Just 15 miles south of Aberdeen, the town of Stonehaven is built around the coastline with its very own castle, memorials, woods, parks, and more. It is the home of the Fried Mars Bar and some of the best Fish n Chips you can find anywhere.
About 2 miles south of Stonehaven is the famous Dunnottar Castle which has an amazing and extremely interesting history dating back to the Early Middle Ages including its involvement in the Jacobite rebellion in the 1700s. Oliver Cromwell hid the Scottish crown jewels there! You can tour the castle and learn more about its history at https://www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk
Stonehaven was my retreat of choice while living in Aberdeen. I often took the train south to visit and explore the cliffs and rocky beaches or to visit the pub and grab a bite to eat with some mates.
I thought I would share one of my favourite Stonehaven routines with you!
Coming in from the train station, I would walk the mile and a half over to the Dunnottar Woods. From there, I would take the History Trail which is a moderate to easy trail and is only about 2 miles long. The woods are filled with history and include a Shell House, the Lady Kennedy’s Bath, and Gallow’s Hill. It has multiple pathways that are all incredibly beautiful. The lush forest is filled with hard and softwood trees. The path is well-trodden and easy to navigate.
From there (if you follow your GPS) its only about an extra mile walk over to the Dunnottar Castle. The Dunnottar Castle is one of the most stunning and photogenic places in the world. It had been on my bucket list for years, and when I finally got to visit for the first time I was blown away with its beauty. Set along the cliffs, the castle ruins look out across the North Sea. There are small pebbled beaches on either side to walk along and explore. If you are lucky you may spot a dolphin or some seals. They are often seen swimming in the waters all around this area.
The grassy path that leads from the town to the castle is narrow but easily managed. The landscape, dotted with sheep, is mostly farmland. The beautiful Scottish sky and the flowing meadows always fill my heart with joy and gratitude. It really is a marvel to behold.
I loved walking along the cliffs, or down along the beaches. It’s a fantastic way to get some exercise and connect with nature. Just before you get to the castle there is even a small food truck where you can get anything from a burger or hotdog, an ice cream cone, or even just a cup of tea. You can pay to enter the castle or just enjoy the view. The trail back to town isn’t long and weaves you all along the coastline. If you want, you can go out further towards the cliffs or climb down along the beaches. I would change my route up a little bit each time.
Heading back into town brought me down to the beautiful Stonehaven Harbour where I could either stop in for dinner and a pint at The Ships Inn or Station Hotel. The harbour is filled with boats of varying sizes though most are smaller fishing boats. My favourite time to visit the harbour is at sunset. The water catches the light perfectly and dances atop the waves. It is so peaceful and relaxing.
The town of Stonehaven has so much to offer. I often dream about one day settling there long-term.
Some Other Favourites In Stonehaven:
- Shamrock and Thistle, a coffee shop where you can get a delicious waffle, savoury or sweet among other yummy treats.
- The Carron Fish Bar for some great fish n chips, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you should share their famous deep-fried Mars Bar. (I couldn’t eat a whole one by myself)
- The Ole Pier Coffee House (perfect after paddle boarding which is another of my favourite activities in Stonehaven)
- and I don’t want to forget, one of my favourite places to get ice cream was Aunt Bettys which is located just outside of town along the coast.
I hope you enjoy your stay whenever you get to visit! Thanks for reading!