Landmark, Carrbridge, Inverness shire, PH23 3AJ. tel = 01479 841613
The Landmark Visitor Centre in Carrbridge offers forest trails, a superb forest watch tower to climb, a working steam powered sawmill, an adventureland in the forest for children and „
Landmark is nothing like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park or anything else - as it is only about 50 miles from where I live I have been there many times.
There is a huge amount to do for both adults, children and anyone:
Water Slides - Landmark boasts two very large water slides all named after animals and birds. One of the slides is a tunnel which is dark inside and twists around a long, one is a bumpy one going down and one is essentially a sheer drop going straight down.
All three of the slides are fun and involve walking up a huge amount of stairs in a wooden tower. If you keep reading you will see I talk about queues a lot, but the water slides have by far the largest (especially during holidays) so be prepared to wait for a while, but still nothing like at major theme parks.
You get to sit in rubber boats as you go down the slides, these fit 3 people max so you can go down with your children or you can go down by yourself - but be prepared to get wet.
Rock Climbing - Landmark has a rock climbing wall where up to 8 people at a time can use the wall. The turns are timed so that it is fair, and as with the slides the queues are long but still very manageable - the rock wall looks like great fun and whilst it isn't the biggest it has many routes you can take and is very safe.
The staff at the rock wall are well trained and will make sure you are secured with a harness.
The rock wall is aimed and children, not adults.
Skydive - A recent new attraction to Landmark, the Skydive is essentially a huge tower that you can climb to the top of and jump off. You climb up some ladders to get to the top and then you are attached to a special kinetic cable so you can free-fall all the way down but don't get a large jerk when the rope comes to it's end.
There are two Skydives so you don't have to worry much about queuing - but this is not for the faint hearted.
Ropeworx - The ropeworx is a long trail made up of chains, logs, planks and many other obstacles that you have to navigate round. The Ropeworx isn't at tree top high, but it is high and you are attached by a harness which is attached to rails so you can go round.
There are two parallel rails so you can go round with someone else and many people are allowed on at once - but it isn't overcrowded and isn't as scary as the skydive.
Maze and Adventure Land - Adventure land is a huge climbing frame with many different features and parts to it - it is aimed at young children and situated next to one of the cafes and coffee shops so you can have some food, or a coffee and sit down while children are on it.
The maze is fun and takes about 15 minutes to go round, it isn't a huge maze but it is still fun and just another thing to do when you are there.
Microworld - This is located inside in case you go when it is raining. Basically it is a mini-museum about microscopic things including bacteria, bugs, insects and other things.
It is actually very interesting and you should allow 45 minutes to an hour to go around it. There is a shop at the end if you want to visit it as well.
Located next to Microworld is the second food area/cafe which is more for meals than coffee.
You can also take a trip up the incredibly tall fire tower (shown in the picture) which is a long walk to the top and is very high - you can see for miles and many people find it scary, you certainly will if you are afraid of heights.
They have attractions held by experts such as when they cut huge logs using there plank making machine, when you can a chance to cut a long using a very long saw that needs two people and when they take one of the huge Clydesdale horses out for a walk and it tows large logs and planks (and other events).
There is also a nice walk which is mainly along the ground in the forest, but also has some raised walkways and at the end you go into a bird watching place where you can see many birds feeding (they are not enclosed, but they come as there is food).
Food: There are two cafes that both serve hot food and drinks and a selection of other things - you shouldn't have a problem eating at them but you can also bring your own sandwiches and eat at any of the many picnic benches.
Price & Staff: There are loads of staff that work to keep it tidy and running well and they are all very helpful, the prices change sometimes so check the website for Landmark but a day pass is very reasonable. If you are going to go more than once or twice a season pass is definitely worth it and you should get one - they aren't that much more.
Overall landmark is a great attraction for adults and children with lots to do.
Landmark Forest Theme Park is located in Carrbridge about 26 miles south of Inverness. Ok so it's not really a theme park but it is fun and a bit different from other attractions.
Landmark is very easy to locate in Carrbridge, it's an extremely small village so you can't really get lost. On approaching the theme park you see the car park which just like the rest of Landmark is a wooded area but cleared away for parking spaces.
