Festive breaks in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Explore winter wonderlands and a vibrant city, enjoy festive events and a spectacular Hogmanay (Scottish word for New Year’s Eve) traditions this winter in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Here are some top tips to make the most of your winter trip to this part of Scotland:


Where to get into the festive spirit…

…in Aberdeen:

What to do: There are many events taking place this winter in Aberdeen including Carol concerts, pantomimes (“Oh no there isn’t!” “Oh YES there is.”) and of course what’s more festive than a Christmas Village? Aberdeen Christmas Village will return from 21 November – 31 December 2019. Think rows of stalls draped in twinkly lights and packed with local arts and craft vendors and tantalising food and drink that will make your mouth water before it even comes into sight. Throw in the gleeful squeals of people enjoying the amusements and take time to watch the ice skaters fly across the ice rink while you enjoy a mulled wine.

Where to stay: If you want to be in the centre of the action, book a stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen located only a few steps from the entrance to Aberdeen Christmas Village. If you prefer to keep more of a distance but still walkable check into the Mercure Aberdeen Caledonian Hotel, Sandman Signature Aberdeen or Skene House Aberdeen.


….in Royal Deeside:

What to do: The deep glens and ancient forest take on a whole new look during winter as they get dusted in snow and transformed into a winter wonderland. This season take a winter guided tour of Balmoral Castle for a different take on the Royal Family’s summer residence. Or get ahead with your Christmas shopping at Crathes Castle Christmas Fair where you will find local crafts, music and food stalls. For some festive family fun don’t miss a trip on  Santa’s steam train at Royal Deeside Railway.

Where to stay: Nestled amongst pine forests you will find luxurious lodges with wood burning stoves and views over a beautiful little loch. The cosy accommodation is perfect for nature spotting as red squirrels and deer roam the forest. For an extra special Christmas treat, book into The Fife Arms to experience a traditional Victorian Christmas where you can get involved with bauble making and gingerbread decorating, Christmas carols, a four-course Christmas lunch accompanied by live Scottish music, a treasure hunt, movie screening, fiddler performance and Boxing Day hike.


Where to bring in the bells…

…in Aberdeen:

What to do: If you haven’t been to a traditional Scottish ceilidh this is the time to try it. If you have been to one before you’ll know what a cracking night you are in for. Head on down to the Hogmanay Ceilidh at the Beach Ballroom featuring Hipflask Ceilidh Band. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready for traditional Scottish music with a bouncy flare. Expect lots of hilarity as you spend the night learning and taking part in new dances including The Dashing White Sergeant or The Gay Gordons!

If you prefer to bring in the New Year under the stars, then head along to Aberdeen Hogmanay taking place on Schoolhill with music, fireworks display, live performances including Queen tribute Gary Mullen and The Works and delicious food and drink at the ultimate Aberdeen street party.

Where to stay: Only a five minute walk from Aberdeen Beach Ballroom you will find Doubletree by Hilton Aberdeen City Centre Hotel ideally located for a short walk for tired feet that have spent the evening dancing. In the morning take a walk along Aberdeen’s beach promenade for a refreshing bit of fresh air perfect for clearing foggy heads. Or look to the west end of Aberdeen for lodgings of the highest calibre at The Chester Hotel with rainfall showers and deluxe Egyptian cotton bedding.


…in Stonehaven:

What to do: An ancient tradition dating back over 100 years, the Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony is sure to leave a lasting impression. Watch in awe as a succession of flaming balls do pirouettes down Stonehaven’s high street in the final minutes before the bells. As the pipe band heralds in the New Year a fireworks display ignites the dark sky. Please note, this is a very popular free event so make sure to arrive early to enjoy the entertainment before the fireballs and to get a good viewpoint.

Where to stay: If the idea of crowds doesn’t float your boat but you still want to witness this spectacular event book a stay at The Ship Inn overlooking the harbour where the fireballs are launched into the water during the climatic finale. For small groups looking to enjoy the festivities but enjoy the tranquillity of staying out with the town centre check in to Dalriada Luxury Lodges offering impressive views over the coastline.


…in Turriff:

What to do: Only an hour north of Aberdeen you’ll find yourself in Turriff, a small town with a big personality and a big Hogmanay party to match. Enter The Red Hot Chilli Pipers - “the most famous bagpipe band on the planet – ever!” if they do say so themselves. The band was awarded the ‘Best Live Act in Scotland’ twice and now is your chance to see them live on quite possibly the biggest party night of the year in Scotland. Empire the Band and Rianne Downey will also perform on the night and tickets are on sale now.

Where to stay: There are plenty of cute cottages nearby perfect for an evening in Turriff. For large groups look no further that Waterside Lodge which even comes with its own games room. For a touch of luxury think Fyvie Castle which can accommodate up to 16 guests in the Preston Apartment. For a cosier stay check out Garden Cottage complete with deck chairs so you can bring in the new year under the stars.


Start planning your Christmas and New Year break today at www.visitabdn.com .

All information is correct at the time of publishing, we recommend that you check opening times and information for individual places before visiting.

Keep scrolling for map view

Find the attractions and accommodation

Tip: Zoom for all locations