We recently had the pleasure of being invited to the launch of the new portfolio of whisky from Glenglassaugh (read more about that here). As Cullen is around 4 hours drive from Glasgow, where we live, it made sense to stay over.
Lying on the Moray Coast, Cullen is a picturesque seaside village that would be an ideal base for some Scottish whisky distillery visiting – Glenglassaugh, Knockdhu, Strathisla, Inchgower, Glen Moray, Glendronach, Longmorn and Glenlossie are all within driving distance. With more Speyside distilleries to see as you get further from the coast.
The town of Cullen is in two parts. The area beside the sea is known as Seatown. These fishing cottages look picturesque now but this was the heart of the Cullen fishing industry which is known throughout the world with the soup, Cullen Skink. Cullen Skink is a soup made with smoked haddock, potato and onion soup. Click here to make your own Cullen Skink.
We wandered around mostly is “new Cullen” where the shops and services are. Here you will find the best ice cream around (maybe), cafe’s (selling Cullen Skink of course), antique shops and the old railway viaduct.
Portsoy Ice Cream shop seems to get all the praise, however, controversially, we found the ice cream shop in Cullen to serve tastier ice cream for us. As you can see, Mark looks happy to get an ice cream brunch. (No chuckling at the sweet false teeth we also bought!)
Where to stay in Cullen
We stayed in The Seafield Arms. Which was perfect with modern rooms, friendly staff, parking and located right in the centre of Cullen.
What to see and do in Cullen
Well, you can’t come to the home of Cullen Skink and not try some! We were short of time so got some to take away from Seafield Seafoods as they had some ready-made at the time we were leaving Cullen. It wasn’t as thick or potatoey as expected. So an excuse for us to go back and try some at Lily’s Kitchen Cafe (our first choice but it wasn’t ready yet) or Rockpool Cafe.
Homemade ice cream from the ice cream shop
After trying the ice cream in Portsoy, it would have been rude not to try the ice cream in Cullen. Recommended by our guide, and it didn’t disappoint. Delicious.
Take a walk up the viaduct
Walk up to the old railway viaduct for one of the best views of Cullen.
Visit some antique shops
For some reason, antique shops are popular here. You are sure to find something quirky or to your liking here.
Visit the harbour
Not the bustling harbour it was in years gone by, now the harbour is mostly home to leisure craft. The harbour beach was popular with families when we visited.
Go for a walk
Pictured below is a photograph of some suggested walks around Cullen.
Venture outside of Cullen
Further afield there is Portnockie, a scenic 5 mile walk away. Bow Fiddle Rock is near to Portnockie and worth visiting to see how the sea has shaped this rock formation. Findlater Castle can be found about 2 miles East of Cullen and is another popular walk from Cullen.
Map of what to see and do in Cullen
We have put together a map of what to see and do in Cullen. Click on the link here to save the Google map on your phone.
Where is Cullen?
Cullen is on the Moray Coast between Aberdeen and Inverness. It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Aberdeen. (If only they kept the railway line!)
When is the best time to visit Cullen?
Summertime is the best time to visit Cullen, however, remember this is summer in Scotland so come prepared with an umbrella, raincoat as well as your swimsuit!
How to reach Cullen by car
Reaching Cullen by car is easy as it lies in between Aberdeen and Inverness. Driving from Aberdeen to Cullen by car, the recommended route by Google is using the A947. If you are driving from Inverness to Cullen, take the A96. From Edinburgh and Glasgow, drive to Perth, and take the A90. From Edinburgh, the drive to Cullen is around 3 hrs and 42 mins. From Glasgow, 3 hours and 54 mins.
There is free parking at The Square, marked on the map above.
How to reach Cullen by public transport
Stagecoach bus 35 runs from Aberdeen to Elgin and takes around 2 hours and 40 mins. Travelling from Inverness? We would recommend getting the train to Elgin and then change to Stagecoach 35 bus. Check online via Traveline Scotland for up-to-date travel information.