Moray & Speyside: Nairn - Forres - Elgin (near Inverness)

NAIRN (16 miles east of Inverness)
Popular seaside resort with one of the best sunshine records in Scotland. Long stretches of sandy beaches.
Easily accessible by public transport. Regular buses and trains operate between Inverness and Aberdeen via Nairn.
The town has many shops, cafes, take-aways, restaurants, leisure park, banks and two championship golf courses.
The Moray Firth Trail has a useful web site with walking paths and maps.

The Nairn Naturally web site provides lots of local info including an events calendar, places to visit, history, street map, business directory, and lots more.
Also see visitnairn.com which has a wealth of visitor information about Nairn and includes the Nairn webcam.
For a list of shops & restaurants in the main shopping street of Nairn, visit www.high.st/nairn/
SKY Delights in Leopold Street is a great organic, vegetarian deli and coffee bar with homemade goodies and specialist fine foods.

The Nairn Highland Games usually take place on the third Saturday in August (tel: 01667 458 508). The Nairn Show (30 July 2016) with livestock exhibitions, craft fair, food stalls and amusements is held at Kinnudie Farm, Auldearn. The Nairn Golf Club hosted the 37th Walker Cup in September 1999.
Many other local events are held each year, especially over the summer. The Nairnshire Challenge (22 May 2016) is a 30-mile sponsored duathlon organised annually to raise money for charity.
The Nairn Book and Arts Festival is 30 August - 4 September 2016.

Nairn Museum in Viewfield House, Viewfield Drive is open Easter - October Monday - Saturday 10am - 4.30pm. Small admission charge. In addition to its numerous display rooms, the museum also has genealogy information for Nairn & Nairnshire including Cawdor, Croy, Auldearn, Ardclach, Petty. Tel: 01667 456791.

B&B accommodation in Nairn includes:

Bowhunter Archery (3 miles from Nairn) offers Alternative Field Archery, 3D targets or Combat Archery (a bit like Paintball). Available for corporate groups, parties, etc. Situated is in the Balnagowan Woods along the B9092 (the road from Nairn to Ardersier). Mobile: 07923 111997 / 07753 426141.

BRODIE CASTLE (4.5 miles west of Forres and 24 miles east of Inverness)
Well worth a visit. Lovely grounds and many furnished rooms open to the public.
Located close to the Brodie Countryfayre store on the Inverness-Nairn-Aberdeen road. Accessible by local bus service (approx. 1 km walk).

Brodie Castle
Brodie Castle © The Internet Guide to Scotland
Open daily in April from 10.30am - 4.30pm.
From 1 May to 30 June: open Sunday-Wednesday 10.30am - 4.30pm
From 1 July to 31 August: open daily 10.30am - 5pm
September & October: open Sunday-Thursday 10.30am - 4.30pm
The wooded grounds are open all year round every day.
Owned by The National Trust for Scotland.

Brodie Countryfare is a great place for browsing clothes, homeware and gifts. It has a wonderful gourmet food hall with lots of Scottish specialities and a restaurant. Open daily. Tel: 01309 641 555.

While in the area, don't forget CAWDOR CASTLE which is between Inverness and Nairn. The castle and grounds are open daily from 1 May to early October 2016 between 10am and 5.30pm.

AULDEARN
This village is 3 miles east of Nairn on the road towards Forres. Historical points of interest include the site of the battle between the Covenanters and the Royalists in 1645, the Boath Doocot and the parish church dating from 1757. Dalmore Church (1 mile up Lethen Road) is now used to sell a wide variety of antiques - quite a treasure trove apparently (telephone 01667 453 087).

For accommodation with a friendly welcome, visit The Covenanters' Inn. The original part of the Inn was the Mill and Brewhouse for the people of the area. Today there is a restaurant and lounge bar where you can sample the local produce.

FORRES (26 miles east of Inverness)
One of Scotland's oldest towns, Forres was used by Shakespeare as the setting for his play Macbeth. On Victoria Road is the Witches' Stone where supposed witches were burnt up until about 200 years ago. Founded by Hugh Falconer and his brother, the Falconer Museum has exhibits on the natural history and geology of the area. The town's most impressive sight is Sueno's Stone which stands 23 feet tall and was carved with battle scenes possibly as long as 1000 years ago. On Cluny Hill an eight-sided tower commemorates Lord Nelson. Forres also has squash and tennis courts, plus a swimming pool.
The Forres Highland Games are in July.
Benromach Distillery on the outskirts of Forres is the smallest working distillery in Speyside. Guided tours and gift shop (open October to April). Tel: 01309 675968.

