Stonehaven 2024: Best Places to Visit (with Map & Photos)

Stonehaven is one of the most interesting fishing villages on the east coast of Scotland, located south of Aberdeen, in the county of Kincardineshire, also known as the Mearns.

Stonehaven Scotland
Stonehaven Scotland

Little by little, the reduction in fishing activity has been transforming the landscape of the port, previously full of fishing boats, and now replaced in the park by small recreational yachts. However, some boats still survive that take advantage of the low tide that strips the port to fix the damage, remove the scum or paint the boats.

On the outskirts of the town, heading south, a pleasant walk takes us to Dunnottar Castle, undoubtedly the great tourist attraction whose visit is a must, since it is one of the most beautiful in Scotland. Before arriving we will pass by the Stonehaven War Memorial, which remembers the citizens of the city killed in world conflicts.

What to do in Stonehaven

The town center of Stonehaven is not overly large and it is quiet. The Clock Tower stands out, the tower clock that since 1790 marks the time of the city, especially when celebrating the Hogmanay Stonehaven Fireballs New Year's Eve festival. Another point visited is the garden reminiscent of the poet Robert Burn, The Burns Memorial garden.

The promenade that goes from the center to the port offers a relaxed journey along the beach. Sheltered by the small bay of the port, the old fishermen's houses rise like a small theater, today some excellent restaurants where you can taste fresh fish and seafood. One of those buildings is the Tolbooth Museum, which allows us to learn about the history of Stonehaven. It was the seat of the court and at the same time a prison and today it is the main museum of the city.

In addition to the aforementioned Dunnottar Castle (which can also be reached with the Stonehaven Land Train tourist train that leaves the market), in Stonehaven we can not train our swing at the Golf Club, take a bath on the pebble beach or in the Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool.

South of Stonehaven, past Dunnottar Castle, is the RSPB Fowlsheugh Reserve, a protected natural area where more than 130,000 birds nest or shelter during their summer and winter migrations. The steep cliffs serve as a refuge for seagulls, puffins and many other birds, in front of a coast where you can see dolphins and even whales.

Also on the outskirts, on the inner strip of Dunnottar Castle is the Dunnottar Woods, which hidden among the trees is pleasant to walk with children among nature.

Parties and events

The Hogmanay fireballs is a celebration or ceremony that like other pagan rites associated with fire, purification and fertility. It consists of a parade on New Year's Eve in which participants of all ages carry torches raised above their heads at midnight to chase away evil spirits and hope for a prosperous year. The first documented date of its celebration is 1908 but the rite is as old as the existence of fire. During the Stonehaven's Fireball ceremony at Hogmanay he wanders around town stopping at the home of someone he knows, wishing good omens.

In July, the sound of the folk music of its festival sets the soundtrack to the summer of many Scots and tourists who come to Stonehaven to spend their quiet holidays.

Routes from Sotnehaven

There are several routes on foot and by car in the vicinity of Stonehaven such as the Dunnottar Castle coastal route, or the Whiskey Trails (knowing the Fettercairn distillery). For bird lovers, The Mearns County Coastal Tour is attractive for bird watchers and nature lovers, enjoying a landscape of cliffs of great beauty.

How to get

There are frequent bus connections from Aberdeen and Dundee. And from Edinburgh there are trains that reach Stonehaven in two hours.

Stonehaven Tourist Office

At the information point on Allardice Street, number 66 we can get maps and advice on activities to do in and around Stonehaven, as well as help finding accommodation in B & Bs and hotels.

Stonehaven Map