Moray is the area that covers the area South of the Moray Firth between Aberdeenshire and Inverness City. Parts of this area also get called Banffshire and Aberdeenshire. It covers a good deal of the Northern and Eastern part of the Whisky trail and includes the area of outstanding natural beauty that is found along the Spey valley. The main city within the area is Elgin with its famous and spectacular cathedral but the whole area is stunning and the Moray Firth coastline has a wild and inspiring atmosphere.
Moray has many beauty spots along the Moray Firth, magnificent woodlands and riverbank grasslands that trace the winding river valleys that includes the upper reach of the Spey. Gight Wood is a particularly recommended wildlife reserve, but we also recommend Bow Fiddle Rock, Randolphs Leap, Roseisle Forest, Torrieston Forest Walks and Winding Walks
The one art gallery that Private House Stays recommends in the Moray area is The Lantern Gallery of Fine Art in Elgin. There are also a couple of Museums with links below and also The Moray Motor Museum in Elgin
Moray has the backdrop of the Grampian Mountains to its South-West and miles of often-deserted wide beaches and cliff-lined coastline. It makes for a wonderful area for nature and bird-watching both along the North-east coast above Aberdeen and along the Eastern end of the Moray Firth. The nature reserves that are particularly recommended include Red Moss of Netherley (particularly for wild flowers), and Coulnacraig Meadow (particularly for wild flowers and Yellowhammer, curlew, redshank, lapwing and snipe). These two above are both South of Aberdeen city. Also there is Gight Wood (for willow warbler, sedge warbler, jay and buzzards), Longhaven Cliffs (for Guillemot, kittiwake, shag, puffin and razorbill) and Spey Bay (for Osprey, redshank, wigeon, teal, goldeneye, mute swan, common and arctic tern)
The area that Private House Stays defines as Morayshire includes the heart of The Whisky Trail. This is a term that seems to be a marketing exercise to encourage tours visiting the huge amount of distilleries that are located between Aberdeen and Inverness, but it can be a little confusing because there are a number of small (but still famous) brands that only occasionally or by special arrangement welcome visitors to see round the distillery sites. In order to help tourists we list the distillery names in the blog post link below, approximately grouped around the nearest towns with telephone numbers and websites for those that are most orientated around visitors: Distilleries blog post
Private House Stays recommends the following Ancient Castles within the Moray area with links below and also Gight Castle within the Gight Wood reserve.
Private House Stays recommends the following Abbeys and churches within the Moray area with links below and also Cullen Auld Kirk, the ruined Deskford Church, the ruins of Kinloss Abbey and Pluscarden Abbey