Forres is a historical town with deep rooted royal associations.

Originally home to Macbeth, who was a far better king than Shakespeare suggests, Forres and its surroundings are a beautiful destination perfect for a few days visit.

Day 1

Get to know Forres with a stroll through the town, taking in some of its well-known landmarks. Begin by wandering down the pleasant high street, which is dominated by grand Georgian and Victorian buildings. However, Forres’ history is much older than that. King James IV of Scotland confirmed its royal charter on 23 June 1496, which may have been granted as early as 1140. The heart of the town retains its medieval layout and the Mercat Cross marks the site of an old marketplace.

The present Forres Tolbooth building dates from 1838, however there is evidence the building originally dates back some 800 years, having evolved through different variations. Tours of the Tolbooth are available on selected dates throughout the year, granting you access to view the old jail cells and impressive court room. Please check online for up-to-date tour availability.

After visiting the Tolbooth, head further east along the High Street, arriving at Grant Park. Grant Park was gifted to the town in 1924 by Sir Alexander Grant and is an enormous open space where locals and visitors come to take in the fresh air and relax on sunny days. The stunning volunteer-worked floral gardens have won multiple awards including from RHS Britain in Bloom and Beautiful Scotland.

Walk across Grant Park and climb Cluny Hill, a prominent little hill on the edge of Forres. Once at the top you will be met with splendid views of Forres’s hinterland and the sea to the north. Nelson’s Tower stands proudly at the top of Cluny Hill and was erected in 1806 as a memorial to Lord Horatio Nelson. It’s possible to climb to the top of the tower and enjoy even more expansive views.

Next head to Sueno’s Stone for your final stop on your walking tour. The tallest and most complex piece of early medieval sculpture in Scotland, Sueno’s Stone is a gigantic Pictish cross-slab measuring 7m tall with ornate and unique carvings.

After your walking tour head back towards the High Street and grab some lunch. There are several cafes to choose from including Café 1496 and Café Fika. In the afternoon head out of Forres and visit Dunphail Distillery, located 7 miles south of the town. On the way you can pop into Logie Steading. Logie Steading is home to a collection of independent shops and artisan businesses including an acclaimed cafe and farm and garden shop. You could spend hours here browsing the wonderful shops and taking in some of the lovely local walks along the River Findhorn, such as Randolph’s Leap.

Afterwards continue on to Dunphail Distillery. The distillery is Moray Speyside’s newest whisky distillery, having opened its doors to visitors in September 2023. Housed in several former farm steadings, now beautifully restored, this small distillery is one of very few in Scotland who malt their own barley! Please check online for tour information.

If you have the energy after your tour of Dunphail Distillery, take a stroll around the windfarm at Clash Kyle, for stunning 360° views, or walk part of the long distance Dava Way footpath, which runs between Forres and Grantown-on-Spey. Finish your very busy first day in Forres with a great evening meal at the popular Mosset Tavern or Bonnie Beastie.  

Day 2

Begin your second day in Forres with a short drive out of town north to Findhorn. On the way you will pass through the village of Kinloss, where you will find Kinloss Abbey, which is worth exploring. A ruin, it was once a very powerful force in the area. Also nearby is Morayvia, an aviation museum featuring an array of helicopter and aeroplane exhibits. Continuing on to Findhorn, stop off at Findhorn Foundation, one of the largest eco-communities in Europe. Visitors are welcome to take a walk around the site and pop into thewonderful Phoenix Shop.

In Findhorn, have a wander along its beautiful beach, taking in the glorious views of the River Findhorn towards Culbin Forest and over the Moray Firth. You will see why it was named as Scotland’s best beach by The Sunday Times in 2023. There’s some fantastic cafés in Findhorn if you’re feeling hungry after your stroll, such as Torta Findhorn and Bakehouse Market.

For a little more excitement and thrill book onto a boat ride with North 58º Sea Adventures. Leaving from Findhorn, you’ll be whisked away into the Moray Firth to start exploring the beautiful coastline and its amazing abundance of wildlife, make sure to keep an eye out for dolphins!

! If you would prefer to learn about Findhorn’s past, then a visit to the Findhorn Heritage Centre might be preferred. You can learn about Findhorn’s links to the salmon fishing industry and view the 150-year-old underground chambers built to store freshly caught fish before their transfer south. If you’re looking to savour a great meal in Findhorn then you will be spoilt for choice, with a number of lovely restaurants and pubs to choose from. Options include The Kimberley Inn, Crown & Anchor Inn, and The Captain’s Table.

Day 3

Begin your final day in Forres with a tour and tasting experience at Benromach Distillery. Benromach is a traditional Speyside malt whisky distillery that also produces a gin. Please check online for a list of available experiences. If you’re more interested in golf than whisky, then perhaps a round at Forres Golf Club would be preferred. This 18-hole course is beautifully maintained and picturesque with an interesting layout that will satisfy all who play it.

After your morning it’s worth popping into the nearby garden centre and café Mackenzie & Cruickshank. Located on the western edge of Forres, this lovely garden centre is a great place to browse in and enjoy an early lunch or coffee and cake.

It’s now time to leave Forres and head west to the small settlement of Brodie, located less than 5 miles to the west. Visit Brodie Castle, a glorious 16th-century castle, run by the National Trust for Scotland, and offering a slice of Scottish history. Stuffed to the turrets with antique furniture, paintings and ceramics, the legacy of generations of Clan Brodie can be learnt and enjoyed.

A trip to Brodie wouldn’t be complete without visiting the well-known Brodie Countryfare, one of Scotland’s top independent department stores. There are several different departments for all your shopping needs. The café provides a fantastic experience, with great coffee, lunch, and home baking to be enjoyed. For an evening meal in Brodie, head to the fantastic Old Mill Inn Brodie. Hearth, the Inn’s AA 4 Gold Stars restaurant will offer a dining experience to be remembered, with high-quality seasonal dishes to be enjoyed, set within a lovely traditional Scottish Inn environment.