Cullen Links

(Image from Cullen Links Golf Gourse)

The scenic village of Cullen lies on the Moray Coast and is full of activities – from water sports in the bay to beautiful coastal trails. One of the must see attractions in the area is the unique 18 hole Cullen Links Golf Course which showcases the talented work of Old Tom Morris. 

We have shared some of the details and history behind the Cullen Links Golf Course, which forms part of the Old Tom Morris Trail, as well as curated some of our favourite places to visit around the village of Cullen…

Cullen Links
AddressCullen Links Golf Club, Cullen, Moray, AB56 4WB, Scotland
Location 2 miles Southeast of Portknockie
Style Links
Length4,623 yards
North East Scotland Ranking25th

(Image from Cullen Links Golf Gourse)

Course design

Cullen is a traditional Scottish links course with incredible views stretching across the Moray Firth. Embedded amongst the local community, this course truly has a unique and authentic feel to it which is why so many golfers are drawn to playing here. Its wide greens means that this course is suitable for all abilities, making it accessible to beginners all the way through to professionals. 

Some of the most memorable holes amongst this course can be found from the 11th-14th which take you from incredible raised greens to immersing you amongst the beautiful reddish rock which forms part of the Cullen Quartzite Formations. The course also features 10 par 3s coming in a variety of different shapes and sizes, ranging from a steep 125 yard shot up the green to an intense 240 yard downhill battle.

Despite being one of the shortest of the links courses it is clear to see that this spectacular course definitely packs a punch through its combination of blind shots, thrilling slopes and breathtaking views of the North Sea. 

Course history

The Cullen Links Golf Club was first founded in 1870, with Old Tom Morris pioneering the layout of the original 9-hole course. 35 years later in 1905, Charlie Neaves, a former professional at Moray Golf Club, was drafted in to help expand the course to 18 holes. The additional land on which the extra holes were created came from the local town council who rented the ground from a farmer. 

Regional history

The old burgh of Cullen was founded by William the Lion in the 12th century, however was only chartered as a ‘royal burgh’ on the 6th of March 1455. The suggested reasoning for this was due to the increased amount of sea trade between the village and Europe. 

Fishing has been carried out in Cullen for around 500 years and makes up a large part of the rich history of the village. Despite the harbour once being a thriving centre for fishing and maritime trade, it is now mainly used for leisure vessels. 

At one point specialising in the export of smoked haddock, it is no surprise that the most famous dish to come out of Cullen is ‘Cullen Skink’. This local delicacy is a delicious thick soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes, onions and milk – a must try when visiting!

Local hospitality and retail

(Image from Cullen Bay Hotel)

Where to stay

Cullen is home to an array of local hotels dotted across the Moray coast, many of which are within walking distance of the beach including the Cullen Bay Hotel and The Royal Oak Hotel – both benefiting from restaurants which offer guests the opportunity to try out the local cuisine.

For those looking for the peace and quiet of the Scottish countryside, Trochelhill Country House is located 2 miles out of Fochabers, making it only a 17 minute drive from Cullen. This hotel presents guests with stunning views of the surrounding countryside and Ben Aigen. 

Where to eat

(Image from the Seafield Arms)

Whether you are looking for a quick bite to eat, tasty homebake or a three course meal with friends and family, Cullen hosts a range of fantastic restaurants and cafes to choose from.

Set within the main square, Rockpool offers visitors the ideal place to sit back, relax and watch the world go by, offering everything from coffee and a homebake to a warming bowl of soup. Similarly, Lilys Kitchen is the perfect place to try out Cullen’s local delicacy – Cullen Skink – as they won the Cullen Skink World Championship in 2018. 

For a more formal dining experience, The Grand Dining Room at the Seafield Arms is sure to give you a true taste of Scotland, with a range of fine dining options inspired by the wealth of local produce found across the North East. 

You also cannot visit Cullen without trying their famous ice cream! To cure your cravings on a warm summer’s day, Cullen ice cream shop is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with their excellent range of ice cream flavours and sweeties – the perfect post-golfing treat.

Where to shop

Once you have finished your golfing activities for the day, why not take a mooch around the local shops to see what they have on offer. You can pick yourself up some beautiful ornate antiques from Cullen Antiques Centre or browse the gorgeous range of bespoke handmade gifts from Intricate Designs. 

(Image from anCnoc)

There are also two local whisky distilleries nearby; Inchgower and Knockdhu. Both offer an incredible range of malt whiskies – what better way to immerse yourself into Scottish culture than by testing out the national drink? 

If you are still looking to burn off some energy, why not try your hand at some local watersports at Cullen Sea School. They host a range of activities from sailing to stand-up paddle boarding, all centred around the Cullen bay and harbour. 

Iconic landmarks

There is no better way to wind down after a long day of golfing than by taking a stroll along the beautiful Cullen bay beachfront. Well sheltered by the surrounding cliffs, it is not rare to spot a moray dolphin playing in the water. The beach is best known for its impressive rock formations named ‘The Three Kings’ which stand proud and tall on the sand. Additionally, down the road in Portknockie you’ll find another impressive piece of geology, Bow Fiddle Rock, which is located just offshore and holds its name due to its resemblance to the tip of a bow. 

Continuing alongside the beachfront for about a mile, you will reach Cullen Harbour. Built in 1817 the harbour takes the shape of a classic small harbour, with a triangular basin enclosed by a curved and straight pier and completed by a second pier which was added to form a stilling basin. 

The Cullen Viaduct is certainly one of the most striking features of the town and was completed in 1886 by the Great North of Scotland Railway company, connecting Portsoy and Elgin. It is now used as a cycle and footpath and presents breathtaking views over the village. If that wasn’t enough, Castle Hill offers another fantastic viewpoint which overlooks the entire bay and village- definitely worth the walk!

The best photo spots

  • Cullen Beach
  • Findlater Castle
  • Castle Hill
  • Cullen Viaduct
  • Cullen Harbour
  • Cullen Old Church
  • Bow Fiddle Rock

Our top tips for Cullen 

  • Try a bowl of the famous Cullen Skink
  • Go for dinner at the Seafield Arms 
  • Take in the unique rocky landscape 
  • Get ready for lots of par 3’s – play the course twice if you can
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