From award-winning hotels, to rural campsites, there is an array of accommodation options along The Malt Whisky Trail.  If you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve rounded up eight of the most unique and special holiday homes you can hire on The Trail, for groups of all sizes and ages.

A Lighthouse Cottage

Base of lighthouse with two lighthouse cottages
Covesea Lighthouse and cottages – Covesealighthouse.co.uk

Transport yourself back to 1846, when the Covesea Lighthouse was built. From then, until 1984 when it was automated, the two cottages here were occupied by the Principal Lighthouse Keeper, their assistant, and their families. It was a remote existence, with the nearest town, Lossiemouth, being just over a mile away.

Although the cottages were modernised in 2002, they’ll still give you and your family an idea of what it would have been like to have lived out on the headland, looking for ships on the Moray Firth. It’s ideal for families with young children as the courtyard where the cottages and lighthouse are is fenced off, and there’s a beach right on your doorstep. Nearby Silver Sands Holiday Park has a play area for children, and Lossiemouth can be reached by walking along the beach.

At low tide grey and common seals can be seen basking on the Halliman and Covesea Skerries, the rocky outcrops lying just off the headland. Moray Firth also has its own resident population of bottlenose dolphins, one of only three in the UK.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Glen Moray Distillery

Suitable for – families

Find out more and book your stay at the Covesea Lighthouse

A 16th Century Laird’s Castle

Brodie Castle and grounds, with daffodils in foreground
Brodies Castle – NTS.org.uk

Brodie Castle has been the ancestral home of Clan Brodie for over 400 years, although the family seat has been on this site since the 12th century. Occupied by the family until 2003, Brodie Castle still has a 16th century central keep, with extensions built in the 17th and 19th centuries. The family wing is now rented out by the National Trust for Scotland as ‘the Laird’s Wing’ and can sleep up to 14 over three floors.

The castle is open to the public, and houses an impressive art collection. The grounds are home to the National Daffodil Collection, and you’ll also find the Playful Garden, which explores the family’s history in a new and exciting way for children and adults alike.

If your party is on the smaller side, then there are two smaller lodge houses in the grounds which can be rented too.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Benromach Distillery

Suitable for – large groups

Find out more and book your stay at Brodie Castle

A Tiny House

Tiny house with private garden, and countryside behind it
The Coorie Cabin – AirBnb.co.uk

Coorie up in The Coorie Cabin, an eco-cabin tiny house with its own private garden and decking area, which looks out onto Ben Rinnes. There is a wood-burning stove, a fully-equipped kitchen and a modern bathroom with an electric shower and composting toilet.

It’s situated on private land, near the small village of Carron, and is surrounded on one side by trees. It’s also very near the Speyside Way, for keen walkers.

The cabin sleeps two, either as a double or as twin beds, and it’s perfect for people who don’t mind living in close quarters, with the beauty of the Moray Speyside countryside at their fingertips.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Cardhu Distillery

Suitable for – couples

Find out more and book your stay at the Coorie Cabin

A Country House fit for a Duke

18th century country house, with autumnal trees
Gordon Castle – Gordoncastle.co.uk

Live out your Downton dreams by hiring Gordon Castle, which sleeps up to 18 guests and comes fully staffed and catered. 

The castle today is the remaining wing of a larger 18th century house, with a 16th century tower nearby. Boasting eight bedrooms and a number of reception rooms, including a billiard room, it’s available for exclusive use and comes with a resident chef who will prepare all meals for guests.

If your party is a little smaller, but you still want a taste of Ducal living, then there are five additional properties on the estate available for hire, from the 5 Star Quarry Gardens Lodge to the Kennel Cottage which sat, as the name suggests, next to the estate’s kennels – home to the very first Gordon Setters.

With a walled garden, fishing on the River Spey and even its own gin brand, Gordon Castle estate is open to visitors all year round.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Strathisla Distillery

Suitable for – large groups

Find out more and book your stay at Gordon Castle

A Stable and Hayloft

Traditional stable entrance with arch
The Hayloft – Airbnb.co.uk

Situated above the old stables and servants’ accommodation for Rothes Glen House, The Hayloft has been sympathetically converted into a cosy apartment for two with all the necessary modern comforts.

Looking out onto the courtyard, you can almost hear the clip clop of hooves from a bygone era. Fortunately for those of us who have moved onto motor cars, the apartment is located by the A941 providing easy access to the rest of The Malt Whisky Trail, and comes with a private parking space.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Glen Grant Distillery

Suitable for – couples

Find out more and book your stay at the Hayloft

A traditional Shepherd’s Hut

Small traditional hut with outdoor table and chairs, and trees
The Shepherd’s Retreat – Airbnb.co.uk

Lying a few miles outside of Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands, the Shepherd’s Retreat is a romantic and intimate spot with views out to Ben Rinnes and the Conval Hills. Quite literally off the beaten path, it’s just the place to reconnect with nature and with your travelling companion.

The nearby Glenlivet estate has something for everyone, from mountain biking trails to historic sites, woodland walks and even three registered Dark Sky Discovery sites. And of course, The Glenlivet distillery.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – The Glenlivet Distillery

Suitable for – couples

Find out more and book your stay at the Shepherd’s Retreat

A Hobbit Hole

Round wooden cabin with turf roof
The Hobbit Hideaway – Hobbithideaway.co.uk

Set off on an adventure and stay in the award-winning Hobbit Hideaway, a truly natural home built from locally-sourced renewable and recyclable materials. With compost bins, reusable cups to take on trips, ethically purchased toiletries and electricity from 100% renewable energy, it’s perfect for the eco-conscious traveller looking to be as low-impact as possible.

Taking a leaf out of Tolkien’s book, the Hobbit Hideaway is a magical place to stay, with visitors enchanted by its quirky wooden furnishings and hidden nooks and crannies. Guests are even welcome to pick their own fruit and vegetables from the shared kitchen garden, and make use of the fire pit and BBQ facilities. Younger members of the fellowship will enjoy fairy-spotting in the Fairy Glen, and playing on the rope swing.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Speyside Cooperage

Suitable for –  families

Find out more and book your stay at the Hobbit Hideaway

A Modern Fairytale Castle

Medieval style tower house made from modern concrete, with gardens
Issueburn West Tower – Cottages-and-castles.co.uk

This imposing tower house on the border of Moray and Aberdeenshire might look like you’d expect a knight in shining armour to come riding up to save the damsel in distress, imprisoned in the tall tower, but it was actually built in 2009! Complete with a spiral turret staircase, and small windows with iron bars on the ground floor, just as it would have been in the 15th century, this is medieval fantasy meets modern living.

The cosy rooms are across four floors, with traditional features like wooden beamed ceilings and wood burners, and modern luxuries like underfloor heating in the bedroom and an en-suite with a claw-foot roll top bath.

The balcony offers spectacular views of the rolling countryside, and guests are invited to watch the wildlife from the third floor garden room, or wander through the fruit trees in the walled garden.

Nearest The Malt Whisky Trail site – Strathisla Distillery

Suitable for – couples

Find out more and book your stay at Issueburn West Tower

Looking for hotels instead? Check out our suggested list of places to stay on The Malt Whisky Trail.