Newtonmore – a guide for visiting this special Scottish village in 2023


The Scottish Highlands area is packed with lovely villages and towns, and we've got guides about a number of them. A few of our favourite locations that we've written about include Fort Augustus, Tain, Greater Speyside, and the entire Royal Deeside area.

Newtonmore is a village within the Cairngorms National Park which is very special - it's the perfect base for exploring this stunning part of Scotland, but it's also home to a variety of interesting things to see and do.

We wanted to round up the best things to see and do in and around Newtonmore for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Newtonmore?

Newtonmore is often described as being the village which is closest to the very centre of Scotland. It sits at the mouth of Glen Banchor within the Cairngorms National Park. The village is about 45 miles from Fort William, and around the same distance away from Inverness. In terms of notable locations which are a bit closer to Newtonmore, Aviemore is around 16 miles away, Grantown-on-Spey is about 30 miles away, and Laggan is about 8 miles away. 

What is there to do during your time in Newtonmore?

Newtonmore is a village, but you'll be delighted by how much there is to see and do in and around the area. Let's take a look at some of the highlights:

Highland Folk Museum

The Highland Folk Museum was actually the first open air museum to ever open in Britain. The Highland Folk Museum allows you to experience first-hand what life would have been like in the Highlands from the 1700s to the 1950s. The area includes 35 different historical buildings which you can properly explore, allowing you to not only learn about life for people in this part of Scotland, but also experience it. And as an added bonus, the Café at the museum is also very good. Learn more and plan your visit here -


Wildcat Centre

From the Wildcat Centre in Newtonmore, you can take part in the Wildcat Experience - this is a treasure hunt route where you have to find 132 different painted Wildcat models which are hidden around the village. We won't give away specifically where any of them are, but keep an eye out everywhere, including roofs, gardens, and even up trees. There are certificates and prizes to be won depending on how many Wildcats you can find. This is lots of fun for young and old alike, learn more here -


Clan Macpherson Museum

Another excellent museum to head to in Newtonmore is the Clan Macpherson Museum. Even if you're not a Macpherson, you'll still find plenty of interesting information here relating to the history of this clan and the Scottish Highlands. You'll find a large collection of artefacts and other objects of Scottish historical importance, with everything from a taxidermied Wildcat called 'Clooney' to The Black Chanter which apparently fell from the heavens. Learn more and plan your visit here -


Ruthven Barracks

These barracks which were built by George II after the Jacobite rising are in incredible condition given that they were built in the early 18th century. Sat atop a mound with amazing views of the surrounding area, it's hard to believe that these barracks were attacked twice by a Jacobite army of more than 300 men given how intact they are, but it's true. The barracks are free to visit and can be visited all year round, learn more here -


Highland Wildlife Park

Yes, that's a polar bear in the Scottish Highlands! Just 6 miles away from Newtonmore you'll find the Highland Wildlife Park, an amazing animal attraction which is a must-visit if you're wanting to get up close and personal with some very impressive animals. Including the polar bear, you'll also find Amur tigers, Snow Leopards, European Grey Wolves, and more. It's only around £20 for an adult ticket and kids under 3 go for free. Definitely visit the Highland Wildlife Park is you have the time, learn more and plan your visit here -


Newtonmore Highland Games

There are many Highland Games events held in the North of Scotland, and we've written about many of them such as the event held in Aboyne. But there is something about the Newtonmore Highland Games event that we feel is particularly special. The event is steeped in history and features a number of classic events such as sheaf over bar and Scots hammer. One of the most popular events at the Newtonmore Highland Games is the Creag Dhubh Hill race, which has a vertical ascent of 1200 feet. In 2024, the Newtonmore Highland Games will be held on the first Saturday in August. Learn more here -

The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd

Another excellent place to head to if you want to see some amazing wildlife is the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd - it's near Aviemore so only a stone's throw from Newtonmore, but it's well worth a visit. Seeing the reindeer is great and you can get up close and personal with them. Learn more here -


Loch Garten Nature Reserve

Just 30 minutes from Newtonmore you'll find Loch Garten Nature Reserve, where you can see the famous Ospreys. The reserve is managed by the RSPB, and the organisation has expertly set up the reserve to make it very easy and enjoyable for bird watching. As well as plenty of different types of binoculars you can find, you'll also find live cameras and webcams to give you an even closer look at the wildlife. Expect to see Ospreys and white tailed Eagles, and other wildlife such as red squirrels. Learn more here -


Newtonmore is at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, and you're well-placed to explore some of the best walking routes in the entire UK, let alone Scotland. The Wildcat Trail is a walking route which takes you around Newtonmore, and despite only being 6 miles long it takes you past a variety of stunning scenery, from heather moorland to three different rivers. The Dalcurn Bridge walk takes you from the centre of the village and up into Glen Banchor, and the Milk Cow path takes you right through the village. Learn more about these routes here -


Staying in Newtonmore

Newtonmore is a small place, but you'll find a good choice of hotels and other independent accommodations to choose from during your stay in the village. Some popular options include the Highlander Hotel, The Balavil Hotel, and The Glen Hotel. You can find a complete list of hotels and other accommodation options on these websites:



Getting to Newtonmore

You might think Newtonmore would be tricky to get to, but the village lies directly parallel with the main A9 road that cuts through Scotland. You’ll find it a little over a mile (2 kms) west of the A9, along the Glen Truim Road.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our other guides about Scottish villages and towns including Melrose, Peebles, and Linlithgow. We've also got a guide about Inverness and the Banffshire Coast.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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