Our recommended list of things to see and do during you stay at Blackhills Estate

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor pursuits, sea life, birds or beaches, the Highlands has so many activities to offer. Read our recommended list below and find out what we think are the best ways to pass your time while you’re staying with us…

Speyside's Distilleries

A stay at Blackhills puts you right in the heart of Speyside’s famous heritage of malt whisky. With numerous distilleries to visit nearby, including those on the official Malt Whisky Trail, you can sample the world’s best-loved brands and discover new artisanal favourites, all a stone’s throw from the picturesque River Spey. 

The Malt Whisky Trail (Visit Scotland)
Aberlour Distillery
Benromach Distillery
Cardhu Distillery
Craggenmore Distillery
Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery
Glenfiddich Distillery
Glen Grant Distillery
Glen Moray Distillery
The Glenlivet Distillery
The Macallan Visitor Centre
Speyside Cooperage

If you’re planning on a whisky-tasting tour and want to leave the driving to the professionals: 

Elgin taxis
Copper Still
Ace tours
Craigellachie Cars


Elgin Cathedral
Known as The Lantern of the North, Elgin Cathedral is an example of Scotland’s finest medieval architecture and visitors have access-all-areas to the ruins. Stand next to a stone bishop in the nave or try to decipher messages in the new stone carving exhibition. There are fact-finding quizzes for families and guided tours run every day through July and August.

Shinty Games 
The game of shinty is akin to hurling and field hockey where a caman (stick) is used to pass a ball between players in a bid to hit the back of a hail (goal) and score points. It is a fast-paced, highly competitive contact sport.The rules differ in that both sides of the stick may be used and there is no restriction on the height of the ball so passing overhead is possible. Sounds dangerous! Its history is entwined with the culture and heritage of the Highlands. 
Find out more about Shinty in the Highlands here.

Highland games 
Highland games, which take place spring through to summer, are an excellent way to soak up local traditions. Families can enjoy the varied spectacle of traditional Highland Games, including hammer throwing, caber tossing, competitive Highland dancing, piping events, a variety of stalls and more. Our nearest is usually held on the third weekend of May at Gordon Castle but there are also events in Aberlour.

Gordon Castle
Not merely a historically significant building and estate, Gordon Castle has diversified in recent years to become a multifaceted family attraction.Visitors can enjoy nature walks and natural play areas for children in the grounds, sample food from the Castle’s own garden in the café, experience world-class salmon fishing on the Spey, and even take home a memento of their stay from the extensive Gordon Castle brand, including gin, glassware, toiletries and hand-crafted wood.

Knockando Woolmill.
Knockando Woolmill is located in the heart of Speyside and has been weaving luxury fabric since 1784. Passed down through generations, the Mill has enabled the craft of carding, spinning and weaving to be continued and is one of the last to show the full textile process. Keeping traditional craftmanship alive provides a window into the past, making it so special.

Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens
Fifteen minutes from the Mill. Trace the history of the Macpherson-Grants from feuding clans to working Estate. Enjoy beautiful gardens and tree-lined walks, visit the gift shop and sample the delightful tearoom. Gluten and dairy free and vegetarian options are available. Ballindalloch Distillery is only a further six minutes from the castle and the golf course just five, so why not make a day of it?

Cawdor Castle
Built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Calder, Cawdor Castle is the infamous setting for Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth. Visitors can enjoy the castle from a historical and literary perspective. Salmon fishing, nature trails, beautiful gardens and a courtyard café make this a bit of an all-rounder.


Britain’s most Northerly heritage railway, The Keith & Dufftown Railway, is a beautiful 11-mile line linking the world’s malt whisky capital, Dufftown, with the historic town of Keith. Check out their events and specials with ghost trains, Santa Specials, 1940s weekends and more. Living stills from the multitude of distilleries provide atmosphere all along the track

The Strathspey Steam Railway is further away in Aviemore but also very atmospheric.

Outdoor Pursuits 

Speyside offers a plethora of once-in-a-lifetime, authentic, outdoor experiences. Whether you like to climb mountains, take to the seas, ride on horseback or enjoy a coastal walk with your dog, there are so many choices to suit all requirements. If it’s a transformational experience you’re looking for, the Highlands has been catering to your needs for decades. From establishing a connection to the Earth through traversing mountains and seeing the world from a different angle to exploring one of the first eco-villages in the world there are a wide range of meaningful experiences to be explored. Our heritage is established and Highland culture is alive and well.


Speyside Way
Follow one of Scotland’s four official ‘Long Distance Routes’ along the beautiful River Spey.

