Moray Speyside is a beautiful countryside region in the north of Scotland. You’ll find it to the east of Inverness, running from the north coastline of the Moray Firth to the rugged Cairngorms in the south. Things to do in Moray include historic places, stunning viewpoints, outdoor activities and delicious food & drink.
1. Explore the main town
Elgin is a large town which sits on the road between Inverness and Aberdeen. Dating from the early medieval period, Elgin has been a bustling town for centuries. Visit the site of Elgin’s long-gone castle, which was destroyed in 1308 shortly after the death of William Wallace, and see majestic Elgin Cathedral which dates from 1224.
Discover Elgin’s past and present as you explore its historic streets
2. Browse beautiful textiles
Johnstons of Elgin, Elgin
Open: all year
Johnstons of Elgin is a family-owned Scottish brand with centuries of experience in textile manufacture. They have been producing beautiful woollen and cashmere products in Elgin since 1797. Book a free tour of the 220 year old mill to see them transform raw cashmere into gorgeous clothing. Shop for lovely, authentic souvenirs and enjoy a tasty lunch or decadent afternoon tea.
Explore the history at Johnstons of Elgin
3. Soak up the views
Nelson’s Tower, Forres
Open: April – September
Climb to the top of Cluny Hill and Nelson’s Tower in Forres to enjoy the views out across Moray Speyside. Built in 1806 as a memorial to Admiral Nelson, the top deck of Nelson’s Tower offers views to the north of the glittering Moray Firth and the distant hills of Caithness.
Take a trip to the top of Nelson’s Tower
4. Hike a long-distance trail
Moray Coast Trail
Beginning in Findhorn and ending in Cullen, the Moray Coast Trail is one of Scotland’s beautiful long-distance walking routes. You’ll come across cliffs, caves and sandy beaches and stunning natural features, such as Bow Fiddle Rock, which is said to resemble the tip of a bow. You may even spot dolphins playing in the waters of the Moray Firth too.
The 50 mile (80 km) route takes around 3-5 days or can be split into sections.
Plan a walk along the Moray Coast Trail
5. Look out for wildlife
Moray Speyside is home to a wide variety of habitats. As well as the pod of famous resident dolphins in the Moray Firth, look out for are elusive pine martens, mountain-dwelling ptarmigan, shy deer and curious seals.
Find wildlife experiences in Moray Speyside
Tour historic castles
6. Ballindalloch Castle
Open: Easter – September
Take a tour of Ballindalloch Castle to discover its history since its construction around 1542, and find out more about its owners, the Macpherson-Grant family. If you have an interest in whisky, book a tour of Ballindalloch Distillery, constructed in 2014. The estate also offers walking paths, a tearoom and an outdoor children’s play area.
Explore Ballindalloch Castle and Estate
7. Balvenie Castle
Open: April – September
Built in the 1200s, Balvenie Castle, near Dufftown, is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Step inside to see the medieval curtain wall as well as the Renaissance features of Atholl Lodging. You’ll hear fun facts such as – in the 1300s the castle’s rent was one red rose per year!
8. Duffus Castle, Elgin
Open: all year
Duffus Castle is one of Scotland’s best examples of an ancient motte and bailey castle. Common in the 1100s and 1200s, mottes were early strongholds, consisting of a wooden keep on top of a man-made mound. The second part of the castle complex – the bailey – was an enclosed courtyard which was surrounded by a ditch and contained more wooden buildings, such as workshops, stables and barracks.
9. Have a mountain biking adventure
Feel the adrenaline rush as you zoom along an off-road mountain bike track and explore some of Moray Speyside’s most beautiful areas. With routes ranging from fun tracks for beginners to extreme tests for advanced mountain bikers, Moray Speyside’s mountain biking trials offer lots of unique features to test out.
Hit the trails with mountain biking in Moray
10. Go fishing
If you enjoy fishing you’ll have plenty of beautiful beats to choose from in Moray Speyside. The area’s four rivers are teeming with Scottish salmon, trout and more.
Find out more about fishing on the River Spey, River Findhorn and the rivers Livet and Avon.
11. Get out on the golf courses
Play high-quality links courses along the Moray Firth or beautiful parkland courses, such as Rothes Golf Course, further inland. For a slice of golfing history, look out for courses that were designed by the renowned Scottish golfer ‘Old’ Tom Morris, such as Old Course at Moray Golf Club and Cullen Links Golf Course.
Find out more about golf in Moray Speyside
12. Sample food & drink
With rich, fertile land, Moray Speyside produces plenty of fantastic food and drink. Stock up on tasty produce at Brodie Countryfare near Forres which offers a huge range of gourmet food and look out for deliciously buttery Walkers shortbread, produced for over 100 years in the region.
This is also the famous Speyside malt whisky region, home to half the whisky distilleries in Scotland. Follow the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail itinerary or browse distilleries in Moray Speyside to find a tour.
Find food and drink in Moray Speyside