With five days, you’ll have ample time to journey The Malt Whisky Trail. As none of our sites are located more than an hours’ drive from each other, you can pick just about anywhere to base yourself secure in the knowledge that nowhere will be beyond your reach. Why not consider somewhere central like the towns of Craigellachie and Aberlour, or the famous whisky town of Dufftown? If you’d prefer to be by the sea, one of Moray’s fishing villages such as Findhorn or Lossiemouth would make an ideal coastal base.
Start in the north west with a visit to Benromach distillery, near Forres, and explore all that the area has to offer. Then drive a little to the south, along the River Findhorn, and discover Logie Steading – a collection of art galleries, antique shops, bookshops, craft studios, and cafes for lunch.
In the afternoon learn about the history of whisky making at Dallas Dhu, no longer a working distillery and now operated by Historic Environment Scotland. Then head to the north, and find yourself in the seaside village of Findhorn. The village is set among dramatic sand dunes, and is a centre for watersports. Near to the village, you’ll find the Findhorn Foundation and The Park – a centre of contemporary architecture which houses the Moray Art Centre and the Universal Hall, which regularly hosts music, theatre, and dance.
For dinner, we recommend the Knockomie Inn – a charming little inn which serves good local cooking in beautiful surroundings.
Visit the old royal burgh and cathedral city of Elgin. It’s home to Glen Moray distillery, so take a tour to learn all about one of the sunniest distilleries in the region, before visiting Johnston’s of Elgin, a world-famous cashmere mill, producing fine tweeds and other textiles for giants of the fashion industry. The mill’s large cafe and shop is a fantastic lunchtime destination, and is located close to the town’s ruined (but very grand) cathedral. Elgin’s town centre is home to a number of small, independent shops – like Pencil Me In, a contemporary Scottish design and stationery store.
Alternatively, take a short drive north to the fishing village of Burghead. On a sunny day, the beach, dunes, and harbour makes for a relaxing seaside walk, or visit the Burghead Well to learn more about the area’s Pictish past. Finish your time here in the Bothy Bistro for the freshest local seafood.
Round-off your time in Elgin with supper and a few drams at the Drouthy Cobbler – a relaxed and well-restored whisky bar which serves fantastic local food, and often hosts traditional music, theatre, and comedy. The bar’s lively alleyway is a gathering place on a sunny day.
Start your day with a visit to the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, and be sure to immerse yourself in the whisky town’s rich heritage. Be sure to visit the Whisky Shop to buy a souvenir to take home. For lunch, the distillery’s Malt Barn is well worth checking out, or head towards Gordon Castle’s Walled Garden cafe which specialises in farm to table dining, with most of the produce being grown in the kitchen gardens.
Take a trip on the old railway to Keith, and experience rail travel from a bygone era. Then visit the historic and picturesque Strathisla distillery and round off your day with a dram in one of the area’s many bars.
Find yourself in the heart of malt whisky country, and visit Glen Grant distillery in Rothes. Follow this by taking a spot of lunch at Toots at the Station Hotel. The town is home to a very special little antique and vintage shop, which is always full of surprises and worth a visit.
Take the short drive down to Craigellachie, and walk off your lunch along the Speyside Way (you’ll find ample parking at Thomas Telford’s famous bridge). Make sure not to miss the Speyside Cooperage, and watch the masters at work as they repair and rebuild the all important whisky casks used by the regions’ many distilleries.
Meander around the village’s independent shops, before rounding off the evening at the Craigellachie Hotel. The luxury hotel’s ground floor houses the Copper Dog pub, a country bar with local produce at its heart. Finish the evening upstairs in the hotel’s world-famous Quaich bar – a treasure trove of rare old whiskies furnished with sumptuous Edwardian finishings.
On your journey towards the south of The Malt Whisky Trail, make sure to visit the town of Aberlour and and take some time to browse the town’s many independent shops – like the Spey Larder, the perfect spot for lunch, or the original Walkers Shortbread store. Then take a short drive and visit Cardhu distillery, the only historic distillery founded by a woman. You’ll also find the historic Knockando Woolmill near Cardhu – a fantastic way to experience the area’s rich textiles heritage.
At the very tip of The Trail, likes The Glenlivet distillery, with its fascinating visitor centre. Spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the wider Glenlivet estate, with mountain bike trails to conquer and plenty of wildlife to spot.
In the evening head back towards Aberlour. Have supper at the Dowan’s Hotel for refined Speyside fayre, or in the legendary Mash Tun whisky bar for a few drams and some good pub grub, and congratulate yourself on having completed The Malt Whisky Trail.