Aberdeenshire

Photo of Aberdeenshire

About Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire, the rich and fertile county nestling on the northeast of Scotland, is a region both steeped in history and wild natural beauty. Ideal for a romantic weekend away or an adventurous family holiday, it is the perfect place to escape the mania and bustle of modern life: whether you're spotting dolphins along the long stretches of sandy coastline, exploring ruined clifftop castles or hiking through the rugged Grampians Mountains, you will find yourself at peace amidst the unspoilt and dramatic scenery. Our collection of the best places to stay in Aberdeenshire offers something for everyone from chic value stays to utter luxury.

To the west of the region lies sweeping rich farmland peppered with lowly craggy hills, largely in the shadow of the looming Grampian Mountains; to the east lies the Buchan coastline, full of rugged cliffs and long stretches of sandy beaches dotted with quaint and picturesque fishing villages. A fertile and wealthy region in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire is famed for its Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, but one of its greatest charms lies in its hiking trails. The Cairngorms National Park's savagely beautiful landscape is a must-see - teeming with lochs that mirror the sky and wild, dark patches of forestry. To the east, along the coastline, lies the St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve, a stunning world of blooming flora and untouched fauna.

As for history, Aberdeenshire brims with it. With over 263 castles in the region, it is an ideal destination for history buffs. Some castles, like Dunnottor in Stonehaven, should be on everyone's sightseeing list: a stark and haunting ruin sitting atop a clifftop, it was the inspiration for the Disney-Pixar film Brave. Others, like New Slains Castle - roofless and sinister - are fascinating to explore: built in the 16th century and subsequently rebuilt in the 19th century, it is dramatically set on a cliff facing the North Sea. It isn't surprising, really, that it was the inspiration for Dracula.

The area is home to some fascinating and idiosyncratic museums. The Peterhead Prison Museum is a must-see. Once known as "Scotland's Alcatraz", it is now a museum - albeit, a frightening one - and allows visitors to see how the prisoners lived.

Dolphin-spotting in Aberdeen is hugely popular with tourists: Aberdeen, the shining city of granite, is the best place to spot dolphins in the whole of Scotland, and you can watch them chase the leaping salmon from Torry Battery, by the sea.

Where to stay - which town?

  • Banchory is a charming, quaint market town on the banks of the River Dee, and dominated by the stark Crathes Castle. A perfect rural getaway for couples.
  • Aberdeen, the great granite city, is where you can enjoy anything from dolphin spotting and fish & chips to museums and a fantastic night out.
  • Tarland is a small and rather beautiful village, surrounded by enchanting countryside. There's an Iron Age underground dwelling nearby and a stone circle, and the area is rumoured to have been the favourite haunt of a wizard. Great for history lovers!
  • Braemar is a beautiful village near Balmoral, the summer residence of the Queen, and is dominated by a wonderfully elegant 17th century castle.

What not to miss

  • Hike through the rugged and wild landscape of the Grampian Mountains.
  • Go dolphin-spotting in Aberdeen.
  • Visit the standing stones of either Kirkton of Bourtie or Tomnaverie, and marvel at the sublime passing of history.
  • Learn how your ancestors lived at the Glenesk Folk Museum.
  • Go salmon fishing in the River Dee, Dan or Deveron.
  • Explore the haunting ruins of Dunnottor Castle, in Stonehaven.
  • Go to the Peterhead Prison Museum, once "Scotland's Alcatraz" and see how the prisoners lived.

Aberdeenshire is a fascinating and beautiful part of Scotland famed for its beef, castles and mountains. The perfect place for a weekend away or a family holiday. Browse through our collection of the best places to stay in Aberdeenshire to start planning your trip.

The best places to stay in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeen city stay

  • Bauhaus Hotel: a chic hotel in downtown Aberdeen, with colourful interior facades and exposed brick walls. Ideal for exploring the city.
  • Skene House Hotelsuites Rosemount: perfect for families or businessmen, these bright contemporary apartments offer very well priced spacious rooms in downtown Aberdeen, set in a charming granite Aberdonian townhouse. City in style!

Banchory charm

  • TorNaCoille: a lovely baronial house in Banchory, with elegant rooms adorned with luxurious beds and antique furniture. The restaurant serves hearty Scottish fare, locally-sourced.

Cosy B&B

  • Castle of Park: a gorgeous castle nestling amidst rolling manicured parkland, offering rooms that marry traditional styles with contemporary comforts. The perfect romantic nest for a couple!
  • Lys-na-greyne: standing high above the River Dee, boasting spellbinding views of the countryside, offering plush and modern rooms with spacious luxurious bathrooms. Ideal if you've come to fish, it is also a great place to unwind.

Rural retreat

  • Douneside House: in the heart of Royal Deeside, this beautiful country house is the quintessential country retreat. Intimate and offering sumptuous cuisine, it is the perfect place for couples looking for romance and quiet.
  • The Cock and Bull: a stylish gastropub in Balmedie, offering boutique rooms in a cottage outside the restaurant, which serves delicious locally-sourced food. Ideal for golfing trips or hiking breaks.
  • Banchory Lodge: in a spellbinding location on the banks of the River Dee, this is the ideal hotel for those who love fishing. Set amongst beautiful grounds, with elegant rooms, an atmospheric bar and a fantastic restaurant.
  • The Fife Arms: combining modern luxury with a High Victorian regard for aesthetic, this beautiful hotel features traditionally elegant yet chic rooms adorned with classic works of art, and is the perfect place to go for a weekend escape, whether you're grouse shooting, fishing or hiking through the hills. Impeccable Highland hospitality!
  • Marcliffe at Pitfodels: with a luxury, pampering spa, gourmet restaurant, extensive wine list and acres of woodland and rolling parkland, this beautiful Scottish retreat is perched just outside of Aberdeen. A great place to explore the region from.

Local exploring

  • The Chester Hotel: elegant and plush accommodation in the heart of Aberdeen. A lovely 19th century listed-building, it is the perfect base from which to explore the granite city. Stylish rooms, a superb restaurant and beauty treatments on offer.
  • Malmaison Aberdeen: a castle-like hotel offering rooms adorned with antiques, Tartan upholstery and dark wooden furniture, it boasts a relaxing spa, whiskey snug, brasserie and bar. The perfect city nest to explore the city and region from.

For an apartment or cottage

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of cottages and apartments on offer.

Travel information

  • Fly to Aberdeen Airport and get public transport to your destination.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend contacting our partner Rentalcars.
  • The best time to go is during the summer when the temperature ranges from 8 to 18 degrees.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Aberdeenshire

  • TorNaCoille 30 rooms from £60

    Banchory

    Set in a lovely baronial house, TorNaCoille is an excellent hotel in Banchory on Deeside. Elegant rooms are adorned with luxurious beds and tasteful furniture. The hotel's excellent restaurant has a Scottish focus and utilises the best of local produce.

    Local exploring  -  A great base from which to explore the beautiful landscape and sights of Deeside.
    Sights nearby  -  Deeside is full of lovely castles such as Crathes Castle and Drum Castle.
    Fishing  -  Go fishing on the nearby Dee, one of the UK's best salmon rivers.
    Great walks  -  The surrounding countryside is full of lovely walking routes.
    Check prices
  • Bauhaus Hotel 39 rooms from £65

    Aberdeen

    The contemporary Bauhaus Hotel enjoys a superbly central location in downtown Aberdeen. Offers boutique accommodation with white interiors, brick wall facades and splashes of colourful artwork on the walls. Rooms also feature 60" TVs and en suite bathrooms. A well located and decent value spot.

    Local exploring  -  Make the most out of your location to see all that the city has to offer
    City Style  -  Bauhaus Hotel is the perfect base from which to get to know Aberdeen
    Value chic  -  Great accommodation, a central location and all at low cost
    Sights nearby  -  Go visit Aberdeen Music Hall, Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption or Aberdeen Harbour
    Check prices
  • Banchory Lodge 28 rooms from £82

    Banchory

    Overlooking the banks of the river Dee, Banchory Lodge is a true Scottish retreat. Elegant rooms, an atmospheric bar and an excellent restaurant all come together to form a superb hotel. A great spot for keen fishers who can cast a fly from the bottom of the hotel's garden.

    Local exploring  -  A great base from which to explore Banchory and the surrounding Deeside area.
    Fishing  -  The nearby fishing on the Dee is some of the finest in Scotland.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit sights such as nearby castles at Crathes and Drum.
    Great walks  -  Go for lovely walks along the Dee.
    Check prices
  • The Cock and Bull 6 rooms from £85

    Aberdeenshire

    Stylish gastropub with rooms in Balmedie offering boutique accommodation in a cottage opposite the restaurant. Winner of Scotland's Gastropub of the Year in 2012 and 2013, it is a cosy and intimate setting serving locally-sourced produce. Great for golf trips to Cruden Bay and Royal Aberdeen.

