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Things to do in Aberdeen

Our most recommended things to do in Aberdeen

Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

1. Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Your tour departs Aberdeen and heads straight for the ‘Whisky Capital of the World’, Dufftown. Unfortunately it's too early in the morning to taste the whisky at the Glenfiddich Distillery, but you have time to take a photo of the iconic site and grab a coffee. Venture through the heart of Speyside and arrive at Loch Ness for an optional boat trip which is bookable via your guide on the day of the trip. Onboard the ship, you travel over the widest and deepest part of the loch and get a fine view of Urquhart Castle. Upon your return back on dry land, it’s time to travel deep into the past at Clava Cairns. This spot is situated in a gorgeous green grove and boasts well-preserved ancient burial tombs. They even say this spot was the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun. Follow this up with a trip to Culloden Battlefield, the location of the final Jacobite Rising. It’s an eerie, flat, tragic landscape that can put the history of Scotland into perspective. The interactive exhibition center here really brings it all to life. Have a comfort break within the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park before you reach Aberdeen 8:00 PM.

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

2. From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

Join our small group tour and experience the beauty of the royal deeside with it's connections to the monarchy and stunning scenery. The first stop on this tour will be at Balmoral where you will walk in the footsteps of generations of royals who have called this castle home. Balmoral castle* was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat and a beloved home. King Charles, who has his own private home on the estate, has a great affection for the castle and grounds. When visiting we highly recommend the audio tour where you will hear stories from people who lived and worked at Balmoral as they guide you around the estate. *Balmoral Castle closes at the end of July 2023, this stop will change to Braemar Castle from the 1st of August. Scotland is iconic for its beautiful rugged mountains, hills of heather and cool clear rivers running through the countryside. On this short scenic drive we detour through the fringes of the highland moors and heath lands of the east Cairngorm national park. Ballater will be next on your tour and is is a picturesque Victorian village. This planned agricultural town dates back over two hundred years and is set around a central village green and the impressive Glenmuick Kirk which held its first service in 1800. A stroll around the town reveals an interesting range of many specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. As we start to make our way back to Aberdeen we will visit the iconic Cambus O'May suspension bridge, a very popular outdoor destination for visitors walking in the area. A walk up to the Tomnaverie recumbent stone circle, is a breathtaking experience. A characteristic feature of this type of circle is a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, usually on the south or south-west arc of the circle. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Finally a visit the Queen's view just outside Tarland. The view gained its name from Queen Victoria who quickly fell in love with the view of the lower valley of the Dee which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar. The view is particularly loved for its unspoiled beauty which has not changed greatly for hundreds of years making it even more remarkable, and a view which is iconic of Aberdeenshire.

From Aberdeen: Castles, Whisky and Food Tasting Tour

3. From Aberdeen: Castles, Whisky and Food Tasting Tour

Visit Aberdeen, known as "The Silver City by the Golden Sands". Enjoy a tour of Glen Garioch Distillery with a whiskey tasting, discover Aberdeen's ancient history on a visit to the East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, make a stop at Castle Fraser, and enjoy a sampling of local food. Visit the Glen Garioch Distillery for a taste of Scotland's whisky. Enjoy the option to participate in a guided tour to learn more about creating a perfect single malt whisky. Take part in a guided tasting of Highland whisky at the end of your tour. Next up, learn about Scotland's ancient history. Visit one of Aberdeen's largest stone circles at East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, a recumbent stone circle – a type of circle only found in north-east Scotland. Finally, explore Castle Fraser, one of the many charming castles that dots the area. Discover the walled garden, wind your way down spiral staircases, and explore the rooms of the Fraser family who inhabited the castle for hundreds of years.

Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

4. Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Travel in style in a Mercedes luxury 16-seat mini-coach from Aberdeen to one of Scotland’s archetypal structures, Dunnottar Castle. Witness the stunning fortress set on a cliff by the sea. It’s seen more battles than you’ve had cups of tea and is an essential Scottish destination. Your next stop is the Falls of Feugh. These cascading falls are mesmerizing; and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a salmon jumping up the river. It’s now time for lunch in Braemar, a lovely little village in the Cairngorms National Park with royal connections and plenty of local delicacies to try. After your delicious lunch, you'll then head to the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve and get the opportunity to go for a stroll. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, birds, and adders on this quintessential woodland walk. You leave the Cairngorms National Park and arrive in Aberdeen in the early evening.

