Relax and Unwind at Elgin Biblical Garden

Elgin Biblical Garden is a beautiful, serene escape from the busy trials and tribulations of everyday life.

 

The Biblical Garden is a beautiful hidden gem in Elgin | Credit: Karen Bryan

The Garden sits between the medieval Elgin Cathedral and Cooper Park – a gift to Elgin from Colonel George A. Cooper in 1903.  It makes for a beautiful retreat from life, with 110 plants with Biblical references creating a delightfully vibrant landscape.

Although the garden is Biblical, you don’t have to have an interest in the Bible to appreciate the beauty and peacefulness of these glorious trees and flowers on a beautiful sunny day.  It is a fabulous place to relax and unwind and forget about the world for a few moments.

You can let your troubles and worries drift away as you take in the beautiful views, including a spectacular range of shrubs, herbaceous plants and trees such as Cercidiphyllum japonica and Liquidambar styraciflua.

Brightly coloured plants light up the Biblical Garden in Elgin | Credit: Biblical Garden

It is also the perfect spot to sit down for a nice relaxing picnic – on your own or with family, friends and loved ones.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bible, there are lovely statues situated throughout the garden.  There are also very interesting information boards located in various parts of the Biblical Garden.

The Biblical Garden has been open over 20 years now, opening in June 1996.  It was made possible by donations from local businesses, Churches, schools and organisations.  There was a lot of community involvement in its creation, with local schools making the fantastic mosaics which can be seen on the wall by the entrance.

Fantastic Mosaics at the entrance of the Biblical Garden | Credit: Biblical Garden

The garden has been very successful in attracting visitors from all over, and this success is owed to the hard work and partnership among the Friends of the Biblical Garden, Moray Council and Moray College UHI.  It is the perfect example of the community spirit that you will witness on your visit to the Moray Area.

The Biblical Garden is just one of many beautiful and tranquil landscapes in the Moray area, with a beautiful pond even sitting just a short walk away from Carden Cottages.  You will never be short of beautiful scenery and relaxing spots on your visit to Carden.

It is open to the public daily from May to September and is free to enter, but there is a donations box if you feel like leaving one.  You can drive to the Biblical Garden from Carden Cottages in under 15 minutes.  You could combine this trip with a visit to Elgin Cathedral, which is just across the road.

Delicious food at Chimes, Forres

If there is one thing I love as much as coffee and cake, its a tasty bacon roll, and Chimes in Forres offers some of the most delicious bacon baps I’ve ever had.

Chimes has a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere | Credit: Chimes

Chimes is a lovely and quaint cafe/restaurant, that also offers an outside catering service.

I went there this week for a nice relaxed breakfast, where I had amazingly juicy bacon in a soft roll with a wee dash of tomato sauce.  My lovely wife Debbie, who isn’t a big meat eater, opted for vegetarian sausage in a roll, which she said was delicious.

Chimes pride themselves on using locally sourced foods for their breakfast, lunches, snacks and fresh baking, which I believe is a great ideology to have!  They also offer a range of tasty gluten free, vegetarian and vegan food, cakes and drinks.

I had my usual coffee on my latest visit to Chimes, but I have to recommend the amazing Mint Aero Milkshake that they have on their menu.  The sweet tooth in me absolutely adores it!  It is a delicious blend of chocolate and mint goodness, and makes the perfect combination of dessert and cold drink.

I can also highly recommend their delicious home bakes – from their tasty brownie to their scrumptious cakes – everything they produce is top notch!

Chimes offers delicious home bakes, with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options | Credit: Chimes

The cafe/restaurant has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, which makes it the perfect place to chill out and enjoy some good food and good company.

The staff at Chimes are always very friendly and happy to help, and seem to always find time to humour me with a little chat.

You can visit Chimes from 9am to 5pm everyday.  To find out more about Chimes and they’re catering service – which I have never tried but if it is as good as the cafe I’m sure its fabulous – on Facebook or via their website.

Chimes is less than a 15 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages, so you could even take your bacon roll to go and eat it while gazing upon our gorgeous lake that is only a tiny distance away from our cottages.

 

 

Moray Walking festival showcases the great walks in the area

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.

Quarrelwood Ancestors Trail – 2.5 miles – 1 hour 30 minutes estimated walking time

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.

Millbuies Loch Trail – 1.5 miles – 1 hour estimated walking time

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.

Brodie Castle Path – 2.5 miles – 1 hour 30 minutes estimated walking time

The Brodie Castle Trail is made up of many beautiful paths offering a wide variety of scenic and historic features along the way.

The paths around the pond and the woodland paths are suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, however the rough paths and slopes of the walk make it unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Culbin Forest (Route 99) – less than 2 miles – 2 hours estimated walking time

Located between the coastal sand dunes of Findhorn Bay and Nairn, this walk route has a wide network of paths, including the “all abilities trail”, known as Route 99.

This route winds through forest and mossy clearings, up hill 99, and offers a “squirrels-eye” viewpoint that makes the walk worth it.

River Findhorn – 8 miles – 5 hours estimated walking time

This circular walk through and around the town of Forres follows the banks of River Findhorn and showcases some of the less frequented beautiful countryside spots of the town.

With a 5 hours estimated walking time, this long, but relatively level, route allows you to take in some fantastic scenery along the way.

