Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Towns and Villages

Towns and Villages

 in Glenlivet and the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Grampian,

Moray, Nairn and Inverness-shire


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We have included links to many other websites.  We shall eventually get round to informing all of these about our links, but if we haven't yet been in touch and you would prefer us to remove the link to your site, then please let us know.

This is not yet a complete list of towns and villages, and you will also note that information is still rather limited for some entries.  At present, this section is a safety net for attractions that don't appear elsewhere in the Guide and doesn't give comprehensive notes on what you can do and see in the vicinity of each town or village.



Glenlivet Estate Visitor Centre, a couple of Art Galleries and a local heritage

museum which opens from Easter to October.

The Museum was founded following Tomintoul bicentenary celebrations in

1976 when a large number of objects were assembled to illustrate life in the past.  Nowadays, it includes reconstructions of a farmhouse kitchen and the old village smithy with displays on peat cutting and the history and natural history of the area.



Grantown on Spey

One of the earliest of the eighteenth century new towns that abound in the

north east of Scotland.  With the coming of the railways in Victorian times,

it became the convalescent capital of Britain with a higher proportion of

older people than anywhere else in the country – hence all the rather grand buildings.  Good range of local shops. 

A museum with an extensive collection of photographs and other records that illustrate the town’s along with modern interactive audio visual displays.

Museum open Mon-Fri 10.00-4.00 from March to December

There are some excellent forest walks in the community owned Anagach Woods which lie between the town and the River Spey.


Not far away, on the road to Inverness via Dulnain Bridge and Carrbridge, there is a fascinating geological site just before Dulnain Bridge with a lay-by to park in on the right hand side of the road (just watch the kerb between the road itself and the lay-by).  There are fine examples of whalebacks and roches moutonnees, exposed rock forms created by glaciation.  The interpretive panels are a real work of art - slabs of rock mounted in a dry-stane recreation of the rock formations they are describing.  The path round the site provides a very pleasant stroll through pine forest.




Home to Aberlour Whisky and Walkers Shortbread.  Pleasant public park with Speyside Way Visitor Centre.




It’s worth taking time to stop at the magnificent Craigellachie Bridge, built by Thomas Telford in 1814 and still the main crossing on the Spey until the early

1970s. Although now in Moray, Craigellachie is actually part of the old County

of Banffshire, and the main road carried on to Keith not Elgin.




An old rhyme goes "Rome was built on seven hills - Dufftown's built on seven stills".  Two further distilleries were built, but two have been demolished and problems with its water supply meant that the rather attractive Parkmore hasn't distilled since 1931 and is now only used a a warehouse.  That leaves six active distilleries, but only Glenfiddich and Balvenie are open to the public.

Dufftown was founded in 1817 by James Duff, the fourth Earl of Fife, but it incorporates several older settlements, most notably that around Mortlach Church which is on the site of a Christain community founded by St Moulag in 566. Both Mortlach Church and Balvenie Castle are worth a visit.

The Clock Tower was completed in 1839, originally as a jailhouse, then the Burgh Chambers and now as a Tourist Information Office.  Its clock is much older, reputed to be "the clock that hanged Macpherson".  Macpherson was a latter day Robin Hood condemned to be hanged in Banff in 1700.  Local inhabitants

successfully raised a petition for his reprieve, but the local Sheriff moved the clock an hour forward so that he could hang Macpherson before the expected pardon arrived.


The Whisky Shop, The Whisky Museum

Co-op, butcher, florist, baker, hairdresser, petrol station, greengrocer

Local Walks




Visit Nairn Website

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Nairn

Nairn is yet another place that you could drive through and completely

overlook, especially since the main Inverness to Aberdeen route was diverted

from the High Street.

It's a town of two quite distinct parts.  The older Fisherton, which lies along the

west bank of the river between the A96 and the Moray Firth, is a fascinating collection of tightly packed streets and alleys – typical of the older parts of many fishing villages, but on a much larger scale.  The rest of the town with its grand Victorian mansions grew as a result of Nairn's reputation for healthy sea air and water and lots of sunshine.  Even before then, rural people are reputed to have visited Nairn for the medicinal benefits of the seawater.  It's first bath house was built in 1821 and then replaced in 1873 with what was then the largest indoor

pool in the world, complete with a fountain in its centre fed by steam pumps that drew salt water from the sea.  Sadly, that has also gone and I believe that the modern pool now standing on the same site is filled like most others with treated fresh water.

To the west of the River Nairn, the seafront consists of a sandy beach and an extensive area of grassy links, including the Nairn Leisure Park with its putting green, crazy golf, adventure areas, tearoom etc.  To the east lie the Culbin Sands, the start of a great expanse of sand and dunes that stretches all the way to Findhorn Bay.