From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire

5. From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire

The first part of our journey is to make our way through the Aberdeenshire countryside to the coastal villages of Gardenstown and Crovie. Built into the red sandstone cliffs the villages have a quaint and remote atmosphere. The village of Gardenstown recently celebrated their 300th naming anniversary, so there is a lot of history in this small village balanced on the edge of the hillside. There are walks along the coastal path that will take you to Crovie, the smallest and most remote of Buchan cliff-foot fishing villages, it comprises a single row of houses, most gable-end to the sea. Pennan came into existence as a fishing village in the 18th century and the people of Pennan were dependent on the sea for their livelihood. Pennan became famous in the 1980s for being used as one of the main locations for the film Local Hero, and representing the fictional village of Ferness. Film enthusiasts have come from all over the world to make a phone call in the red telephone box which featured in the film. New Aberdour beach is a small but interesting beach, with limestone caves once used to help conceal contraband smuggled into the northeast by fishermen and business men who had a thriving economy along the craggy coastline. One of the caves was also home to an infamous cave dweller, "Jock". Fraserburgh means 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser Family that bought the lands of Philorth and built their castle at Kinnaird Head. Kinnaird Castle was later altered become one of the first lighthouses in the northeast of Scotland in 1787. You will have some time to walk around the headland and see the lighthouse for your self. Fraserburgh has some several impressive civic buildings and very ornate civic fountain as well as being home to Scotland's largest shellfish port. William Hay, 18th Earl of Erroll, established the fishing community of Port Erroll, later becoming Cruden Bay in the 1840s. The long pink curve of the Bay of Cruden sands and scenic cliffscapes have long attracted visitors. An iconic attraction in Cruden Bay is the ruin of New Slains Castle perched on the edge of the cliffs. Most of the building was constructed and extended between 1597 and 1664 but the castle fell in in ruin in the late 19th century and was eventually abandoned in the 1920s. Collieston was the first safe harbour in over fifteen miles of beaches and dunes stretching north from Aberdeen. The numerous sea caves and small coves with shingle beaches provided ideal terrain for smugglers. Learn about notorious smuggler Phillip Kennedy and his exploits while trying to outrun the excise man. With several stories about shipwrecks and sunken submarine there are countless stories to tell about this little harbour just a stone's throw from the bustling city.

Speyside Whisky Trail 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

6. Speyside Whisky Trail 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

*From April 2023 tour price includes admission to Speyside Cooperage and Cardhu Distillery. Before April 2023 these visits (and any others listed) are optional and tickets can be purchased while on tour. Leaving Aberdeen in the morning you’ll arrive first in Royal Deeside, one of the favored holiday locations of the British royal family. At the Cambus O’May forest, walk in the woods and reenergize in the pristine environment that makes this area such a draw for visitors. Invigorated by the walk, head deeper into the national park as you travel past Cockbridge and Tomintoul. This legendary stretch of road regularly sees the first of the snowy winter weather and crosses the mountain pass known locally as the Lecht. You’ll have plenty of time for photo opportunities on this unforgettable route. Then, delve into the home of whisky in the Speyside region. Stop at the *Speyside Cooperage where you’ll get to know the history of Scotland’s oak casks. Next, head to one of the Speyside towns for lunch before visiting *Cardhu distillery. This is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. You leave Cardhu full of appreciation for whisky and arrive in Aberdeen in the early evening. It’s now up to you whether you continue the whisky tasting into the night.

From Aberdeen: Scottish Highlands & Inverness

7. From Aberdeen: Scottish Highlands & Inverness

The Cairngorms The day starts with a winding drive through the Aberdeenshire countryside and the Cairngorms, the UK's largest National Park. With stunning hills and mountains you will see dramatic views and wildlife on our way to our first stop. Corgarff Four specially commissioned sculptural seats by John Kennedy on the infamous Lecht Road offer spectacular views towards Corgarff Castle. There is an existing standing stone sculpture 'A Moment in Time' by Louise Gardiner which was designed to frame telescopic views of the Castle. Pack-horse Bridge The village of Carrbridge is famous for its 18th century pack-horse bridge, the river Dulnain snakes its way through this picturesque village before emptying into the River Spey. Not only is The Old Packhorse Bridge iconic within Carrbridge itself, but it is also one of the most recognisable landmarks in the whole of Cairngorms National Park, so grabbing a photograph or two is an absolute must. Capital City of the Highlands The city of Inverness has plenty to discover. Inverness city centre lies on the east bank of the river and some of the historic civic buildings are found in the centre including the Townhouse, Inverness Castle and several prominent churches. There are staircases and closes which take you into the residential parts of town, the Victorian Shopping Centre as well as East Gate Shopping Centre. You'll find a number of small cafes, pubs and restaurants for you to try. You'll have a some of free time to wander through the city and explore. As part of this tour you will have access to our Self-Guided audio tour of the Highlights of Inverness. This walking tour can be downloaded from our app and you will be sent details and voucher code before your trip. One of the worlds best known Lochs At 56 km2 , Loch Ness is the second-largest Scottish loch by surface area after Loch Lomond. Its deepest point is 230 metres. Loch Ness is famous for the sightings of "Nessie", the Loch Ness Monster. Discover one of Scotland’s most evocative prehistoric sites The Clava Cairns are about 4,000 years old and were built to house the dead. This is a sacred place in the landscape for millennia, and provides many clues to the beliefs of Bronze Age society. Two parts of the complex, Balnuaran of Clava and Milton of Clava, are open to the public. Culloden Viaduct Designed by Chief Engineer Murdoch Paterson and built by the Highland railway the impressive 29 arches of the Culloden viaduct that stretch over the valley and River Nairn really is a great sight to see on your highland travels. Historic Battle Field On 16 April 1746, the final Jacobite Rising came to a brutal head in one of the most harrowing battles in British history. Visit the battle field and the memorial to the men who lost their lives during this battle. The grounds are also the burial ground for many, you will see clan markers on the field to commemorate the clans who were present on the day.

