A great place to visit during your stay at Carden Cottages is the Moray Motor Museum. The museum is home to a superb collection of veteran, vintage and classic cars and motorbikes.
Located in a light and airy old mill building in Elgin, part of which dates back to the era of Elgin Cathedral when the Bishops of Moray ruled Moravia, the museum creates a classic atmosphere that matches the vehicles inside.
Upon stepping aside you are greeted by the fantastically enthusiastic curator, Brian. He shares some fantastic stories about the vintage cars and eras gone by.
It is immediately obvious how much care and passion has went into caring for the vehicles that are available for viewing and hiring.
The museum showcases some fantastic classic vehicles, dating as far back as 1904. There is a tremendous display of immaculate vintage vehicles, with plenty of information regarding their history available to read.
Although the exhibition is small, the brilliant condition of the cars, combined with how rare they are and the fact that they are all in perfect working condition, certainly makes up for the lack of size.
My favourite car in the museum is the 1963 Tojeiro Ford. The car was probably the first to be driven by a then young Jackie Stewart as a professional driver, and would have recorded successes such as Brands Hatch and Silverstone. These interesting stories are part of what makes the museum so exciting!
There are also a variety of Corgi/Matchbox toy cars from around the 60s and 70s that evoke some fantastic childhood memories at the museum.
Moray Motor Museum also offers vintage wedding car hire, so you should definitely check out their website for more information if you plan to stay at Carden for your or a loved one’s wedding.
The museum, like Carden, has disabled access, making it accessible for everybody.
All of these memories can be seen for the price of £7 per adult, £3 for juniors (aged 5 – 14), £15 for families (two adults with children) and £6 for OAPs.
The opening hours for the Motor Museum are between 11am and 5pm every day from Easter Weekend until October. For more information, you can contact them on 01343 544 933 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Moray Motor Museum is just a 10 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages and there is free parking on site.
A brilliant place to relax when visiting Moray is the incredibly beautiful Millbuies loch.
I often enjoy going for relaxing walks in scenic areas with my wife and son. The feeling of finding a peaceful spot where you can take in beautiful scenery with your loved ones and feel like you are the only people in the world is unmatched.
We often venture to Millbuies, a fantastic loch surrounded by beautiful trees for family picnics, barbeques, fishing, or just to escape.
The loch has fantastic facilities which make it a great destination for a family day out. There is a grass area for the kids to play, or for a picnic or a barbeque.
You can take a relaxing stroll around the loch, with your loved ones, kids, friends, or on your own in around an hour. It is a simple, tranquil walk, with a mostly flat, level path with good surfaces.
The total distance of the route, that takes you all the way around the stunning loch and back to where you started, is around 1.5 miles. The circular path allows you to take in so much beautiful scenery, never retracing your steps.
We have had many great strolls and fantastic picnics at Millbuies, soaking in the scenery and enjoying each other’s company, far away from the hardships of everyday life.
Millbuies is not short of fantastic wildlife either, with red squirrels, roe deer, badgers and rabbits hiding in the trees. If you are really lucky and quiet you might also see pine martin hidden among the rhododendrons and trees. There is also often exquisite looking dragonflies fluttering through the sky.
On the loch itself you might see mallards, tufted ducks, moorhens and swans enjoying a leisurely paddle. Meanwhile, underneath the surface of the loch there is a large amount of rainbow trout, blue trout and brown trout swimming around, making it the perfect spot to hire a boat and go fly-fishing.
There are five boats available for hire at Millbuies, making booking in advance essential (by calling 079601434983) as there is no bank fishing allowed on the loch.
With 16 acres of loch to fish in, no one is ever stepping on anyone’s toes, or getting in anyone’s way, making it an even more relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Millbuies Loch was created by the damming of streams to provide angling facilities on the loch. It was taken over by Moray Council in 1975 and the fishing was extended to members of the public.
This beautiful and tranquil loch can be found only a 20 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages. There is even a free car park for you to leave your car behind and enjoy being immersed in nature!
The Findhorn Village Icehouse and Heritage Centre are fantastic places to explore when staying with Carden Cottages.
Both the Icehouse and the Heritage Centre allow visitors to delve into the history of the area, delivering information about the salmon fishing industry in the Moray area and revealing the secrets of the Sands of Findhorn.
When I first visited these sites I didn’t know what to expect – but I was truly blown away by the vast amount of historic information that was on display, as well as the fantastic knowledge that the volunteers had!
The Icehouse contains fascinating underground chambers that were built to store ice for packing salmon on route to London. You can explore the almost 150 year old chambers and admire displays that teach you about different aspects of the local salmon fishing industry.
While exploring these intriguing underground arched chambers, you can learn about the history of ice houses, the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, salmon net fishing across the Moray coast and a fisherman’s life in the bothies.