The Nairn Museum is also worth a visit if you're in town, small but well laid out

with interesting exhibits and stories and excellent photographs and paintings.

The large photograph on the stairway is almost worth the entrance fee in its own right!

Nairn Museum Website

Opening hours April to October:

Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4.30 pm

Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing

If it's open (usually from 10am until noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays), have a look inside St Ninian's Church at the south end of the High Street.  The woodwork is superb, and the interior is beautifully light and airy after, and the woodwork is superb.  There are also some amazing carved chairs and communion table from the former Rosebank Church.

St Ninian's Website


The Nairn Bookshop at the north end of the High Street is quite small but has a fascinating selection - the sort of place where you feel you could buy anything and enjoy reading it.

Several Charity Shops, both in the High Street and round into Leopold Street at the Royal Bank of Scotland building



Undiscovered Scotland page for Inverness

Undiscovered Scotland page for Inverness Museum

The Museum, just behind the Tourist Information Building on Bridge Street is certainly worth a visit - plenty to interest all the family and a good cafe.

Opposite the Tourist Information Building runs Church Street which is probably the most interesting street in Inverness with some of its oldest buildings.  At the far end is Leukey's (second-hand) Bookshop which fills every corner of the Old Gaelic Church - great place to pass the time on a rainy day.

On the parallel Bank Street, you'll find the Riverside Gallery which is well worth popping into to see the older paintings upstairs - very knowledgeable and friendly proprietor.

The Inverness Floral Hall is at the very far end of the city on the Fort William road - a beautiful display of plants both inside and out.



Lying at the north eastern tip of the Black Isle, Cromarty is well worth a visit

in its own right, and, if you are heading that way, the coastal villages strung

out along the road to Cromarty are also worth a stop off or two.

The following websites give information on Munlochy, Avoch, Fortrose and Rosemarckie which lie along the south shore of the Black Isle on the way to Cromarty.

Avoch (pronounced Och) has a long foreshore with houses facing across the Moray firth, but it also has several streets laid out in traditional fishing village fashion with cottages algined at right angles ot the shore.  It used to be a very busy fishing village until not that long ago.  If your a fan of traditional hardware stores, pop into the Avoch Fishermen's Co-op - formed by fishermen in the seventies 1970s and still owned by them.

From the end of May to October, a  two car ferry service makes the short journey across the mouth of the Cromarty Firth during the summer, which brings Tain and Portmahomack well within range.  Runs on the hour and

half hour.

Contact by email:



Beauly, Strathpeffer and Dingwall

Strathpeffer is an old spa town which boomed with the coming of the railway.  The station has been converted into a number of shops and the excellent Highland Museum of Childhood, which has very well interpreted displays illustrating what it was like to be a child growing up in the Highlands in former times

The following websites give information on the nearby town of Dingwall and

its museum





Forres has a relaxed, open, uncluttered feel to it and has some beautiful parkland on its southern edge, most notably Grant Park with its sunken garden and floral sculptures during the summer months.

The Forres Footpaths Trust has laid out a number of marked trails taking in both the town itself and the surrounding countryside.  Their website contains a lot of interesting information on what can be seen in Forres.

Forres Footpaths Trust Website

Forres in Bloom website

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Grant Park and Cluny Hill

Cluny Hill, which rises from Grant Park, is well worth the short climb with its magnificent view across Findhorn Bay and the Moray Firth beyond.  The best time to go is actually between 2 and 3.45 pm from Tuesday to Sunday during the summer (28 April to 27 September during 2009) when you can climb up the Nelson Tower on the top of the hill and get an even better view.  Take the path that runs up the hill from behind the bowling green and you will also come across the Cluny Hill Cemetary - this is an absolutely beautiful place with lots of mature trees and well worth a visit in its own right.


There are quite a number of closes and alleys off the High Street - some residential, some with shops, including the Tackle Shop where you can get permits for some of the local fishing, including a beat on the River Findhorn.

Forres Website

There are a number of Charity Shops in the High Street.




A popular yachting centre, the village lies on a tidal lagoon at the mouth of

the River Findhorn with a long expanse of sandy beach running all the way

to Burghead in the east.  The coastline keeps changing here, and the present village dates from the beginning of the eighteenth century after a previous

site had been lost to the sea.  It’s a fascinating place to wander around, with

lines of small cottages all crammed together.

The Heritage Centre has displays about the history, life and trading links of

the port, along with albums of historic photographs.  The neighbouring 150

year old ice house has displays about ice making and the local salmon fishing industry that it supported.

