Published: 16.05.2023

Stonehaven Holiday Guide

Stonehaven coast

Interested in discovering Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire on a cottage break?  Read Country Cottages Online’s guide to what the coastal town of Stonehaven in Scotland offers for cottage breaks.

Discover Stonehaven on a Self-Catering Holiday

The town of Stonehaven lies on the coast about 13 miles south of Aberdeen.  It has a long stretch of beach with a wooden walkway that's as popular with locals out for an afternoon stroll as with visitors. The new heated outdoor swimming pool (with midnight swims and barbecues during the summer) is built close to the beach.  There's also an amusement park, a small caravan site and some tennis courts.  Stonehaven beach wouldn't feature high on a list of Grampian's best beaches, and as a visitor, I would give it a miss and head for the harbour, where most of the tourists congregate for a drink at one of the pubs on the quayside.  The old harbour is much more attractive and interesting.  We enjoyed a drink at one of the tables outside the local hostelry whilst watching the small yacht club boats skimming to and fro in the distance.


The town itself is a mixture of old and new, with most of the old fishermen's cottages in the harbour area.  Some of the buildings like the Town House date back to the 18th Century.  The 16th Century Museum, where episcopal clergy were once imprisoned,   houses local artifacts and is a good place to obtain some historical knowledge about the town.

It's worth taking a walk around the town - there are a couple of interesting churches and converted fishermens's cottages.  A panoramic view can be obtained from the war memorial on the hill.  The Carron Restaurant on Cameron Street is worth a visit, just for its style alone.  It's a renovated Art Deco building with great attention to detail both inside and out.  

Stonehaven is well known for its 'Ancient Fireball Ceremony' at midnight on Hogmanay. About 60 fireballs are swung in a march through the town and flung into the sea at the harbour. No one quite knows the origins of this festival but it has been performed every year since anyone can remember and was recorded by fishermen back in the 19th Century. 



Dramatic Dunnotar Castle near StonehavenDiscover Dunnotar Castle Close to Stonehaven

Two miles south of Stonehaven are the atmospheric ruins of Dunnotar Castle which is perched on a high cliff with steep drops all around.  An entry fee is payable to look around the ruins (£3.50 for adults in 2001). Nearby, Dunnotar Wood with its bronze age burial mound is a pleasant place for a walk or picnic. There is wheelchair access to the picnic tables near Glasslaw Bridge, plus parking spaces reserved for the disabled.



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