You then need to go into the entrance to pay for your day out. Prices vary for ages and also times of the year
Between 28th March - 25th Oct;
Adult - £10.55
Child - £8.25
Senior - £7.70
Between 26th Oct - March 2010
Adult - £3.45
Child - £2.50
Senior - £2.40
There is also family passes and multi visit tickets. For prices etc. go to www.landmark-centre.co.uk
Once you have paid you then get your hand stamped. This is incase you need to go back out to the car as you will have to go back through entrance to gain access to park again. You can then prove you have already paid for the day. You also get a map of the park when you pay so you can plan your day before you start.
The main attraction is the three water slides, which are all the same height but different shapes. One is straight down, one is through a tunnel and the other one is wavy. This is always busy throughout the summer and in winter can quite often be closed.
There is an adventure centre like a giant spider web, with tricky ways to get in and out can keep kids occupied for hours, it also has slides, a few small ones and a couple of bigger ones, climbing frames, and basically an adventure play park which is built mainly by wood and ropes. You can always see where your child is so no need to follow them around unless they are really young.
In the past few years they have also added a small fenced of area where kids can go round a track on battery operated cars. This goes on for about 10 minutes and even though it is fun to begin with they do get bored. Opposite this there is another track with remote controlled lorries so kids can guide these around the track.
That is the main 'theme' park attractions for kids. But for tourists it is nice to be able to walk in the woodlands where there is a squirrel trail to see if you can see any in the woods. As you go along this walk there is information boxes to stop at and read about the wildlife that may be in the woods.
There is also the tree top trail which you walk up gradually on wooden beams which to be honest aren't very wide. You can then see higher up in the trees and walk right round through the tops of the trees which does give you a great view of the woods and more chance to see the wildlife.
There is also the fire tower which was completely rebuilt. It is 105 steps to the top and definitely worth a trip to the top if you're not scared of heights as the view is amazing with a telescope so you can see close ups of the Funicular Railway and the Cairngorms. I haven't been up to the top since I was a child as I am completely scared of heights now.
There is a Clydesdale Horse also here which still works by hauling logs to the Sawmill and you can watch him in action. You also get the chance to stroke him and see him close up.
Steam Powered Sawmill - This is where the Clydesdale horse takes the logs to. This is the only working steam powered sawmill in Britain so is worth a look whilst you are there.
Finally there is the activities area where you get the chance to saw a log with a two man saw and many other small activities.
Landmark is completely different to theme parks you will be used to, it's fun and a change for you. I love it and remeber going here as a child, even kids now still enjoy going here in the Summer
The Landmark Forest Theme Park is set in 12 hectares of ancient Caledonian Pine Forest at the edge of the beautiful little village of Carrbridge. Carrbridge is situated just off the A9 23 miles south of Inverness and 7 miles north of Aviemore. There is also a railway station situated in Carrbridge, which is an easy 1-mile walk from the park. This is one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions and most definitely worth a visit. It is aimed at all ages groups and there are a great many different activities available for you to try your hand at. I would not recommend this to anyone who does not like the outdoors, as most of your day will be spent in the great outdoors. Always take waterproof clothing with you, a change of clothing would also be advisable, and sturdy footwear.
There is a reasonable sized car park outside the centre with room for coaches as well. When you pay all members of your party get their hand stamped, which is a great idea as you can go to and from your car throughout the day, therefore allowing you to leave picnics, clothing etc. in your car.
We started going to this park before we were married more than 16 years ago. We have seen the park change from a basic treetop walk through the trees to the wonderful forest theme park it is today. We now have 2 children, a daughter aged 11 and a son aged 15, who both love the park. Over the years we have visited the park on many occasions, usually 2 or 3 times a year and we have never been bored yet and never feel we've had enough of the place. We have been lucky weather wise when visiting the park but at least a quarter of our visits have been in the pouring rain, once my daughter even had to change her underpants she was so wet and that was with waterproofs on!! But, nevertheless, we still enjoy our visits just a much in the rain.
All the following are included in the Adventureland Area of the park.
