Not a member?
Register and login now.

Issue 3 - Speyside – a golden triangle

History & Heritage

This article is available in full as part of History & Heritage, visit now for more free articles and information.


Scotland Magazine Issue 3
July 2002


This article is 16 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Scotland Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

Speyside – a golden triangle

Speyside is a magical mix of the very best of Scotland - and on top of that, it's the sunniest part of the country.

Speyside is particularly famous for its huge number of distilleries. People travel from all over the world to take the tours, sample the wares and walk the grounds of some of the world’s best-known distilleries. But there’s a lot more to Speyside than first meets the eye, as with so much of Scotland. Flourishing around the distilleries, in the towns and villages, are a plethora of great restaurants and hotels, wild walks, hills to tackle, activities to enjoy and things to discover.

Speyside, despite being such a popular tourist destination, is relatively sparsely populated. Even though you’re never far from civilisation, it has a feeling of isolation befitting this region of the Highlands.

Information on the entire Speyside area (we have concentrated on Moray) can be found at a number of useful web sites:

·Gordon and MacPhail’s shop in Elgin stocks more than 630 different whiskies
·Strathisla Distillery in Keith, founded in 1786, is the oldest working distillery in the Highlands
·Benromach Distillery in Forres is the smallest distillery in Speyside
·58 whisky distilleries, more than half of Scotland's total, are located in Speyside
·The Moray Firth is home to only one of two resident populations of bottlenose dolphins in the UK
·The River Spey is Scotland’s second-longest – and fastest – river at 110 miles
·Baxters, known as one of the great commercial family run successes of Scotland, was founded in 1868 and still thrives today, four generations later
·The Burning of the Clavie Festival at Burghead on 11 January each year is a unique fireball festival
·Forres has the tallest Pictish Stone (23 feet) in Scotland (Sueno’s Stone)
·Cullen Skink, a delicious soup made from smoked haddock and potatoes, is named after Cullen, the village in which it originated
·Tugnet Ice House (beside the Moray Firth Wildlife Centre) is the largest ice house in Britain
·Johnston’s of Elgin is the only mill in the UK to transform cashmere from fibre to garment
·Walkers Shortbread is the world leader in their market and are still based solely in Aberlour, the village where they opened the Walkers Bakery over 100 years ago
·Scotland’s Tartan Museum can be found in Keith, with examples from Scotland’s 2500 tartans and a pair of John Brown’s tartan underpants!
·Nestling in a corner of Elgin’s Cooper park is a biblical garden containing every plant mentioned in the Bible, all 110 of them, together with life-size sculptures depicting the parables
·Tomintoul is the highest village in the highlands at 345m above sea level and offers one of the most dramatic drives in all of Europe

Must-see distillery
For the first time, Aberlour will be opening their gates to welcome visitors to the distillery for a personal insight of how their award-winning whiskies are made.

Immerse yourself in history, allow the distillation process to unfold before your eyes, sample a selection of remarkable Aberlour spirits and individual cask samples and finally visit St Drostan’s Well and the beautiful Linn Falls. Altogether an unforgettable experience. The tour is available for a limited time only from 6th August 2002. To book, please call +44 (0) 1542 783064 or for more information, write directly to the distillery at: Visitor Centre Information, Aberlour Distillery, Aberlour, Banffshire, Scotland AB55 4DB.

Top restaurants
There are far too many to list here, but these will give your palate a treat if you’re in the area:
A Taste of Speyside Restaurant, Dufftown. Affordable, imaginative menu with filling portions and enthusiastic service.
A real treat. Call +44 (0) 1340 820 860 for information.
Knockomie Hotel, Forres. The food is every bit as good as the hotel! Telephone +44 (0) 1309 673 146 or visit

Old Monastery Restaurant, Buckie. Stunning views of the Moray coastline are equalled by superb food in tranquil surroundings. Highly recommended. Call +44 (0) 1542 832 660.

Speyside’s hotels
The region features a number of terrific and affordable hotels in superb locations, ideal for short breaks, a romantic tryst or a full holiday. The legendary Craigellachie Hotel features an amazing malt whisky bar, and they know how to host a party too! See for details.

For a more remote, wonderfully peaceful place to stay, try Minmore House Hotel, Glenlivet. It’s right next to The Glenlivet Distillery, set amidst a green and lush landscape that’s perfect for walkers, anglers or those wishing to get away from it all. The hosts are gracious and friendly, the bar well-stocked and keep an eye out for their delicious home-cooked pastries … Telephone +44 (0) 1807 590 378 for more information.

The Knockomie Hotel, Forres, is another wonderful hideaway. The rooms big and airy, with large windows to appreciate the scenery and attractive grounds. The bar has a fine selection of whiskies, and the hotel stages its own events as well as hosting wedding receptions and the like. A warm welcome awaits visitors to this fabulous place, ideal for the Malt Whisky Trail, walking, golf and fishing.
Telephone +44 (0) 1309 673 146 or visit for information and bookings.

The Malt Whisky Trail
Over half of Scotland’s distilleries are located in Speyside. The following distilleries and cooperage are open to visitors as part of the Malt Whisky Trail:

Tel +44 (0) 1309 675 968

Dallas Dhu
Tel +44 (0) 1309 676 548

Glen Grant
Tel +44 (0) 1542 783 318

Tel +44 (0) 1340 872 555

Tel +44 (0) 1807 500 245

The Glenlivet
Tel +44 (0) 1542 783 220

Tel +44 (0) 1340 820 373

Speyside Cooperage
Tel +44 (0) 1340 871 108

Tel +44 (0) 1542 783 044

Autumn Speyside Whisky Festival is held from 27th – 30th September 2002. The twice-yearly festival also takes place in May.
Tel +44 (0) 1340 821 097