Moray Coastal Trail
Explore the Moray Firth’s marvellous landscape, walking cliff paths, beaches and roads on a route that takes in caves, fisheries, rare plants and wildlife.

Moray Monster Trails
There’s a Monster Trail to suit cyclists of all abilities, from beginner to expert, with maps downloadable from the Trails website.

Dava Way
This footpath spans a twenty-four mile stretch of farmland, woodland and moorland, largely following the old Highland Railway. It also intersects with the Rivers Spey and Findhorn, on which kayaking and canoeing are available.


Cairngorms National Park
The UK’s largest National Park covers a variety of terrains and offers a great many activities, including cycling, climbing and walking, surrounded by spectacular scenery.

Glenlivet Mountain Bike Trails
Enjoy family-friendly fun on purpose-built biking trails among the terrific scenery of the Glenlivet Estate, replete with bicycle hire and café.


Ness and Moray Yacht Charters
Set off from Inverness aboard a chartered yacht to enjoy the Moray Firth, Loch Ness or the Caledonian Canal from a sailor’s-eye view.


The Highlands and Speyside boast some of the world’s best golf courses, including those that host international tournaments.Tee off in the glorious glow of the Sunshine Coast.


Moray Speyside Golf
A rich repository of information covering many of the golf courses in the region.


You're spoilt for choice! Take advantage of the many miles of golden sand and clear, clean water. The Moray Firth has been recognised by National Geographic as one of the 12 most beautiful and unspoiled coastlines in the world, and it is on our doorstep. You might even see seals and dolphins. Dogs are welcomed on all beaches, please remember to take dog poo bags with you.

Lossiemouth (20 minute drive). 
East beach is our favourite. Although sadly no longer accessible on foot from town until the bridge is fixed, it is accessible from further up where you can also see interesting stone blacks remaining from WW2. West beach, behind the golf course, is rockier but still a nice walk that takes you to and beyond the lighthouse. Free parking.
Google Maps

Hopeman (30 minute drive). 
Rock pools and ice cream parlours make this one of the children’s favourites. It’s good for swimming also. And when you’re done with that, there’s a playpark by the beach and the Bootleggers’ Bothy - a bus serving delicious things - overlooking the sea on West Beach Caravan Park. Parking is free.
Google Maps

Roseisle (25 minute drive). 
Lovely forest, sand dunes and bay that is excellent for swimming. Park at the forestry car park - there’s a small charge so bring some change.
Google Maps

Findhorn (35 minute drive). 
Spot a seal or try crabbing off the pier. The crabs are particularly keen on bacon. It’s a stony beach at high tide but sandy at low.
Google Maps

Cullen (30 minute drive). 
Lovely aqueduct and walks. Try Cullen Skink and hunt collectibles at the Cullen Salvage Yard.
Google Maps

Burghead (25 minute drive). 
Cool Pictish fort with dolphin watching area and traditional working fishing harbour.
Google Maps


Cranloch Riding Centre
Adjacent to Blackhills Estate and the base of the Moray group of Riding for the Disabled Association is the friendly Cranloch riding centre offering lessons, hacks and events in school holidays for ages 6 and over. Enjoy the beautiful local woodland and farmland on horseback. Cranloch Riding Centre also has a jumping area and an outdoor arena.
01343 842215
07974 930455

Equus Riding, Roseisle
We love the beach hacks and forest rides run by Equus Riding. Pony parties for children and their families are a popular present.
Contact Lisa Malone
07917 572154

Elgin Kart Raceway and Activity Centre
Fun for all the family, with karting, laser tag, laser clay pigeon shooting and more.
01343 843666

The Loft
Seek out magical beasts on the kid-friendly Fairy Trail or play in The Giants Play Ground on this working farm.

Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Carrbridge
At this park on the edge of the Cairngorms, kids of all ages can be wowed by attractions such as life-size animatronic dinosaurs, tropical flora and fauna, and immersive optical illusions.
01479 841613

Zip Trek Park
Thrilling aerial rides through a pine forest in the Cairgorms. For ages 8 and up.
01540 651777

Loch Insh Outdoor Centre, Kincraig
Multi-activity venue offering windsurfing, kayaking and open canoeing as well as drier pursuits like archery, mountain biking and skiing, among many others.
01540 651 272

Highland Wildlife Park
Meet Japanese macaques, Amur tigers and polar bears, as well as native species such as capercaillies and Scottish wildcats at this conservation-focused park.

Wilderness Scotland
Explore the breathtaking Speyside scenery by canoe.

Monster Hunting
Loch Ness is only 90 minutes away! Take binoculars and notebooks, just in case.

Away from light pollution, at Blackhills all you have to do is look up: Northern Lights along the coast, Glenlivet dark skies, shooting stars….


