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Get set for a winter getaway

Posted on 7th December 2021

If you’re looking for the perfect winter getaway, you can’t go wrong with The Malt Whisky Trail. From cosy hotels, to independent shops, good food and of course plenty of whisky, it’s ideal for a festive break.


No trip to The Malt Whisky Trail would be complete without a visit to one, or more, of our nine partner sites. Get in from the cold on a distillery tour or tasting and learn all about how our famous whisky is made, and visit the gift shop to stock up on presents for whisky lovers. Make sure to double check their Christmas opening hours before you go to avoid disappointment.

We’re rapidly approaching the shortest day of the year, so there’s no better time to visit one of the three official Dark Sky Discovery Sites located within the Glenlivet Estate and do a bit of star gazing. You might even be lucky enough to spot the Aurora Borealis.

If you’re a fan of winter sports, then you’ll find three of Scotland’s best skiing and snowboarding resorts within a short drive of The Trail. Cairngorm, The Lecht and Glenshee are all within the Cairngorm National Park, and will be opening later this month. Check out their websites for more details on how to visit.


Get a head start on Christmas shopping at one of Moray Speyside’s many independent shops.

For a magical experience visit Logie Steading, in the Findhorn Valley near Forres. Like walking into a winter wonderland, you’ll find wares by local makers for sale as well as workshops for those of you who are feeling crafty.

Brodie Countryfayre is your one-stop shop for quality Scottish gifts for the whole family including clothes, homeware and hampers of the best local produce.

And if you’re looking for something a bit luxurious, then Johnstons of Elgin is the place to go. For over two hundred years, they’ve been textile manufacturing on the banks of the river Lossie using natural fibres, and today they’re known for their cashmere and merino wool goods.


Get cosy in one of Speyside’s pubs or restaurants and enjoy the best of Scotland’s larder.

Copper Dog, at the Craigellachie hotel, sits on the bank of the River Spey and serves up a variety of small and larger plates featuring traditional ingredients cooked in a new and interesting way. 

Recently reopened under new management, Elgin’s Drouthy Cobbler is a popular choice for great food in an informal setting. And over in Aberlour, whisky bar The Mash Tun serves tasty food using locally sourced ingredients alongside plenty of top notch drams.


Craigellachie Lodge, in the village of Craigellachie, has five charming rooms and a newly opened snug bar. It’s also perfectly situated for visiting the nearby Speyside Cooperage and not too far from Glenfiddich and Glen Grant.

Family-run Dowans Hotel in Aberlour not only boasts an impressive whisky selection, but it makes for an ideal base for a visit to The Malt Whisky Trail as it’s only a short drive from several of the sites.

And of course there are numerous excellent guesthouses and B&Bs to provide you with a true Speyside welcome. Find out more about our local accommodation options.


Did you know that, until 1958, Christmas Day was a normal working day in Scotland? And Boxing Day only became a public holiday in 1974.

That’s because in Scotland, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), was traditionally the main winter festival. And we still celebrate it in a big way. Visit any pub or hotel in Speyside and you’ll experience a true Scottish Hogmanay, but if you’re keen to really get into the spirit then visit legendary whisky town Dufftown. 

The town holds a ceilidh and a party to ring in the New Year, but with its own malt whisky country take on celebrations.  At midnight, everyone gathers in the square to receive free drams and shortbread which are handed out courtesy of Glenfiddich and Walker’s.

If you visit a little later in January, you might be lucky enough to see the famous Burning of the Clavie in Burghead. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1750, the locals protested against ‘losing’ 11 days and decided to celebrate the old New Year on 11th January. The Clavie itself is a barrel full of staves, which is paraded around the town, before being taken up Doorie Hill, set alight and the smouldering embers gathered. It’s said that owning a piece of the Clavie will bring you good luck for the coming year.

Start planning your winter break to The Malt Whisky Trail today. For more ideas of what to do, check out our itineraries and subscribe to our newsletter.