Nearest Things To Do Aberdeenshire
Heading to Aberdeenshire and looking for something to do or a place to visit nearby. Coast Radar is not just a list of beaches but we bring you the whole Aberdeenshire coast including castles, lighthouses, piers, museums, beautiful gardens, seaside towns, National Trust and other heritage properties.
When on an information page you can also use our tools to search for nearby Aberdeenshire seaside towns, and the surrounding coast for the best beaches and places to stay and eat.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Aberdeenshire day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the links below, to find the closest hit the jump to my location compass or use the search bar to plan where your next Aberdeenshire activity could be.
- Drum Castle is one of the oldest in Scotland and has enjoyed housing 24 generations of the Irvine family for over 6 centuries! It was given to the National Trust of Scotland in 1975 by the last Laird of Drum. Just 8 miles from Aberdeen the castle overlooks the River Dee and has 3 different architectural styles – medieval, Jacobean and Victorian! The medieval tower was built way back in teh 13th Century with the Jacobean mansion added in 1619 and the Victorian part in 1872. Inside are memories from the past including portraits, furniture and vaulted ceilings decorated with shields in the great hall. There are huge grounds attached to the castle and beautiful gardens and in the 1930’s a golf course was added and a stunning Pond Garden was built by the Trust. The Garden of Historic Roses was opened by the trust in 1991 to mark the castle’s Diamond Jubilee. Divided into four quadrants, each has a design from one of the last four centuries and roses from that period. Drum Castle is open for tours and available for weddings and corporate hire.
- Balnagask Golf Course (Nigg Bay) is a challenging course in a stunning location on the headland at Balnagask. Here you’ll find around 18 sites of historical and archaeological interest and the adjacent Robert Stevenson designed lighthouse. The par 70 Balnagask Golf Course measures some 6059 yards and includes three par threes and a par five. A pitch and putt course also provide fun and some challenges as you fine-tune your short game. The course is also home to the Nigg Bay Golf Club. Reviews state that the Tees, Fairways and Greens are immaculate with a uniqueness given by the many hills and blind holes.
- Leith Hall was built around 1650 and lived in by the Leith family until the mid-20th century. Set in 286 acres of scenic estate containing 6 acres of wonderful garden that overlooks some of Aberdeenshire’s finest rolling countryside. Originally built around an abundant courtyard the house still has personal belongings of the family and those before them including their military uniforms and weaponry. There are a number of marked paths in the beautiful gardens allowing you to amble and take in the large walled garden, wide herbaceous borders, alpines and primulas as well as the ponds and bird observation hide! There is a lovely tearoom and the house is open most days but you need to check their website for details.
- Den and the Glen (formerly Storybook Glen) is a wonderful place for adults and children to remember what childhood is all about!Just 6 miles from Aberdeen, this 28 acres park is a giant play area for kids and parents alike full of your favourite nursery rhyme and fairy-tale characters like Postman Pat and Wee Willy Winkie!
- Aberdeen Art Gallery is one of Aberdeen’s most popular tourist attractions. An attractive example of late 19th century architecture, it houses one of the finest art collections in Britain with paintings, sculpture and graphics from the 15th century to the present day. Gallery Shop, Gallery Cafe, Creche Services and Wi-Fi at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Aberdeen Art Gallery has disabled access. Pushchairs are available for small children. Guide dogs are admitted.
- Castle Fraser was built in 1575 and is one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. The present castle contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and many Fraser family portraits. There are fantastic views of Bennachie from the top of the tower and you can walk through the beautiful gardens including the walled garden and woodland. The castle has its own secrets like the Laird’s Lug, a spy hole, a wooden leg and hidden trapdoors in the floor to secret staircases! Homemade treats and lunches are baked in the traditional Victorian kitchen and there is a shop for souvenirs and dogs are welcome in the grounds. The children’s Woodland Secrets play area is an enchanting wooded area with a tepee, bamboo snake walk, giant xylophone and lots of other areas for children to hide and climb. The whole children’s area is built from natural materials and is therefore very environmentally friendly. There is access to this area by wheelchairs and pushchairs. The scented walled garden is accessible by wheelchairs or pushchairs. Printed room guides are available. The ground floor of the castle is accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs, and although the rest of the castle is not accessible there is a detailed photo album in the reception area where visitors can look at the upper-floor rooms in more detail. There are disabled toilets in the courtyard near the shop and tearoom, which are accessible for both pushchairs and wheelchairs. Disabled parking is available near the front of the castle. The castle is open daily all year round.
- Daviot is home to a superb Neolithic stone circle. There are ten stones in the circle with one lying flat. The circle has been used as a burial ground and to the south of the main circle is a smaller circle that was excavated in the 1930’s that also seems to have been used as a cremation cemetary in about 1500 BC. This circle is about 20m in circumference and the stones vary in size from about 20 tonnes down. The flat stone looks like two stones but apparently this is one stone that has been split due to freezing and thawing! It’s one of Scotlands many mysteries and the country is full of stone circles with around 99 of them having been identified in the area and most having been built over 4000 years ago as lunar calenders to show the seasons passing. The village of Daviot is also the birthplace of theologian William Robinson Clark and also home to the House of Daviot, an explosive facility and the first GM crop field in Scotland! (There is also a good pub – The Smiddy Bar)
- Cathedral of St Marchar was named after a disciple of St Columba and the initial site was set up in around 580AD. In the 1130’s it was named a Cathedral and underwent extensive restoration in the 13th Century under Bishop Cheyne and saw Sir William Wallace hung, drawn and quartered. His dismembered body was sent to different parts of Scotland but some say that his left arm was interred within the walls of St. Machar’s. After the war of independence construction continued under Bishop Alexander Kinnimund (1355-80) and Bishop William Elphinstone (1431-1514). The nave and towers on the west – which form the modern church were only one part. To the east of the nave, there was a crossing which had one large central tower. There was also a choir to its east and transepts pointing north and south. In 1520 a ceiling of panelled oak bearing 48 heraldic shields was commissioned by Bishop Gavin Dunbar (1518-1532). It was finally complete in 1530.
- Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was the very first lighthouse on mainland Scotland and Kinnaird Head now has two lighthouses:The first lighthouse was built in 1787 within the existing 16th-century castle tower. In 1824 a new stone tower was constructed within the castle. The current is a fibreglass automated light that stands beside the original. The original lighthouse is now The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and has guided tours with displays that tell the story of the Northern Lighthouse Board, the engineers who built the lights and the keepers who looked after them.