Come and explore the Highland Folk Museum, a 20-acre delve into the living history of the Scottish Highlanders. The plot is filled with over 30 buildings that immerse you in the ancient world of Highland folks. The museum is one of the most unique experiences that visitors can enjoy, and it’s easy to imagine how Highland folk built their homes, dressed themselves, and the communal environment that they loved.
The Highland Folk Museum, also known as the Newtonmore Folk Museum, is an open-air museum with a charming group of passionate guides and historians behind it. If you’re interested in learning more about the rural lives of Scottish Highlanders, then stopping by this expansive site is the best way to do so.
We’ll tackle all the essential details to know before you arrive and the top attractions to see on your visit. So, without further ado, let’s hop right into it!
In This Post
Important Details to Know
The Highland Folk Museum is truly a one-of-a-kind visitor attraction that everyone coming to the Highlands should take time to see. Before you set out across the 20 acres of buildings, pick up a guidebook from the reception, shop, or sweet store — it has colourful photos of the collections and neat facts.
Toilets and wheelchair accessibility are on-site at the reception. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome, while pet dogs can be left in a secure shelter with water. Dogs left in this way are at their own risk.
How to Get There
The Highland Folk Museum is located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, and there are plenty of ways to reach this destination. Here are the top ways to reach the Highland Folk Museum via car, train, or bus:
Inverness is the closest major city to the Highland Folk Museum and takes 55 minutes, weather permitting. From Inverness, follow the A9 South for 39 miles until you reach Kingussie Road in Newtonmore along the A86. Then, follow the signs to Newtonmore for 5 minutes, and you’ll be able to reach the museum.
Visitors can take ScotRail to Kingussie or Newtonmore, which is comparable time to each destination. From the train station the Highland Folk Museum sits about a half-hour walk from the stations.
There are national bus services to Newtonmore that run frequently. You can catch the 39 or M91, both of which pass by the Highland Folk Museum. Routes can take about 60 minutes to 180 minutes, depending on where you hop on.
The Highland Folk Museum is open during the summer months and closed during the winter months (October 30th to March). While it is available, guests can explore between 10:00 and 17:00.
Entrance into the Highland Folk Museum is free! You should book ahead on the Highland Museum website, but no deposit or payment is required. Donations are always welcome.1
Attractions to See
Now that you know how to get there, when it’s open, and how much it’ll cost to grab yourself a ticket, here are the top attractions that you can look forward to while exploring the large area that is the Highland Folk Museum:
Explore Highland Folk Museum’s 35 Buildings
Yes, that’s right! There are 35 distinct buildings within the Highland Folk Museum that you see within the Highland Folk Museum, each containing a unique and fascinating perspective of the Highland people who lived here. The buildings are spread throughout a mile-long, two-acre plot of land that is a testament to the highland life.
We’ll get into the specifics of which exhibits throughout the various buildings when we discuss the collections within the Living History Museum, but we recommend you explore the farmland that surrounds the buildings as well.
Experience life and immerse yourself in an ancient time when you are at the Highland Folk Museum.
Highland Folk Museum Collections
Visitors can find a fascinating collection of collections within the 35 buildings of the Highland Folk Museum, covering many aspects of rural Highland life. It’s the best way to learn how Highlands lived hundreds of years ago, with physical items to immerse visitors.
Here are the top collections you can see at the Highland Folk Museum and what you can expect to see there.
Agriculture was an integral part of Highland society and built the backbone of life amongst the tall Munros and lochs. At the Highland Folk Museum’s Agricultural Collection, you can see one of the largest portions of the collection, with several thousands of items acquired over time representing the tools people lived with.
From subsistence farming to small-scale agriculture, browse the variety of fantastic machinery available in the agricultural collections.
The Craft Collection at the Highland Folk Museum covers an expansive range of fascinating artefacts, allowing you to watch how crafting evolved into an entire industry. The craft collection includes traditional crafts that a mason, shoemaker, or smith would use in their practice and how machinery has changed and improved to form the industries we know today.
Traditional industries like textiles, forestry, and fishing are encompassed with the Craft Collection, so make sure to keep your camera on hand for some great photo opportunities.
The Highland Folk Museum is also ensuring that specific skills and training opportunities, like thatching, are kept alive! Thatching materials other than reeds is considered to be an endangered crafting skill in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
The Domestic Collection is considered to be one of the most important collections at the Highland Folk Museum. The collection has been recognised as an internationally important site, with over 2,000 objects to view. Like many other collections with the Highland Folk Museum, the Domestic Collection tells a fascinating story of how domestic items have evolved.
You can enjoy learning about the cooking materials and utensils used on-site, as well as the progression of traditional household furniture.
Stop by the Cafe
That’s right! The Highland Folk Museum has a fully stocked cafe to fuel up before you tackle its mile-long premises. The cafe has several sweet and tasty treats for visitors to enjoy and drinks to keep you nice and relaxed throughout your trip.
The Cafe is open after October 29th in the new year, so ensure you bring your own food and drink if you plan to visit during this period.
Kirk’s Store Sweet Shop
Kirk’s Store Sweet Shop is the ultimate location for anyone who wants to sate their sweet tooth. The sweet shop was named after the Kirk family, who farmed Aultlarie Croft on site before moving from the premised.
There’s no better place to enjoy chocolate, nougat, and sweets than at Kirk’s Sweet Shop. Kirk’s has a range of delicious sweets you and your children can enjoy during your leisure time. Remember that the Highland Folk Museum Sweetie Shop is only open during weekends and school holidays between 11:00 and 15:00.
Grab a Souvenir at the Gift Shop
Once you’ve explored the breadth and width of the Highland Folk Museum, we recommend stopping by the museum’s souvenir shop! Guests can find a number of excellent souvenirs to take home with them, including themed gifts, crafts, and even toys for children.
The Gift Shop also has wool hats and raincoats if the weather suddenly turns, so you’re only caught in the rain with something protecting you. There are even options to mail order certain items within the shop, but you’ll need to speak to the staff.
The Highland Folk Museum’s gift shop is an essential stop at the end of your journey, so remember to set aside some time to see it.
More Scottish Museums to Visit
- Black Watch Museum
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
- Edinburgh Writers Museum
- Glasgow Science Centre
- Museum of Childhood
- Museum of Edinburgh
- Museum of the Isles
- Museum on the Mound
- National Mining Museum
- National Museum of Flight
- National War Museum
- People’s Palace
- Riverside Museum
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- Scottish Maritime Museum
- Shetland Museum & Archives
- St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
- Surgeons’ Hall Museum
- V&A Dundee