When entering the park if you turn to your right first you will see Ant City, which is a large park/play area for the kids, this includes the Spiral Tower - a tower which the kids can ascend having to contend with ropes, tunnels, nets and ladders. On arrival at the top the view is stunning and there is also a transparent platform to stand on. Getting back down is the easy part, just slide down through the giant tube slide, which is for the over 5s only due to the length and build up of speed. Beside the Spiral Tower is The Nest, this is a large undercover area housing 2 floors of fun and adventure, suitable for all ages and again full of fun. Climbing the ropes and ladders, sliding back down, hiding, peeking through the windows, my 14 year old son still loves this as much as the first time he went.
Across from Ant City is a small enclosed play area for the under 5s with swings, a small slide and small climbing area.
==THE PINEWOOD GRILL==
The Pinewood Grill serves burger rolls, bacon rolls, hot dogs, chips, soup, coffee, tea, juice, biscuits, a variety of ice creams and lollies and many more tasty items. It is surrounded by a large area laid out with picnic tables, most of which are under canopies. Here you can either eat food purchased at the grill or your own picnic. This location is great as it is directly in front of the play areas therefore allowing tired adults to have a rest and some refreshments whilst keeping an eye on the kids have fun. Also situated by the picnic area are the Mini Ride on Cars and the Radio Controlled Trucks, these are coin operated at an extra charge.
The pinnacle is also situated beside the picnic area. This is a 10m high climbing tower with 8 different routes. The climber is harnessed to a rope using the "auto belay" safety system. If a climber jumps or falls they are slowly lowered to the ground using this system. I have seen children as young as 3 having fun on this and have also seen many grandparents tackling this too.
Not for the fainthearted! To go on this you must be at least 1.5m tall and have nerves of steel. I must admit nerves of steel I don't have and therefore have not tried this one out myself. My husband and son have both succeeded in mastering this one and make it look great fun. This is basically a pretty detailed and intricate tree top obstacle course. It involves a number of aerial tasks such as tiptoeing your way along chains with only ropes to hold on to, walking along a log with nothing to hold onto, swinging like a monkey from plank to plank and jumping like a squirrel across an abyss, well it's a gap anyway! Of course you are well protected in with a harness around your waist and through your legs, which is then attached by a rope to a steel cable above your head.
Again this one I do not have the nerve to do but my son and daughter both have. This year was my daughter's first attempt as she has, up until now, always been below the height restriction of 1.5m. She loved it and jumped 4 times! The Skydive is situated alongside the Ropeworx and as the name suggests is basically a skydive or parachute jump. There are 2 tall poles with steps up to the top where there are 2 platforms. Two people can have a go at once, all they have to do is climb up to the top and using a parachute trainer rig harnessed to them, they just take the plunge and make the death defying leap, easy I'm sure?! I have seen many people jump but almost as many climb back down. Most people think it looks easy but once you are actually up there, well, it's a different story!
==WILD FOREST MAZE==
If your nerves are still intact a little more relaxing is the Wild Forest Maze. This is situated just before the Wild Water Coaster. It's a maze of wooden paths, which are almost a mile long, set through the trees. On the way there are many exhibits to keep the family amused like a pair of wellies on a pair of legs sticking out of the marsh, a model snake, giant models spiders, butterflies and the odd real squirrel. This is fun and can help you relax a bit before venturing on to the Water Coaster.
==WILD WATER COASTER==
This is probably the highlight of the park for most people. Landmark's white knuckle ride, well it's white knuckle for me anyway! I have seen children as young as 2, my daughter's age when she first rode the coaster, and many grandparents as well screaming with delight at they coast down these slides. Once you have climbed the many stairs to the top of the tower with occasional waiting in a queue, but never for very long, you choose the flume you would like to go down. Once it's your turn you sit in a dingy style boat, the boats rises up and then there's no going back, you're away!! When looking at the slides the one on the left is called the Falcon, I think this one is for the bravest, it takes about 6 seconds and is likened to a freefall over a 40-foot waterfall. The middle one is called the Wildcat and looks pretty tame but believe me it's anything but. This one is fast and has a bump in the middle, I feel like you go over this bump and will keep going but of course you don't, you always come back down and slide furiously to the bottom. The third one is called The Otter, this one I can handle at a push, although the longest one, it is gentle and slower than the others, it's also enclosed making it dark. As you near the bottom you are plunged into daylight again and through a fountain, often soaking you if you go through at the wrong moment. Everyone loves this area of the park and it certainly keeps you fit and tires you out going up and down and up and down!
