Fraserburgh Beach

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Day Trips and Tours From Aberdeen

Aberdeen - a handsome city with sparkling personality to match. The architecture, the coastal vantage points, the winding streets of the Old Town and the refreshing air of the surrounding countryside all make the city a wonderful base for your next trip.

Once you're here, the options for exploring the beautiful north east are endless. Outwith the city, you'll find amazing harbour towns, perfect beaches and plenty of history.

Discover day trips from Aberdeen…

Moray Speyside - 1 hour 25 mins (to Craigellachie)

Hop in the car, fire up the GPS, and enter destination Moray Speyside. Most of the highlights are within an hour or so from Aberdeen, with castles, distilleries and amazing wildlife to enjoy.

The ever-so-shiny Macallan Distillery is an excellent place to start, where you can experience a distillery tour like no other. If you've volunteered yourself to be the designated driver, don't fret - there are 'driver's drams' to take home and enjoy available upon request! Drive past the gorgeous Craigellachie Bridge on the way to the Macallan and don't miss the other distilleries in the region, including Glenfiddich and Balvenie, and get an insight into the fascinating role of the cooper at the Speyside Cooperage.

Head to the coast in the summer to see the marvellously mischievous Moray Firth dolphins at the WDC Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay and, it's worth stopping for a peek at the astounding geological feature, Bow Fiddle Rock.

Royal Deeside - 1 hour 30 mins (to Braemar)

Royal Deeside is also about a one and a half hour's drive from Aberdeen. In Ballater, visit the Old Royal Station. It was originally built for Queen Victoria so the Royal Family could travel to Balmoral by rail. The station has now been transformed into a stunning dining experience called The Carriage, which is a perfect choice for a decadent afternoon tea or a bistro dinner. Another fab dining option is the lovely Rothesay Rooms, with menus bursting with seasonal Scottish produce.

Keep going along the A93 road to the town of Braemar. Check out the Highland Games Centre to learn about the tradition and fascinating history of the Braemar Gathering. Stop for lunch at the amazing Flying Stag, the public bar within The Fife Arms, a luxury hotel with  incredible design features and a stunningly extensive art collection.

You'll be in the heart of the Cairngorms, so why not drive part of the epic Snow Roads or North East 250 routes?

Fraserburgh - 55 mins

Head north from Aberdeen to the town of Fraserburgh and discover some truly incredible coastal treasures. Learn about the country's coolest lighthouses at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and admire Fraserburgh's own Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse beside the museum. Check out the town's Heritage Centre to learn more about the rich history of Fraserburgh.

Don't forget to try the fresh seafood. Fraserburgh is the largest shellfish seaport in Europe and there are a handful of excellent seafood restaurants in town to try. If you've got time for one more activity, venture out to Pennan for a meal at the cosy Pennan Inn. This village made an appearance in Local Hero (1983) - why not take a selfie at the red phone box which featured in the film?

See Discover Fraserburgh website for day out itineraries and local tips.

Aberdeen to Elgin - 1 hr 33 mins

The charming and ancient town of Elgin is a picturesque place to explore by train, with a beautiful cathedral, a gorgeous town square, and streets lined with lovely shops.

A short walk from the station, stop in for a coffee at Batchen Street Coffee before heading towards the lovely Elgin Cathedral, a medieval ruined beauty with a fascinating history. Keep wandering to Johnstons of Elgin to browse the collections or take a tour of the mill at this quality cashmere clothing company, which has provided materials for luxury brands since it was established in 1797. It's also a great place to stop for lunch. It's a 20-minute walk back to the station from here.

Aberdeen to Stonehaven - 23 mins

Or, why not head south from Aberdeen for a memorable day out by the seaside at Stonehaven? Start with the stunning Dunnottar Castle - a truly breathtaking castle. There are buses (X7 and 107) from the town of Stonehaven to near the castle car park, or you can get there by cycling or walking the coastal route (5 km).

In the town, try a scoop of ice cream at the legendary Aunty Betty's ice cream parlour. The harbour is also a great place to try paddleboarding with Stonehaven Paddleboarding, who offer lessons, rental and tours. Stop for lunch at The Tolbooth for delicious seafood, The Bay for fish 'n' chips, or The Marine Hotel for a hearty lunch.

Aberdeen to Arbroath - 56 mins

For fans of Scottish history, a day trip to Arbroath is an absolute must. At Arbroath Abbey, see the place where the Declaration of Arbroath was sealed in 1320, which asserted Scotland's independence from England.

Down by the harbour, sample the famed local delicacy, the Arbroath Smokie! A line-caught haddock, smoke-cured over smouldering oak chips, it is still made here in a number of family-run smokehouses tucked in around the harbour, including MM Spink at 10 Marketgate.

Take a stroll along the sandy Arbroath Beach or admire the cliffs which inspired the architecture of V&A Dundee along the Seaton Cliffs to Auchmithie walking route (11 km).

By bus and tour bus

Aberdeen to Ellon - 35 mins

Take a quick bus ride with Stagecoach North to the town of Ellon to see the birthplace of the beer company, BrewDog.

Visit the DogTap tap room for a fresh pint straight from the brewery and a delicious bite to eat, or join a DogWalk Brewery tour and spend 90 minutes getting better acquainted with the BrewDog way of life, brewing techniques and of course, the beer.  

Aberdeen to Newburgh - 40 mins

Stay on the Stagecoach service for a little longer and stop at Newburgh to explore a truly undiscovered part of the Aberdeenshire coast.

At the beach, a grey seal colony can be seen from a distance playing and lazing around the mouth of the River Ythan.

Play a round of golf at the Newburgh on Ythan Golf Course or do the circular walk along the Ythan Estuary ( 5 km) which passes through the Forvie National Nature Reserve and passes the 12th century Forvie Church.

By tour bus

A great way to see the surrounding region is by taking a bus tour with fellow travellers.

Many tours will take you to a selection of the castles along Scotland's Castle Trail, which features 19 castles in the Aberdeenshire area, each of which has its own amazing story to tell.

Whisky tours are perfect for those of you who want to sample a selection of the region's wonderful whiskies and see behind-the-scenes of the working distilleries.

Discover a selection of one day tours available departing from Aberdeen.

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