A first timers guide to coastal Aberdeenshire

You’ve seen the photos; you’ve read the narrative; you’ve got the gear, so get ready for your first ever trip to what National Geographic calls “one of the world’s outstanding coastlines”.

I’m about to share with you my insider knowledge, winning top tips and my notes on hidden gems you’ll find when you dig just a little deeper in Scotland this year. Get your pen and travel planning journal at the ready…

This coastal stretch of North-east Scotland runs 165 miles long – taking you from south – including Johnshaven and Stonehaven, through the ‘Granite city’, and north towards Pennan and Portsoy.  

Be overwhelmed by dominating nature. Along the Aberdeenshire Coast nature and wildlife dominates; you’ll find endearing puffins nestling in craggy cliffs like the Bullers of Buchan and hundreds of seals playing, taking a well-deserved chill and hunting for food only yards from where you stand at Newburgh Beach. Dolphins are known to be spotted along the coast too… top tip – take a Dolphin Adventure Cruise straight from the city centre harbour out towards the North Sea where you can spot the incredible mammals up close.

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Uncover Scottish history. It might feel like it’s all sea, vast beaches and great dunes but you’ll find imposing castles, centuries old fishing harbours and tales of Scottish history to match. Perhaps you’ve seen the photos? It’s known as one of our most famous castle; Dunnottar Castle is perched vicariously on a crumbling clifftop and once hid the Scottish Crown Jewels. More recently Dunnottar is recognised as film famous!

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Find tiny beautifully preserved 17th, 18th and 19th century harbours. See some of the oldest houses built gable-end on to the weather, and the waves. Many have colourful histories, stories to tell (in their own Doric dialect) and are still very popular with film producers. Insider info – the red box in Pennan is from the film, Local Hero!

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And if you’re lucky you might spot the Northern Lights. You’ll then truly understand why Burt Lancaster said “the Northern Sky is a beautiful thing”.


Oh and for your quirky accommodation requirements we have some that might tickle your fancy – high sea hobbits, sail loft, cosy B&Bs and camping! Start planning your first trip, with all the facts now at www.visitabdn.com and I hope to welcome you to Aberdeenshire very soon.


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