being fed, while we listened to a park keeper tell us all about them, which was fascinating. Although Cooper soon got bored and wandered
off to look at the bins.



We saw European Bison, European Elks, Yaks, Kiang or Tibetan wild ass, which got up and personal with our car. We saw Bharal or Himaayan Blue Sheep, Markhor, a type of goat with crazy, long spiral horns, a red panda, curled up on a tree, when it would have been much warmer in these minus temperatures, in it's wee house.


We watched a polar bear called Mercedes interacting with people driving and walking up to the edge of his territory. Cooper was rather taken with Mercedes and as you can see, he loved the polar bear seat.


We also saw Amur tigers which were rather impressive close up and Reindeer, which Cooper was very excited by after learning about them at Christmas. I think he might have been wondering where Santa was.
For some bizarre reason the highlight of Cooper's day was when he spotted a group of crows. Children! Go figure!

We had a great day at the Wildlife Park and we would definitely go back for another visit, maybe in warmer weather. It was rather cold.

On the third day, after another hearty breakfast and chat with other diners in the hotel's breakfast room, we headed off towards home. With a stop at The House of Bruar, where I got a bit carried away in the food hall. Ate scones in the restaurant, that Graham pronounced not half as good as my scones and Cooper skated on some ice outside, while I bought him a royal blue body warmer inside Country Living. Then a last stop in Dunkeld and on to home and the end of a wonderful wee holiday.

Here is a wee video about Tesco Clubcard Rewards, if you fancy using your vouchers for your own family day out.


Disclosure Statement: This is a Sponsored Post. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Viral video by ebuzzing

21 comments:

  1. sounds great, shame about the veggie options. We love the food hall at House of Bruar too. Agree with Graham about the restaurant, rather overpriced too. Soup is good though. There's a brilliant Indian restaurant in Pitlochry if you ever go back that way I'm sure their veggie offering would be better.
    Cooper looks cute in his wooly hat.

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  2. Hope you told that Tibetan wild ass to MOVE HIS ASS! ;o) Looks like a fab break!

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  3. There is so much to choose from in that food hall Janice, I swear it is dangerous!

    Hi Jeanna, very good :D

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  4. Lovely pics, I like the one with the white bears!!
    Have a nice evening!

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  5. Looks like a fab break!! Cooper looks so cute in his green outfit. Love the swan towels on the bed :)

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  6. sounds like a lovely trip - love cooper's suit - you wouldn't lose him in that :-) and I wonder how long those gorgeous swan towels stayed like that! I also love Cooper's highlight - kids indeed!

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  7. thanks for sharing this - gives us ideas of what we can do :)

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  8. Lovely to see the photos. The best ones of course have Cooper in them. love as always xxx

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  9. He really needed his snow suit on Ros, it was so cold and yes, the swan towels were pretty cool :)

    The swan towels were attacked straight away Johanna, as you can imagine and yes, typical that we take him to see all these unsual animals and he gets really excited by crows that he can see anytime at home.

    Not long till your trip to Scotland Tandy, you must be looking forward to it :)

    Of course those are the best photos Jean :)

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  10. Happy belated birthday to Graham. Sounds like an amazing trip. It is so nice to get away especially in the middle of winter.

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    1. It was great getting away Val, just what we needed and we were so lucky to get clear bright days instead of rain. I will pass your birthday wishes on to Graham :)

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  11. I love the photo with the little one between the white bears. Your first meal sounded lovely. It's too bad the other restaurants were disappointing.

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    1. I know, if we had known, we would have eaten in the hotel each night. We will know what to do next time :)

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  12. Sounds like a lovely getaway — isn't it wonderful how a short trip can revitalize you? I smiled at your description of Cooper and the crows because it reminded me of a time when we were in Italy. We were in a fantastic place with the most wonderful scenery all around, and the children in the area were all transfixed by a group of pigeons. I'm rather transfixed with Cooper's snowsuit — awfully cute!

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    1. Children are strange creatures aren't they? They never do what you expect them to do :D

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  13. The photos are wonderful and especially ones of Cooper! LOVE the swan towels too, may need to do that here! LOL!

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    1. Oh yes, I keep forgetting you have a B&B Karen. Good luck with the swans :D

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  15. Oh we love Aviemore. We go up twice a year at least but usually 4 or 5 times. If your go back, I would recommend Anderson's in Boat of Garten (http://www.andersonsrestaurant.co.uk/) for excellent food with good veggie options too. Very close to The Boat Hotel (which we tend to eat in fairly often too).

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    1. Thanks Louise, that is good to know. We will definitely go back again sometime.

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