A guide to fishing on five Scottish rivers, including the famously productive Spey and Findhorn in Moray.

Links to angling associations and a directory of daily and weekly fishing permits, including for the Findhorn and the Spey.

Comprising two interconnected lochs set amid peaceful woodland, Millbuies offers fly-fishers some superb trout fishing.

Glen of Rothes
Stillwater bank fishing for several varieties of trout at this scenic Highland resort.

Mill of Kellas
Anglers at all levels of expertise can cast for several varieties of trout in the Estate’s three fishing lochs.

Transformational Experiences  

The Findhorn Foundation
Premier exponents of newly-coined transformational tourism, the Findhorn Foundation offers yoga and art workshops, tours of the eco-village and courses in ecovillage and permaculture design, building alternative water systems and renewable energy. There are also places to stay so you can immerse yourself in the ecovillage life.


Johnstons of Elgin
Producer of luxury woollen and cashmere goods since 1797, with a wool mill on-site, discover high-end Highland cloth and couture. Open during the day, it’s a fine place for lunch and browsing cashmere scarves. You can book a free tour of the mill which lasts about 45 minutes.

Gordon Castle Walled Garden
As beautiful as it is productive, this is one of Britain’s oldest kitchen gardens, restored by Arne Maynard.Almost eight acres in size, replete with a children’s play area.

Brodie Countryfare
Retailer of clothing, accessories and an array of Scottish gifts, foods and hampers, Brodie Countryfare is a few minutes’ drive from Brodie Castle.Also has an award- winning family restaurant.

Logie Steading
A repurposed model farm from the 1920s, Logie Steading now houses an impressive range of artisanal businesses and eateries.Also boasts beautiful gardens, a play park, river walks and more.

Other useful websites: 

Speyside Escapes
Bespoke local tours on a number of themes, including whisky and Scottish ancestry. The Heart of Speyside tour takes in Speyside Cooperage, Ballindaloch Castle, Knockando Woolmill, Elgin Cathedral and refreshment stops at local distilleries and restaurants.

Walk Highlands
A guide to established walks covering all levels of difficulty, including routes and maps for climbing Munros.


Established in 1887,Yeadon’s are one of the oldest book traders in the country. Expect an ‘eclectic selection of books, stationery and pens’.
01343 542411 

Where to stock up for your stay... 


We dream about the seafood take-away platter from this deli in Lossiemouth! Mouth-watering lobster tails, crab, prawns...whatever’s caught that morning ends up on your plate. Perfect for a fishing lunch, party or picnic. Seafood platters cost around £12 per person. Home cooked sausage rolls with proper flaky pastry also very popular. Phone in advance to place your order.
01343 200030

Burghead Shellfish
Freshly locally caught langoustines and hand-dived scallops sold direct from the boat at Burghead Harbour. You cannot get fresher seafood! They can also supply lobster, crab & squid on request. Place orders by private message via Facebook. Delivery may be available.

Cluny Fish, Buckie
Shop with smokehouse (not currently open to the public) selling fine Scottish smoked salmon and seafoods from the wild seas around Scotland. Hampers and extras.
01542 833950

Fish Trawler
Fresh local fish and sea food, live or cooked lobsters and crabs daily
B&Q car park, Edgar Road, IV30, Elgin, Moray
07950 796212


R. George
34 St. Andrews Road, Lhanbryde, IV30 8NZ
01343 842249

John Davidsons - Royans of Elgin
Quality traditional butcher. Also offers mail order.
190 High Street, Elgin.
01343 542479


Woodside Farm Shop, Kinloss
Homegrown and local fresh fruit, veg & meat.
01309 690258

Wester Hardmuir Fruit Farm, Auldearn
Raspberry and strawberry picking
01309 641259

Allaburn Farm Shop
Farm shop selling local meat, eggs, vegetables, jams, chutneys, cakes and more from small-scale a producers.There’s a cafe, too.
01343 546 484

Eco & Ethical

The Re:Store
Zero waste refill shop in Lossiemouth offering an alternative to supermarket shopping. Buy sustainable, ethical and eco products and take your containers for refilling.
01343 815000

The Phoenix Shop and Cafe
Community-owned and award-winning food store, apothecary and bookshop selling local, organic produce in Findhorn eco-village.
01309 690110


Torta by Katalin
Amazing freshly-bakes cakes and sweet treats available for delivery. If your stay with us is a birthday treat, this is the place to get your cake.
07731 666389


Grazing boxes & platters. Pre-order essential for delivery.

