This itinerary features the some of the best of Moray for foodies – from seafood to ice cream and more. Moray Speyside’s low rainfall and high sunshine mean sun-ripened barley, good weather for fishermen and a long growing season for kitchen gardens. Moray Speyside is Malt Whisky Country and any trip to the region must include some enjoyment of the local spirit. Follow the Malt Whisky Trail® for a cross-section of different distilleries (and a cooperage) or choose your favourite distillery! Moray is also home to many craft gin producers, plus several excellent craft beers.
Day One: Forres – Lossiemouth – Elgin
Start your day with a coffee at Brodie Countryfare with its emphasis on local produce.
Minutes away, the Royal Burgh of Forres is noted for its fine butchers – discover three in the main street (ideal for self-catering visitors). Next on your culinary adventure in Forres is a visit to Maclean’s Highland Bakery. Starting out as a family baker several generations ago, the company has now expanded overseas and exports a wide range of baked goods including shortbread, biscuits and oatcakes.
Next on your list, the Benromach Distillery provides your first chance to experience one of the many whisky distilleries in Moray Speyside. A 5-star visitor experience, this family-owned distillery uses traditional processes, and its award-winning tour is available all year round. Head south on the A940/A939 where close to the town at Dallas Dhu Distillery you can get as close as possible to the historic distilling processes (because it’s ‘dry’ and in the care of Historic Environment Scotland).
A little way south, Logie Steading has a fine cafe set in the old courtyard with indoor and outdoor seating and an excellent array of shops, including an excellent whisky shop!
For lunch sample some of the local seafood close by in the coastal town of Findhorn where fresh seafood and hearty meals are the order of the day at the town’s range of excellent eating establishments, or just a little further along the coast in Burghead you’ll find The Bothy Bistro one of the best places in Moray to enjoy fresh catch seafood and the finest local produce. The Bothy’s owners have also recently launched ‘The Dory’ a pop-up restaurant housed in a vintage double decker bus which is open Thu – Sun for relaxed and informal food. Find out more at West Beach Caravan Park website.
In the afternoon, a short drive along the Moray coast will bring you to Lossiemouth, home to Windswept Brewery whose name was inspired by the local beaches. The Brewery Tap Room is the perfect hang out after a bike ride, surf, or dog walk as well as to enjoy a pint of one of Windswept award-winning beers. Leave Lossiemouth, head to the Gordon & MacPhail retail shop in Elgin (the heart of Moray). The shop opened its doors in 1895, has an extensive whisky selection and sells local meats and cheese as well as offering a range of chocolates and wines.
Finish the afternoon off with a beer at Against the Grain tap-room and shop then enjoy dinner at one of Elgin’s many eating places.
Day 2: Fochabers – Cullen – Keith – Dufftown – Craigellachie
Begin day two in the centre of Elgin and after a hearty breakfast follow the A96 towards Fochabers, an attractive ‘planned’ village, owing its origins to the Dukes of Gordon and their nearby seat of Gordon Castle. The Gordon Castle Walled Garden Cafe in the restored walled garden is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.
Fochabers is well-endowed with other eating places – for example, the Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour, the dog-friendly Eats and Treats, the busy garden centre cafe at Christies or the Fochabers Fish Bar (voted Scotland’s No1 Fish and Chip Takeaway as part of the National Fish and Chip Awards 2017). All this and Baxters Highland Village, the home of Baxters jams just across the River Spey (their pancakes are world-renowned).
On your way to Cullen drop in at Eat Mair Fish in Buckie for a wide range of local seafood – handy if you fancy cooking for yourself one night! Pass through Buckie on the coast road where you will find Bijou by the Sea a great café/restaurant serving fresh local produce.
Arriving in Cullen combine antique shopping at the Cullen Antique Centre with lunch at Rockpool. The café has a diverse menu from sandwiches to traditional fish and chips – or try the nearby Cullen Bay Hotel – Winners of the 2015 Cullen Skink World Championships.
After lunch turn back inland to the Scots Toun of Keith where you’ll find an excellent choice of shopping and eating places including Boogie Woogie and Square Roots.
Don’t forget to visit The Deli Shop – stocking a selection of local meats, homemade meatloaves and cheeses. Custom hampers can be made, an ideal gift to take home.
Strathisla Distillery is picturesquely sited near the railway station and offers a distinctly different distillery experience. From Keith make the short journey down to Dufftown and sign up for one of the many Speyside Tours. Tours range from three to four and a half hours and provide a walking adventure around the local whisky, food and chocolate industry.
Nestling in the hills above the River Spey at Craigellachie is the new Macallan Distillery. The Macallan is worthy of a visit simply to wonder at its architecture and offers whisky lovers an opportunity to immerse themselves in The Macallan Visitor Experience.
End day two at The Copper Dog in Craigellachie. The pub menu is full of locally sourced meats and seafood including crab, mussels and venison. As part of the Craigellachie Hotel, a room for the night shouldn’t be too far away.
Day 3: Aberlour – Glenlivet – Grantown-on-Spey
Aberlour is the home of Walkers shortbread. The factory shop is fully-stocked and is a great place to grab some gifts to take home for family and friends. A very different distillery tour awaits you as you head in to the Cairngorms National Park at The Glenlivet. The distillery has existed in the glen since the 19th century and is open from March to November.
In the afternoon another distillery tour is suggested. On this occasion however, the spirit is gin. Caorunn Gin produced at the nearby Balmenach Distillery offer a behind the scenes tour which ends with a gin and tonic, served with red apple.
For an alternative to the distillery tour, Grantown offers a pleasant shopping experience. Elephants in the Pantry stocks locally sourced produce and international delights, favouring organic, fair trade and ethically sourced ingredients. For dinner Sylhet Brasserie serves Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine. The restaurant is located in the town centre and also operates as a takeaway, ideal for those staying in self-catering accommodation.
Finish the night at The Craig Bar, a pub full of all the whiskies from Moray Speyside. The Craig Bar also serves traditional pub grub, in particular a range of connoisseur pies, making it a great alternative to the suggested Indian restaurant.