For local info try Forresweb.net
The Forres Gazette is a good source of local news.
For a list of shops & restaurants in the main shopping street of Forres, visit www.high.st/forres/

Miele's of Forres started producing ice-cream here in 1930. It is based in The Northern Fish Restaurant (at 28 High Street) which renowned for its fish & chips (eat in or take away). They also produce ice-cream cakes!

Three miles west of Forres, you can go on tours of the Darnaway Estate to see the farm, forest and castle.

The Burgie International Horse Trials take place each year in June. Look out for signs just off the A96 near Forres.

LOGIE STEADING
6 miles south of Forres is Logie Steading which encompasses an art gallery, walled garden, garden shop, tea room, crafts, antiques & rare books for sale, etc. Open every day from the end of March to Christmas, 10.30am - 5pm. Phone 01309 611278. Plus holiday accommodation and fishing on Logie Estate.

KINLOSS
Kinloss is home to the RAF base and historic abbey.
The House of Automata has a micro museum of inspiring wonders, an interactive exhibition, a visible workshop and a shop full of curiosities, scientific wonders and moving gifts. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm. Located at Seapark in Kinloss. Tel: 01309 691 212.
The Loft at East Grange Farm near Kinloss has a bar and bistro which hosts a varied selection of live music.
Activities available on the farm include trout fishing, quad bikes and Biathlon target shooting. There is also a campsite with Wigwams for hire (tents and caravans welcome). Tel: 01343 850 353.

FINDHORN (4 miles from Forres)
Home of the Findhorn Foundation which has residential courses and workshops, also a cafe, community shop (organic foodstuffs, crafts, spiritual books, etc.), recycling facilities. The Ecovillage includes ecohousing, organic gardens, recycled whisky barrel houses, pottery, weaving and art studios, plus wind power generator, etc. Visitor centre open daily during the summer. Self-guided and guided tours available.
Adjacent to the Findhorn Foundation community, the Moray Art Centre includes exhibitions and artists' studios. Tel: 01309 692426.
If you like the great outdoors, check out the Culbin Forest and Culbin sands.

The Findhorn Bay Festival (21 - 25 September 2016) is a biennial in Moray which will celebrate Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Includings Culture Day in Forres on Saturday 24 September 2016.

Burghead

BURGHEAD
Situated just along the coast from Findhorn. Sandy beach, harbour, unique ancient well, old churches, visitor centre (open daily 12 - 4pm). Lots of Pictish history. For more info visit the Burghead Headland Trust and the Burghead page by Angela Oatridge.
The Equus Equestrian Centre at Roseisle can offer lessons and pony trekking days out (tel: 01343 835036).
The Burning of The Clavie takes place here on 11 January every year to celebrate the 'old' New Year.
Granary Wharf Villas offer a choice of 3 self catering properties overlooking the harbour.
Taigh-togalach is a 3 star holiday cottage available for self catering in Burghead.
Curlew Cottage is a 4 star self catering property with 2 bedrooms, located in Burghead.

ELGIN (38 miles east of Inverness)
Known as the Lantern of the North, the cathedral was founded in 1224, but destroyed by the Wolf of Badenoch in 1390. Second in size in Scotland only to St Andrews cathedral. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, the ruins can be visited all year round (admission charge).

Elgin cathedral
Elgin cathedral photo copyright Buffy1982 / Fotolia.com

Other attractions include an old meal mill, the Moray Motor Museum and the Elgin Museum (which has a large collection of fossils and Pictish stones). The town has a shopping centre, post office, banks, bars & restaurants, supermarkets, leisure centre, and a tourist office. Nearby you will find Millbuies Country Park.
The local Farmers' Market is held in Elgin on the last Saturday of every month.
For a list of shops & restaurants in the main shopping street of Elgin, visit www.high.st/elgin/. Also see the Elgin BID web site.

Johnstons of Elgin is a well known shop and 5 star visitor attraction including coffee shop. They produce high quality Scottish cashmere clothes and gifts. Free guided tours around the mill. Tel: 01343 554099.

New for 2016, Speyside Whisky “Dramfest” (a celebration of Speyside Whisky) at Elgin Town Hall on 9-11 September 2016.

Six miles south of Elgin is Pluscarden Abbey which was founded in 1230, burned down by the Wolf of Badenoch (he was a busy man) and restored in the 1940s. It is now the home of a religious community and is a centre for spiritual retreats.

Three miles south of Elgin is Birnie Church which dates from the 12th century and is thought to be the oldest parish church in continuous use for worship in Scotland. Dedicated to St. Brendan the Navigator, the church contains something called the Hairy Bible which was bound in calfskin in 1774.

