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On the North East 250 Road Trip with Skene House

We are now part of the Ultimate Road Trip, the North East 250, which takes in some of the best scenery, history, whisky and activities in Scotland. We’ve always been proud of what’ s on our doorstep and this road trip pulls it all together, so now it’s time to get exploring.

Skene House Apartment Hotels are based in the city of Aberdeen, the starting point for many embarking on the epic North East 250, arriving at the Granite City by road, air, rail or ferry. Skene House is within walking distance of the stations and ferry terminal, and a short cab ride from the airport so we provide a great base from where the adventures can begin. We also provide ample free city centre carparks, so after undertaking a stretch of the NE250 there’s stress free parking for your vehicle or hire car. The biggest question is where to go first?

We’ve split the NE250 into five chunky sections to inspire you.

Royal Deeside
This regal setting is so easy to explore from Skene House. It boasts beautiful riverside towns such as Banchory and Aboyne, and before long you reach a mix of stunning National Trust for Scotland properties – in this area you can have your pick of the castles. Drum Castle and Crathes Castle, rich in history and heritage, as well as beautiful gardens and grounds to explore, are under 40 minutes from Aberdeen. Drive a little further and you’re in Queen Victoria territory. The celebrated monarch fell head over heels with the peace, tranquillity and freedom she discovered in Deeside, famously rebuilding Balmoral Castle as a rural haven for her family and friends. It’s still the summer residence of the Royal Family. Other sights worth stopping at include the small Crathie Kirk, where the Royals attend the Christmas Day service, and Crathie Graveyard where Queen Victoria’s loyal servant, John Brown, is buried. Another worthwhile stop is Braemar Castle where the Braemar Highland Games used to be held. Now owned by the local community it’s got its own character. Finally, for whisky lovers, drop by the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, which gained its Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria after she visited with her husband and three eldest children. Returning home, Braemar is a 1hr25min drive from Skene House in Aberdeen, and Drum Castle is thirty minutes away.

East Coast
Rather than head inland you may prefer the sea air. In that case head north to explore the East Coast. Beautiful beaches such as Balmedie, Cruden Bay, Newburgh, Forvie Sands and Fraserburgh await you – make sure you look out for contented seal colonies at Forvie. An atmospheric stop are the ruins of Slains Castle near Cruden Bay, so atmospheric they’re said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. For more recent history Peterhead Prison Museum is intriguing. Over the years it’s seen riots, murders and SAS rescues, but the museum tells the story from the guards’ perspective, focussing on every-day life and activities within the notorious jail. At Fraserburgh the Scottish Lighthouse Museum is a must, get on a tour to climb to the top of a real lighthouse. Next door is the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre which is also worth a stop. Returning to Skene House from Fraserburgh only takes an hour.

Moray Coast
If the East coast gave you a taste for maritime adventure then continue along the Moray coast. Here you’ll find beautiful fishing villages, such as Crovie and Pennan, the latter provided the backdrop to the film ‘Local Hero’. Dip into the elegant Duff House in Banff. Discover the sealife of the Moray Firth in Macduff’s Marine Aquarium. There is also the ruined remains of Findlater Castle near Cullen, and whilst there it’s essential to try some Cullen Skink – a chunky soup that is the pride of the town. Returning from Banff to Skene House in Aberdeen takes 1hr15mins.

Speyside
If deep down you’ve come to Scotland for the whisky then we completely understand. Speyside is one part of the NE250 you cannot miss. We’re talking Glenfarclas, Aberlour, Cardhu, Ballindalloch, Glen Spey, Glenrothes, Strathisla and Glen Grant, just to name a few distilleries within reach. Other attractions in the area include Speyside Cooperage, Ballindalloch Castle and Knockando Woolmill. For food and drink think Baxters of Fochabers, Walkers Shortbread and Gordon Castle Walled Garden. Fochabers is 1hr 20mins from Aberdeen.

Cairngorms
For those wishing to attempt the notorious ‘Snow Road’ (the legendary Cockbridge to Tomintoul route) then it’s worth it as you’ll be driving through the UK’s largest national park, the Cairngorms. Remember to drop by Corgarff Castle in the summer, and ski at the Lecht in the winter. The Lecht is 1hr25mins from Aberdeen and Skene House.

After all the exhilaration, make yourself at home in a one, two or three bedroom Skene House hotel suite, serviced every day so you return to a relaxing space. With fully furnished kitchens, and your own living room, it’s ideal for couples or families seeking a home from home. We also provide free laundries on site – so don’t worry about the wee ones getting their clothes mucky in the great outdoors. With three Aberdeen properties, including one that specialises in long-stays of a week or more, Skene House offers the Suite Life in the Granite City. For more information click here, get in touch at +44 1224 659 392 or email reservations@skene-house.co.uk.

Skene House, proud to be part of North East 250.

Image courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire.

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