Open 2.00-5.00 daily during summer, but only at weekends during May

and September

Just outside the village is The Park, home to the Findhorn Foundation,

founded in 1962 as a spiritual community.  They have a visitor centre open

Mon-Fri all year from 10.00 to 5.00 and at weekends during summer from

1.00 to 4.00.  Guided tours are available at 2pm on Monday, Wednesday,

Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  See their website for more information.

Findhorn Bay is a nature reserve, and there’s a car park just to the south of

the village that gives access to a hide as well as somewhere to watch the

planes coming and going at neighbouring RAF Kinloss.

There’s a ruined Cistercian Abbey in the nearby village of Kinloss.  Unfortunately, most of the stone was sold to Cromwell to construct the

Citadel in Inverness, but there are still a few bits left standing in the

graveyard along with the graves and memorial for those who lost their lives while serving at RAF Kinloss.





Elgin was designated a Royal Burgh in the thirteenth century, and much of

it’s mediaeval street plan is still well preserved with lots of wynds and closes linking the main street to parallel streets.  A few buildings still have the

arched facades that were common in the early eighteenth century.

The Elgin Museum has renowned collections of fossils from the surrounding

area as well as Roman finds and Pictish stones and has displays depicting a thousand years of Scottish history from a local perspective.

Open Apr-Oct M-F 10-5 Sat 11-4

Details about Elgin Cathedral and nearby Spynie Palace can be found on the Churches page.




Heritage Centre

The following website give information on the neighbouring villages of Portgordon and Buckpool, which, in succession, were the main ports on this stretch of coastline before the harbour was built at Buckie.

If you’re interested in fishing boats, the following website about the former shipyard in neighbouring Portessie is worth a look




This is certainly the place to come if you want an ice cream while walking

along the beach. 

There are pleasant coastal walks  - westward towards Portnockie and

Findochty (pronounced Finechty just in case you have to ask the way) or eastwards past the clifftop ruins of Findlater Castle to Sandend (Sanine!)

with its beautiful beach.




Fordyce and Portsoy

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Fordyce

Aberdeenshire Council Webpage for Fordyce Carpenter's Workshop Museum

Aberdeenshire Council Webpage for Fordyce Kirkyard

Fordyce may look a bit off the beaten track, but, before it was bypassed by

road and rail, it was the very centre of this prosperous farm land with its markets and fairs.  Now it is a beautiful wee village that can easily hold your attention for a couple of hours on a warm sunny day.  Apart from a stroll through the village for its own sake, the major attractions are the Old Kirk and Graveyard and a fascinating old carpenter’s workshop, preserved as a museum but still used by craftsmen.

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Portsoy

Portsoy Salmon Bothy Website

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival Website

You could easily drive through Portsoy and think there was nothing to see,

but turn off to the harbour and you’ll drive through a maze of narrow streets

to find one of the earliest ports to be established on the Moray Coast with

some fairly impressive buildings dating back to the seventeenth century.

The Salmon Bothy is an old ice house and the high vaulted rooms of its ground floor now house a small but interesting museum not only about the coastal salmon fishing industry but about the harbour and the trade and industry that it helped to create - including the export of Portsoy Marble for a couple of fireplaces in the Palace of Versailles.

Loch Soy (more of a large pond really and created from an old mill pond) is surrounded by an attractive park and children's play area.  Boats of various shapes and sizes can be hired during the summer.

If you're around at the beginning of July, don't miss the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival - it's a good day out with lots to see.




Banff and Macduff

Banff Museum

Macduff Marine Aquarium

Eastside – “The Spotty Bag shop”



Gardenstown, Crovie and Pennan

If you are visiting Banff or Fraserburgh, it’s worth taking some time to look

at some of the small coastal villages en route.  Crovie and Pennan have just enough room for a row of houses at the foot of the cliffs, but Gardenstown

has managed to spread up the very steep hillside – reminiscent of places like Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay





Lighthouse Museum

Heritage Museum




Just in case your route takes you through Braemar and you want a break

before the last hour’s drive to Glenlivet, you can have a look round the local heritage centre and The Braemar Gallery.

The Gallery opens Summer 10am to 5pm, but closed Tuesday and

Winter 10-4pm, but closed Tuesday and Wednesday and only open

12-4pm on Sundays

The following websites give some information on Braemar Castle, now being leased by the community and renovated with a view to opening to the public.




Alford Heritage Centre

Alford Village Railway (narrow gauge)

Grampian Motor Museum

Station Museum ?

Syllavethy Gallery, Montgarrie (1.5 miles north of Alford)










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