Spynie Palace, Elgin, Scotland
Spynie Palace © Daniel Wiedemann | Dreamstime.com

Just north of Elgin are the ruins of Spynie Palace - a tower built around 1470, once the residence of the Bishops of Moray. Queen Mary stayed here in 1562. Today it is 3 miles from the sea, but originally Spynie was on the coast. It is thought that perhaps sand and shingle cut it off from the sea in the 17th century.

Duffus Castle, Elgin, Scotland
Duffus castle © David Watmough | Dreamstime.com

Four miles north of Elgin are the ruins of another castle - the impressive Duffus Castle which is surrounded by a moat. This typical Norman castle was built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier wooden construction. The original seat of the Moray family, it is one of the finest examples of a motte and bailey castle in Scotland. Today you can walk across the cobbled causeway and explore the stone ruins. Free admission. It is in the care of Historic Scotland.

LOSSIEMOUTH
Set on the coast, just a few miles from Elgin, Lossiemouth is known as the 'jewel of the Moray Firth'. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy miles of sandy beaches, 2 golf courses, walks, cycling trails and look out for dolphins.
Visit the local web site Lossiemouth.org for full details and also see the page on Wikipedia.
The Lossiemouth Fisheries & Community Museum includes a reconstruction of the room used at his home by James Ramsay MacDonald (the first Labour Prime Minister of Great Britain) who was born in Lossiemouth in 1866. The museum is open from May to September for a small admission charge (children free).
The town is also home to RAF Lossiemouth where you can often see aircraft flying in and out.
Based here is Outf!t Moray - an outdoor education charity offering activities, courses and tailored programmes for young people, adults, families, and groups. Walking, climbing, abseiling, ziplines, mountain bikes, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding, duckies, white water rafting, sailing, teambuilding, archery, camping expeditions, bushcraft, orienteering, etc. Equipment hire available (mountain bikes, camping & outdoor gear, etc.). Tel: 01343 549571.

MORAY
Read about all the museums in Moray.

SPEYSIDE
Check out The Speyside Way which stretches from the coast at Buckie inland to Kincraig near Aviemore. There are 2 offshoots to Dufftown and Tomintoul.

The Moray Firth Wildlife Centre at Spey Bay has information about the local wildlife including bottlenose dolphins, otters, seals, ospreys and a huge variety of birds. The centre has a cafe, giftshop, historic icehouse and a free exhibition suitable for all the family. The exhibition includes a video, quiz trails for children, educational computer games and a researcher on hand to answer your questions. Events for all the family take place throughout the summer from wildlife talks to Fun Days. Opening hours 10:30 - 5pm: February and March (weekends only), April to October (daily), November to mid December (weekends only). Closed from mid December to end January. Tel: 01343 820339

There are a variety of dolphin trips on offer from various places along the Moray coast - click here for links (provided by the Dolphin Space Programme - which is a code of conduct for marine wildlife watching on the Moray Firth).

House Of Mulben near Keith offers fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting, quad biking, archery, off road driving and zorbing with the Mountain Ball. For corporate groups, families, stag and hen parties and any groups of up to 80 people. Stalking and shooting on the estate also available.

WHISKY DISTILLERIES
scotchwhisky.net includes a map of all the Speyside whisky distilleries.

Strathisla distillery, Speyside, Scotland
Strathisla distillery © David Woods | Dreamstime.com

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Featured Hotels / Inns

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Louise & Douglas Harrison
The Covenanters' Inn
Auldearn, Nairn IV12 5TG
Telephone: +44 (0)1667 452 456
Email: Covenanters@aol.com

Self catering chalet also available

The Covenanters' Inn
By Nairn (18 miles east of Inverness)

Friendly, family-run establishment.
This historic inn features a restaurant and lounge bar.
Children welcome.

9 miles from Inverness Airport. 2 miles from Nairn.
Ideal touring base. 20 golf courses within a short drive.
Welcome Host award.

14 ensuite bedrooms with TV, etc.
Disabled facilities. WiFi access.
B&B prices from £30 per person.
Credit cards accepted.
Online availability & booking.

Click here to visit web site

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Ian & Sylvia Bochel
Sunny Brae Hotel
Marine Road
Nairn IV12 4EA
Telephone +44 (0)1667 452309
Fax +44 (0)1667 454860
Email: reservations@sunnybraehotel.com

Sunny Brae Hotel
In Nairn (16 miles east of Inverness)

Enjoy peace & quiet at this family-run small hotel
overlooking the Links on Nairn's sea front.
Personal welcome. Attention to detail.

