A Guide To: Spynie Palace

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Spynie Palace

The Out About Scotland complete guide to Spynie Palace

About Spynie Palace

Spynie Palace is located in the heart of the lovely Moray countryside, where the imposing walls of this immense building served as the fortified home to the bishops of Moray for over 500 years. Today the majority of the structure is in ruins, but thankfully it’s under the stewardship of Historic Environment Scotland who have maintained and repaired the entire site for future generations to enjoy.

While the cathedral, a short distance away in Elgin, is renowned for its architecture, the bishop’s residence at Spynie Palace is equally impressive thanks in part to David’s Tower, the immense tower house which is the largest by volume to survive anywhere in Scotland.



Things to do at Spynie Palace

Here in the tower, you can explore the hidden rooms that extend out from the floor level before heading up the winding spiral staircase to take in the breathtaking views across the Moray countryside that can be found at the top. The views here are fantastic and are definitely worthy of a photo or two, although if you don’t like heights you might want to stop at the lower viewing platform which allows you to fully appreciate the size of David’s Tower from the inside.

It’s difficult to comprehend how the tower would have looked in medieval times but the column of ascending windows at least give you an idea of where the floors would have been originally installed. Make no mistake, this would have been one of the most impressive buildings in Scotland back in its heyday.

Heading back outside you can venture down into the basement depths below the tower where you’ll find a series of storerooms, and returning back to the courtyard will let you appreciate the size of the external grounds. In fact, the site was so large that it even had its own bowling green at one time, as well as a tennis court! These are two very good reasons why the palace was also used as a guesthouse for royalty travelling through the region.

There’s enough to explore here to keep children occupied in the towers and ruined walls for a good hour or two, while mums and dads can enjoy the peace and quiet of the surrounding countryside. There’s also a couple of picnic benches to one side of the lawn area, with toilets in the Historic Scotland building nearby, and for a small additional cost you can extend your day to include a visit to Elgin Cathedral as well.


What I liked about this attraction

  • It’s close to Elgin so you can also visit the cathedral in the same day
  • Spynie Palace has lots of areas to explore
  • It’s very peaceful

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • I haven’t got any negative comments about this attraction

Address and directions map

near Elgin,
IV30 5QG

Contact details

Prices and opening times

  • Historic Environment Scotland Members: Free
  • Adult £5.00
  • Child aged 5-15 £3.00
  • Child under 5: Free
  • Concession: £4.00
  • 1 Apr to 30 Sept: Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Last entry 5pm
  • 1 Oct to 31 Mar: Closed


Virtual Tour



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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is your guide to the best attractions in Scotland. He loves exploring the Scottish wilds and is happiest when he's knee-deep in a muddy bog in the middle of nowhere.

Out About Scotland