In the Heritage Centre you can learn the secrets of the Sands of Findhorn and enjoy hearing stories of the village all through history from knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. With albums of historic photographs and texts on village history showcasing information covering all the way back to the earliest residents of Findhorn and the Bronze Age, this is the perfect place to go if you are interested in local history.
The Centre and Icehouse make learning about the history of Findhorn and its fishing industry interesting and exciting. This is mainly down to the work of the fantastic volunteers who gathered all the information together and do a wonderful job of greeting everyone and answering any questions you have.
The Findhorn Village Heritage Trust Centre and Icehouse are open from 2pm to 5pm daily in June, July and August. They are open on Saturdays and Sundays only during May and September. Entry is free, but a donation can be given to help support the facilities and the volunteers.
Findhorn is only just over a 15 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages, making it a must visit during your holiday.
The ruins of a beautiful Abbey lie within the picturesque setting of Kinloss village. It is a must visit for history fans and lovers of fantastic scenery when staying at Carden Cottages in the Moray area.
The Cistercian Abbey is a great place to visit to learn about history, folklore and to admire the beautiful ruins and surroundings.
The Kinloss Abbey was founded in 1150 by King David I of Scotland. He was said to be hunting nearby when he was separated from the rest of his party. Then, lost in the thick woodland that used to cover the majority of that area, he prayed for guidance.
It is said that he was then led by a dove to a shelter belonging to some shepherds where he spent the night. During his slumber, he apparently dreamt that he was instructed to establish a church to give thanks for his rescue and marked out the plan of the Abbey with his sword the next morning, before leaving to find his party at Duffus Castle.
After he told his nobles of his vision, he called architects and masons that were working on various royal projects and ordered that the Kinloss Abbey would be created. He remained at Duffus to oversee his project, until he was called away by other affairs.
When King David I had to leave, he sent to Melrose for a monk, whom he set in charge over his builders and the rising monastery, of which he was afterwards made the first Abbot.
Upon visiting today, you can see that only ruins remain where the once richest Abbey in Scotland used to stand. The remains of the South Transept with associated Chapel and the Sacristy with the Prior’s Chamber above can all be found and admired in Kinloss.
At the south and west are two near complete cloister walls one containing the Lavatorium and archway into the Refectory. South of the Abbey, outside the cemetery is Abbot’s House.
From ground level you can see the remains of most of the foundations or low walls of the Abbey including the south wall of the church, the north Transept and many of the columns within the Nave.
Walking around the Abbey grounds, you can see information boards that are full of interesting facts that help guide you through the ruins.
Entrance to the Abbey grounds is free and is cared for by the Kinloss Abbey Trust.
Shakespeare’s tale of Macbeth is well known around the world, but the real story of the Scottish King is far lesser known.
Shakespeare mixed fact and fiction when creating his tale of Macbeth, drawing on the exciting real life tales of Macbeth and Duncan I of Scotland. The Scottish King had many links to the Moray and Inverness areas, with many sites having at least a local legend regarding Macbeth.
Macbeth and Inverness
In The Bard’s play, Inverness was the home of Macbeth’s castle, where King Duncan I is killed in the play. In the real world, Macbeth’s father, resided in the city, but not in the currently standing Inverness Castle.
Macbeth’s father most likely resided in a hill fort located at Auldcastle, now known as Auldcastle Road. It is said that Malcolm Canmore, son of Duncan I, destroyed this fort after he defeated Macbeth. He then built a new castle on the site of the current Inverness Castle.
The real death of Duncan I of Scotland
As for the death of Duncan I of Scotland, he certainly wasn’t murdered in his sleep. Donchad mc Crinian is depicted in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as an elderly king who was killed in his sleep by the play’s main character. In real life, the actually rather young king lived until the age of 39, where he was killed in battle against Macbeth’s men in what is now known as Pitgavney, near Elgin in Moray.
Macbeth & Forres
In Macbeth, Duncan’s castle is said to be in Forres, and the iconic scene when the Three Witches gather to predict the rise and downfall of Macbeth is set upon a hill nearby the ancient Scottish town.
It is also said that Sueno’s Stone, a 20ft Pictish cenotaph in Forres, might have been a rallying point for the real life Macbeth and his troops before they marched east to stop Duncan’s invasion. The true meaning of Sueno’s Stone and its engravings remain a mystery to this day.
According to local folklore, Macbeth’s Hillock is the “blasted heath” where the protagonist and Banquo meet the “Weird Sisters” and hear their prophecy that Macbeth is destined to be king. This grassy mound is within walking distance of Brodie Castle, and I would definitely recommend you have a look at all the great historic artefacts inside the castle before taking the short walk to the hill.
Carden Cottages is the perfect base for history and literature fans to explore the many sites in the Moray area related to Macbeth. Our luxury cottages are just around an hour drive to Inverness, only a 15 minute drive from Pitgavney, a 20 minute drive to Brodie Castle – which is in walking distance of Macbeth’s Hillock and just over a 10 minute drive to Sueno’s Stone.
