Much of Aberdeenshire’s coast is rated as one of the most scenic in the world by National Geographic magazine with 165 miles of glistening coastal scenery just waiting to be discovered. This three day itinerary provides some ideas for planning a group holiday to this incredible part of Scotland. You’ll discover a fine collection of fascinating visitor attractions; captivating history; beautiful nature reserves abundant in wildlife; dramatic clifftop walks, charming coves and expansive beaches; delightful towns and villages and world-class golf courses.
Begin this trip on the Banffshire coast – ‘Scotland’s Dolphin Coast’, with a tour of Glenglassaugh Distillery near Sandend. Then head east to the town of Portsoy and discover the intriguing stories of its fishing and smuggling past by the historic 17th century harbour and at the Salmon Bothy. Continue further east to Banff and admire the stunning Georgian architecture of Duff House – an outstation of the National Galleries of Scotland. Nearby, visit Macduff Marine Aquarium or enjoy a round of golf at Duff House Royal. Banff has a selection of possible overnight accommodation.
On day two, head for the busy fishing town of Fraserburgh. This is the UKs largest shellfish port, where you can uncover over 400 years of history at Fraserburgh Heritage Centre. Right next door, take a tour of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. South-east of Fraserburgh call into the RSPB Scotland Loch of Strathbeg reserve and see all manner of birdlife. Spend time discovering the Energetica Coast running from Peterhead (Europe’s largest white fish port) to Aberdeen, where beautiful beaches rich in wildlife, are just waiting to be explored. For early-birds, visit Peterhead Fish Market at 7.00am (Monday to Friday) to see fresh landings being sold (maximum group size 20). Possible overnight in Boddam/Peterhead or Aberdeen.
Day three starts at either Torry Battery on the south-side of Aberdeen Harbour or at Footdee on the north side. Built in 1860, Torry Battery defended the entrance to the harbour, but today is one of the best places along the coast to spot resident bottlenose dolphins. If you opt to head for Footdee instead of Torry Battery, this also provides great access to Aberdeen Esplanade, amusement park and the Beach Ballroom. Travel down the coast to Stonehaven and see thousands of seabirds at RSPB Scotland’s Fowlsheugh reserve. No trip along the Coastal Trail is complete without a visit to the iconic clifftop fortress of Dunnottar Castle, which survived a Cromwell siege, protected the Scottish crown jewels, was the setting for Mel Gibson’s Hollywood movie Hamlet and narrowly missed out on becoming the eighth wonder of the world.