Aberdeenshire is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It takes its name from the County of Aberdeen which has substantially different boundaries. The Aberdeenshire council area includes all of the area of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire, as well as part of Banffshire. All this is easily accessed from Stonehaven within a maximum drive of 90 minues.
Below is just a selection of what you can find to see and do within easy travelling distance of Stonehaven. This is by no means exhaustive but will hopefully will give you a flavour of what is available.
Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail - Discover 165 continuous miles of dramatic clifftops, enchanting coves, paradise beaches, charming towns and marvellous wildlife on the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail.
Aberdeenshire Walks - You can find here the best walking routes in all parts of Aberdeenshire, from the exciting clifftop coastal walks to the ever popular Bennachie.
Castle Trail - Aberdeenshire is matchless in the richness of its castle tradition and Scotland's Castle Trail brings together some of the most splendid examples of castellated architecture on a clearly sign-posted tourist driving trail.
Cycling Routes - Most of the cycle routes described here have been designed to cater for all ages and abilities and where possible, off-road, family and commuter routes have been selected. Some routes require more effort than others.
Whisky - With over 130 active distilleries in Scotland spread across five whisky regions, with many offering fascinating tours, there are lots of whiskies to enjoy and plenty of opportunities to learn how it's made. Each whisky has its own unique flavours and character and whatever your palate, we're sure there's one for you - you just have to taste a few to find it!
The Mearns (also known as Kincardineshire) coastline is one of the most dramatic you will find in Scotland. With almost 30 miles of impressive cliffs, deep inlets, castles, caves and thrusting skerries, dotted with tiny fishing havens often hidden under frowning precipices. The Mearns has a stirring history and is noted for its fine castles and ancient estates. There are many prehistoric sites, early burial cairns, standing stones and stone circles and many Roman remains as yet totally unexploited – all waiting for you to discover.
Cairn o' Mount - The road from Fettercairn to Banchory is a beautiful drive with a spectacular veiw from the top of this mountain pass.
Catterline - Coastal village with lots of surrounding walks.
Crawton RSPB Scotland Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve - The largest mainland seabird colony on the east coast of Scotland, this impressive seabird colony contains populations of some of Scotland’s most iconic and favourite birds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and a small numbers of puffins. Offshore, seals, dolphins and other cetaceans contribute to the unique and stunning nature of Fowlsheugh.
Drumtochty Glen - 350 acres of wild woodland glen, encapsulating a fairytale church and breathtaking landscapes.
Fettercairn - Fettercairn Distillery, Encore, Arches, Fasque House.
Garvock Hill - Fantastic views from land to sea. Near Laurencekirk.
Gourdon - Lovely harbour, Maggie Law Museum, Smokehouse, Harbour Bar, Quayside Restaurant.
Grassic Gibbon Centre - Celebrates the life, work and times of James Leslie Mitchell, the novelist of the Mearns, better known by his pen name Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Inverbervie - Discover the Royal link and take an easy stroll along the scenic coastal path to Gourdon.
Johnshaven and Benholm - Coastal village of higgledy piggledy streets - great to visit and wander.
Kineff Old Church - Take a walk through history and discover the romantic story of how Kinneff Old Church sheltered The Honours of Scotland. A story which had almost been forgotten until now.
Laurencekirk - Former market town of the Howe of the Mearns.
St Cyrus Beach and National Nature Reserve - With its towering volcanic cliffs, swathes of beautiful beach, breathtaking displays of wildflowers and an unbelievable variety of insects and birds, St Cyrus is one of the richest and most diverse nature reserves in Britain.
Royal Deeside follows the River Dee into the heart of the Grampian Mountains.
Royal Deeside is a fine-looking area that captivated Queen Victoria with its characteristic Scottish blend of moody mountains, lofty crags, tumbling rivers and moors and forests. The rarefied Royal air still pervades the neat chocolate box towns and villages of Deeside, such as Ballater and Braemar, which are unsurprisingly thronged with tourists in season. Braemar is famous for its Highland Gathering - one of Scotland's best. Deeside offers excellent opportunities for outdoor activities such as walking, biking and wildlife watching. This is where the Queen says she is at her happiest.
Ballater - Ballater sits in the heart of majestic Royal Deeside and is also located in the Cairngorms National Park, making it one of Scotland’s most scenic visitor spots.
Balmoral Castle - Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, owned by Queen Elizabeth II. It is near the village of Crathie, 9 miles west of Ballater and 50 miles west of Aberdeen.
Banchory - If you’re looking to escape the bustle of city life, a visit to the untouched Falls of Feugh in Banchory is a must. The spectacular falls are where salmon return each year to power upstream in the fast-flowing snow-fed waters of the River Dee and River Don.
Bennachie - Many visitors want to climb the Mither Tap, the most distinctive of Bennachie’s nine summits. The shortest route is the steep Timeline Trail from Bennachie Visitor Centre, but there are plenty of other ways to the top. From Rowantree car park a popular route follows an ancient trackway, and from Back O’Bennachie there’s a longer trail that’ll take you through an old quarry. From Donview you can climb Millstone Hill, a remote, less well-known summit, and continue to the Mither Tap for a really big day out.
Braemar Castle - 17th Century Braemar Castle is the only Community Managed Castle in the UK. With fully furnished rooms, events and many stories to share with its visitors.
Braemar Gathering - The Braemar Gathering is the most famous and best highland games in the world . Guests and competitors from around the world are joined by Her Majesty the Queen.
Craigievar Castle - Discover the beautiful pink castle said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
Crathes Castle - Standing against a backdrop of rolling hills and set within its own glorious gardens, Crathes Castle is every inch the classic Scottish tower house – and a fantastic day out for all the family.
Crathie Kirk - A small Church of Scotland parish church in the Scottish village of Crathie, best known for being the regular place of worship of the British Royal Family when they are in residence at the nearby Balmoral Castle.
Glenshee - Glenshee, which takes its name from the Gaelic 'Glen of the Fairies', certainly offers one of the most magical skiing experiences in Scotland. The largest resort in the UK, it covers an area of more than 2,000 acres extending across four mountains and three valleys and boasting 21 lifts and tows.
The Gordon Way - An 11 ½ mile (18.5 km) route through forests, farmland and moorland that starts (or ends) at Bennachie Visitor Centre.
Grampian Transport Museum - Located in Alford, its exhibits chart the history of transport in the north east of Scotland through dramatic displays, working and climb-aboard vehicle exhibits and video presentations.
The Lecht - Situated in the stunning location in Eastern Cairngorms at 2,090 ft above sea level it is in the heart of Scotland’s largest National Park. Operating since the mid 1970s, the resort has grown from one ski tow to a year-round Highland activity centre with 20 maintained ski runs and 14 lifts. This is one of Scotland’s top ski resorts and is accessible from one of the most scenically beautiful roads in Scotland, the A939, between Tomintoul and Strathdon and can be reached easily from Speyside and Aviemore, Donside and Aberdeen as well as Royal Deeside.
Loch Muick Circuit - This fairly level circuit of grand Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate provides good views of the surrounding hills and pleasant stopping places. The walk takes in the impressive Glas-allt Shiel house built by Queen Victoria from where there is an optional detour to see some waterfalls.
The Royal Deeside Railway - A standard gauge steam and diesel hauled heritage railway, in a beautiful setting running alongside the River Dee. The line is currently about one mile long and the return journey lasts about 15 to 20 minutes.
Royal Lochnagar Distillery - One mile from Balmoral Castle, it sits at the foot of the Cairngorm mountains, fed by the crystal clear water of the Scarnock springs. Advance booking is essential.