Living in Elgin
View from North West Tower at Elgin Cathedral © Copyright (Mike Searle) / CC BY-SA 2.0
The beautiful town of Elgin is full of rich medieval history, from the stunning ruin of Elgin Cathedral to the charming cobbled market streets. It is, arguably, one of the most picturesque towns in North Scotland. Not only that, but there's plenty to see and do - you'll never find yourself bored in Elgin. Perhaps most importantly, it's also home to some fantastic whisky brands. Thirsty people rejoice!
Things to see and do in Elgin
Although it is mostly a shell now, the Elgin Cathedral still retains its original 13th century façade. Also known as the 'Lantern of the North', this beautiful spot is a lovely place to walk around on a sunny day or frosty winter morning. There's a shop and information point here too, so you can ask the knowledgeable staff more about the history of the cathedral if you wish.
In fact, if it's history you love, you should pay the Elgin Museum a visit. It's one of the oldest museums in Britain, as it has remained in the same building since 1843! The objects on show here come from all over the world, but many of them originate from Moray too. Some date as far back as prehistoric times, and there are also modern day objects on display. Exhibitions come in a wide-range of themes, focusing on archaeological studies to the history of Scottish Pictish stones.
If you are indeed a whisky lover and would like to learn more about how it's made, the Glen Moray Distillery is the ideal place to spend a Saturday afternoon. You can have a tour around the factory and sample the whisky at the end. More in-depth tasting sessions can also be booked - what better place to take your mates on your next night out?
After all that whisky, you'll probably need to work it off. Try the Moray Leisure Centre, which has a pool, squash court, Turkish steam room and sauna. If you really want to treat yourself there's also a beauty therapy department, and if you're looking for somewhere to take your kids then there's an ice rink here too.
If it's great views you're after, head to Elgin Golf Course. Up there you'll be able to see fantastic views of the city of Elgin and the hills which stretch back to the distant Cairngorm mountains. Of course while you're there it would be rude not to play a round of golf. The heathland course spans more than 6,000 yards and has a par of 69. It's considered to be one of the finest inland courses in the north of Scotland, so it's certainly worth experiencing at least once. Although it's mostly flat, golfers find it a real challenge - better start practising!
However, if golf isn't your thing there are plenty of great walks to be done in and around Elgin instead. For a gorgeous scenic stroll, try the Elgin riverside and Quarrelwood route. It's a rather historical walk, beginning at Elgin Cathedral and eventually ending where the stone used to build the cathedral was quarried.
Schools and shopping
Parents are spoilt for choice when it comes to primary schools in Elgin. Greenwards Primary School is a rather open-plan school; there are no classrooms or doors, just brightly-coloured teaching areas, which are decorated with the student's work. East End Primary School, on the other hand, is a mix of traditional and semi-open plan design. There are communal areas for the students and everyone is encouraged to plant trees, shrubs and flowers at the school. For secondary school kids, there's Elgin Academy, which boasts a wide-range of sports facilities, so you can be sure your child is going to stay active.
In terms of shopping, as well as the old market place there's the St Giles Shopping Centre, which contains just about every sort of high-street retailer you need, as well as some quirky individual shops. Plus there are plenty of places to eat here too.
Elgin Town Centre © Copyright (Andy Jamieson) / CC BY-SA 2.0