Moray in Scotland is a land of sandy coastline, ocean dwellings and magical woodland. Come and read all about it and be inspired to explore this area of north-east Scotland for your next adventure.
Where is Moray in Scotland?
Moray in Scotland lies in the north-east of the country, bordering Aberdeenshire, Inverness-shire, and the Highlands. It boasts a beautiful section of the Moray Firth coastline to the north which is dotted with historic and quaint fishing towns and villages. It also takes in a corner of the Cairngorm National Park to the south of the council area, where you can explore Glenlivet and Tomintoul too!
What is Moray known for?
Moray is known for its pretty coastal villages, great sightings of dolphins, sea cliffs, Cullen skink, a high quality of rural living, local brands, and its famous whisky - Moray Speyside is home to over half of Scotland’s Malt Whisky Distilleries after all! It is also known for its arts and crafts scene with lots of local artisans, from potters to kilt makers.
Coastal towns of Moray
Findhorn is a town that is of interest to many who visit Moray as its reputation for being a kingdom for mindfulness grows and grows. It is also a centre for sustainable living, and this is represented in the lifestyle that many who live and move here undertake – recycle and make do and mend. It is a coastal town with a thriving community, a lovely large beach, and an eco-village – “Findhorn Foundation” – which you are more than welcome to visit. The Findhorn Foundation is a venue for arts and crafts, performances, and workshops. There are a number of nice cafes and pubs for you to grab a bite to eat, and there are also some craft and gift shops where you can pick up souvenirs to remind you of your visit.
Hopeman is a smaller village lying just west of Lossiemouth. Here you will find a picturesque fishing harbour and two lovely beaches. The village was first built in 1805 to house lots of quarry workers and their families who had been moved there to extract golden-coloured sandstone. In 1836 a harbour was built to export the sandstone, but also to open up fishing opportunities within the local community. Over time, Lossiemouth has become the main hub for fishing, but the harbour still remains on a small scale and is nice to visit. It is a lovely wee town with a small main street home to a number of shops, a tearoom, and a takeaway. There are two beaches, one of which is iconic with its colourful beach huts – a rarer beach feature these days.
Lossiemouth is a golf-orientated resort and well known within the area of Moray, so if that is your scene, keep this town in mind. It is also a popular spot for locals and visitors who love the beach-bum life, as the two long sandy beaches with glorious dunes are two of the best in the north. The tranquil town has a lovely atmosphere and exploring its many eateries and boutiques will keep you busy for hours. From here you can enjoy boat rides, nature trips, sea fishing and water sports – just remember your wetsuit!
Buckie, home to its own harbour and marina, was originally a shipbuilding and fishing port. Today it is a lovely holiday destination on the Moray Firth coast offering golf, nature trips, wildlife on your doorstep and a great leisure centre for those who like to keep active on holiday. Here you are also close to the village of Portknockie where you will find the famous Bow Fiddle Rock, and dolphins can often be spotted playing in the water from this ideal coastal position. East from the town, just past Hopeman golf course you will find Cove Bay, which is a beautiful spot for a picnic and swim.
Cullen is a little Moray seaside town set at the end of the golden nugget ‘Cullen Bay’. Known for ‘Cullen skink’, the famous Scottish soup, this settlement has so much to offer its visitors. From beautiful walking trails, a great ice cream shop, a lovely beach and colourful seaside cottages, there is so much to do and see. The old stone viaduct makes for a romantic backdrop to the already picturesque town. Come here for a seaside break and switch off from the world.
These Moray towns are quieter than the likes of the west coast towns, which are generally a lot busier than the eastern ones, but they really are hidden gems and no less special.
Walking in Moray
The best way to truly take in an area is to explore on foot, and we know so many of you like to do this, whether it is by yourself for some peace and quiet, with a group of friends, taking your little ones for a wander, or giving your four-legged friend an energy burst! Here are some of the best walks in Moray.
Lossiemouth to Kingston on Spey
This is a lovely seaside walk which is about 14 miles in total. Whilst many locals use this as their running route, it is a lovely one to take at your own pace, soaking up the beautiful surroundings of ocean and forest. Start in Lossiemouth and make your way along the beach all the way to Kingston. Up in the dunes, you will find a rough path which will guide you. Keep an eye out for the World War II tank traps and gun emplacements, and the fossil sea cliff at Binn Hill. Difficulty: moderate.
You will find this magical forest to the west of Findhorn on the Moray Firth coast. Find your way to the Wellhill car park where you will find public loos and a map of the forest outlining the many different trails. For the most impressive views take on the Hill 99 trail, which is marked with black arrows and leads you through a magical trail of nature and wildlife. Enjoy stumbling across ponds with floating ducks, creeping through trees where squirrels and birds can be spotted, and taking rests on the many benches dotted along the way. You will come to a tree tower which offers splendid views over Culbin Forest and the Moray Firth beyond – the perfect photo opportunity! Difficulty: easy.
