Speyside Self Catering
With over half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries located within a 28 mile radius it should come as no surprise that Speyside is known as whisky country. But, as well as its famous Malt Whisky Trail, there are many other delights in the area just waiting to be discovered, from stunning hilltop views to peaceful forest walks…
Self Catering Accommodation in Speyside
Speyside and Moray are woven together on many maps, funnelling inland from the Moray Coast down into the magnificent Cairngorms National Park (with the whole area often referred to as Moray Speyside). This page gives you information on the heart of Speyside – the area surrounding the towns of Aberlour and Dufftown and the Glenlivet Estate – and the whisky trail that weaves through this land (for information on visiting Forres, Elgin, Keith and the Moray coastline, see our Moray pages).
If you are holidaying in the Forres area, there is a lovely drive into Speyside along quiet country roads. Follow St Leonard’s Road out of Forres (the B9010) which takes you through rolling countryside around Rafford and onto Dallas. At Dallas take a right onto the Knockando road, winding through scenic mountain scenery down to meet the B9102 at Knockando, home of Cardu Distillery. (Keep an eye out for Ben Rinnes towering above the landscape). The B9102 leads through the pretty village of Archiestown and descends to meet the A941 just outside Craigellachie.
The A941 is an alternative road into Speyside from Moray, linking Elgin to Craigellachie. Arriving in Speyside from this direction gives you the chance to explore the Glen Grant and Glenrothes distilleries at Rothes.
The charming town of Craigellachie is perched above the mighty River Spey and the beautiful 19th century Craigellachie Bridge is a good place to enjoy pretty river views and take photographs of the Spey rushing underneath. There is a small car park at the bottom of the bridge and you can also walk under the bridge to the river banks.
From Craigellachie you can either take the A941 to Dufftown or follow the A95 to Aberlour. On your journey to Dufftown, make sure you stop at the Speyside Cooperage, just outside Craigellachie – the only working cooperage in the country with a visitor centre and the chance to watch the craftsmen at work.
Known as the Malt Whisky Capital, a visit to Dufftown is a must for whisky enthusiasts. Here you can tour 9 distillery sites (7 of which are working distilleries). The picturesque town is home to the world-famous Glenfiddich Distillery (with its free tours), as well as Mortlach and Balvenie. In addition to whisky tasting, there are atmospheric castle ruins to explore nearby: Balvenie Castle (near Glenfiddich) is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland and Auchindoun Castle lies just outside the town, with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. There are also a number of walks to enjoy in and around the town, such as The Giant’s Chair walk, starting at the ancient site of Mortlach Church. Ben Rinnes is perfect for an invigorating hill climb, just a short drive away, and offers sweeping views of the landscape rolling from Moray to the Cairngorms.
The B9009 snakes under the shadow of Ben Rinnes and through a rugged and remote landscape to Glenlivet. The Glenlivet Estate encompasses the area from Bridgend of Glenlivet to Tomintoul (the highest village in the Highlands). Must-visits in the area include the famous Glenlivet Distillery (also with free tours), Drumlin Castle and Packhorse Bridge. For keen walkers there are many wonderful walks in the Glenlivet area where you can bask in spectacular views and tranquil surroundings of the Cairngorms National Park.
From Glenlivet the B9008 follows the path of the River Avon to join the A95 at Ballindalloch. Just north of Ballindalloch on the A95 you’ll find Glenfarclas Distillery, one of Scotland’s only family run distilleries. The road then descends down to the pretty town of Aberlour, on the banks of the River Spey. The Spey is Scotland’s fastest flowing river and, like the whisky trail, is a big draw for visitors to the area, from enthusiastic anglers to walkers of the Speyside Way.
Aberlour is another idyllic base for exploring the Speyside area and an ideal place to enjoy a leisurely walk along the Spey (section three of the Speyside Way passes Aberlour, running from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch). Its wide High Street is lined with a selection of gift shops and cafes, and the Speyside Deli is a good place to pick up some fine foods. Walkers Shortbread is also located on the edge of the town.
With the thick ribbon of the River Spey threading through stunning scenery, the wonderful Malt Whisky Trail and the Cairngorm National Park sprawled around the Glenlivet to Tomintoul area, you are sure to fall under the spell of the enchanting Speyside scenery.