Ballindalloch is one of the most beautiful and renowned castles in Scotland. Known as the Pearl of the North, it is located in the heart of Speyside, near to the famed whisky distilleries of Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet. Surrounded by majestic hills, and with the tumbling waters of the Rivers Spey and Avon flowing through the grounds, the setting is truly magnificent.
Brodie Castle (National Trust of Scotland)
Brodie Castle is located 4.5 miles west of Forres and 24 miles east of Inverness on the east coast of Scotland.
Having been badly damaged by fire in 1645, the castle was later rebuilt. The lime-harled building is a typical Z plan tower house with ornate corbelled battlements and bartizans. If you know where to look, you can see cannon drain spouts and a sun dial built into the side of the keep.
Today you can visit in the interior with its unusual plaster ceilings and see French furniture, paintings, European and Chinese porcelain, Japanese artefacts, toys and much, much more. There are many rooms open to visit on several floors so you need to allow a good hour to look around everything. If you are interested in furnished interiors (as opposed to old castle ruins) then you will certainly enjoy your visit. At the end of your tour, don't forget to carry on through the tea room to the old kitchen and then when you exit the gift shop, the old dairy is outside to your left.
There's also a picnic area, tea room and gift shop, adventure playground with timber fort for the kids, woodland walks, gardens and a lake. If you have chance to visit during the Spring, the famous collection of daffodils will be in full bloom.
Cawdor. A magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale Castle, and just what every visitor is looking for ... Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day.
Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly-tree.
Along with the three gardens, the Cawdor Big Wood, and our own 9-hole golf course, we believe Cawdor Castle to be a truly extraordinary place.
Elgin Cathedral (Historic Scotland)
Effectively redundant from the time of the Reformation in 1560, this magnificent sandstone monument was little used during the next 100 years and was virtually abandoned thereafter.
Gradually parts of the structure collapsed as a result of unchecked decay, and it was not until the early 19th century that Elgin Cathedral received the respect it deserved as a fine piece of medieval architecture.
The first church was erected on this site in 1224, but possibly as a result of a fire, this was extensively re-built and enlarged towards the end of that century. Severely damaged by the 'Wolf of Badenoch' in 1390 when he burnt the cathedral, Elgin underwent a major period of reconstruction throughout the 15th and 16th centuries.
Now standing as one of the most glorious ruins in Scotland it provides the visitor a fine view over Elgin from the top of its towers.
Fort George (Historic Scotland)
Fort George sits behind its massive grass-topped artillery defences on an isolated spit of land jutting west into the Moray Firth at Ardersier, about 25 miles west of Elgin. Conceived after the 1745 uprising and the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at nearby Culloden that concluded it, Fort George was intended to be a once and for all solution to the threat posed by the Highlands, and the Jacobites in particular.
Yet during the twenty years it had taken to build Fort George, the 500 year old problem that had led to its construction had simply disappeared. However Fort George continues in use and is still operational as an army barracks today. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Fort George today is just how little it has changed since its completion in 1769. And given this, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Fort is just how modern it seems as you walk around.
Full or half day guided tours of the area
With Roy Mathers - a mine of information about Speyside!
Scottish Highland Games are a series of events where people gather to watch athletes from throughout Scotland and further afield toss the caber, throw the hammer, and take part in many other traditional games. From the skill and agility of the heavies, the colourful and proud massed pipebands, and the traditional flair of the highland dancers, this is a spectacle not to be missed.
Huntly Castle (Historic Scotland)
The castle, as it stands now, took several hundred years to build. The first structures were built around 1240 by Earl Duncan. It's name was The Peel of Strathbogie due to its location along major routes. In 1314, King Robert granted title to the lands to Sir Adam Gordon of Huntly, causing the name change. The castle then became the seat of the Gordon clan.
Johnstons Cashmere Visitor Centre and Shop
Independently run since 1797, Johnstons has been making beautiful knitwear, clothing and accessories from the most luxurious wools known to man for over two centuries. At our mill on the banks of the River Lossie in Elgin we still produce all our woven accessories, homewares and much more.
Moray Firth Bottlenose Dolphins
The Moray Firth contains a resident population of Bottlenose dolphins in excess of 140 animals, making it the largest such population in the North Sea. These animals are much larger than individuals of the same species in warmer waters elsewhere in the world. There are also large populations of both Common and Grey seals, harbour porpoises and some fabulous marine bird watching opportunities. The Friends of the Moray Firth Dolphins have an online guide to watching them:
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 28th April - 2nd May 2011
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is an established event on the whisky lover's calendar! It features around two hundred events over the four and a half days, ranging from a formal Opening Gala, exclusive whisky dinners, to in depth tours of distilleries not normally open to the public, to more family orientated events such as cruises in search of ‘Whisky’ the dolphin and scenic train trips through the whisky heartland with the Keith & Dufftown Railway. All along with festival transport so no one has to miss out on the fun!
Spynie Palace (Historic Scotland)
For five centuries, Spynie Palace was the residence of the Bishops of Moray, standing on the edge of Spynie Loch, a sea loch providing direct access and a safe anchorage.
The Malt Whisky Trail
Speyside is home to more than half of Scotland's working distilleries and boasts the world's only malt whisky trail. Start off at Elgin's own Glen Moray distillery, then wind your way through some of the Highlands' most spectacular scenery and attractive villages and towns as you visit any or all of the distilleries along the way.
Did you know:
- The French drink more Scotch Whisky than Cognac
- In terms of sales, Glenfiddich leads the market in single malts
- The most popular malt sold in the U.S. is Macallan
- Scotch is consistently listed amongst the United Kingdom’s top five export earners
- It is exported to more than 200 markets worldwide - an unrivalled reach for the product of one country
Try one of Moray's many golf clubs
This is the Region where green fees are among the most affordable in the land and where there is not only world class golf by the seaside but splendid inland and parkland challenges to perfectly complement them. Elgin and the Moray Golf club in Lossiemouth spring easily to mind.