Famous for its Hogmanay, dramatic cliffs, historic castle ruins, and sailing, Stonehaven is your idyllic Scottish coastal town. Whether you are here for a seaside escape or as a potential home buyer, things to do in Stonehaven are plenty exciting. Its walled harbour, whitewashed houses, quaint streets, and mouthwatering fish and chips make your stay worth every minute. And, if you are looking to grab a slice of this charm by moving in, you are in for a fulfilled life.
Where is Stonehaven?
Stonehaven is on the Aberdeenshire coast, fronted by a crescent-shaped bay and sheltered by hills that rise to the north and south. It is located 15 miles south of Aberdeen, a 20-minute train ride from the city. The impressive ruins of the Dunnottar Castle on the cliffs are one of the first sights of Stonehaven that stand out.
Reasons why you need to visit Stonehaven
The stunning coastline, beaches, and coves of Stonehaven are made for coastal walks, sailing, and seabird watching. And there are charming hiking trails for some active communion with nature. The town comes into its own on Hogmanay when locals and visitors flood the streets for a magical display of swinging balls of fire on December 31st.
Historically, Stonehaven was a fishing port since ancient times and thrived as a herring fishery in the 19th Century. Today, it is a bustling harbour with sailing yachts.
Things to do in Stonehaven
Explore the history of the town
Dunnottar Castle perched on its rocky headland, presiding over the North Sea, traces its origins to the 3rd Century. It once was a fortress significant to Scottish history.
Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum is a category A listed 16th Century building on the quayside with a fascinating past that served as a former courthouse and jail.
The Stonehaven War Memorial, erected in 1922, resembling a Greek temple ruin, commemorates the fallen heroes of World War I and later World War II.
Immersing yourself in the culture of the town
The famous Hogmanay of Stonehaven takes place on the 31st of December every year, where an ancient fireball ceremony to ward off evil spirits takes place at midnight.
There’s music, dancing, and singing when the Feein’ Market comes to town in the summer. The Folk Festival celebrates the history & heritage of Stonehaven.
Stonehaven Highland Games celebrate Celtic tradition with traditional sports, games, piping, drumming, and dancing.
The inventor of the pneumatic tyre is honoured at The RW Thomson Annual Memorial Rally with hundreds of vintage cars and automobiles going on display and cruising through the town.
Trying the local cuisine
The town’s most famous culinary export is the deep-fried Mars bar, which was invented in 1992 in The Haven Chip Bar (now The Carron). But that’s not the only deliciousness covered in batter. The award-winning Bay Fish & Chips on the seafront serves locally-caught fresh fish suppers. The famous Aunty Betty’s on the beach promenade serves homemade ice cream, Scottish chocolates, luxury coffees, and hot chocolate for a sugar fix you won’t regret. The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, renowned for some of the finest seafood in the world, serves fresh catches of the day, including halibut, plaice, squid, lobster, and langoustine. The Ship Inn on the harbour is an excellent spot for home-brewed whisky or craft gin.
Shopping and Fairs
The high street is a delightful discovery of independent shops, craft stores, and food stores. The weekly farmer’s market is a place to buy the freshest local produce.
The annual Midsummer Beer Happening presents 140+ beer types from the best brewers in the UK, Europe, and the world.
Activities for families and groups
- RSPB Fowlsheugh is the largest mainland seabird colony on Scotland’s east coast. Its spectacular seaside cliffs are inhabited by 130,000 breeding seabirds in the spring and summer.
- Dunnottar Woods, stretching between Carron Water and the Burn of Glaslaw, offers peaceful and quiet walking trails.
- Stonehaven’s Heated Open Air Pool is a 50m long Olympic-size swimming pool and lido with clean seawater at 29C, sheltered sun terraces, a paddling pool for under 8s, and midnight swims under the stars.
- The sea safari boat trip takes you on the Stonehaven coast to see the secret caves and waterfalls hidden from sight on land as playful dolphins and puffins play along.
- Stonehaven Golf Club, with its 5,000 yards of cliff-top tees, looks out onto the North Sea.
- Stonehaven Leisure Centre & Pool has an 18-station fitness room, a 25metre swimming pool, 3 badminton courts, a games room, 5-a-side football, short tennis, netball, basketball, a skate park, and a kids’ adventure park.
- Halymyres Stables opposite Dunnottor Castle teaches kids to ride well-mannered mounts.
- The yacht club offers sea angling facilities.
- Stonehaven bay and sea are ideal for paddleboarding.
- The Stonehaven Land Train runs on weekends from Market Square to the Caravan Park/Open Air Swimming Pool, up to Dunnottar Castle, along the harbour, and back to Market Square.
Stonehaven is a rare gem offering panoramic tranquility for those who are looking to get away from the restricted city life. The quintessential Scottish coastal beauty and luxury of picturesque outdoors make this seaside town a delightful destination and home. GS Brown Construction Stonehaven development offers mixed and varied family homes with spacious and luxurious living spaces.