Quick and Easy Tourist Guide to Elgin, Moray, Scotland
MacBeth was Mormaer (Earl) of this region of Scotland when he killed Duncan I at a battle near Elgin in 1040. Becoming king of Scotland, till his death in 1057. In the middle of the 12th century, King David I of Scotland granted Elgin the status of Royal Burgh. A few decades later, In the first half of the 13th century, King Alexander II of Scotland granted the city a Royal Charter.
The main attraction at this time was the magnificent Elgin Cathedral. Completed in the middle of the 13th century, after taking 20 years to build. It was considered one of Scotland's most beautiful, until it was 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 100 years.
Other main sites of historic interest, in the local area are: the Benedictine Monastery, Pluscarden Abbey, which is still inhabited by monks, 6 miles to the south-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 historic 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 Televison documentary.
Nestled between the borders of The Highlands and Aberdeenshire, the improvements to the rail network in the mid 19th century, opened the area to tourism from all over the country. Some of the main attractions being textiles, the whisky industry and the stunning Moray coastline.
Traditional places of interest worth visiting today are, 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 and informal distillery, established on the banks of the River Lossie in 1897. Or if traditional Scottish soups and condiments are more your thing, why not visit Baxters Highland Village, just 9 miles to the east of the city in beautiful Fochabers.
The traditional sport of golf is of course 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 recommend, this British Pathé film on Scottish Cashmere production, from 1961. These Visit Scotland short films on Scottish Whisky production, and Golf in Scotland. And these North East Farming Ballads, The Gaugers: 'The Scranky Black Farmer', Shona Donaldson: 'Drumdelgie' and Tam Reid: 'Bogie's Bonnie Belle'.
Elgin, twinned with Landshut in Germany in 1956, is the civic and geographical centre of Morayshire, and 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 23 thousand.
It is served by a modern road network along the A96. Making Elgin the ideal hub to visit not just local historical sites and traditional industries, but, with a moderate climate (for this part of Scotland), it is the idea gateway for a host of outdoor activities. With various walking routes, the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, Lossie Beach, racing at Elgin Kart Raceway, and numerous activities on offer at Moray Leisure Centre, ranging from an ice rink to beauty therapy. There is something to be enjoyed by visitors both young and young at heart.
When it comes time to sample a flavour of local hospitality, and a mix of modern and traditional, why not visit: The Ditsy Teacup, vintage style tea room, or The Drouthy Cobbler café & lounge bar, both in the centre of Elgin. Or a little further afield in New Elgin: The Allarburn Farm Shop café, or The Cottar Hoose pub.
We have include a short list of PDF Guides to Elgin and the Moray Coast, further down this page.