Speyside self-catering accommodation
For many people Speyside is synonymous with some of the finest whisky in the world. Speyside is home to 50 distilleries and a tour of some (or all!) is popular with visitors. Dufftown is known as the 'Malt Whisky Capital of the World' and there are many distilleries open to the public which offer tours and tastings - the large ones have a whisky museum or visitors centre too. The Speyside Whisky Trail comprises of 12 distilleries which welcome visistors including Glenfiddich in Dufftown, Strathisla, Glendronach, Glen Moray, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet. There are many tour companies that will take you round the distilleries or you can make your own itinerary and visit the ones that interest you most - they're all fascinating and make for a great day out.
A holiday in Speyside offers far more then distilleries though. The Moray Firth has miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches - perfect for a family holiday. There are lovely coves and rock pools and superb walks along the cliffs. Hopeman and Burghead are seaside villages with vast sandy beaches and popular locations for a holiday on the Moray Firth. It's also popular with surfers and wild-life spotters - a visit to the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay will hopefully give you the opportunity to see the bottlenose dolphins that live in the Moray Firth - an unforgettable holiday memory. Logie Steading Visitor Centre near Forres is another great day for all the family - as well as enjoying the cafe and independent shops, walk along the Findhorn Valley to Randolph's Leap or around the Logie House garden.
The River Spey is one of the most famous salmon rivers in the world and attracts fishermen from every country, many who also want to see where the famous 'Spey cast' started. The Spey originates in the mountains to the east of Loch Ness and flows north for 107 miles. Downstream of Grantown-on-Spey it is fast flowing and offers miles of perfect water for fly fishing. A fishing holiday on the Spey can be arranged with self-catering accommodation or fully catered in houses or local hotels. Professional salmon fishing guides are popular with beginners and they can arrange everything for you including airport transports and of course help you catch your first salmon!
The Speyside Way runs from Buckie on the Moray coast through Aviemore to Kincraig in the Cairngorms, with a 15 mile spur from Ballindalloch to Tomintoul and is 65 miles long. Passing through beautiful scenery, pretty villages and many whisky distilleries, it follows the valley of the Spey for much of the way. The walking is fairly gentle along forest paths and over moorland on well maintained footpaths. There are lots of bed and breakfasts along The Speyside Way, as well as hotels: Craigellachie, Aberlour, Knockando, Ballindalloch, Cromdale, Grantown, Nethy Bridge, Boat of Garten or Aviemore all make excellent stops if you want to walk the route in short sections - there are companies that will ferry your luggage between the accommodation.
There are a lot of historical buildings and castles to explore in Speyside. If you are renting a holiday cottage near Cawdor then naturally you will visit Cawdor Castle which is well worth a visit if you are staying much further away. The National Trust for Scotland's Brodie Castle is another great day out - there is a superb art collection and if you are on holiday in the spring then the gardens are a sight to behold with thousands of daffodils carpeting the grounds. Duff House near Banff is a superb Adam mansion house which now displays paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland. Spynie Castle, near Elgin, is less visited but it's a magnicent ruin and the view from the top of the tower is well worth the climb.
Aviemore is a very popular holiday destination throughout the year but of course skiing and snowboarding are the biggest draw in the winter. The Cairngorm Mountain is the highest of Scotland's ski areas and the funicular railway takes you straight to the ski area. The Aviemore area is also a great centre for a summer holiday - there are any number of active outdoor pursuits in the area including canyoning, gorge walking, white water rafting, sailing and climbing. There is a great choice of holiday accommodation in the area including very good value Scottish sporting lodges and chalets, as well as luxury houses with hot tubs. There are lots of other great things to do nearby - the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, Kincraig Wildlife Park, the Highland Folk Museum to name a few. Take a nostalgic ride on the Strathspey Railway on a steam train from Aviemore to Boat of Garten - admire the stunning scenery from your seat. Speyside offers so much for holiday-makers, we have only covered a small selection here - come and experience it for yourself!