Scottish Tourist Board 4 Star Gold Hotel.
Scotland's Best & Welcome Host certificates.
Reviewed in Stevensons Scotland's Good Hotel & Food Book.
Licensed restaurant. Highly recommended cuisine.
Eat Scotland Silver Award.
Lounge with sea view, library and piano.
German spoken. Non smoking throughout.

8 en-suite rooms: twin, double, single.
All rooms have telephone, digital TV, hairdryer, iron,
bathrobes, hospitality tray, trouser press, radio alarm.
Some with sea view and king size bed.
One bedroom with wheelchair access.
Free WiFi access.

B&B prices from £42.50 per person (2 sharing).
Open February - October.
Credit cards accepted.
Instant online booking.
Web site includes web cam.

Click here to visit web site

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Eight Acres Hotel
Morriston Road
Elgin IV30 6UL

EIGHT ACRES HOTEL

3 star hotel on the outskirts of historic Elgin.
In the heart of Malt Whisky Country.
Ideal for golf, distilleries, walking, cycling, dolphin trips.
Inverness 37 miles / Airport 30 miles.

Leisure Club with 15m swimming pool,
sauna, spa, gym, solarium and squash courts.

Restaurant serving afternoon teas and dinner.
Fine selection of Speyside malts.

Locally popular wedding venue for up to 180 guests
with beautiful grounds and bespoke menus
Conference facilities for 250 delegates.

Newly refurbished.
Choice of 53 bedrooms and suites.
B&B prices from £44 per person (2 sharing).
Instant online booking.

Click here for online booking

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Golf View Hotel
The Seafront
63 Seabank Road
Nairn IV12 4HD

GOLF VIEW HOTEL

Traditional 4 star hotel in central Nairn with sea views
overlooking the Moray Firth with gardens leading down to the seashore.
16 miles east of Inverness.

Leisure club with 14-metre swimming pool,
steam room, sauna, spa bath, gym. Beauty Salon.
Outdoor tennis courts.

Conservatory restaurant with sea views. AA Red Rosette.
Suites available for conferences, weddings and private functions.

42 ensuite bedrooms (single, double, twin, family):
all with direct dial telephone, satellite TV, radio,
toiletries, refreshment tray, trouser press and hairdryer.

B&B prices from £47 per person.

Click here for online booking

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Newton Hotel
Inverness Road
Nairn IV12 4RX

The Newton Hotel
Nairn (17 miles east of Inverness)

AA 4 Stars.
Secluded setting in 21 acres of mature parkland
overlooking Nairn Golf Course and beyond to the Moray Firth.
Former mansion house built in 1872.
AA Rosette Restaurant. Lounge bar offering bar lunches and suppers.

56 ensuite bedrooms with satellite TV, telephone, etc.
Room service. Free WiFi.
Children welcome. Dogs welcome (extra charge).
B&B prices from £49.50 per person.
Instant online booking.
Click here for online booking

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Bed and Breakfast

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Angela & George Mackay
1 Glebe Road
Nairn IV12 4ED
Tel: 01667 451659
Mobile: 07762 949322
Email: glebeend@aol.com

Glebe End
In Nairn (16 miles east of Inverness)

Recently renovated Victorian villa in Nairn
with views over the links to the Moray Firth.
Open all year. Non Smoking.
1 mile from Nairn's golf courses.
8 miles from Inverness Airport.
Recommended in The Lonely Planet Guide for Scotland.

Spacious and comfortable accommodation.
Scottish Tourist Board 4 Stars.
1 ensuite double with king size bed.
1 double/twin with private bathroom.
1 ensuite family/twin (sea view).
Each with TV, hairdryer, etc.
WiFi access.

B&B prices: £35 - £50 per person.
Single supplement.
Instant online booking.

Self catering wing also available.

Click here to visit web site

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Anika & Andreas Schulz
7 Cawdor Street
Nairn IV12 4QD
Tel: +44 (0)1667 455855
Email: cawdorhousenairn@xln.co.uk

Cawdor House
In Nairn (16 miles east of Inverness)

Scottish Tourist Board 4 Star Guest House.
Warm and friendly welcome at this elegant stone-built
villa set in landscaped walled gardens.
Situated in the town centre of Nairn.
Inverness airport 9 miles.

Choice of bedrooms (double, twin, family)
All with TV, radio, hairdryer, Wi-fi access, tea/coffee.
Recently upgraded.
Wide breakfast selection.

B&B prices from £38 per person.
Credit cards accepted. No Smoking.
Instant online booking.