Clarkly Hill – 3.5 miles – 1 hour 45 minutes estimated walking time

A circular route beginning in the Pictish Fort town of Burghead, passing through farmland and Rocky shores.  This route offers spectacular views of the Moray Firth along the ridge of Clarkly Hill.

The route is generally level, with a gentle slope rising from the Burghead – Lossiemouth Road to Clarkly Hill.

The Moray Way – 95 miles – 6 to 9 days estimated walking time

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.

The Moray Ways website has more information about fantastic walks in the area.

The route is circular and can be started from many points.  I would recommend starting from Forres when staying at Carden Cottages.

Walkers can experience history, beautiful scenery and interesting wildlife on this trail.

All of these walks are right on the doorstep of Carden.  With different routes to match different abilities it would be near impossible not to find a trail that suits you.

After your long relaxing walk, you can unwind in the comfort of your luxury cottage at Carden.

 

Tranquil Getaway at Roseisle

Roseisle beach, burghead, Moray, Scotland
The beach at Roseisle is the perfect place to relax and unwind

Moray is known for its beautiful coastal villages and incredible walking trails, but one of the most beautiful spots for relaxing has to be Roseisle beach.

Situated between Findhorn and Burghead, the beautiful sandy beach offers brilliant views of the seaside village and town to each side.

Due to its brilliant location, clear waters and clean sandy shores, Roseisle is always busy – but it amazingly never seems to get crowded.  This is probably because of its extensive size, which means you don’t have to walk very far to be in peaceful solitude.

The privacy that the beach offers allows a great opportunity to relax and reflect.  On even the most stressful of days, the sound of the ocean waves can always help wash my worries away.

Something I work very hard at is making sure that I take time out of my busy schedule to look after my mental well-being.  I have found that, apart from the pond beside Carden, nowhere helps me unwind like the beach at Roseisle.

Carden Cottages, Moray, Scotland
The pond by Carden is a great spot to be at peace

Studies have shown that the sounds of nature – including the ocean and birds chirping – can help you recover faster from a stressful event.  Therefore, if you’re looking for a break from the stress and business of everyday life, this is the ideal place for you to visit.

The incredible beach is not all that Roseisle has to offer offer – it also boasts a woodland area that is equally picturesque, and just as relaxing when trying to escape.

The sweet smelling pine trees add to the relaxing atmosphere – making all of your senses completely at peace.

The fantastic woodland at Roseisle is the perfect escape from reality

There really is something for every member of the family in the area – a beach, woods and even a play park.  Every part of the area is just as beautiful during cold days as it is during the summer.

There is also a lot of military history to the beach – with the remnants of anti-tank blocks and pillboxes still standing on the shore.   Therefore, regardless if you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere or an adventure full of hiking ad history, you can find it here.

Our whole family loves Roseisle beach so much that it is where we spend our Boxing Day every year. We usually set up in the afternoon and have drinks and barbecues all day, with a big roaring fire to keep us all warm.  We have even had years where we stayed on the beach having a grand time until one in the morning!

One year there were couples setting off lanterns, making the landscape look like something out of a painting and making our evening even more special.

The area offers lots of public amenities which helps it stand out from other beaches and hiking trails in the area – including public toilets and a vast amount of parking, costing only £2 for the whole day.

This idyllic location, where you can relax and unwind, is only just over 10 minutes away from Carden Cottages by car.

Great food and drink at the Drouthy Cobbler

Whether you’re looking for tasty food, great drink or fantastic live music, the Drouthy Cobbler in Elgin has it all.

The Drouthy Cobbler is offers outdoor seating for alfresco dining | Credit: Tobi

The contemporary bar is nestled down a medieval close in the heart of Elgin, with a covered and heated outdoor seating area for alfresco dining.

I popped into the bar with a couple of friends for a spot of late lunch and a few afternoon drinks – and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We opted to take advantage of the bar bites deal, choosing a few dishes to share around the table.  Between us we managed to polish off haggis bites, crispy chicken wings, sausage rolls, Scottish scampi and hand-cut chips.  We also had a few delicious beers and gin and tonics!

The food that we had was absolutely delicious – well above the standard you would expect for such a low price.  My favourite was the delicious haggis bites – a must try, especially if you are visiting Scotland for the first time.

If you don’t fancy sharing a few bar bites, the bar also serves meals at an excellent price of £23.95 for three courses or £19.95 for two courses.  The tasty food is also locally sourced, as the Drouthy try to source the best Scottish ingredients from independent butchers, farmers and veg growers.

My favourite part of our experience was the great bar, which boasts over 150 whiskies, natural wines, craft gins and local beers.  We certainly took the opportunity to sample as many different beers and gins as we could!  It is the perfect place to sample both Scottish drinks and foods.

Drouthy Cobbler bar Elgin
The Drouthy Cobbler bar offers over 100 malt whiskies | Credit: Tobi

If that isn’t enough for you, the Drouthy Cobbler also has live music during some evenings and some afternoons, making it great for a lively evening out.  The venue also has regular arts events, including a monthly comedy club, lunchtime theatre and trad music concerts.

The excellent food, drink and events are also all offered with a smile from the lovely staff, who are full of knowledge about the different drinks that are on offer.

It really is a great place to relax and enjoy some great food and drink in a friendly atmosphere.  It is an excellent place to stop by if you are exploring nearby sites in Elgin; such as Elgin Cathedral.

It is also a 10 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages.