Aberdeenshire stretches from “one of the last great places on earth” to “one of the world’s top-rated coastlines” (National Geographic). Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city – where impressive ships dock right up against the city centre streets and dolphins leap in the working North Sea harbour – is “one of the most architecturally distinctive in Europe” (The Scotsman).
The area is set between the mountains of Royal Deeside and 165 miles of golden coastline running along the Aberdeenshire coast. You can roam for miles across great estates, expanses of moorland, ancient Caledonian forests, rolling farmland, vast dunes, wide sandy beaches and expansive coastlines. It’s an admired destination by even some of the biggest thrill seekers with Munro’s to bag, championship golf courses from which to tee off, waves to surf, slopes to ski and mountains to cycle.
History is writ large too. Ancient sites and symbols mark Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a heartland of the ancient Picts. In the millennia that followed, no fewer than 300 castles were planted making it treasured by history buffs, those searching for striking scenery and countless famous filmmakers including Walt Disney himself and Bram Stoker. Aberdeenshire has long been loved by monarchs too – the Royal Family’s summer residence, Balmoral Castle, is in majestic Royal Deeside.
A long-standing deeply-run culture still exists in the warp and weave of the region. You can hear words from an original Scots language – Doric – and feel its distinctive culture alive in its rich traditions – fiddle-playing, bothy ballads and highland games.
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are places with wide horizons, loved for fresh clear air and the quality of light. In summer, days are near endless and sunsets stretch out. In winter, nights are deep, long and starry – and on occasion spectacularly lit by the Northern Lights. Here, mainland Scotland sees its first light of each new day. Trillions of tiny crystals glint in the city’s famous granite walls. And ninety-nine stone circles are aligned to the standstill moon. No matter the time of year, you are sure to be awe-inspired by the true majesty.
It’s no coincidence that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are the producers of so many foodie favourites, this region is acclaimed for its home-grown produce. It’s known for the quality of its arable land and rich pastures – home to venison and game. For the seafood – Peterhead is Europe’s largest white fish seaport and Fraserburgh is the biggest for shellfish, and there are fishing harbours and markets all around the 165 miles of coast. The region’s two rivers are well-stocked too with salmon and trout.
Nature provides the wherewithal for Aberdeenshire’s whisky and “water of life”. Whether it’s the toasted barley from the fertile farmlands, the ice-clear mountain water from burns, the smoky peats and heather honey from heath and moors, or simply the sparkling fresh air – the whisky distilleries are busy bottling the essence of this beautiful place.
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are used to being off the tourist track, known rather as a seat of learning and for its natural resources. Now, its authentic Scottish feel is making it one of the most appealing destinations to visit this year.
Discovering all of this for yourself has never been easier with direct flights to four of London’s airports. Aberdeen is just over an hour’s flight from Heathrow, London City, Gatwick and Luton. And when you arrive, you won’t have to worry about where to stay – 5* hotels, exclusive use castles, glamping, or cosy B&B’s – the choice is yours.