Once you have had fun at the Adventureland Area of the park you can then move on to the rest of the park, that's if you have any energy left. There are still many more things to see and do in the park.
==THE TIMBER TRAIL==
This is a journey through the pine trees to see how things used to be in the timber industry. You can walk through a display showing photographs and giving detailed descriptions of how men used to work many years ago in the timber industry. There are also many of the tools used on display for you to look at in awe, some of the cutting tools being huge and very dangerous looking! As you progress along this walk you will also see a few of the vehicles used to transport the cut trees. You will then have the chance to see a real steam powered sawmill in action and you can also get a chance to stroke the Clydesdale horse there too. You will get to peek into the wooden caravan similar to that used by the sawmill workers and if you are really cheeky you can also have a peek into the outdoor toilet too!!
Moving on in this trail there is an activity area where you can try your hand at cutting a log with a crosscutting saw and you can even get to take your own slice of tree away with you! Again there are saws and axes for you to look at and various hands on quizzes for you test your knowledge of trees.
==THE FOREST TOWER==
This tower is constructed completely by timber, being the tallest timber tower in the country. The tower is great for the views, if you are not too scared of heights. There are 105 steps to the top where there is a telescope for you to use at no extra charge and really great views if the weather is good. You can get some spectacular pictures of the Cairngorms.
==RED SQUIRREL TRAIL==
This is another trail through the trees. This peaceful walk is on wooden walkways. On this trail there are wooden boards each with a question about the trees or the wildlife living in the forest, once you have tried to answer the question, without cheating, you can lift a wooden cover and reveal the correct answer. Also on this trail is the wildlife feeding area, my favourite area. It has a high fence with peepholes in it for you to view the animals. There are many feeders full of nuts and seeds and you can stand and watch the many different species of bird and the red squirrels feeding in this area. You are always guaranteed to see many different creatures. The most red squirrels I have seen there at one time is 5. This is a truly unique and uplifting experience watching these creatures feed in their natural habitat. To help you learn more about each of these creatures, boards are situated on the high fences with the pictures and names of the different birds.
==TREE TOP TRAIL==
This trail, as the name would suggest, is a trail through the treetops! It is again a wooden walkway but this time it rises up and takes you through the treetops with information boards for you to read on the way. This was upgraded fairly recently and is now suitable for wheelchair and pram access.
The indoor part of the park houses Microworld, Foresters Restaurant and the Gift Shop.
Microworld is a bit like a science centre teaching you about the world in micro. There are many hands on activities for you to try and many very interesting exhibits for you to have a look at and read about. Giant magnifying glasses for you look through and laugh at one other, microscopes to look at samples through, puzzles to solve, viruses to study magnified hundreds of times and many more interesting facts to learn.
==THE GIFT SHOP==
Once you leave Microworld you enter into the gift shop where you can buy many unusual potteries, gifts, stones, jewellery and little gifts for the kids, pencils, rubbers etc with the Landmark logo on them.
If you feel the need to refuel in the warmth you can go through to the licensed restaurant and enjoy a tasty homemade meal from the inviting menu.
==RULES OF THE PARK==
All climbing activities require good, sturdy footwear. Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead at all times and you must clean up after your dog. Smoking is not allowed other than at the designated areas, as fire is a great risk here. There are toilets by the Pinewood Grill and the restaurant and both have baby changing facilities. You are asked to either take your litter home or use the bins provided. First aid is situated at the Pinewood Grill and the staff are very helpful. We know this through our own experience, as we required first aid on our last visit. Children must be supervised at all times.
Most areas are accessible by wheelchair and pram and wheelchairs are available on request.
