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Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

Boston...
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Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

Hello! I'm in the final stages of planning our trip to Scotland and need a base for exploring the Caringorm area.

We're a couple in our mid-20s interesting in doing quite a bit of hiking and exploring the region--not sure what yet, though. Night life is not important to us, but touring some distilleries is! We will be coming from Aberdeen and heading to Edinburgh, so somewhere along the "route" would be great.

The two options for hotels I've found are: the Garth Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, and the Hilton Coylumbridge in Aviemore. Both are fine from reviews, availability and price. Obviously the Garth will be a little more "independent" and in a smaller town. My indecisive nature is really acting up and I can't form an opinion on which would be better. Any locals with advice?

Also, while we would be in Grantown-on-Spey I noticed there will be a Scottish Games going on...a deal-breaker or a deal-maker? We're fairly familiar with the (US version) of the games--I was a highland dancer in my youth.

Thanks!

East Neuk of Fife...
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1. Re: Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

Well I live about 500 yards from The Garth Hotel so I can offer you my opinion for what its worth....

Although I live in Grantown I would have thought that Aviemore was the better option town wise becasue there are more places to eat out. Aviemore IS more touristy but there is also more of a "vibe" compared, that is, to Grantown.

From a scenery point of view you are nearer to the mountains in Aviemore and some superb high level hiking whereas around Grantown there are not quite so many circular walks and tracks (although there are quite a few) but in Aviemore you can hike out and back to your hotel without using transport.

Grantown is nearer the distilleries and The Malt Whisky trail so that would be a plus point if that is of interest to you - you don't say if you have a car or if you are relying on public transport - Aviemore is certainly more of a hub from that point of view and it has a mainline railway station connecting you to stations all over Scotland.

I know the Hilton Coylumbridge and have been in on a couple of occasions - what would put me off is the amount of children liable to be running around during the school holidays and I assume you are planning your trip in August if you are looking at going to the Grantown Highland Games on the 28th? The Hilton is an OK hotel with a small swimming pool and the food is acceptable but its nothing special - The Garth is more of an independent hotel and more homely and MUCH smaller than the Hilton. Its owned by the same people who run the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore and that would almost have been my choice over The Hilton at Coylumbridge which is about a mile out of town.

Grantown is much more charming than Aviemore - it has a real small town (village) feel and has some beautiful buildings. The Museum is well worth a visit and The Speyside Way runs through the town's woods (Anagach Woods) and of course the River Spey is within walking distance of the town. I don't think I have helped much...would I live in Aviemore? - NEVER!! Does that help?

http://www.anagachwoods.org.uk/

http://www.grantownmuseum.co.uk/

walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/aviemore.shtml

http://www.maltwhiskytrail.com/

http://www.greaterspeyside.com/

If you have a car and are not relying on public transport I would plump for Grantown. Its half an hours drive on beautifully quiet roads to Coylumbridge from here so the same area is within easy reach for you in a short drive. You are also closer to the distilleries area and walks on the likes of Glenlivet Estate. Good luck with your choice - if I can help(or confuse) any further - just ask!

If you DO stay in Grantown pop into the Grant Arms Hotel - its nice for a meal and a drink

Regards

Woody x

Boston...
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2. Re: Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

Thanks Woody! What great information. I will definitely use those links.

We do have a car, and I took your advice and booked at the Garth. I did look at the Cairngorm Hotel, but they didn't have availability for our dates. We will hit up the Grant Arms Hotel for dinner.

Any other advice for the whiskey trail? Is there any transport in between the distilleries for those who don't want to drink and drive?

East Neuk of Fife...
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3. Re: Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

Hi Acbell - good choice. I'm sure you will be happy with The Garth. One other thing I forgot to mention although it is quite good fun is that its Thunder In The Glens the weekend of 28th August when 3,000 Harley Davidson motor bikes will ride out from Aviemore and come to Grantown and park up and down the main street. There are stalls and things happening in The Square so its quite a good afternoon if you like that sort of thing - it is a WEE bit noisy that day thoug!!

Other advice for the Whisky Trail - mmm - I don't drink whisky and I am sure there is no way of getting around without hiring a private driver - the public transport system would be just too much like hard work, sorry!

Have a look at this thread for some information about distilleries though

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k45834…

Have a great holiday - if you want any more advice or information just ask

Regards and maybe see you in Grantown!

Woody x

PS Visit The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul - they often have tastings and you could get the bus to Tomintoul from Grantown and back no bother!

http://www.whiskycastle.com/

Don't worry about the snowy picture on the first page - that was in winter!!

Edited: 10:13 am, July 08, 2011
4. Re: Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

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Gloucester, United...
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5. Re: Aviemore vs. Grantown-on-Spey

I think you have made a wise choice of accommodation. The Hilton is quite a way out of Aviemore so you would be more restricted in places to eat if you don't want to drive in the evening. The Hilton also advertises heavily its 'child friendly' angle. For me that just rings alarm bells as I interpret 'child friendly' as the little darlings running riot everywhere and that is most definitely not what I want in a holiday.

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