Kingussie (pronounced "King-YOO-see") is a town in Speyside in the central Scottish Highlands, with a population of 1470 in 2020. The Spey valley here broadens into a "strath" as it emerges from the hills, and turns north. Its name is from Gaelic Ceann a' Ghiuthsaich, "head of the pine forest", as with an elevation of 817 ft / 249 m it's on the tree line. The main road and railway from the south here descend from Drumochter Pass into Spey valley.
Newtonmore is a smaller town (population 1120) two miles further upstream, also described here.
Scotrail trains run hourly from Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen St, taking 2 hr 30 min via Perth (where you may have to change), Dunkeld & Birnam, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie to Newtonmore and Kingussie. From England you normally change in Edinburgh, but one LNER train per day is direct from London Kings Cross via York, Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh. These trains continue north via Aviemore to Inverness, taking another hour.
The Caledonian Highland Sleeper leaves London Euston around 21:00 Su-F to reach Newtonmore and Kingussie by 07:15 on its way to Inverness - you can use this morning section as a daytime train. The southbound sleeper picks up around 21:45 and reaches Euston by 08:00.
1 Kingussie railway station is on Ruthven Road B970 south side of the village. It has a staffed ticket office, toilets and a waiting room. There is level access to Platform 1 but a footbridge with steps to Platform 2 (southbound), with no step-free workaround.
2 Newtonmore railway station is a platform halt with no ticket office or machines, buy on board if your journey starts here. There's a waiting shelter and step-free access to the sole platform, but no toilets.
Newtonmore and Kingussie are just off the A9, which runs from Edinburgh and Stirling via Perth, continuing north to Aviemore and Inverness. Cyclists may use it throughout but will prefer to follow de-trunked loops of the former highway wherever possible.
A86 crosses the watershed from Fort William to join A9 here.
Most of the buses along the A9 bypass Kingussie, but Citylink / Parks Bus M91 runs once a day from Edinburgh. It takes 3 hr 15 min via Perth Broxden P&R (where you can connect from Glasgow) and continues to Inverness.
The town and Ruthven Barracks can easily be explored on foot, but you need wheels to visit the surrounding countryside.
The local taxi firm has folded, see Aviemore#Get around for cars based there.
Wee Bike Hub sell and hire bikes at 65A High St, open Tu-Sa 10:00-17:30.
- 1 St Columba's Friary is just a grassy space along Mill St with some old grave markers. Founded before 1501, it was likely abandoned at the Dissolution but became the village church and graveyard. Some time late 18th / early 19th century, those moved to their present site further along High St. The modern cemetery is east of the interchange with A9 bypass, and holds 14 Commonwealth War Graves.
- 2 Ruthven Barracks, Kingussie PH21 1NS (off B970). 24 hours. This was built in 1719 over earlier castle ruins to quell any repetition of the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. But back they came in 1745: a first siege (the first set-to after the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Scotland) was easily rebuffed. They returned in 1746 in their retreat towards Culloden, this time with heavy artillery so the garrison surrendered. After their defeat at Culloden the Jacobites tried to re-group here, but the Prince ordered his troops to disperse and save themselves, so they wrecked the place and scarpered. The Hanoverian government reinforced other forts in the aftermath but abandoned this one, so it remains a ruin. Free.
- 3 Highland Folk Museum, Aultlarie Croft, Kingussie Road, Newtonmore PH20 1AY, ☏ . Apr-Oct daily 10:00-17:00. Open air museum of rural highland life from 1700 to the 1950s. Donation.
- 4 Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig PH21 1NL, ☏ . Daily 10:00-18:00. This started in 1972 with a focus on local species, but in 2007 broadened to include mountain and tundra species from around the world. It's run by Edinburgh Zoo. Adult £21, conc £16.50, child £15.75.
- Walk: Kingussie is a good base for walking in Cairngorms National Park, use OS Landranger Map 35. Creag Bheag (487 m / 1598 ft) the hill behind the golf course is an easy stroll.