    Foodies  -  An award-winning restaurant serving locally sourced food.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Check prices
  • Skene House HotelSuites Rosemount 101 rooms from £89

    Aberdeen

    Reasonably priced but well-serviced apartments in heart of the Granite City. Combines the best of both worlds: independent living and warmth of hospitality, perfect for business clientele or weekend city break. Clean modern apartments in characterful granite building

    Business Hotel  -  Established favourite of oil business visitors
    Sights nearby  -  All of Aberdeen's highlights are close by
    Check prices
  • Malmaison Aberdeen 80 rooms from £109

    Aberdeen

    Typical of the Malmaison brand. Castle-like hotel bedecked with tartan upholstery and dark furniture. Intimate whisky snug, brasserie, bar, and relaxing spa.

    Spa
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection
    Check prices
  • Lys-na-greyne 6 rooms from £110

    Aboyne

    In a picturesque position overlooking the River Dee, Lys-na-greyne is a luxurious B&B. Boasting plush rooms with modern interiors and spacious bathrooms, Lys-na-greyne is perfect for a relaxing break. With excellent fishing on the doorstep, it's a great base for a fishing trip to the Dee.

    Great walks  -  The surrounding area is full of beautiful walking routes.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Craigievar Castle and Kildrummy Castle.
    Fishing  -  Superb salmon fishing on the nearby Dee.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Check prices
  • Douneside House 14 rooms from 110

    Tarland, Aberdeenshire

    Situated in the heart of Royal Deeside, Douneside House is a perfect country retreat. Come for delicious food, comfy beds and total relaxation

    Fishing  -  On the River Dee nearby
    Views  -  Over the Dee valley
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool
    Spa
    Check prices
  • The Chester Hotel 54 rooms from £110

    Aberdeen

    A short walk from the city centre, The Chester Hotel is set in a lovely 19th-century listed building. Combines original architecture with elegant contemporary features. Offers stylish rooms and meals at the fabulous restaurant are a must! Beauty treatments available. A top-notch chic city stay!

    City Style  -  The Chester Hotel is a great base from which to get to know Aberdeen
    Local exploring  -  See all that the city has to offer
    Great walks  -  Wander through Duthie Park Winter Gardens
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Castle of Park 3 rooms from £125

    Aberdeenshire

    A beautifully kept castle standing in acres of manicured gardens and woodlands. Three individually styled rooms are unsurprisingly grand, filled with antiques and boasting luxurious bathrooms. The reception rooms are everything you would expect from a property on this scale. A fabulous stay.

    Country Escape  -  Country houses - or castles - don't come much better than this. A taste of granduer in an utterly lovely location.
    Great walks  -  Stroll through the extensive grounds that include a laburnum walk, rose garden, labyrinth, ancient woodland and meadows.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Check prices
  • The Fife Arms 46 rooms from £146

    Braemar, Aberdeenshire

    High Victoriana meets Modern Luxury at the miraculously reinvented Fife Arms in Braemar. A destination as much as a place to stay, come here to celebrate and relax, or to walk, stalk or fish; a warm welcome, eclectic art, comfy bedrooms and ever charming highland hospitality are guaranteed.

    Other Activities  -  Stalking and shooting all available by arrangement
    Artworks  -  Picasso, Freud, Bruegel to name just a few
    Opulent  -  Check out the Royal Suites
    Fishing  -  Fishing on the Dee
    Check prices
  • Marcliffe at Pitfodels 42 rooms from £160

    Aberdeen (Pitfodels)

    Delightful Scottish refuge in 11 acres of woodland on the edge of the historic city of Aberdeen. Elegant and spacious bedrooms, Conservatory restaurant with extensive wine list, luxury spa.

    Spa
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Small Luxury Hotels
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  • Meldrum House 51 rooms from £175

    Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire

    A stunning historic country house hotel in the heart of Aberdeenshire's whisky country. Smart rooms and suites: some traditional, others in the new wing totally contemporary. Atmospheric cave bar and 2AA Rosette Pineapple restaurant. Plus a highly recommended golf course. Simply superb!

    Golf  -  Meldrum House has its own superb 18 hole parkland golf course, and there are others nearby
    Local exploring  -  The ideal base for exploring Aberdeen's Whisky country
    Great walks  -  There are fabulous walks for all abilities in the surrounding countryside.
    Sights nearby  -  There are many castles and country houses within 15 miles.
    Check prices