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Wildlife in Scotland and where to see it

wildlife

With Easter almost upon us, it’s a fantastic time to be getting out and about with the family to see some of nature’s stars.

Scotland is particularly special at this time of year, with new life springing up around the waterways, woodlands and hills, while snow still graces the mountains.

Whether you want to watch the skies for an afternoon or spend a whole week on a wildlife adventure, here are some of our favourite options… 

Western Isles: Sea life and seabirds

Several organisations offer island cruises around the Hebrides – also known as the Western Isles of Scotland – where there’s an astonishing array of sea-based wildlife to be enjoyed. Birds you’re likely to see include peregrine falcons, merlins, puffins, gannets and even the mighty golden eagle (if you’re lucky); and you may also glimpse otters, whales, sharks and dolphins. Island Cruising offers four-day and six-day cruises around St Kilda, Scarp, Taransay, Monach Isles and the Flannan Isles, among other locations, with comfortable accommodation and freshly cooked Scottish food provided on board.

MORE ABOUT ISLAND CRUISING >

Stirlingshire: Red kites

In recent years, the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage reintroduced the red kite to Scotland, following near-extinction. Part of the hawk and eagle family, they’re distinctive birds of prey with a reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. At Argaty, on a farm in central Scotland, guests can visit a feeding station to enjoy watching a thriving community of red kites from a hide. There’s also a small visitor centre and picnic tables for summer – and advance booking is strongly recommended.

MORE ABOUT ARGATY RED KITES >

Scottish Highlands: Badgers, beavers and pine martens

At the Aigas Field Centre in Inverness-shire, visitors can see a wealth of wildlife – and the facility is particularly well-known for its beavers, badgers and pine martens. Beavers are now legally protected in Scotland and have been busy building lodges and dams with a large enclosure in the Aigas loch; and are best viewed between May and September. Meanwhile, pine martens and badgers roam the woodlands from their dens and setts, many within the Field Centre’s huge grounds. It’s possible to stay on-site as you enjoy a choice of wildlife courses, with comfortable accommodation, food and friendly staff on hand to enhance your experience.

MORE ABOUT THE AIGAS FIELD CENTRE >

The Cairngorms: Ride with sled dogs to see red deer

From the popular mountain adventure spot of Aviemore, you can take ‘safaris’ with transport provided by dog sleds, seeing beautiful scenery and red deer in a uniquely exciting way. The service is provided by the Cairngorm Sleddog Centre, which has 30 dogs to help you learn the sport and enjoy a ride at the same time. You can also visit the kennels and museum to learn more. The safaris can take place at any time of day, with a quick camp-stop in the middle, while accommodation can be arranged at nearby B&Bs by the centre upon request. Plus, while you’re in the Cairngorms, why not pay a visit to the Reindeer Centre?

MORE ABOUT CAIRNGORM SLEDDOG CENTRE >

Explore without spending a fortune on travel

If you’re keen to take a break in Scotland and need a cost-effective way to get there, the MegabusGold sleeper service is a great option for family, friends and couples alike. It runs from London and offers you an overnight journey, cosy bunks, free wi-fi and friendly staff. 

Book your trip now >

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