Randolph’s Leap from Logie Steading
We will tell you all about Logie Steading in a moment, but as well as it being a lovely establishment for a day out, it is also the starting point for this lovely walk. The route takes in a particularly scenic part of the River Findhorn called ‘Randolph’s Leap’. This is a section of the river where it gets really thin and squeezes through a narrow ravine, presenting beautiful craggy shapes in contrast to the soft woodland surroundings. It is said that this is the point where Thomas Randolph (later the Earl of Moray) chased a member of the Comyn family, but they got away by jumping over the gap! It is essential to keep your wits about you on this walk as there are some steep drops that you need to be aware of. Difficulty: moderate.
You can take your dogs on these walks, just make sure you keep them on a lead for their own safety and pick up after them. There are usually dog bins dotted along Scottish routes.
Places to eat and drink in Moray
Food plays a big part in anyone’s day - especially when on holiday - and Moray does not fall short of smashing places to grab a bite to eat. Whether it’s a traditional pub you are looking for, a trendy cocktail bar or a quirky tearoom serving up the finest cakes, there is something for everyone in Moray. Read on to discover some of our highlights – it was very hard to pick!
Dating back to 1777, this characterful inn is a charming place to come and enjoy some of the best seafood in Moray. All food is locally sourced, and the kitchen uses fresh and sustainable produce supporting local suppliers and fishermen. They also have a great range of Scottish malts!
Location: Findhorn, IV36 3YG
This is a family-friendly bistro with a rear courtyard garden that's perfect for the sunnier days in Moray. Serving up fine seafood and also an array of hearty traditional dishes, and vegetarian courses too, this is a bistro which caters for all! You will love the buzzing atmosphere and friendly staff.
Location: Burghead, IV30 5UE
A café and bar rolled into one – no one cares what time of day you have a cocktail! Open for breakfast and lunch, or brunch, this is the perfect pit stop to regain some energy after days out exploring Lossiemouth and wider Moray. Pick from a varied menu ranging from soup and light bites to pancakes and croissants. You are advised to call ahead and book a table.
Location: Lossiemouth, IV31 6TW
This is a stylish restaurant, tearoom and cocktail bar, so whatever time of day you visit, there will be something tasty on the menu for you. Catering for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, it is a friendly place for everyone to come and enjoy, and being close to the sea makes it a perfect place to rest the legs after days out exploring.
Location: Buckie, AB56 1BN
Originally Tomintoul’s fire station, this coffee shop celebrates its heritage with firemen, equipment, uniforms and history all over its walls! Full of character and charm, this is a nice place to come and enjoy some delicious home baking and hot coffee. It's a popular spot for bikers and mountain bikers, with the best of Tomintoul and Glenlivet’s countryside routes on the doorstep.
Location: Tomintoul, AB37 9EX
This is only a handful of great places to eat in Moray, we just can’t feature them all! It is important to take time out from the cooking during your holiday, so have a browse through these and get planning your break today.
If you are interested in sampling Scottish whisky, make sure you read our guide on Scotland’s famous whisky regions. Speyside is one of them!
Where can you watch dolphins on the Moray Firth? The best place for watching dolphins on the Moray Firth is in fact Chanonry Point, which is closer to Inverness but very easily travelled from your Moray destination. However, this isn’t the only place you will see them; there are lots of coastal towns dotted along the coast of Moray and many of them catch regular sightings of dolphins! You want to time your dolphin spotting on a rising tide, from around an hour after low tide, as this is when they are at their most playful.
The Moray Firth is home to about 200 bottlenose dolphins, and these are the hardiest of all the dolphins – lucky because the sea off the coast of Scotland is very chilly!
Shopping in Moray
Logie Steading is one of the nicest farm shops to visit for some retail therapy and a bite to eat. With everything in one place, a lot of people turn a visit here into a day out. Expect to find a beautifully converted steading turned boutique shopping centre, where you will find lovely brands and special crafts sourced locally and made in Britain. The café is second to none, serving up delicious home baking with hot drinks and all sorts of lovely dishes for lunch.
If you love shortbread, then make sure you visit Walkers Shortbread Factory Shop, which is filled with everything made by Walkers: biscuits, cakes, tarts, seasonal treats and hampers. We doubt you will come out empty-handed! Location: Aberlour, AB38 9LD
Pick up the finest cashmere at Johnstons of Elgin and be warm forever! From scarves and blankets to woolly jumpers and the softest of socks, you can pick from luxury products all woven in Scotland. Starting over 240 years ago, the brand celebrates its Scottish heritage and craftsmanship, which is reflected in its quality of products. Make it a day out and visit the on-site café-restaurant for some light refreshments. Location: Elgin, IV30 4AF
The Spey Larder is a charming little shop selling all sorts of local produce, many of it specific to Moray. Set on the banks of the River Spey, it is one of Moray’s finest delicatessens. After browsing shelves stacked to the brim with delicious and unique items, you can have a bite to eat. It is one of Speyside’s hidden gems! Location: Aberlour, AB38 9QA
We hope you have fun browsing these fun places to go and spending some of your hard-earned money – you deserve it!
Stay in a Moray cottage and enjoy a holiday in this picturesque destination
If we have inspired you to come and visit Moray then you may want to think about where you will stay. From cosy cottages for two to dog-friendly pads; family-friendly homes to manor houses with sea views, we have something to suit everyone. Browse our collection today.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.