Walkers Shortbread Factory Shop, Aberlour
outlet where you can buy great deals of factory seconds of this legendary pure butter shortbread (suitable for vegetarians and certified Kosher OU-D). You can sometimes catch the warm buttery scent wafting around Elgin where there’s a sister factory.
www.walkersshortbread.com 01340 871555

The Spey Larder
A long-established delicatessen, stocking specialist foods, wine and whisky and rustic gifts.
01340 871243

Whisky, Wines, Beer & Spirits

Gordon & MacPhail
An essential visit for the malt whisky connoisseur. There are so many gems to choose from. It might be worth perusing their stock online before your visit! In-store tasting from their stock of around 1000 different malt whiskies, quality wines and spirits.
01343 545110

Established by two ex-RAF pilots with a shared love of a rewarding pint,Windswept Brewing Company has a beer for all occasions.Visit the tap room bar for a drink with friends or buy beer from the shop. Click and collect orders can be made online at their website.Tours are available, too.


The Taste of Moray. 
Family-run outside caterers providing hog roasts for weddings and parties. Roasts come with apple sauce, rolls, crackling, machine, gas plus carver to cook and carve.
01667 451051

Speyside Kitchen
Catering and delivery service of made-to-order menus, oven-ready dishes, complete holiday packages (breakfast, luncheon, supper & dinner box), seasonal picnics, BBQ feasts and more. All produce locally and sourced in Speyside.
01479 861387 / 07925544473

We dream about the seafood take-away platter from this deli in Lossiemouth! Mouth-watering lobster tails, crab, prawns...whatever’s caught that morning ends up on your plate. Perfect for a fishing lunch, party or picnic. Seafood platters cost around £12 per person. Home cooked sausage rolls with proper flaky pastry also very popular. Phone in advance to place your order. 
01343 200030 

Where to eat and drink..  

In no particular order, these are some of our favourites:

Harbour Lights, Lossiemouth
Daytime café and bistro restaurant overlooking Lossiemouth Marina. Serves breakfasts, lunches, home baking and hot drinks. Good for local specialities and nice beach walk afterwards. Try Stovies or Cullen Skink. Table booking only by telephone.
01343 814622

Windswept Brewery Taproom, Lossiemouth.
If you’re lucky you’ll spot our sister-in-law. Come here for beers or coffees.

Scribbles, Elgin
Family restaurant serving sharing platters, burgers and more.
01343 542835

Fochabers Fish Bar, Fochabers.
Our local fish and chip shop.

Planta Cafe & Eatery, Elgin
Coffee and fresh, natural, healthy food.
01343 200210

Bootleggers Bothy, West Beach Caravan Park, Hopeman
Take-away of delicious things overlooking the sea.
01343 830006

The Bothy Bistro, Burghead
Eatery with extensive Scottish menu and excellent seafood.
01343 830006

Cafe Kombucha, Elgin.
Elgin’s new vegan cafe serving excellent Open during the day or in the evening for parties. It’s on the High Street, up from M&S.
01343 551093

The Drouthy Cobbler
Gastropub with a changing specials menu serving British cuisine with a good selection of whiskies. Nice seasonal pub grub, speciality cocktails and coffee in a cosy laid-back setting. Vegan and vegetarian options available. Open in the evening.
01343 591824

Copper Dog, Craigellachie
Farm-to-fork pub lunches and dinners served seven days a week, sourced largely from within a 50-mile radius. Perfect for anyone touring the Speyside distilleries. Fancy Scottish food and loads of whiskies. You can take your dog into the bar area too and enjoy a dram by the open fire.
01340 881204

The Seafood Restaurant & Grill, Lossiemouth.
Fine dining. Fresh and locally-sourced produce from land and sea. Bring your own bottle for a £2.50 corkage.
01343 810543

The Captains Table, Findhorn
Tasty burgers on the sea front next to the RYA sailing school. Extensive menu covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open from 8 am ’til 10 pm
01309 690663

Kimberley Inn, Findhorn
Friendly pub offering great food, sourced locally where possible. We love the fish and chips, here. Stunning views of Findhorn Bay.
01309 690492

The Bakehouse Cafe, Findhorn
Fresh, organic and local produce made into delicious breakfasts and lunches. Vegan and vegetarian options available. They do takeout pizzas weekends, too. Check the website.
01309 691826

La Bohème, Findhorn
Pizza, kitchen and juice bar at the Findhorn Foundation


The Storehouse of Foulis, Dingwall
Farmshop and restaurant on the shore of Cromarty Firth with outstanding views over the Black Isle. The menu changes daily to take advantage of all the fabulous local produce available and as they only make small amounts of everything, it changes through the day, too. A full take-away service is available if you don’t have time to stop.
01349 830038