Stunning Stonehaven 2 Day Itinerary
If you’re visiting Dalriada Lodges for two days, then you’ll find lots to keep you occupied right here in the seaside town of Stonehaven. With great places to eat, lots of independent shops and plenty of visitor attractions there’s no need to stray too far from your own home away from home.
We recommend that you head into the town centre – the area around the Mercat Cross – to get your bearings and browse some of the shops along the way. From here, walk towards the harbour and take it all in. It’s a beautiful wee harbour and while it’s no longer packed with fishing boats,it’s still well used by pleasure vessels.
If you want to get even closer to the harbour action, why not book a session with Stonehaven Paddleboarding? Guides can take you on a water-based tour of the local coastline, a sunrise paddle or get up close and personal with the seals and dolphins.
Back on dry land, follow the walking trail from the harbour up to the stunning Dunnottar Castle. It may look a little familiar – it’s been used as the backdrop for Hollywood films including Hamlet starring Mel Gibson and Victor Frankenstein with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. On a side note, this clifftop fortress is said to the inspiration behind Disney’s animated movie Brave.
The castle was the home of the Earls of Marischal and it has a rich and colourful history. It’s been visited by Mary Queen of Scots and James VI and in the 17th century Oliver Cromwell’s army laid siege to the castle for eight months. Surrender was eventually conceded – but not before the Scottish Crown Jewels were smuggled out to Kinneff Old Church.
On the way back down, stop off to get a closer look at Stonehaven War Memorial. The distinctive monument is perched atop a cliff and the site offers stunning views along the coastline.
Once you return to the harbour, refuel by visiting one of the local eateries. The Tolbooth Restaurant, The Marine Hotel and The Ship Inn offer lovely views of the harbour – and a great selection of fresh seafood. The latter also have friendly, welcoming bars if you fancy mixing with the locals before retiring back to your luxury lodge for the evening.
Start your day off by getting back to nature! Fowlsheugh RSPB reserve , just a short drive South from Stonehaven, is truly incredible. From the spring to the autumn, the cliffs come alive with over 100,000 seabirds – everything from puffins to kittiwakes and fulmars to razorbills. Enjoy a two-mile walk along the clifftops and take it all in.
Next, return to the harbour and to the fascinating Tolbooth Museum which was once used as an administrative centre for the town. It has some informative local history displays and unusual artefacts, including the Inverbervie stocks and the Crank – a punishment device for criminals who were kept prisoner in the building.
Head along the beach boardwalk and enjoy the wonderful seaside views – along with another unusual addition! Stonehaven’s very own Banksy – an artist who was unknown for many years until he was revealed as local man Jim Malcolm - has created some metal sculptures along the route. All of his sculptures are created from scrap metal and are a real talking point.
All the walking will have no doubt built up an appetite, so why not round your visit off by sampling some famous Stonehaven delicacies? Pop in past The Bay Fish and Chips for the ultimate seaside snack and then head next door to legendary ice cream parlour Aunty Betty’s. It may take some time to decide which flavour you want to try. Our advice…go for as many different varieties as you can!
As a side note, if you’re visiting in the summer months you should also make time for a dip at the art deco lido Stonehaven Outdoor Swimming Pool and hop on board the Stoney Express – the Stonehaven Land Train.
Then head home to make the most of your last remaining few hours at Dalriada Luxury Lodges – sit out on the deck with a glass of wine or cosy up indoors and take in that beautiful view across Stonehaven Bay for the final time.
If you plan on staying a little bit longer – and who could blame you! – then we recommend that you spend your third day in the Granite City. Aberdeen and its distinctive granite buildings are just a 15-minute drive or a short trip by rail and while it’s known as the European capital of oil and gas, there’s much more to the city than energy.
More inspiration can be found here in our suggested itineraries.