MacBeth was Mormaer (Earl) of this region of Scotland before becoming King, when he killed Duncan I during a battle at Pitgaveny near Elgin, in 1040. In the middle of the 12th century, David I granted Elgin the status of Royal Burgh. And a few decades later, Alexander II granted the city a Royal Charter.
The magnificent Elgin Cathedral was completed in the middle of the 13th century, after taking 20 years to build. It was considered one of Scotland's most beautiful, until consumed by fire less than 30 years after completion. Century’s of neglect took their toll, although a steady plan of restoration has been in progress over the past 120 years.
Other main sites of historic interest are: the Benedictine Monastery, Pluscarden Abbey, which is still inhabited by monks, 6 miles to the south-west; the remains of Kinloss Abbey at one time the largest Cistercian Monastery in the North of Scotland, 10 miles to the west; Duffus Castle, the remains of one of the finest examples of a motte and bailey castle in Scotland, 4 miles to the north-west; and Spynie Palace, the remains of the fortified residence of the Bishops of Moray, just 2 miles to the north of the city.
For more information on the history and traditions of Elgin, we recommend this Scottish Television documentary.
Finally a short time-line video on 5 thousand years of Scottish History.
Nestled between the Highlands and Aberdeenshire, improvements to the rail network in the 19th century opened the area to tourism. With the main attractions being textiles, the whisky industry and the stunning Moray coastline.
Some traditional places of interest that are still popular today: Johnstons Cashmere Heritage Centre, traditional manufacturer of the finest clothing since 1797; Gordon & MacPhail Shop, opened in 1895, and featuring around one thousand different single malt whiskies; and Glen Moray Distillery Visitors Centre, a small friendly distillery, established on the banks of the River Lossie in 1897. If traditional Scottish soups and condiments are more your thing, why not visit Baxters Highland Village, just 9 miles to the east in the beautiful village of Fochabers.
The traditional sport of golf is amply catered for by Elgin Golf Club. With a 6449 yard, par 69 heathland course, which is a test for amateurs and professionals alike.
We would like to recommend this British Pathé film on Scottish Cashmere production, from 1961, and these Visit Scotland short films on Whisky and Golf.
For a taste of North East Farming (Bothy) Ballads: 'The Scranky Black Farmer' performed by The Gaugers, 'Drumdelgie' sung by Shona Donaldson, and 'Bogie's Bonnie Belle' by Tam Reid.
Elgin, twinned with Landshut in Germany in 1956, is the civic and geographical centre of Moray. With the amalgamation of the villages of New Elgin and Bishopmill at the beginning of the 20th century, it has steadily expanded to a population of around 24 thousand.
The city is served by a modern road network along the A96. Making Elgin, with its moderate climate, the ideal hub to gain a taste of Moray. Visitors are encourage to take advantage of the various walking routes to explore, the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, Lossie Beach and the numerous adventurous outdoor activities on offer at The Loft Activity Centre. For numerous indoor activities we recommend Moray Leisure Centre, with activities ranging from an ice rink to beauty therapy. There is always something to be enjoyed in and around Elgin.
When it comes time to sample local hospitality, and a mix of modern and traditional, why not visit: The Ditsy Teacup, vintage style tea room, and The Drouthy Cobbler café & lounge bar, both in the centre of Elgin. Or just outside town in New Elgin: the Allarburn Farm Shop café, and The Cottar Hoose pub.
We have included useful links and PDF guides to Elgin and the Moray Coast further down this page. And to keep up to date with news from the Moray community, we recommend the website: insideMORAY.com.
Events at Elgin Library, located in Cooper Park.
Exhibitions at Elgin Museum, located at 1 High Street.
Events at Elgin Town Hall, located at 5 Trinity Place.
Facebook page for Events in Moray.
Normally held on the third Saturday of each month on the Plainstones, Elgin High Street.
An excellent guide to upcoming events in Elgin and Moray.
Hotel room booking website
Wide variety of accommodation to let, in and around Elgin
Hotel deals for in and around Elgin
Hotels in Elgin, on this popular website
Another popular hotel listing website
Guide to 15 Scottish Airports
Website of main bus service in Elgin and Moray
One of many car rental companies in Elgin
Menu with local public transport information
Railway guide for Scotland
Taxi and private hire companies on Yell directory
Brief Visit Scotland PDF Guide (2 pages)
Scottish Natural Heritage PDF Guide (80 pages)
Scottish Natural Heritage PDF Guide (40 pages)