Click here to visit web site

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Self Catering Accommodation

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Angela & George Mackay
1 Glebe Road
Nairn IV12 4ED
Tel: 01667 451659
Mobile: 07762 949322
Email: glebeend@aol.com

Beach View
In Nairn (16 miles east of Inverness)

House with sea views over Nairn's central beach
to the Moray Firth and the Black Isle beyond.
Ideal for family holidays.
4 star quality.

Bedrooms: 1 double, 1 twin, 1 with bunkbeds. Sleeps 6.
Fully equipped kitchen including electric cooker, microwave,
fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine.
Dining room. Lounge with TV, DVD player and VCR.
Wireless Internet access (£10 per week).
Original polished wooden flooring downstairs.
Secluded walled garden with lawn, patio, and barbecue area.

Prices from £500 - £750 per week.
Open all year. Non Smoking. Central heating.

Click here to visit web site

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Louise & Douglas Harrison
The Covenanters' Inn
Auldearn
Nairn IV12 5TG
Tel: +44 (0)1667 452 456
Email: Covenanters@aol.com

The Covenanters' Chalet
By Nairn (18 miles east of Inverness)

Self catering chalet for 8 people
set in the grounds of an historic inn with restaurant and bar.
9 miles from Inverness Airport. 2 miles from Nairn.
Ideal touring base. 20 golf courses within a short drive.

Accommodation comprises:
4 bedrooms (2 double, 1 single, 1 triple).
Bathroom with bath and shower, plus additional separate toilet.
Lounge with digital TV, VCR, DVD, CD player and radio.
Fully equipped kitchen & breakfast bar with gas hob,
double electric oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, etc.
Conservatory / dining room.
Large fenced in garden, offering privacy from the hotel.

Rental prices from £350 per week
includes electricity, gas, bed linen and towels.
Credit cards accepted. Online availability calendar.
Click here to visit web site

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Angela & George Mackay
1 Glebe Road
Nairn IV12 4ED
Tel: 01667 451659
Mobile: 07762 949322
Email: glebeend@aol.com

4 star B&B also available

Glebe End
In Nairn (16 miles east of Inverness)

Self catering wing of Victorian villa in Nairn.
Own front and back doors, garden and patio area.
1 mile from Nairn's two golf courses.
Scottish Tourist Board 4 Stars.

Spacious accommodation on 2 floors.
2 bedrooms with views of the Moray Firth and Black Isle.
Suitable for 5 adults.
Cot and additional bed also available.
Fully equipped kitchen including cooker, microwave,
fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine.
Lounge with TV and VCR. WiFi access.

Prices from £350 - £650 per week
including heating, electricity, towels bed linen.
Open all year. Non Smoking.
Well behaved pets are accepted.

Click here to visit web site

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Mrs Cattanach
1 Conval Drive
Aberlour
Moray AB38 9PG
Tel: +44 (0)1651 851485
Email: w.cattanach1485@btinternet.com

Hollybush House

Recently built house equipped to a high standard. Sleeps 8.
Countryside location overlooking the River Spey.
Situated near The Speyside Way.
Ideal for fishing, golf, walking, distilleries, castles, etc.
4 miles from Aberlour. Close to Ballindalloch Castle.
Elgin 19 miles. Aviemore 36 miles.
Inverness 55 miles. Aberdeen 60 miles.
Handy for winter skiing at Cairngorm or the Lecht.

4 large bedrooms: 2 twin and 2 double (2 ensuite)
Kitchen, dining room, lounge, bathroom, garage,
picnic table. No pets. Linen provided.
Tariff starts at £800 per week.

Click here to visit web site

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Mr. David Buchanan
'Geddesmill'
Raitloan
Geddes
Nairn IV12 5SB
Tel: +44(0)1667 45 46 35
Email: bookings@geddesmill.co.uk

Burnside & Mill Lodges

2 luxury lodges each with 3 bedrooms, sleeping up to 6.
4 miles from Nairn, 16 miles from Inverness

Fully equipped including bed linen and towels.
Scottish Tourist Board 4 Stars.
2 twin bedrooms and 1 bunk room with adult sized bunks.
Disabled facilities (ramp access, wide doors for wheelchairs
and grabrails in the bathroom).

Lounge area with digital TV, DVD player.
Kitchen with electric cooker, fridge freezer, microwave,
washing machine, tumble drier, coffee maker, toaster, etc.
Electric heating. Picnic tables.
Close to trout fishery.

Prices from £225 - £525 per week.
Off season breaks available.
Pets welcome.

Click here to visit web site