5 Great Day Trips From Aberdeen

Aberdeen is located on the north east coast of Scotland. Once you've explored the city architecture, take one of these day trips to uncover amazing harbour towns, perfect beaches and plenty of history.

  1. Royal Deeside Ballater and Braemar

    Balmoral Castle and Gardens

    © VisitScotland / North East 250 / Damian Shields

    Time from Aberdeen: 1 hour 30 minutes by bus, 1 hour by car

    Hop on the Stagecoach bus 201 to head west of Aberdeen to Royal Deeside.

    In Ballater, visit the Old Royal Station. It was originally built for Queen Victoria so that the Royal Family could travel to Balmoral by rail. The station has now been transformed into a stunning dining experience called the Rothesay Rooms, with menus bursting with seasonal Scottish produce.

    From Ballater, you can take Stagecoach bus 3 and in under 30 minutes be in the beautiful 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.

    Half way between Ballater and Breamar is Balmoral Castle, the holiday home of the Royal Family. If you are driving, why not check out part of the epic Snow Roads or North East 250 routes?

  2. Elgin Moray Speyside

    Elgin Cathedral, also known as the Lantern of the North in Elgin

    Time from Aberdeen: 1 hour 30 minutes by train or car

    The charming and ancient town of Elgin is a picturesque place to explore by train with a beautiful cathedral, 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 ruin 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.

  3. Stonehaven Aberdeenshire

    Dunnottar Castle

    Time from Aberdeen: 25 minutes by train or car

    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 (3 miles).

    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 or the Bay for fish 'n' chips.

  4. Arbroath Angus

    A family explore the ruins of Arbroath Abbey

    © Visit Angus / Alan Richardson

    Time from Aberdeen: 1 hour by train or 1 hour 20 minutes by car

    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 you can 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 M&M Spink at 10 Marketgate.

    Take a stroll along the sandy Arbroath Beach or admire the cliffs which inspired the architecture of the V&A Dundee along the Seaton Cliffs to Auchmithie walking route (13 km).

  5. Fraserburgh Aberdeenshire


    © Discover Fraserburgh / Damian Shields

    Time from Aberdeen: under 2 hours by bus, 55 minutes by car

    Head north from Aberdeen to the town of Fraserburgh on Stagecoach bus X67 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?

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