The Tailor-Made Top Ten Best Attractions to Visit in Moray, Scotland

Updated: Jul 10



Moray is the region between The Highlands and Aberdeenshire in Scotland and is fast becoming a must visit destination. Moray has it all, boasting impressive landscapes, from endless sandy beaches to the imposing Cairngorm Mountains, as well as exciting historical attractions, with plentiful castles, palaces and Pictish sites. Then there is Moray’s food and drink, which has sprung from its fertile land and mountain streams. It is difficult to propose a top ten of Moray’s attractions, but we have attempted to do that in this post. Can you guess which attraction tops our list?


At Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Moray appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating Moray’s attractions, or indeed, a general tour of Scotland.



10. Cluny Hill and Nelson's Tower


Standing high on Cluny Hill, Nelson’s Tower looks down, with some presence, over Forres. Erected by public subscription, the tower was built as a memorial to Admiral Lord Nelson. The foundation stone was laid in 1806, being completed and open to the public on Trafalgar Day 21 October 1812. To celebrate the opening, a couple of four-pounder cannon had been donated and these fired a twenty-one gun salute. The cannon were said to have been with the fleet at the bombardment of Alexandria and can still be seen today at the entrance door to the tower. There are several paths that wind their way around Cluny Hill, and an enjoyable hour can be spent soaking in the greenery of the hill’s forest trails.


Tailor-Made Tip: There is ample parking just off Victoria Road on the east side of Grant Park.



9. Findhorn


Findhorn sits on the eastern shore of the beautiful Findhorn Bay and is an enjoyable little village to walk around, with a beautiful pebble beach. Findhorn was erected into a burgh of barony by act of Parliament in 1661. In the seventeenth century Findhorn was the principal seaport of Moray and vessels regularly sailed to and from all parts of the North Sea and as far as the Baltic Ports. Changes to the narrow and shallow entrance to the Bay created obstacles to navigation and as the size of trading vessels increased so the volume of trade to the village declined. By the nineteenth century fishing predominated. This industry also went into decline and today Findhorn is more of a dormitory suburb and famous for the spiritual community of the Findhorn Foundation that resides in the village.


Tailor-Made Tip: Visit Findhorn’s oldest building - The Crown and Anchor Inn – which dates from 1739 and enjoy a pleasant drink and hearty meal.


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8. Spynie Palace


Spynie Palace was for 500 years the seat of the bishops of Moray, having been established in the late 1100’s. During that time, the palace stood on the edge of Spynie Loch, a sea loch with safe anchorage for fishing boats and merchant vessels. A thriving settlement developed nearby, but today, nothing remains of either sea loch or medieval settlement. Still, the ruins of Spynie Palace are very impressive and you will soon realise that Spynie was more of a castle than a palace, with a history of conflict belying its religious purpose.


Tailor-Made Tip: The ashes of the first British Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, were scattered at Holy Trinity Church, Spynie, which is just a 5-minute walk from the Palace’s car park.


Read on to find out which Moray attraction tops the list!



7. Brodie Castle


Brodie Castle has been the ancestral home of the Brodie clan for over 400 years, although their family seat has been here since the 12th century. The impenetrable 16th-century guard chamber is flanked on one side by a cosy 17th-century wing and on the other by a sprawling Victorian extension. The castle houses a magnificent collection of furniture, ceramics, and artwork, including works by 17th-century Dutch masters and 20th-century Scottish Colourists. It also boasts an impressive library containing over 6,000 volumes. The Playful Garden is located near the castle and is full of excitement for all the family. We had a couple of hours fun playing with Ythan in this imaginative garden, so make sure to factor this in when visiting.


Tailor-Made Tip: Watch out for Rodney’s Stone, which is at the side of the road as you drive into the castle grounds. This impressive two-metre high Pictish cross slab is over a thousand years old!



6. Cullen


Cullen is a quiet seaside holiday resort, with stunning scenery, long beach, and calm waters. Cullen has a long history, with it first appearing in recorded history in 962. King Robert the Bruce’s Queen, Elizabeth de Burgh, also died nearby, in 1327. Indeed, her entrails remain buried at the original church. By the late medieval period, Cullen became a centre of fishing, and by the 1600’s, the quaint fishing cottages in the Seatown area were being built. The industry then experienced a dramatic growth during the 1800’s. The new harbour was completed in 1819, to a Thomas Telford design, with an additional quay being built in 1834. This complemented the creation of the new town of Cullen, which was constructed between 1820 and 1830. Great views of both Seatown and the new town, as well as the impressive railway viaduct, can be gained from the dominating Castle Hill.


