Scotland | Visiting Findhorn and the surrounding Moray beaches

Findhorn is a beautiful little seaside village on the Moray coast, in the North East of Scotland. Gordon spent the first few years of his childhood living in a family run hotel here, and has shared many a story of growing up on the peninsula - including how he "ran away" to the Findhorn Foundation at 4 years old! We have a habit of visiting Findhorn and the surrounding Moray beaches on a hot summers day, which he tells me is down to the area's micro climate, and not just luck or good planning! Just a two hour drive from Aberdeen, Findhorn makes the perfect little post lockdown day trip, but what is there to see and do in the area?


Row of colourful beach huts on a pebbled beach alongside sand and sea

Things to do in Findhorn


1. Enjoy a walk to the beach huts - Findhorn beach is a must visit at any time of year. During high tide, only the pebble covered expanse is accessible however, the sands stretch for miles when the tide is low. You'll find families picnicking, children splashing in the water and even older couples reading side by side on the sand. The picture perfect rainbow of beach huts are a recent addition, only appearing in the last few years. Idyllic they may be, but owning one of these 5ft square seaside sheds would set you back a hefty £25k - at least!


There is ample parking by the beach, with toilet facilities and a small charge by honesty box. You can also reach the beach from the village itself. Simply follow the bay on foot past the Captain's Table and round. The colourful huts will soon come into view.


Gull painted on the side of a blue beach hut at Findhorn beach



2. Take a boat trip to the Culbin Sands and look out for seals - Visible from the beach, across the bay is the Culbin Sands nature reserve and forest, owned by the RSPB and Forestry Commission. This part of the coast is a special protection area, due to it's unique shifting sand dune system and open habitat, which plays host to a number of unusual birds, butterflies and even common lizards in the summer. 


From Findhorn marina, you can take a boat trip with North 58 Sea Adventures across the bay to the Culbin Sands for just £6 (£3 for kids) in their water taxi. Explore the forest trails and pack a picnic to make a day of it. Alternatively you can take a 20 minute seal spotting trip for the same price, or book their 2 hour long wildlife experience at £30 per adult, or £25 for children. The Moray Firth is well known for it's resident bottlenose dolphins, but occasionally minke whales and basking sharks, and (very occasionally) even orcas have been spotted!


3. Hire a kayak or paddleboard at Findhorn Marina - On a sunny day Findhorn is a hot spot for water activities. If you fancy getting in on the action yourself, you can hire kayaks or stand up paddleboards, and even sailing boats if you're RYA level 2 certified, from Findhorn Marina. Kayaks and SUPs cost £15 per hour, with an extra £5 charge to hire wetsuits or life jackets. The bay is a lovely sheltered spot to test out your skills.


View of Culbin sands and forest from Findhorn beach


4. Explore the Findhorn Foundation Eco Village - Possibly one of the area's most well known assets is the Findhorn Foundation - a charitable trust founded in 1962. The holistic learning centre and Eco Village is home to a spiritual community that practices love and mindfulness through meditation and work in nature. The grounds are open to the general public and make for a lovely walk. 


Pop into the Phoenix shop by the entrance to buy a guide for £7, and browse their range of holistic medicines, local and ethical food, books, crafts and gifts. A little further along you'll find the Phoenix Cafe, where you can enjoy freshly prepared vegetarian food. Grab a coffee and a croissant for a perfectly relaxed start to your day out on the garden terrace. From here visit the Universal Hall - a unique pentagonal building housing a theatre and events space. "Whole of the Moon" singers The Waterboys actually recorded their "Universal Hall" album right here in it's namesake. Admire the gardens and unusual homes like the whisky barrel houses as you wander the grounds, and don't miss the two pottery and weaving studios.


The Foundation is located at "The Park", with a clearly signed turn off to the right from the B9011 just before Findhorn.


Rustic sign outside the Kimberley Inn in Findhorn


Where to eat in Findhorn


1. The Kimberley Inn - A quaint, traditional pub overlooking the water, The Kimberley is my top pick for dinner in Findhorn, particularly for seafood lovers. In the summer, grab a table outside in the sun or cosy up inside by the fire during winter. They serve all the classics - think beef burgers, steak pies, chicken curry and fish and chips, which I can never resist. On the specials menu you'll often find freshly landed langoustines, lobster or crab and lots more delicious, locally sourced options. It does get busy here so book ahead if possible, or be prepared to wait!


The Kimberley Inn, 94 Findhorn, IV36 3YG


2. The Bakehouse Cafe - For artisan baking and the best breakfast around, head to The Bakehouse. Located right in the centre of the village (handily just a 2 minute stroll from Gordon's aunty's house!), this coffee shop and organic bakery is open 7 days a week, hosting pizza nights every weekend. He recommends the full Bakehouse Breakfast, whilst I'm a fan of the French toast. Lunch options include falafel, dahl and focaccia sandwiches, with plenty vegetarian dishes available. You can also purchase fresh loaves, a plethora of cookies and other goodies to take away.


The Bakehouse Cafe, 91-92 Findhorn, IV36 3YG


French toast with bacon and maple syrup from the Bakehouse Cafe

3. The Captain's Table - Down at Findhorn marina, stop by the Captain's Table and watch the world go by with a cold pint of local beer. Breakfast is served til noon, with a range of soups, sandwiches and classic fish dishes on offer from lunch time. If you have a sweet tooth settle down for a cup of tea and choose from one of the many cakes and bakes. There's also a wee ice cream parlour if you need a cool down!


