The Journal


Scotland – The Most Beautiful Country in the World


Rough Guide readers voted Scotland the most stunning country in the world, pushing Canada and New Zealand aside to take the coveted number one spot. Every corner of Scotland has something breathtaking to offer but when it comes to the ‘wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles’ that the Rough Guide readers adored, Aberdeen is standing proud.

At Skene House Apartment Hotels we’re delighted to highlight the best beaches in Aberdeen and Shire. We’ve been helping guests and providing quality accommodation in the region for over forty years. With our one, two or three bedroom hotel suites, complete with fully furnished kitchen and living rooms, you can concentrate on your Scottish seaside adventures, confident you’ll return to a homely suite with hotel benefits. So here’s your guide to our corner of the most beautiful country in the world.

Aberdeen City – Aberdeen boasts wide expansive sandy beach that stretches for miles along the coast, dotted with seaside cafés and restaurants. Dolphin spotting with the RSPB takes place every summer from the nearby Torry Battery. Harbour tours also run regularly in high season taking in the local scenery, wildlife and industry.

Aberdeenshire South – With roughly 165 miles of Aberdeenshire coast there’s a lot of blustery walks to be had and sandcastles to be built!

South of the city is the coastal gem, Stonehaven. Its beachside walk is ideal for a promenade, and it also boasts a unique art deco Open Air Pool and the dramatic, clifftop Dunnottar Castle. Its old-fashioned fishing harbour and quaint pubs are always lively on bright days. Nearby Catterline, with its rocky shoreline and picture postcard houses, can also be worth a stop. But for sweeping sands head to St Cyrus just south of Johnshaven.

Aberdeenshire North – North of Aberdeen are the stunning dunes of Balmedie Beach. 1700 metres of boardwalk assist visitor access through the dunes, and barbecue stands are available to book for those wishing to indulge in these beautiful surroundings whilst dining al fresco.

Newburgh and Forvie Nature Reserve are also worth a dedicated visit. Spot eider ducks, diving terns and oyster catchers in flight, but the real stars of the show are the seals that regularly sunbathe at the mouth of the River Ythan. The colony is said to be four hundred strong, and it delights locals and tourists of all ages.

For little ones, Collieston Beach is a sheltered spot, protected by its pier, ripe for childhood exploration. Equally Cruden Bay is a large sweeping stretch of sand ideal for energetic children, dog-walkers, romantic couples and those seeking a breath of fresh air. Further up the coastline big and little kids can scour rock pools at Buchanhaven Beach, Peterhead.

For older children and the more active visitor Fraserburgh‘s award winning beach is not only photogenic but it’s also known for waterspouts such as surfing and paddling boarding. Another coastal attraction in the town is the Scottish National Lighthouse Museum with tours to the very top of the first modern lighthouse in Scotland.

Beaches and fishing villages also reveal a great deal about Scotland’s history and heritage. The shoreline at the village of Crovie is pebbly, and when the tide’s in there’s no ‘beach’ to speak of. But this is a picturesque spot and speaks volumes about the social history of the area. A traditional fishing village, many of the houses are built gable-end facing the sea, with no sea views – all practical steps to keep homes as cosy as possible, protecting the locals from the lashing wind coming off the sea. A few miles along the coast is the similarly quaint village of Pennan with its pebbly shoreline. It stands out having shot to fame in the 1980s when it ‘starreed’ as a film location in ‘Local Hero’. Fans travel from around the globe to make a phone call from its notorious red telephone box.

As we carry along the most northern coastline of Aberdeenshire we reach the towns of Banff and Macduff. It’s possible to walk between the towns two beaches, avoiding sea spray as you go. Sandy Banff Beach has views across the mouth of the River Deveron. At Macduff nip inside its popular aquarium to discover more about the sea life thriving in the waters around you.

A final stop is Portsoy‘s Links Bay Beach, located in a quiet cove. The annual Traditional Boat Festival, held every summer in June/July, is a key date in the coastal diary. After extensive beach combing we hope you’ll head home to your Skene House suite. We feel there’s an Aberdeenshire beach for whatever mood you’re in, covering water-sports, wildlife, history, family fun, and often boasting a festival or museum or two.

With Skene House’s free, city centre parking it’s easy for our guests to explore far flung beaches, without having to stress about city parking on return. For those using public transport we’re only a short walk from Aberdeen’s bus station, railway station and ferry terminal, and a short cab ride from the airport. Out 24 hour reception team can help guests with directions or public transport queries they may have. We offer three central properties: Rosemount and Holburn offer quality accommodation for one night or more; our Whitehall suites are ideal for stays of one week or longer. Before heading out for a day at the beach, rustle up a full Scottish breakfast in your Skene House kitchen, or book a breakfast in our morning dining room. And if you return to your suite feeling you’ve taken half the beach back home with you, then don’t worry about sand, our luxury properties are fully serviced every day!

Discover more at +44 1224 659 392 or email

[Image of the Ythan Estuary courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire.]



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