The Best Way to Spend a Weekend in Burghead, Hopeman, & Duffus
In the very north of Moray Speyside you can find a beautiful corner packed full of history and heritage, great food, and stunning coastal scenery. Centred on the small villages of Burghead, Hopeman, and Duffus, this little area can sometimes be overlooked, but we believe it deserves your full and outright attention. To ensure you get the most out of your time here, we’ve written an itinerary below on how best to spend a few days in this historic area of Moray Speyside.
(see bottom of itinerary for a list of accommodation and eating out options)
Day 1 – Broaden Your Horizon’s in Burghead
Burghead is known primarily for it’s astonishing Pictish history. If you don’t know, the Picts were an ancient people who inhabited much of the north of Scotland in the Roman and early medieval period. Moray Speyside was a Pictish heartland and Burghead was once home to a substantial Pictish fort, the largest ever discovered in Scotland. Nowadays, very little of the fort remains, however with a visit to the Burghead Visitor Centre, you’ll be able to get a good overview of the history, ancient and more recent, of this unique village.
If you are lucky enough to time your visit just right you may end up in the village when the famous Burning of the Clavie festival takes place. This historic event sees a burning Clavie carried through the village before it reaches it’s final destination of Coorie Hill. This creates quite a surreal sight, and visitors in their 100s come to the small village to witness it for themselves. The festival takes place on the 11th of January every year, so if you’re planning a winter escape to Burghead, make sure to time it for the famous fire festival.
Find out more about the Clavie here
Outwith the historic backdrop of Burghead there is of course plenty more to be enjoyed in Burghead. Take a wander down to it’s working harbour and enjoy views across the Moray Firth to Easter Ross, and pay a visit to gorgeous beach, which sits just to the west of the village. If you enjoy a long walk carry on from Burghead’s beach through Roseisle and onto Findhorn. If you fancy some woodland walks, Roseisle is the perfect place to cut in and explore the woodland paths.
Day 2 – A Day in Duffus
Start your second day in this lovely area with a trip to Duffus Castle. Duffus Castle is located several miles inland from Burghead in an area which is known as the Laich of Moray, which is a Scot’s phrases meaning “Low-lying Land”. Duffus Castle is a classic motte and bailey castle, with the main part of the fortification standing atop a very steep mound, or “motte”, surrounded on all sides by flat land. The castle was used as a fortress–residence for more than 500 years, from the 1100s to the 1700s. The stone castle we see today was built in the 1300s, replacing an earlier timber fortress. In its hay-day the castle was one of the strongest in Scotland, protecting an important route through north-east Scotland.
Duffus Castle is fascinating to visit, and with several interpretation boards dotted throughout, you can come away with a great sense of how the castle would have looked and operated in medieval times. After learning about the castle stop at Kula coffee hut which is conveniently placed right next to the castle.
Continuing your history trip, take a visit to nearby St Peter’s Kirk, located just 2 miles from Duffus Castle. The ‘Church of the Blessed Peter at Duffus’ is an incredibly old church and was first mentioned in a charter from 1190. It’s likely the church was built by Freskin de Moray, who was also responsible for the construction of Duffus Castle.
Day 3 – Relax in Hopeman
It’s now time to move back to the Moray Firth coast and visit Hopeman. Hopeman is a beautiful and traditional fishing village. It is small and ideal for a refreshing holiday that gets you away from the big city. If you’re into golf, then spend a few hours would be to enjoy a round at Hopeman Golf Club. The links course consists of 18 holes and is one of the most challenging links courses in Moray Speyside.
If golf doesn’t interest you, then take a wander down to picturesque Hopeman Harbour. Make sure to get yourself an ice cream from Stew and Drews. You can lose a whole day in itself at Hopeman East Beach which is instantly recognisable due to its colourful beach huts. The beach perfect for a swim or a relaxing sit on the sand and the walks along the coast provide spectacular views. If you are looking for a family adevnture than you can base yourself at West Beach Caravan Park which is a privately owned, family run, beach front grass park providing holiday vans as well as pitches for motorhomes, touring caravans and tents.
Don’t Miss The Moray Speyside Coast
The Moray Speyside coast is truly spectacular, with stunning beach after stunning beach, quaint coastal villages, and one-of-a-kind rock formations. A great way to experience the coast is by walking parts of The Moray Coast Trail, which is one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The trail passes through Burghead and Hopeman, and then onto nearby Lossiemouth.
It would be a great shame not to walk part of this lovely walk while you’re in the area, so to finish your time here, head back to Hopeman and pick up the trail as it leaves the village towards Hopeman East Beach. You’ll quickly come across stunning cliffs and expansive views into the Moray Firth. A highlight of The Moray Coast Trail near Hopeman is Cove Bay and its hidden stony beach, accessed through a natural tunnel cutting through the protruding cliff. The cove is beautiful, and it would be easy to spend several hours here enjoying the peace and quiet. A great way to finish your time in this lovely wee corner of Moray Speyside!
Where to Stay
Camp / Caravan Site:
Places to Eat
- The Bothy Bistro & Bar, Burghead
- Bootleggers Bar & Grill, Hopeman
- Stew n Drews Ice Cream, Hopeman
- Kula Coffee Hut, Duffus
Burghead Visitor Centre: http://www.burghead.com/
Duffus Castle: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/duffus-castle/
St Peter’s Kirk: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/st-peters-kirk-and-parish-cross-duffus/
The Moray Coast Trail: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/moray/moray-coast-trail.shtml