For more information about Macbeth and his real and fictional life and relation to different areas in Scotland, I thoroughly recommend checking out Visit Scotland’s Guide.
The Moray Walking Festival is returning for another year from Friday 14th June to Sunday 23rd June – but Moray’s great walks are here all year round.
The festival allows you to explore and discover Moray’s natural, historical and cultural landscapes. With all sorts of activities including: walking, cycling, white water rafting, health walks, heritage events, bushcraft and more – there is something for everyone at Moray Walking Festival.
The main aim of the festival is to allow you to explore the stunning scenery that Moray has to offer. Whether you opt for a gentle stroll or a challenging hike, the beautiful surroundings will help you on your way.
Prices vary based on individual events, information and tickets can be found on The Moray Way website.
If you can’t make it in time for the festival, don’t fret! Incredible walking trails can be found in the Moray area all year round. There are plenty to choose from, including coastal walks, hill climbing and woodland adventures.
In fact, there are many walking trails that are right on the doorstep of Carden Cottages that will help you explore the area.
The Ancestor’s trail is a woodland walk of around 2.5 miles, with a few short steep sections and various surfaces. The beautiful woods was used in the Neolithic era for ceremonial purposes because of the Henge, where pottery and a Bronze Age axe mould were found.
Some fantastic wildlife can be found in this area, including roe deer, red squirrels and a large variety of bird life.
The beautiful loch, created by the damming of streams to provide angling facilities on the loch, makes for a beautiful, leisurely walk with picturesque views. It is a generally flat and easy trail, with a distance of less than two miles.
The area also provides plenty activities, including a grass area for play with picnic tables and barbecue points. Red squirrels, roe deer, badgers, rabbits and pine martins can also be spotted at Millbuies.
Linking existing walking routes to form a circuit of 95 miles, The Moray Way can be walked comfortably in six to nine days. The long route encompassed a wide variety of Scotland’s scenery into one walk including: beaches, clifftops, wide straths, farmlands, forests, open moorland and mountains.
Moray is home to a huge variety of beautiful golf courses to suit every kind of golfer. From the beautiful Cullen Links Course, to the upmarket Lossiemouth Club, to the popular Hopeman Course – Moray has a course for everyone regardless of budget, skill set or scenery preference!
The stunning Cullen Links Golf Course is one of the most popular in the Moray area – and it is easy to see why. The quality of the picturesque views surrounding this golf course are enough to make even the worst round of golf you’ve ever played feel like its going smoothly. There are beautiful views of the ocean, which are like something out of a painting on a nice sunny day.
With 10 par three holes – Cullen is the shortest links course in Scotland. However, the short course is full of adventure – winding its way up around a cliff-top, before twisting back down towards the shore where you can golf in between old sea stacks.
The Covesea Links is another course in the Moray area with fantastic views of the sea. The 9-hole course is nestled in a cove right on the coast between Lossiemouth and Hopeman – following the contours of the cove to offer stunning views of the coast.
Best Par 3 Hole in Scotland
Hopeman Golf Course is by far one of the most popular courses in the Moray area. In fact, it’s signature hole, The Prieshach, was voted one of the best Par 3 holes in Scotland by Sky Golf.
Although the 12th hole is the signature hole, there are several others that stand out as particularly brilliant – with the greens at this course being just as good as the far pricier courses in the area. It is no wonder that the course is so popular.
High End Courses
Moray Golf Course is one of the more high end clubs in the area. The clubhouse has some real old world charm, and offers some delicious food and drink – the most important part for me!
The course is of a very high standard – with the fairways and greens kept in excellent condition. It is a great challenge, especially when the wind is blowing, but you can treat yourself to an excellent meal afterwards.
Golfing for Better Mental Health
Not only does golfing help improve your physical health, there are strong arguments to suggest it works wonders for your mental health too. Research has shown that the sport can help you improve your confidence, self-esteem and anxiety levels.
Next week, on Friday 17th May, Living Golf will be hosting its Changing Lives in Moray event at Covesea Golf Links. The purpose of the event is to promote the sport as a way of improving mental health.
The event is open to everyone, regardless of ability (so even I might be able to give it a go!) Teams of four can play 9 holes at a cost of £5 per player. For more information, or if you have transport problems, you can contact Living Golf on 07570 139657 or email@example.com
Moray Golf Courses
Click on the links below to find out more about the individual Golf Clubs in Moray.
The Red Lion, known lovingly by locals as The “Red Beastie”, is a fantastic little pub in Forres.
Located just off Forres High Street, it is an ideal central location for when you are exploring the area.
I recently went to the beastie for my dinner and found myself spoilt for choice for starters, mains and desserts. On my visit I opted to take advantage of the specials menu, treating myself to all three courses.
