Local places to visit
- Roseisle Beach – if you’re feeling strong and you can arrange for someone to pick you up at the other end, you can walk along the beach from Findhorn to Roseisle. Alternatively, drive there (there’s a small car park charge) where you’ll find a dedicated BBQ place with small playpark, and a path that leads to the beach. There are also walks through the forest.
- Culbin Forest – Large forest, originally the site of an old village and farmland until the sands swamped it. Take the water taxi from Findhorn (you need to pre-book it), and walk in the Forest. Alternatively, you can drive to the Culbin Wellhill car park, and start your walks or cycling from there. Is good for both. Make sure you remember which routes you take (there are sometimes maps in the Wellhill carpark) as even locals can sometimes get lost in the forest.
- Forres – visit the Grant Park with its floral sculptures (Forres is a many times Britain in Bloom winner). Let the kids run free at the playpark, then climb Cluny Hill to reach Nelson’s Tower (open April to September, 2-4pm). Fantastic views from the top of the tower on a clear day. You could also take in a tour of the Tolbooth, sited on the High Street and open 2-4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, April – Sept), or the Falconer Museum which is beside it (shut on Mondays). See forresheritage.org for more details on Nelson’s Tower and the Tolbooth.
- Burghead – (about 15 minutes drive) – this is the small town on a peninsula you can see from the back shore at Findhorn (and also from one of the living room windows!). Was once an important Pictish stronghold. At the Visitor Centre (open April- September ) learn about the Pictish Burghead Fort, and pay a visit to the Dark Age Burghead Well.
- Logie Steading (approx 20 minutes drive) – lovely courtyard setting in old farm buildings. Find a variety of shops including gallery, garden shop, second-hand bookshop and a cafe selling delicious food. There’s a small playpark and a walk by the river (be warned if you have small children as there are some steep drops).
- Randolph’s Leap – a lovely walk along the River Findhorn with stunning scenery. Again though, be warned if you have small children as there are steep drops to the river below. See walkhighlands.co.uk/moray/randolphs-leap for more information on the walk.
- Dava Way – this is the former railway line that ran from Forres to Grantown-on-Spey, axed during the 1960s Dr Beeching’s cuts. Volunteers have turned it into a fantastic walk of 24 miles, though you don’t obviously need to do it all! Suitable for cycling too. See davaway.org.uk
- Visit Elgin (12 miles away) with its Historic Scotland Cathedral. Elgin has a cinema (the Playhouse), bowling (Pinz), swimming pool with ice rink (Moray Leisure Centre) and a small Moray Motor Museum.
- Go east along the coast and visit the small towns there. Cummingston has a car park, playpark, and walk down to a lovely little beach. You can also cycle from there along an old railway track to Hopeman, buy an icecream, and cycle back! Or Primrose Bay, near Lossiemouth is a lovely little cove with caves. We once saw a pod of dolphins from there.
Places to eat
- The Findhorn Ice House – just across the road!
- North 58 degrees Sea Adventures – boat trips, leave from Findhorn Marina
- Morayvia Aviation Museum, Kinloss – step into one of the retired yellow Sea King helicopters! Visit the planetarium. Usually open only at weekends. Opening times vary as is run by volunteers so check first morayvia.org.uk
- Landmark, Carrbridge (about an hour’s drive) – always a winner with our kids. Spend the whole day there doing a tree top walk, riding flumes (flumes open Easter to October), doing high ropes, visiting their new butterfly attraction. See landmarkpark.co.uk for more details.
- Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie (just over an hour’s drive) – spend the whole day here in this open air museum. Is a great interactive learning experience which both adults and kids love. Feels like you’re stepping back in time. See highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum for more details.
- Highland Wildlife Park (about an hour’s drive) – again, spend the whole day there. Kids love it. There’s a drive round area to see bison, deer, wild horses, camels. Then go on foot to see Polar Bears, wolves, Amur Tigers and heaps of other animals. Nice cafe and gift shop too!
- Brodie Castle (about 15 minutes drive) – National Trust for Scotland property. Restored 16th Century castle and gardens, home of the Clan Brodie, with collection of arts, ceramics and antiques. Has a great playpark for kids and plenty garden for them to run about. Walk down one of the long, very straight drives to a small pond that you can walk round.
- Or try Cawdor Castle, Nairn (about 30 minutes drive)
- Greenfields Indoor Playbarn, Llanbryde (about 45 minutes drive) – indoor play area for kids up to about age 12. Open 7 days a week during Scottish school holidays, otherwise shut Mondays and Tuesdays. www.theplaybarngreenfields.co.uk
- Strathspey Steam Railway – (about an hour’s drive) – based at the Aviemore train station. Steam trains run to Broomhill – great fun. Open March to October.
- The Whisky Line – The Keith & Dufftown Railway – steam trains, open March to September.
- Knockando Woollen Mill (about 40 minutes drive) -working woollen mill with visitor centre, cafe and shop
- Macduff Marine Aquarium (about an hour’s drive) – sorry to say we’ve never been there but friends have told us it’s very good and it gets good online reviews
- Fort George (about 50 minutes drive) – run by Historic Scotland. Adults and children alike love this. The army are still based here but there’s really interesting museums, etc and good cafe. Lovely views of the Moray Firth from the battlements.
This is not an exhaustive list of all to do in the area – there’s heaps more out there waiting to be explored! We hope this has given you a taster for some of the attractions and activities available.