The Captain's Table, Findhorn Marina, IV36 3YE


4. The Crown & Anchor Inn - In one of Findhorn's oldest buildings, dating back to 1739, you'll find this family run hotel and restaurant. It has a classic, local pub feel and the menu is very much "pub grub", using fresh, local produce, again with a focus on seafood. I recommend the mussels. At the bar you'll find an excellent whisky selection, and this is also where I first tried and fell in love with gin! Sit out in the "eatooterie" in the summer to soak up the sun overlooking the bay.


The Crown & Anchor Inn, Findhorn, IV36 3YF 


5. La Boheme - Located at the Findhorn Foundation's Park site, La Boheme is a pizzeria and juice bar, currently open for takeaways Thursday - Sunday. Alongside their selection of pizzas you'll find salads, sides of bruschetta, hummus and baba ganoush, and regularly changing specials such as homemade lasagne. You'll find them just inside the entrance to the Park.


La Boheme, The Park, Findhorn, IV36 3TZ


Stained glass windows on the entrance to the Universal Hall at the Findhorn Foundation


 Where to stay in Findhorn


1. Camp at Findhorn Bay Holiday Park - Camping is one of the most affordable options when it comes to accommodation, and this site based at the Findhorn Foundation is the perfect spot. We paid £33 for 2 people in a small tent for 2 nights a couple of years ago. The facilities were up to scratch and we were just a a couple of minutes walk from the Phoenix shop and cafe. Although a little further from the village itself, it's still walkable. You can also stay in one of Findhorn Bay Holiday Park's eco pods or chalets!


2. Book a seaside Airbnb - There are lots of Airbnb options around the Moray coast, with a couple in Findhorn itself. Our extended family have stayed in this 4 bedroom house before, which was lovely and spacious, and right in the centre of the village.


Crown and Anchor Inn in Findhorn


3. Kimberley House - The proprietors of the Kimberley Inn bar and restaurant, also have some luxury holiday homes in their portfolio. Kimberley House, once a traditional village cottage overlooking the water, has been refurbished to the highest standard. A stay in this stunning 2 bedroom accommodation costs £170 per night. Tipsea Cottage is slightly more affordable at £150 a night, or for larger groups, up to 10 people, check out Sandspoint.


4. The Crown and Anchor Inn - For the most central location possible, you can stay at the Crown and Anchor Inn from around £75 per night. Rooms are fairly basic but comfortable and homely, with all the necessities, including wifi and on site parking. Plus it's only a short stumble  to bed after a night in the pub!


Grassy dunes at Roseisle beach on the Moray Coast


Other must visit Moray beaches


1. Roseisle - This forest and beach, just a 15 minute drive from Findhorn, is a beautiful spot for a picnic. It's well equipped, with a large parking area (£2 charge for the day), toilets, picnic benches and play area. The pinewood trails make great walks, with the chance to see local wildlife such as red squirrels and seals. An array of concrete structures found across Roseisle beach are actually old pillboxes and defence structures dating back to World War II, many of which are now subsiding and sinking into the sand!


Roseisle is well signposted, between Kinloss and Burghead, but if using SatNav, the nearest postcode is IV36 2UB


Whisky cured salmon with squid cracker - starter at the Bothy Bistro in Burghead


2. Burghead - The coastal town of Burghead is worth a stop, not just for it's beach and the possibility of spotting the Moray Firth's bottle nose dolphins, but for it's history. Built on the site of an ancient Pictish fort, Burghead was raided by Vikings in the 8th and 9th centuries. It's worth checking out the Visitor's centre and the unique Burghead Well, believed to be a spiritually significant site used for important ceremonies in the Dark Ages. 


On 11th January every year, you can witness the "Burning of the Clavie" - a traditional fire festival unique to Burghead, which celebrates the new year by carrying a flaming barrel of staves through the streets, finishing at Doorie Hill. However, my main reason for visiting Burghead is The Bothy Bistro on Grant Street. This independent restaurant serves the freshest local seafood alongside home baked bread, with veggie options plentiful, and they do a cracking Sunday roast. Advance booking is highly recommended!


The Bothy Bistro, 16 Grant Street, Burghead, IV30 5UE 


Ice cream tubs from Stew n Drew's in Hopeman


3. Hopeman - This village just east of Burghead, features not one but two spectacular beaches. separated by the harbour. Hopeman East is the largest of the two, home to some colourful beach huts, popular with surfers, and also a great spot for kids to explore rockpools. At the West Beach you'll find the caravan park, and the increasingly popular Bootleggers Bothy (run by the very same Bothy Bistro in Burghead). An ever growing street food style set up attracts people from all across the country, with it's open fire grill serving a large menu featuring everything from lobster rolls to slow roast pork belly, burgers and even falafel. We enjoyed scallops with black pudding, alongside chilli and garlic whitebait from the separate "Dory" menu. 


Hopeman is a small village with very little parking facilities so please be considerate to locals when visiting. Make sure you pop into Stew n Drew's ice cream shop as well to try some of their experimental flavours!


West Beach Caravan Park, Hopeman, IV30 5RU


The grill with breakfast menu blackboard at Bootleggers bothy by Hopeman west beach

I always leave Findhorn feeling refreshed, grounded and reenergised. Some say the area has a magical aura (which may explain why it's the chosen location for a spiritual community) but, whatever it is, there's no denying there's something special about this place and it's feel good vibes. Take a trip to the Moray Coast and it's picturesque beaches this summer and see for yourself! Remember to stick to current Government guidelines, and be aware that some hotels, restaurant and other facilities may be closed or have different opening times than usual. Always check in advance!


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