The TV adverts have started, the countdown is on – Christmas is around the corner! Greater Speyside is a magical place to be this festive season, with a host of seasonal events and beautiful surroundings in which to relax and unwind.
Cosy up in one of the area’s many lovely cafes and restaurants with a hot chocolate and mince pie, head to a Christmas market (or two!), take a festive train journey or even visit the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck when it rolls into town (at The Plainstones in Elgin on November 28th).
If you’d rather be far from the Christmas madding crowd, head out into the great outdoors for peaceful woodland walks, tranquil beach scenery and exhilarating hill views. There are plenty of places in which you can bask in the area’s winter beauty from the enchanting Cairngorms National Park (where you can also visit the UK’s only herd of Reindeer) to the picturesque Moray Coast.
These festive events and activities are sure to light up your November and December with some seasonal sparkle.
Brodie Castle Christmas Fair and Winter Festival
On November 29th and 30th Brodie Castle and Stables will be transformed into a winter wonderland – the perfect setting for a Christmas Craft and Food Fair. Enjoy the festive atmosphere while you shop for beautiful crafts and a range of foods, and relax afterwards with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine. Tickets cost £4 per adult and the price includes a mince pie and glass of non-alcoholic mulled punch.
On 7th December the 16th century castle is also the venue for Earthtime’s Winter Festival where children can enjoy a variety of festive events from making Christmas crafts inspired by nature to storytelling and marshmallow toasting. Tickets cost £5 per child if booked in advance and £10 on the day.
Festive events at nearby Brodie Countryfare include Santa in his grotto on 18th December, carol singing to accompany your Christmas shopping on 17th and 21st December, and Reindeer Day on 23rd December. Visit Santa’s herd of Reindeer in their pen, before waving Santa off at his farewell parade. There is also a special winter BBQ and a children’s fairground ride.
Moray Arts Centre Christmas Market
To buy some locally handmade crafts as Christmas gifts why not head to the Moray Arts Centre in Findhorn? From 15th November to 15th January there will be a Christmas Market in the Community Gallery with crafts and paintings from a number of local artists. The nearby Findhorn Pottery is also a lovely place to pick up beautifully handcrafted gifts.
Logie Steading Christmas Market
Get in the Christmas spirit at Logie Steading on the 13th December at their Christmas Market. Soak up the festive atmosphere with carols, Christmas trees and wreaths, festive crafts, mulled wine and minced pies. Afterwards, why not take a stroll from the Visitor Centre along the River Findhorn?
Santa at Baxters Highland Village
Santa will arrive at Baxters Highland Village near Fochabers on 30th November to open his grotto, and you can visit him every Saturday and Sunday throughout December (and even have breakfast with him from 9.00am to 10.30am). On Christmas Eve you can see Santa and Mrs Claus depart with their reindeer to get ready for the big day.
Eden Court Christmas Art, Craft and Food Fair
In Inverness Eden Court Theatre will host a Christmas Art, Craft and Food Fair from 14th to 16th November and again from 5th to 7th December. It is a wonderful opportunity to buy some beautiful and unique handmade arts, crafts and foods, with over 90 exhibitor stalls to browse.
Deskford Garden Galleries Christmas Market
Stop by the lovely Deskford Garden Galleries near Buckie on 23rd November from 11am-4pm for their Christmas market. There will be lots of festival stalls to browse, giving you inspiration for Christmas gifts, cards and decoration. There will also be carols, storytelling and a chance to write a letter to Santa, as well as a special Winter Warmer Menu in the Willows Tea Room. From 1st – 23rd December you can enjoy a festive menu for lunch or dinner (pre-booking only).
A Victorian Christmas at Delgattie Castle
Step back in time at Turriff’s Delgattie Castle this festive season. Enjoy the authentic Victorian atmosphere of the Delgattie Castle Victorian Christmas, held on 29th – 30th November and 6th – 7th December, with staff dressed in period clothing and the castle beautifully decorated. Visit crafters in the castle rooms and Santa, who has a present for every child. Tickets cost £5.
Festive Steam Train Journeys
All aboard for festive fun! There are Santa Specials on the Whisky Line from Dufftown to Keith in December where you can meet Santa and have your photo taken at the ‘North Pole’ (where there is a Christmas tree and wooden sleigh). Tickets cost £6 per adult and £10 per child (3-12 year olds) which includes a gift from Santa.
In the Aviemore area you can hop on board the Strathspey Steam Railway for one of their Mince Pie Specials at the end of December and on the 1st and 2nd January. Relax after the busy run up to Christmas with mulled wine and a mince pie as the steam train whisks you through some spectacular winter scenery.