Loch Garten Osprey Centre

Loch Garten Osprey Centre

If you’re an avid birder or lover of nature, then the Loch Garten Osprey Centre is just the place to visit during your holiday to Scotland. This splendid nature reserve sits just outside of Aviemore and familiarises guests with Scotland’s beautiful and charming wildlife.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, the top things to do while there, and what you can expect regarding accommodation options and events you can attend.

Let’s dive right into it!

About the Loch Garten Osprey Centre

The Loch Garten Osprey Centre is a highly accessible nature centre within the Cairngorms National Park (managed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority) and sits 20 minutes from Aviemore and about 50 minutes from Inverness. The Loch Garten Osprey Centre entrance is free, with a free-of-charge nature centre car park.

For those who are bringing toddlers or babies, you’ll be glad to know that the Loch Garten Osprey Centre has toilets (with disability accessibility), as well as a baby changing station. The routes throughout the nature reserve are also pushchair friendly so that you can experience the beautiful trails with your whole family!

The nature reserve is open year-round, with the busiest April to August season. If you plan to visit the Loch Garten nature centre, the centre is open daily between 10:00 – 18:00.

Things to do at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre

This exceptional nature reserve has a lot of things to do going for it and will undoubtedly be the highlight of your trip if you’re an avid birder or fan of nature! Here are our picks for the top things you can do while visiting the Loch Garten Osprey Centre.

Go on a Caper Watch

Caper Watch

During the Spring months of Scotland, the Osprey Centre comes alive with sounds of birds echoing through them – especially the capercaillies, Scotland’s largest Grouse! These turkey-like birds are beautiful, with brilliant colourations.

The Loch Garten Osprey Centre offers a Caper Watch to see these birds in their natural habitat each morning. Remember, you’ll have to wake up reasonably early to attend the Caper Watch, which occurs at 5:30 AM.

Traverse the ancient Caledonian pine forest

Caledonian Pine Forest

The fantastic wildlife makes its home within the ancient Caledonian forest. This beautiful and expansive pine forest creates an immeasurably exceptional experience for anyone who walks the natural woodland trails.

We recommend speaking with the helpful staff to learn about the small birds and wildlife you can see throughout your journey. There are two trails that visitors can undertake, the Big Pines trail and the Two Lochs trail, depending on how much time you have to spend at the visitor centre.

The Big Pines trail is a 15-minute excursion that takes you past the best parts of the forest, including the massive “Granny” Scots pines. The Two Lochs trail covers 1.7 miles and takes about an hour, with beautiful pitstops that look over Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie.

Ensure you follow the Scottish outdoor access code and watch for the Osprey nest high above the path.

Scout birds from the bird hide


Avid birders will be all too familiar with what a bird hide is, but for those coming to the RSPB Abernethy Reserve and the Loch Garten Osprey Centre for the first time, we recommend checking them out.

Bird hides allow you to see the birds close and personal, with each hide sheltering observers and blending them into the natural environment of this amazing forest. Once enough time has passed, birds will begin to fly and flock on their merry way, bug hunting or fishing without any idea you’re there!

This is the perfect spot for birdwatching and a stunning way to see the mighty Ospreys of the forest swooping and catching fish.

Watch from the live cameras

Live Camera

The Loch Garten Osprey Centre allows visitors to see the Ospreys up close with their live camera feed trained onto their Osprey nest. You can find this live feed on their website or Youtube, which allows you to see what the bustling Osprey nest is up to at any time.

There are also other nest CCTV screens where visitors can see the baby birds of Crested Tits interact with their mother! If you want a sneak peek at the amazing wildlife that RSPB Loch Garten has to offer, then there’s no better way than this. These cameras are non-invasive and don’t impact the animals they are surveying.

Learn about Ospreys at the Nature Centre

Osprey Nature Centre

The Nature Centre is a wealth of knowledge for anyone curious about the wildlife in this nature centre. Learn about Ospreys, red squirrels, crested and coal tits, dragonflies, and plenty more from the incredible volunteers at the Nature Centre.

Before you head out and see the fantastic views of the forest, why not pick up a sandwich, a coffee, or even ice cream and enjoy the atmosphere of the forest lodge where the Nature Centre is based? The Forest decking gives stunning views out to the boat of Garten and more!

Take something home from the gift shop

Gift Shop

If you’ve enjoyed your time at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, we highly recommend stopping by the centre’s gift shop and taking something home with you!

The gift shop sells gifts for all ages, including shirts, books, binoculars, and more! The proceeds from the gift shop go back into the centre and are essential to ensuring the Ospreys and other species of this fantastic Abernethy forest continue to thrive.


There are quite a few events that the Nature Centre offers throughout the entire year! We’ve already mentioned the famed Caper Walk, but you’ll have to be an early bird to wake up and see these Grouse.

If you’re travelling with your partner or kids, you’ll be happy to know there are many family activities to partake in at the Nature Centre. Daily talks help children and adults learn about the many species that call the forest their home, including bank voles and beautiful Ospreys – fun for all the family.


The Loch Garten Osprey Centre is based in the Cairngorms National Park, so you have many fantastic accommodation options to choose from amongst the park’s cosy towns. Hot spots include Nethy Bridge, Aviemore, and Spreybridge, which have fantastic bed and breakfasts, self-catering cottages, and plenty more cosy homes to stay at.

Inverness is also about an hour’s drive from the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, which offers luxurious hotels and all the amenities you could ever want.

Thinking Of Booking A Trip? Check Out Our Top Accommodation Options In Dufftown


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