==PRICES AND OPENING TIMES==
==31 MAR 08 - 31 OCT 08==
ADULT GROUP £9.20
CHILD GROUP £7.15
ADULT FAMILY £9.40
CHILD FAMILY £7.30
==1 NOV 08 - MAR 09==
ADULT GROUP £3.00
CHILD GROUP £2.25
ADULT FAMILY £3.15
CHILD FAMILY £2.40
Children are aged between 4 and 14 years inclusive. Adults are 15 years and over.
GREAT VALUE FAMILY MULTI - VISIT TICKETS
Weekly - Visit as many times as you like in a week for only £4.00 More - £13.40 per adult and £11.30 per child (family rate).
Full Year - Visit as many times as you like from 1st January until 31st December 2008 for only £8 more - £17.40 per adult and £15.30 per child (family rate) a photo card will be issued at time of purchase.
OPENING TIMES 2008
OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR except 25th December and 1st January
Nov - March 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sept - October 10.00am - 5.00pm
April - mid July 10.00am - 6.00pm
Mid July - late August 10.00am - 7.00pm
Last admissions to attractions one hour prior to closing.
Please allow at least 3 - 5 hours for your visit or more!
In winter the park may close due to bad weather. Please call 01479 841613 to check before setting out. These attractions are closed all winter - November to end of March - Watercoaster, Sawmill (open to view only), RopeworX, Skydive, Pinnacle, Clydesdale horse (on winter Vacation), Pinewood Grill, Mini cars, Radio controlled trucks. It is mainly the walks and trails, which are open during the winter.
Freephone Info Line
Also posted on Ciao under the same name.
The Landmark Forest Heritage Park, on the B9153 near Aviemore, has to be one of the best attractions for the whole family in Scotland. I’ve been here so many times that I’ve lost count, and have always thoroughly enjoyed it, as have the rest of my family. Unfortunately I can find no up to date prices for this attraction, but I remember it as being fairly pricey last summer – about seven pounds for adults (though in my humble opinion it’s certainly worth it). However, I do recommend that you look in local papers, tourist information offices, and even on the back of some car park tickets, as it’s possible to come across some 2 for 1 offers which cut the cost enormously. There is also the opportunity to buy a family ticket which again will save you some money. The Landmark centre is a forest park, situated in a 30 acre natural ancient pine wood, and it aims to both educate and entertain. There are various attractions within the park, and I have decided to subdivide this opinion, so that I can write a little on each one. Wild Water Coaster ================== This is probably the first thing that you’ll see when you enter the park – giant red water slides, which you can go down in a little yellow, rubber boat. There are three of these, one known as the Otter, which is largely in the dark, twisting and curving round, another is the Wildcat, which is much faster, with a double hump that you feel you’re going to fly off of, and finally there is the Falcon, which looks almost vertical! I’m not too keen on this last one, but my Dad and sister love it. Being a bit of a wuss, I prefer the other two, especially the Otter. Queues are generally quite short, and the ride is very safe, with trained staff at the top to supervise the loading of the boats which each hold two adults or three children. The Adventure Playground ========================= This is for children of all age
s, and those who are still young at heart! There’s a fantastic assault course with rope swings, tunnels, three wire bridges, logs to balance on, and much more. Mum and I usually prefer to take photos of the others on this – we’re not the most active of people! Still, everyone who takes part in it always looks as if they’re having fun. There is also a tube slide, and various climbing activities in the playground – all made out of thick natural wood. One part of the playground is specifically for the under 5s, so they don’t feel left out whilst their older siblings are having fun. The Maze ======== This used to be my favourite part of the Landmark. It’s not a traditional hedge maze, but with wooden slatted paths – and it is a lot trickier than it looks! As you wander along, there are also some surprises… although I’m not telling you what they are…and when you reach the middle, you go up on to a viewing platform, which is designed as if it was an eagle’s nest. It’s always quite amusing to look down on those who are still lost in the maze! The Fire Tower ============== Climb up the many, many wooden steps (105!) of this tall structure for absolutely fantastic views across the area – towards the Cairngorm mountains for example. This is the tallest timber tower in the country but the views make up for the long climb up. Telescopes on the viewing platform allow you to see even further, and if you take a camera, you’ll get some great photographs. This is not however something I’d want to go up if the weather was windy – whilst it is certainly very solid, I think I’d feel a bit uneasy at the top! The Tree Top Trail ================== I always have great difficulty saying this – it usually comes out as Tree Trop Trail, lucky I’m only writing it here then! This is one of the best bits of the