To start, I had the traditional haggis and clapshot with whisky cream. This deliciously Scottish dish melted in the mouth. The pub certainly did the classic combination justice!
I then had grilled butterflied chicken, served with rice and veg and a tasty honey Dijon sauce. The chicken was cooked perfectly – moist and juicy. The sauce added a nice sweet touch that brilliantly complimented the rest of the dish.
For my final and favourite course (dessert!) I had a fantastically sweet homemade oreo cheesecake. It was the perfect combination of a crumbly biscuit base, with a rich, creamy top half. The chunks of oreo mixed with the soft texture added a superb extra crunch that took the dessert to the next level. I would definitely recommend you give it a go if it is on the menu when you visit.
Unfortunately, on this occasion I was driving so I didn’t get to put the bar to the test. However, The Red Lion bar serves everything – from cask ales and premium lagers to wine or whisky. It is definitely the spot to unwind and relax with a drink in Forres.
The staff were all very friendly and the service was excellent. You are never left waiting to be served or dying of thirst waiting on a drink!
I would recommend the Red Beastie to anyone looking to relax and enjoy some good, hearty food after a long day.
The largest whisky festival of its kind in the world, Spirit of Speyside, is set to return for another successful run next week.
Starting on Wednesday the 1st of May and ending on Monday 6th May, the festival boasts a programme of over 500 whisky-inspired events.
The whisky festival allows you to tour old and new distilleries, village halls, local whisky bars, historic castles, old steadings, much loved local shops as well as the great outdoors! What better way to explore the Speyside area than with a nip or two of some of Scotland’s most popular whiskies?
There are events all over the Moray area to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival, from Aviemore in the South, following the river Spey to central Speyside and the historic towns in the coastal North.
Scotland has a long history with uisge beatha (the water of life), with the fiery drink, with the first recorded account of whisky going back to Friar John Cor in around 1495. However, most believe that the manufacturing of whisky in Scotland stems back much further than that.
Spirit of Speyside is run by a board of directors from different industries including whisky, culture and heritage, tourism and hospitality. They work on a voluntary basis along with the festival manager, finance manager and event development graduate.
There are a number of distilleries that open their doors for the festival, with the events programme changing every year. This year distilleries hosting events include Craigellachie, Ballindalloch, Glenlivet and GlenAllachie, to name just a few.
The festival also delivers an opening dinner, opening and closing ceilidhs, the Whisky Awards and the Whisky School. However, the majority of events are delivered by partners and members, making every event unique.
You can book tickets now for the many events by visiting the Spirit of Speyside website. Events include distillery tours, whisky tastings, walks, afternoon teas and much more. The prices for these events range from free, to £30 – £60, to £500. There are activities to suit every budget.
Although the festival is spectacular, visitors can expect a friendly welcome at Speyside all year round.
Make Moray your destination for your next whisky tasting experience by booking your stay at Carden Cottages now. You can also subscribe to our mailing list for updates on last minute bargains.
I recently revisited the beautiful Elgin Cathedral, also known as the Lantern of the North, taking in all it has to offer; the ruins, its two towers, the Chapter House and the beautiful views that surround the historic site.
The Cathedral has been part of Elgin’s history for decades, with its creation spanning back to 1224, when it was established as the principal church of the bishops of Moray.
With one trip to Elgin’s majestic ruin you can learn all about its rich and exciting history. For example, it was left badly fire damaged from 1390 following an attack by King Robert III’s brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the infamous “Wolf of Badenoch”. Despite this attack, the two towers of the West Front and the Chapter House remain intact to this day, and are open to the public.
If the history of the site does not appeal to you, then the views will certainly make up for it. You are rewarded for your climbing efforts with magnificent views over Elgin, with the top of the tower having an open viewing platform, as well as information boards to help you learn more about all of the fantastic landmarks that you can see.
When you tire of looking over the town’s glorious sites, you can head into the chapter house, which is considered to be one of the country’s “finest octagonal structures” – and it is easy to see why. If you look close enough at the ceiling, you might just be able to make out faint traces of gold paint.
I would also recommend the fact-finding quiz, created by historic environment Scotland, which also comes in Doric, to make your adventure more fun. You could also try their sculptures and symbols spotter and graveyard count quizzes.
The Cathedral is only a 15 minute drive from your cottage at Carden. If you look carefully, as you drive into Elgin from Carden Cottages, opposite Dr. Gray’s hospital you will be able to see blocks that were taken from the Cathedral and used in the building of the garden walls and houses there. So you don’t have to wait until you get there to start taking in the culture.
When you tire from soaking up all the history, there are plenty surrounding coffee shops with great hot drinks and tasty cake to help aid your recovery, like Johnston’s of Elgin, which is about a 10 minute walk away.