You may have seen the news on my social media platforms that I am the brand ambassador for North Hop! My relationship with North Hop actually started way back in 2014 with a gin tasting and I’ve been a regular attendee at both the Inverness and Aviemore festivals.
With less than 9 weeks to go until the weekend of North Hop Aviemore (10+11 November), I thought I’d do a guide on how you can make a weekend of it down in the stunning surroundings of the Cairngorm area around Aviemore.
Aviemore is easily accessible by train or bus. It would be totally doable to get a train heading north from Perth (less than 90 minutes) or south from Inverness (40 minutes) to enjoy the Saturday daytime session. North Hop also provides late night buses back to Inverness after the evening session (which handily call at stops in nearby Carrbridge and Tomatin too) and tickets should definitely be bought in advance to avoid disappointment/getting stranded in Aviemore as the last train north is just after 10.30pm!
To take away all the hassle of thinking about transport home on the night, an even better option is to book one of the great value on-site accommodation deals on offer at the Macdonald Morlich hotel or luxury woodland lodges. I’ve stayed at the Morlich hotel before and it’s brilliant being so close to the Osprey Arena, as well as the other resort activities (cinema, pool, therapy rooms and gym) – giving you the perfect opportunity to unwind before or after the festival sessions!
You can book your stay in the 4 Star Macdonald Morlich Hotel on the website using promo code ZH4 . The nightly rate is £98 per room (sleeps 2) B&B, and is valid on 1 or more nights stay. (A single occupancy supplement costs £35 per room, per night if applicable).
If you’re thinking that a weekend getaway with friends might be just the tonic, then there are a couple of the Luxury Woodland Lodges available to book over the weekend of the festival. The lodges have a nightly rate of £195, but they sleep 6 people, so you can have a two night getaway for £65 per person. Bargain! You can book a lodge by calling 0344 879 9000.
EXPLORING AVIEMORE & THE CAIRNGORMS
Aviemore is one of our favourite places to head on a day off. To build up an appetite for all the streetfood/beers/serves on offer I’d recommend you head out into the Highland air for some gorgeous views. This walk can be accessed directly from the Macdonald resort and if you head uphill on a clear day you will be rewarded with some stunning panoramic views of the Cairngorms.
For a low-level walk, head out of Aviemore for a circular walk around Loch Morlich (on the road to Cairn Gorm, easily accessible by car or via timetabled buses). Look out for the leaning trees by the beach! If you are feeling especially energetic, there’s always the option of hiring boats and getting out on the loch itself!
If you enjoyed offerings from the Cairngorm Brewery at North Hop, you could head straight to their premises to buy from their full range of beers and merch. Brewery tours can be pre-arranged at weekends, so if this is something that you are wanting, contact them in advance.
PLACES TO EAT & DRINK
For a post-fest feed, you can’t beat the Mountain Café or Route 7 for great breakfast or brunch dishes (special shout out for the Mountain Café cakes which are unbeatable!). If you’re on a bike, Route 7 is especially well placed as the national 7 cycle path passes right by the café. I haven’t eaten there yet but the Old Bridge Inn is also highly rated by locals for their location on the bank of the Spey River, live music gigs and chilled out atmosphere.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your North Hop tickets today!
I am a brand ambassador for North Hop and was asked to write this post for my blog, however I am a long time supporter of North Hop and would not write about products or events that I’m not happy to review or endorse. Thanks to the Macdonald Hotel for providing the resort photography. All other photos are my own.