If you are new to Aberdeen, it’s your first time in Scotland or you’re just looking for day trip ideas we hope you find some inspiration in the places listed below!
One of my favourite places to go is found just outside of Stonehaven, a 25-minute drive from Aberdeen. Dunnottar castle rests on the edge of a cliff, and these castle ruins are meant to be the inspiration for Castle DunBroch in the Disney film Brave! If you can hoist yourself up and down the hundreds of steps leading to the castle, you’ll be rewarded with a breath-taking view, and what truly feels like a trip back in time. Admission to the castle will set you back £7, but it is well worth it. However, visitors are welcome to walk the castle parameters free of charge – just watch out for the cliff!
After soaking up the sights of the castle, take the scenic walk back into Stonehaven to enjoy some of their culinary delights. The Bay, Stonehaven’s seafront chippy, has been crowned the UK’s best fish and chip shop for several years, along with countless other awards. Pick up a fish supper and enjoy a seat on the pebbly shore. When you’re finished your dinner, if you still have room, make sure to pop into Aunty Betty’s sweet shop – another famous eatery on Stonehaven’s promenade. They offer a huge selection of old-fashioned sweeties, baked goods, and their most illustrious product – their ice cream! A traditional waffle cone, with huge scoops of any combination of their many flavours, topped with sweeties, marshmallows, a wafer and a flake – dreamy!!
If getting active and challenging yourself is more up your street, somewhere like Scolty Hill or Bennachie may suit you better. Scolty Hill is located about 40 minutes outside of Aberdeen, near Banchory and is a total sun trap. Scolty Hill stands at almost 300 metres high and has several walking paths to take you to the top. The paths vary in difficulty, from longer but more comfortable to stroll round, to one that is very steep but will get you to the top in no time. Forestry Commission Scotland encourages visitors to check out Scolty with their furry friends, and even take to the terrain on their mountain bikes. At its peak, Scolty provides incredible views of Deeside, particularly if you venture up the 20-metre tower at the summit, and a great spot to sunbathe whilst you catch your breath.
If a 300-metre peak sounds like amateur work for you, Bennachie is calling your name. This range of hills near the small town of Inverurie reaches heights of over 500 metres and will definitely require some sturdy walking boots. Bennachie is made up of several different hills, each of different elevation and terrain. It is a good jumping off point for those who are looking to get into Munro climbing. Much like Scolty, the hills of Bennachie offer amazing views of the land surrounding them – but beware, it can get very chilly at the top!
A great way to find out about what’s on offer around the area is to sign up for a National Trust for Scotland Membership. It is £25 for the year but will get you free entry to attractions all over Scotland, free or concessionary entry to attractions worldwide, and free parking at almost all National Trust locations. With 39 NTS attractions in Aberdeen and the surrounding area alone, £25 membership means your weekend adventures are sorted for almost a year! Go on, sign up and get out there!