Tailor-Made Tip: For an excellent meal, look no further than the Seafield Arms Hotel, which offers exceptional food and service.



5. Moray Motor Museum


The Moray Motor Museum houses a superb collection of veteran, vintage, classic cars, and motorbikes. There are also model cars and automobilia which make this a visit not to be missed. Our favourites were the 1968 E-Type Jaguar and the XK150 Jaguar but let us know which is your favourite in the comments section below. Moray Motor Museum is housed in a light and airy old mill building, part of which dates back to the era of the Cathedral when the Bishops of Moray ruled Moravia and was used by them as a grain mill.


Tailor-Made Tip: The neighbouring Decora home improvement store has an excellent canteen and an ideal stop after visiting the museum.



4. Elgin Cathedral


Elgin Cathedral earned the name the ‘Lantern of the North’ and even as a ruin, the cathedral shines out as one of Scotland’s most ambitious and beautiful medieval buildings. Begun in 1224, Elgin was the principal church of the bishops of Moray. It lost its roof shortly after the Protestant Reformation of 1560, and later its central tower fell. But the cathedral’s fortunes began to change when it became a visitor attraction in the early 1800s and is now a must see when visiting Moray.


Tailor-Made Tip: The Biblical Garden is located across the road from the Cathedral and a visit here is a lovely, peaceful compliment to your visit.



3. Bow Fiddle Rock


Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch near Portknockie and is so called because it resembles the tip of a fiddle bow. It is composed of Quartzite, a metamorphic rock which was originally quartz sandstone. The rock formation is also a nesting place for sea birds including herring gulls, great black-backed gulls and lesser black-backed gulls.


Tailor-Made Tip: The path down to the shore in front of the rock is narrow and steep in parts, so make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear.



2. Ballindalloch Castle


Ballindalloch Castle, known as the "pearl of the north", has been the family home of Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546. Extensions were added in 1770 by General James Grant of the American Wars of Independence (whose ghost is said to haunt the castle) and in 1850 by the architect Thomas MacKenzie. The castle houses an important collection of 17th century Spanish paintings. The dining room of Ballindalloch is said to be haunted by a ghost known as The Green Lady. The castle grounds contain a 20th-century rock garden and a 17th-century dovecote, and the outdoor scenery is enhanced further by the rivers Spey and Avon flowing through the grounds. The castle is open to tourists during the summer months.


Tailor-Made Tip: Ballindalloch now has its own whisky distillery, with tours and tastings being available.


Ballindalloch Castle
Ballindalloch Castle

1. Whisky Distilleries


The Speyside area of Moray is synonymous with whisky making, and a trip would not be complete without a visit to one of the many distillery visitor centres to be found here. Whisky production has taken on an almost mythical history, with illicit stills and excise dodging shenanigans. By 1823 however, the duty to be paid on spirits was slashed and it became more attractive to move away from hidden whisky production to becoming a legal entity, and it was at this point that distilleries as we know them today, began to be established. The individual distillery stories and that of whisky in general are always entertaining on a tour. Although we haven’t managed to visit all of Speyside’s distilleries (another thing added to the bucket list!), we have delighted in the tour and tastings at Glenfiddich, Cardhu, Benromach, Glen Moray, and Glenlivet and we can thoroughly recommend them!


Tailor-Made Tip: Scotland has strict drink drive laws, and the designated driver should always avoid sampling the whisky at the end. Happily, though, the distilleries accommodate this and can decant your samples into small glass bottles so that you can appreciate the drink later.



Conclusion


The Moray area is bursting with captivating attractions to visit, and there were many more attractions that would not have looked out of place on this list. We hope that you enjoyed our pick of the best, but if you think there was a more deserving attraction, let us know in the comments below.


Accommodation Suggestions


A great day trip can be enjoyed in Moray, but to really appreciate this region, we would always recommend spending three to ten days. We have been lucky enough to stay at three great properties in Moray and can highly recommend them:

**Disclosure: We have been guests of all three properties. Regardless of this, please be advised that our recommendation is genuine and authentically our own.**



At Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Moray appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating Moray’s attractions, or indeed, a general tour of Scotland.


Join us next time when our family adventures continue as we explore the Moray area of Scotland and find its hidden gems. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.


Barry

Contact Us: tailoritineraries@gmail.com


Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travelers.


Our self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.





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