park, as it is a wooden walkway which literally climbs up between the tops of the trees. Not recommended for those who don’t like heights, but you get a great view of the forest from a different angle to usual, and may also see some wildlife from this vantage point. Try to keep as quiet as possible when walking along here and chances are you will see much more – red squirrels and local birds for example. There are viewpoints and information boards along the trail, and this, as well as being enjoyable, also has an educational aspect. Inhale deeply when you’re up here, and you’ll smell the gorgeous scent of the pine trees. The Nature Trail ================ If you don’t like heights, don’t despair, as there’s also a nature trail on the ground, taking you on a walk round the forest, where trees have been growing for over 10,000 years. Like the maze, you follow a slatted wooden trail, although there’s only one choice of route to take here! Along the way you will come across information points, which are on wooden display boards – you need to lift them up to read the well presented information underneath. Near the rowan trees for example, there is information about the actual tree itself, and also the fact that they were planted to keep witches at bay! Other interesting features on the trail are pointed out to you, such as the scar round a tree hit by lightning, the type of wildlife you might see, and some historical and geographical background. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a red squirrel, as we did on our last visit. If you look on the ground, you’ll see the remains of the pine cones that they’ve eaten – so you’ll know if there have been any about. This trail is suitable for both pushchairs and wheelchairs. Microworld ========== A relatively new attraction, and one which is inside, this allows you to get up close to bugs and in
sects! And I mean close – the emphasis here is on magnification, so that you can see them in great detail. It’s not only bugs that you see however, but magnification of many natural objects – human hair for example. Some of the exhibits in here are interactive, and be prepared for a few surprises! I won’t tell you what these are, as that would spoil your fun – and you will certainly have a lot of fun in here! The idea behind microworld appears to be learning through enjoyment – by participating in the various interactive games and experiments, you will be learning without even realising. It makes great use of computer technology, which is a contrast to the rest of the park. Timber Trail ============ Here, there are many activities and exhibitions about the actual use of the forest wood. For example, there is a steam powered sawmill (the only working one in Britain) where you can watch the logs being sawn. Nearby is Lex, the Clydesdale horse, who is absolutely massive, and who hauls the logs along to the mill. There are also recreations of the bothies where the firemen and workers would live, and an exhibition where you can discover the history and background of the men and machines who worked in the forestry industry in Scotland. Finally in this area, you get the chance to try out some activities for yourself – my sister and I once had a go at sawing a log using a two man cross saw for instance. (We were also given the bit of log to take home – and I think many years after the event, my parents still have it in their airing cupboard where we put it to dry out!) General points and advice: ========================== · Try to visit on a sunny day! Pretty much everything here is outside, so you don’t want the trip spoiled by bad weather. · Bring a spare change of clothes for children – it’s all too easy to fall into the mud as my sister and I k
now only too well from our younger days. You can get very wet on the wild water coasters too! · Take a picnic. They do sell food here, but the restaurant can be busy during the day, and the snack bar doesn’t sell the most healthy of food. When you buy your ticket, you get your hand stamped, so it’s possible to go back to the car and get your food – saves you carrying it round all day and will save money too. There are picnic tables in the car park, but there’s a little car park a couple of miles down the road which is much less crowded and is where we usually eat. · Don’t despair if you see lots of cars in the car park. There are so many things to do here that the visitors are normally spread fairly well between the attractions – even in the height of summer we’ve had no real problems with the number of other visitors and have been able to spend plenty of time doing what we wanted. · Finally, bring some extra money for the shop – it sells a fantastic range of unusual craft items, ornaments, jewellery, books and things for children, and is ideal for buying holiday souvenirs either for yourself or those back home. Overall then, this is an absolutely fantastic place to visit, well worth going to if you’re in the area. There’s plenty to do, a brilliant mixture of fun and education, and something for everyone. A safe place for children to let off steam and a great introduction to Scottish nature and wildlife. I would give it more than five stars if I could!