- Speyside Way is a long-distance walking trail from Buckie on the northeast coast through Grantown-on-Spey and Aviemore to Kingussie and Newtonmore. The final section is 20 miles from Aviemore, initially firm level going beside the mainline railway, but this section is too long for most walkers, you might break it at Kincraig. It thereafter follows B970 through the woods. There are no plans to extend it upriver from Newtonmore over the watershed to Spean Bridge in the Great Glen, but you can pick your own route.
- Golf: Kingussie GC is on the slopes just north of the village. Designed by Old Tom Morris, the course off white tees is 5501 yards, par 67, visitor round £45.
- Newtonmore GC in that village is 6031 yards, par 70, visitor round £50.
- 1 Laggan Wolftrax (on A86 between Spean Bridge and Newtonmore), ☏ . A network of purpose-built mountain bike trails, with a café, shop and bike hire.
- Shinty: both Kingussie and Newtonmore play in the MOWI Premiership, the top tier, and between them usually win it. The playing season is March-Oct.
- Newtonmore Highland Games and Macpherson Clan Gathering are held in August on "The Eilean" in Newtonmore, with the next probably on Sa 3 Aug 2024, tbc.
- Co-op Food, 24 High St, Kingussie PH21 1HR. Daily 06:00-22:00. Convenience supermarket in Kingussie.
- Co-op Food in Newtonmore is open daily 07:00-22:00.
- Royal Tandoori (formerly Tipsy Laird), 68 High St PH21 1HZ, ☏ . Daily 16:00-22:00. Good standard of Indian food.
- Cafe Bistro, 57 High St PH21 1HX, ☏ . W Th 10:00-16:00, F Sa 13:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00. Delightful little cafe, BYOB.
- The Cross gets rave reviews for its restaurant, see "Sleep".
- Several hotels have public bars, eg the Duke of Gordon in village centre.
- Distilleries: Speyside Distillery produces single malt whisky and gin. It's two miles east of Kingussie on B970 the back lane to Feshiebridge. They don't routinely offer tours but "The Snug" serves tastings.
- Stag's Breath is a liqueur made in Newtonmore.
- Dalwhinnie makes single malt whisky and offers tours.
- Silverfjord Hotel, Ruthven Rd PH21 1ES (opposite station), ☏ . Convenient for the station, and that's about the only positive of this tatty place. B&B double £70.
- Hermitage Guest House 100 east of the station on Spey St is clean and friendly.
- Duke of Gordon Hotel, Newtonmore Rd PH21 1HE, ☏ . Trad hotel in village centre, needs a refurb but mostly good reviews for comfort, less so for catering. B&B double £100.
- Arden House between the Duke of Gordon and McInnes House closed in 2023.
- 1 McInnes House Hotel, Newtonmore Rd PH21 1HE, ☏ . Comfy welcoming hotel. B&B double £140.
- 2 Greystones B&B, Acres Road PH21 1LA (Right at Kingussie traffic lights up Ardbroilach Road, then 4th right), ☏ . Lovely house, friendly owners and dogs. Six bedrooms share four bathrooms. They also offers pitches for campervans and tents (from £15). B&B double £100.
- 3 The Cross, Tweed Mill Brae, Ardbroilach Road PH21 1LB, ☏ . Excellent small hotel with top-class restaurant. B&B double £180.
- Newtonmore accommodation includes Highlander Hotel, Balavil Hotel, OYO Braeriach Hotel and Glen Hotel.
- Kingussie and its approach roads have 4G from all UK carriers. As of July 2023, 5G has not reached this area.
- Aviemore is a good centre for exploring the Spey Valley and Cairngorms. The Strathspey Railway starts here and is often steam-hauled.
- Fort William is on the doorstep of Ben Nevis. "The Road to the Isles" heads west to Mallaig.
- Blair Atholl is the first town south after crossing Drumochter Pass into Perthshire. It has a scenic castle.
|Routes through Kingussie|
|Inverness ← Aviemore ←||NE S||→ Blair Atholl → Perth|