Things to see and do in Aberdeenshire: our top picks

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

The scenic region of Aberdeenshire offers so many exciting things to see and do, it's difficult to pick just a few. Check out our top picks below.

Visit a medieval village

Footdee (pronounced Fittie) is a small fishing village located south of the city centre by Aberdeen harbour. The village dates back to medieval times but people still live in the little cluster of cottages that are huddled together with their backs to the sea, as protection from the rising tide and winter gales.

See local wildlife

The Aberdeenshire’s scenic coast is home to plenty of seabirds and it’s one of the best places in Scotland to spot dolphins – they play in the waters of Aberdeenshire harbour and all along the Banffshire coast. Salmon and trout are regularly caught on sparkling rivers, including the River Dee and the River Don.

Puffins at Bullers of Buchan, Peterhead

Puffins at Bullers of Buchan, Peterhead

Walk the Coastal Trail

Discover 165 continuous miles of scenic clifftops, enchanting coves, paradise beaches, charming towns and marvellous wildlife on the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail. Stating at St Cyrus and Stonehaven, you’ll encounter stunning sea views, clifftop castles and seaside wildlife, ending in Portsoy. To comfortably complete the trail by car, leave yourself four days – and don’t forget to bring your camera!

The inspiration behind Dracula

Slains Castle, at the scenic Cruden Bay, north east of Aberdeen, is famed as a place where celebrities were entertained on numerous occasions in the 19th century, notably the writer Bram Stoker and it is believed the castle is the inspiration for the setting of his Gothic horror novel Count Dracula in 1897.

Take on the castle trail

With more than 260 historic castles, stately homes and ruins dotting its landscape, Aberdeenshire is unsurprisingly known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’. There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK, and you can discover 19 of the most famous and dramatic castles on the Castle Trail. Among these are Dunnottar Castle, Castle Fraser and Kildrummy Castle.

Savour the water of life

On Aberdeen’s doorstep, you’ll find several whisky distilleries producing fine, distinctive Highland single malts. Many of the region’s distilleries offer visitors the chance to see behind the scenes and get an insight into how Scotland’s national drink is carefully crafted. Among those you can visit are distilleries at Fettercairn, Royal Lochnagar, GlenDronach and Ardmore.

Balmoral Castle & Estate

Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848. Visitors can explore the grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop and coffee shop, but please do check for opening hours first, as the scenic estate may not be open all year round.

Picture of Balmoral Castle, with a scenic grassy field and trees surrounding the structure

The majestic Balmoral Castle

Enjoy Royal Deeside

One of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, Royal Deeside is a cornucopia of delights, from the magnificent rolling hills which surround it from the north and south from the many majestic castles to a wide range of fantastic sporting activities, golf, fishing or skiing, and the Highland Games.

Bag a Munro

There is something for everyone here – skiing, golf, walking, running, cycling – but why not combine sightseeing with hill-walking and ‘bag’ a Munro? With more than 30 Munros and Corbetts in Aberdeenshire, you can exercise and take in the breathtaking views as you look out over some of Scotland’s most striking and beautiful landscapes.

Look up

Unsurprisingly, given its moniker, granite buildings are plentiful in Aberdeen and there are fine examples throughout, especially Marischal College, the second-largest granite building in the world. But there are many other buildings, statues and bridges to intrigue architect lovers across the city and beyond.

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Image credits: ©Balmoral Estates; Colin/; Martin Bennie/Unsplash;

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