The Tailor-Made Top Ten Hidden Places to Visit in Moray, Scotland

Updated: Jul 15



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.


But Moray has its hidden and intriguing places too, with stories that are just as fascinating as the more well-known attractions in Moray. So, how to categorise this into a Top Ten list? Well, we have simply gone with our own personal favourites that we feel are less well known. Let us know in the comments section below if you have visited these places. Let’s shine a light on Moray’s hidden treasures!



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. Randolph’s Leap


Randolph's Leap is the point at the River Findhorn where the sheer rock banks are closest. This is where, according to legend, Thomas Randolph, later Earl of Moray, was pursuing a Comyn, who leaped to the other side and escaped back to his castle. The Comyn castle fell, and the lands were granted by King Robert to Randolph. The name gradually changed from Comyn's Leap to Randolph's Leap.


Tailor-Made Tip: Make sure to wear appropriate footwear for the rough path and the stone steps down to the Leap.



9. Kinloss Abbey


Kinloss Abbey is in ruins today, but in its early years, the abbey was one of the finest and wealthiest of all Scotland's abbeys. Kinloss Abbey was founded in 1150 by King David I of Scotland and received its Papal Bull in 1174. Following the Reformation of 1560, the lands and properties of the abbey were gradually run down, and in 1652 most of its stone was sold to Cromwell's army for use in the construction of their citadel in Inverness.


Tailor-Made Tip: The Abbey Inn, just two minutes from the abbey itself, is a great bar and Chinese restaurant if you are looking for a spot of lunch or dinner.


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8. Women's Land Army Scotland Memorial


The Women's Land Army Scotland Memorial commemorates the work of the Women's Land Army in Scotland. The memorial was unveiled in 2012 by The Prince of Wales and is a steel sculpture depicting a padlocked farm gate with two-dimensional life-size group of seven Land Army girls.


Tailor-Made Tip: Make sure to cheque descriptive plaque on a plinth made of stones – each stone is from a regions of Scotland where the Women's Land Army operated.


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



7. The Pictish Stones and Stone Circles of Ballindalloch


Moray has many sites of ancient and Dark Ages historic interest, but the area around Ballindalloch Castle can boast of three 4,000 year old stone circles and a collection of Pictish stones that are over 1,000 years old.


The Lower Lagmore Stone Circle now only consists of three stones, with an earth bank marking the rest of the circumference. The circle can be seen from the main road (A95), but we pulled into the entrance of the Ballindalloch golf course and whisky distillery to get a closer look from the enclosing wall. From this point, you can also see the Upper Lagmore Stone Circle higher up on a ridge to the west. This circle has more stones, both standing and fallen, however, it is unclear how this circle can be accessed. The Marionburgh Stone Circle, however, is very easy to access, being adjacent to the entrance road to Ballindalloch Castle.



Inveravon Parish Church (sometimes called Inveraven) is just a two-minute drive north from the castle and boasts of a fine collection of Pictish stones, which it displays in its porch (the porch is open at all times). The church you see today was built in 1806, but it is likely that a chapel would have been built here in the early 600s by St. Drostan. The first church we know about on the site was built in 1108 and was dedicated to St Peter.


Tailor-Made Tip: Look out for the large mausoleum in the graveyard of Inveravon Church. This was built in 1829 and commemorates members of the MacPherson-Grant family, residents of nearby Ballindalloch Castle.



6. Biblical Garden Elgin


The Biblical Garden is stocked with 110 plants with Biblical references. The Biblical Garden opened to the public in June 1996. It developed from an idea of Donald McBean, then Senior Horticultural Officer with Moray District Council. Planning started in the early 1990’s to create a beautiful garden, welcoming to all, where well known Bible stories could be brought to life with statues, and plants mentioned in the Bible would be grown.


Tailor-Made Tip: Set aside time to visit the neighbouring Elgin Cathedral and find out why it was known as ‘Lantern of the North’.



5. The Witches Stone


It is easy to miss the Witches Stone on Victoria Road in Forres as you drive by, but it is well worth pulling into the carpark on the east side of Grant Park to get out and take a closer look at this historical marker. The granite stone is only 3ft square and 1ft high and marks the graves of the three witches who bewitched King Duncan in 1040. The following inscription is on the stone: "WITCHES STONE. From Cluny Hill witches were rolled in stout barrels through which spikes were driven. Where the barrels stopped, they were burned with their mangled contents. This stone marks the site of one such burning."


Tailor-Made Tip: From the carpark, take the walk up Cluny Hill and visit The Nelson Tower that looks down on the town of Forres.


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Witches Stone, Forres
Witches Stone, Forres

4. Deskford Church


The roofless and ruined Deskford Church is a simple, rectangular parish church dating to about 1540. It’s an extremely well-preserved example of a typical rural parish church, surrounded by a burial ground which remains in use. The church itself appears quite plain, but its fine architectural details add up to something quite striking. The sacrament house in particular is an extraordinary feature. With its carved inscription, it stands out as a remarkable and unusual piece of medieval church furniture.


Tailor-Made Tip: Check out the gravestones for some very interesting designs!


Have you guessed yet which hidden treasure tops our list?



3. The Old Bridge of Livet


The Old Bridge of Livet is a truly picturesque structure, spanning the Livet at Bridgend of Glenlivet. Only two arches of the bridge have survived. The third was ripped away by floodwater during the great “Muckle Spate” of 1829. No-one knows exactly how old the bridge is, but it’s likely to have been built at the same time as nearby Blairfindy Castle (16th Century).


Tailor-Made Tip: Just a two-minute drive west is Drumin Castle, which is well worth a visit.



2. St. Peter's Kirk and Parish Cross


St. Peter's Kirk is first mentioned in a charter from 1190 The church was probably built by Freskin de Moray, who also constructed the mighty Duffus Castle nearby. The church was badly damaged in the early 1300s during the Wars of Independence. It is situated in an idyllic location among mature trees.


Tailor-Made Tip: Look out for a rare medieval ‘mercat’ cross, which survives among the gravestones.



1. Lossie Forest


Lossie Forest stretches from Lossiemouth towards Kingston at the mouth of the River Spey. The walk through the forest and on to the beach is, in itself, a delight, but there is a surprise hiding in the trees. Walking along the forest tracks, you will soon bump into the defences designed to keep Britain safe in World War II: pillboxes, a six-inch gun emplacement, and hundreds of concrete anti-tank cubes. Thankfully never used, the defenses are quite impressive.


Tailor-Made Tip: The bridge at Lossiemouth over to the East Beach is currently closed, so the walk can’t start from that point. Instead, you can drive south from Lossiemouth, along the B9103. Before you get to Milltown Airfield, cross over the Lossie tributary and you will come to a small collection of houses and behind them is a carpark and the start of a forest track (57°41'12.4"N 3°14'50.6"W)


Tank traps at Lossie Forest
Lossie Forest

Conclusion


The Moray area is bursting with captivating attractions to visit, but don’t forget to look out for its secret treasures, which are sometimes off the beaten track and sometimes hidden in plain sight. We hope that you enjoyed our pick of the most obscure attractions but let us know in the comments below about your favourite lesser known places Moray.


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 and its hidden treasures, or indeed, a general tour of Scotland.


Join us next time when our family adventures continue as we explore the Moray area of Scotland, discovering its imposing castles. 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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