Private Tour: Aberdeen Street Art

8. Private Tour: Aberdeen Street Art

Discover a different side to Aberdeen on this private street art walking tour. On this 1.5 hour you’ll meander down alleys and under bridges to uncover some of the city’s most beautiful pieces of art that are taking over the walls by storm. All with a local, expert guide. From unassuming corners to major buildings, there’s art around every turn and your guide knows just where to find the best of the best. Each tour is unique, with the route constantly being updated to include new pieces of art! Among the 10+ murals you will see includes: Man & Dog - Smug Lego Wall - Jan Vormann Side Profile - Alice Pasquini Unicorn - Bordalo

From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

9. From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

The Falls of Feugh Just before joining the River Dee at Banchory, the Water of Feugh tumbles over a jumble of boulders and rock steps to form an attractive set of rapids with an old stone road bridge over the top. These are the Falls of Feugh, and they’re a popular beauty spot for locals and Aberdonians alike. The falls have a reputation for being a good spot to watch salmon running upstream. The Highlands in miniature Cairn o' Mount is the name of a prehistoric round cairn in Aberdeenshire. The winding road takes us through National Forestry Woodlands to heath land and heather covered hillsides. The route passes along Clachnaben and its granite Tor which is a popular walking trail to the top of the the Cairn which offers spectacular views over the Aberdeenshire countryside. We like to call it our highlands in miniature as it offers similar landscapes and hillside views closer to Aberdeen. Discover how whisky is made Sir Alexander Ramsay, the founder of the distillery, was one of the Scottish landowners who campaigned to license Scotch Whisky distillation and in 1824 the Fettercairn distillery was opened. Fettercairn distillery lies in the heart of rich farming land which has always attracted visitors. Fettercairn distillery has a unique still which creates their iconic character along with working closely with local barley producers and using their own spring water. This visit will include a tour of the distillery as well as a tasting of two of their whiskies in their visitor centre. Explore beautiful seaside Stonehaven Stonehaven, originally a fishing village but evolved into a Victorian resort town in the 1800s. You will be taken on a short guided walking tour of the harbour area and old Stonehaven before having some free time to explore the village and enjoy lunch. Be sure to stroll the boardwalk and Stonehaven beach to see the sculptures created by artisan Jim Malcolm, who for years was dubbed the Stonehaven Banksy for the sculptures he created anonymously. Spectacular Castle Ruins Dunottar is easily one of Aberdeenshire's most iconic castles. For over 1000 years Dunnottar Castle played a crucial role in Scottish history. The Castle has played host to some of the nation's historical figures including William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots and for its role in saving the Honours of Scotland from Oliver Cromwell's army in the 1650s. The castle ruins are extensive with many rooms and buildings to explore. Envision what life would have been like as you walk through the settlement, part military barracks and part stately home for the Earls of Marischal. ***There are a lot of steps/stairs up to the castle, so this is not suitable for people who have mobility issues. There are some wonderful photo opportunities along the coastal path and a great walk over to the war memorial on Black Hill above Stonehaven.

Aberdeen: Daily City Centre Walking Tour (2pm)

10. Aberdeen: Daily City Centre Walking Tour (2pm)

Discover Aberdeen through a local's eyes, discovering local history and culture on this 1.5 hour walking tour with your guide every day at 2pm. Discover Aberdeen's rich history from being a small fishing settlement to the centre of oil for Europe. Make your way through some of the oldest streets, explore tunnels and retrace the steps of some of Aberdeen's most important figures in our (sometimes very dark) history. You'll also discover the amazing street art that has overtaken Aberdeen and has become a huge part of the culture. From unassuming corners to major buildings, there’s art around every turn and your guide knows just where to find the best of the best. Key sights: Marischal College St Nicholas' Kirk Netherkirkgate Tunnels and Witch Trials Shiprow Union St Amazing Aberdeen Street Art And other hidden gems!

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What people are saying about Aberdeen

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 223 reviews

I had a personalised experience which I totally loved. The tour guide was very helpful and answered my questions about the history of the places we visited. The landscape is amazing and the experience is worth it.

Fantastic experience! Highly recommended. Docker, the guide, fabulous. He made many stops so we could take photos and he was very aware of the group. I recommend it without a doubt.

The trip packs a huge amount into a single day. I had a marvellous time and couldn't have enjoyed the day more.

Relaxed, very informative, thoroughly enjoyable distillery stops …… fabulous day!!! Thanks everyone

Lovely peeps, no ruckus, lots of jokes. Amazing trip