V is for Visitor Centre and since Scotland is continually one of the most visited countries we have plenty of Visitor Centres to choose from. This part of Scotland features a coastal community along the Moray Firth on the North Sea that is home to many world famous brands. Here are a few of my recommended Visitor Centres to visit if you are staying with us.
Needing no introduction the Visitor Centre at Culloden is a must see. There is short totally enthralling video of the Battle which wraps you up in this historic battle that changed the Scottish Highlands forever. Many of you may be international visitors as a result of this very Battle. Once you have absorbed the film and viewed the exhibits then walk out onto the Moor and view the Scottish and English lines, the Clan Stones and absorb the eerie memories. Even on a sunny day to me the Moor is always cold, windy and evocative.
Elgin is home to Johnstons of Elgin, the 223-year-old mill that produces that most iconic of Scottish fashions, the classic tartan, in luxurious cashmere and wool. Free mill tours demonstrate the process from natural fibre to finished apparel.
Our region is also whisky heaven with more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries situated in the Speyside area, including such famous names as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Glen Moray. Once again Elgin is home of Glen Moray.
As you drive into town you will notice the vast numbers of bonded warehouses before you find your way up to the well hidden distillery tucked into a quiet corner of Elgin.
I love Glen Moray for it’s lovely little cafe set in middle of the distillery with the smell of malt in the air and the wonderful selection of produce in the store. Take the time to do a tour, have a tasting and then a bite to eat – relax and enjoy.
Another step back in time and a special little taste of history combined with quality Scottish goods. First listed as the ‘Wauk Mill’ in parish records from 1784, Knockando Woolmill was always at the heart of the community, with local farmers bringing their fleeces to be converted into fabric or knitting yarn.
Today the Woollen Mill shows you not just the way things were woven but the way people lived with their collection of dwellings in this charming moorland glen. Even today the Mill is very much part of the Community as it produces the woollen robes for the monks at nearby Pluscarden Abbey. The Mill produces wonderful woven tweeds and you find you own special product in their exquisite gift shop. The drive across the Moors to the Mill is beautiful and you can even walk a little of the Speyside Way while you are there.
Take a step back in time and discover the story of Baxters’ from the old grocery shop set up in 1869. Baxters a family owned local business renowned world wide for their delicious tinned soups, chutneys, jams and so much more. In a stunning position right beside the River Spey and worth the stop just to admire the River alone.
Of course you might be tempted to visit the original store and deliberate over some of the produce on offer. You can even sample some in the Cafe. If you are looking for treats to take home there is a wonderful selection of some of the best Scottish produce. If you haven’t had a chance to try Cullen Skink yet then buy some of Baxters – I can highly recommend it and you get 25% purchasing at the shop.
So here are 5 great Visitor Centres for you to visit if staying with us in Scotland, we will have to see how the Covid 19 restrictions affect opening in due course but it always good to have a plan for where and what you might want to see.