Category Archive Places to Visit

Donmouth Local Nature Reserve

A Summer’s Walk along Aberdeen Beach
Donmouth Local Nature Reserve

Donmouth Local Nature Reserve is a beach site in the historic Old Aberdeen part of the City, where the River Don meets the sea.
A great place to see seals and a range of interesting birds. The beach area has changed over time as the river has changed its course. There are lots of interesting plants in the dunes and beach area. The Bird hide is an excellent shelter from which to watch the wildlife.
The paths run across King Street to the Brig o’ Balgownie, the original bridge in to the City from the North, then down the other side of the river to the sea.
The site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1992.
Paths are good, although wheelchair access to the beach would be difficult as the boardwalk can get covered with sand.

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Johnston Gardens

“A city garden with streams, waterfalls, ponds, rockeries and rustic bridge that help to make this one of the most charming areas in the city.
The garden is planted with rhododendrons, spring bulbs, heathers and alpines; the ponds are full of irises, aylesbury, mallard and muscovy ducks.
This garden is well loved by bridal couples for photographs of their day. 
Facilities include children’s play area and toilets.”

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16th June 2019

Braemar Castle

Further Afield: Glen Coe

Arguably one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Scotland, Glen Coe is about 4 hours drive from Aberdeen, near Fort William on the West coast of Scotland.

Glen Coe (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Comhann) is a glen of volcanic origins, in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the north of the county of Argyll, close to the border with the historic province of Lochaber, within the modern council area of Highland. The scenic beauty of the glen has led to its inclusion in the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. A review of the national scenic areas by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2010 made reference to the “soaring, dramatic splendour of Glen Coe”, and “the suddenness of the transition between high mountain pass and the lightly wooded strath” in the lower glen. It also described the journey through the glen on the main A82 road as “one of the classic Highland journeys”. The main settlement is the village of Glencoe located at the foot of the glen. The glen is regarded as the home of Scottish mountaineering and is popular with hillwalkers and climbers.

Glen Coe Wikipedia page

The Massacre at Glen Coe

“In Scottish history, the glen is forever linked to the Massacre of Glen Coe, which occurred on 13 February 1692. Following the defeat of the Jacobite Uprising of 1689, an estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glen Coe were killed by government forces, associated with Clan Campbell, who were billeted with them, on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland and Mary II.

In the eyes of many contemporaries, the unjustified bloodshed was not the principal crime – there had been bloodier events in the history of the Highlands than the massacre at Glen Coe – nor even the fact that survivors were forced to contend with the winter blizzard which caused many to perish while trying to get to safety. It was the fact of slaughter under trust – the breach of hospitality which also broke old Scots’ law.”

“The Massacre of Glencoe was not the bloodiest, not the most treacherous act in the history of the Highlands; but, it was murder under trust that could not be forgiven. The bond of trust, even among enemies which had helped people survive in the wild Highlands was broken for good, it was the beginning of the end; and for that all were to blame.”

David McNicoll

Further Afield: The Kelpies

The Kelpies

The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies (shape-shifting water spirits), standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, near Falkirk. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension, which reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.

Wikipedia page

The Kelpies at night

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The Kelpies website

Andy Scott Sculptures

Glen Tanar

An hour’s drive from Aberdeen along the Deeside Road, Glen Tanar, with its breathtaking Highland scenery, is situated on the eastern edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

“Glen Tanar

From rugged heather moorland to towering Caledonian pine forests to the majestic River Dee. Glen Tanar is a destination for exploring the best of natural Scotland.

Estate Safaris
Glen Tanar offer driven guided tours taking you into the heart of the estate where you might spot a golden eagle soaring high above, herons fishing over the secluded trout loch, or red squirrels darting between the ancient Scots pines. The trip includes binoculars and refreshments but don’t forget your camera! Depending on the season and choice of route you may spot red deer, roe deer, red squirrels, adders, golden eagles, osprey, black grouse, merlins, hen harriers and crossbills.

Salmon Fishing
Where better to fish than amidst the breathtaking backdrop of Glen Tanar in Royal Deeside? One of the world’s best spring salmon rivers, the magnificent River Dee has been fished for centuries, and many of the beats within Glen Tanar have been used by anglers since the 1600s. Today, the fast flowing, crystal clear waters host a series of salmon pools that provide anglers with some of the best fly-fishing in Europe.
Fishing on the Dee also includes Sea Trout which start to arrive around May. A lot of people fish for them at night because the trout tend to be more active and it is quite an exciting way of fishing. They are smaller than salmon averaging a couple of pounds but can get up to 3-4lbs.

All fishing on Glen Tanar’s four beats is fly-based and can be booked by week, part week or day, subject to availability, from 1 March until 30 September inclusive. Fishing with a ghillie is included during the Spring season (from 1 March – 30 June), and available on some beats during the Summer season (1 July – 30 September).

Trout Fishing

Trout fishing on Glen Tanar’s private loch guarantees a tranquillity fix in peaceful, secluded surroundings. They offer fly fishing by boat for rainbow trout and brown trout. Lifejackets for adults and children are available but please bring your own fishing equipment. Day and evening sessions are available from March to December. Please visit their website for more details.

Walk, Ride, Cycle
Get off the beaten track and explore Glen Tanar by foot, by bike, or on horseback. There are miles of tracks throughout Glen Tanar making it an ideal location for exploration. Whether it is walking you enjoy or mountain biking, you can experience the wilderness of Scotland by venturing deep into the Estate. Glen Tanar also plays host to Scotland’s most easterly munro, Mount Keen, so if you are feeling adventurous why not bag a munro too!

Wildlife Photography
Glen Tanar is a wildlife photographer’s paradise. To help visitors watch and photograph some of the species that can be found here, there are several hides at various locations throughout the estate. These are positioned to make the most of available light and surrounding views. Visitors should be prepared to spend several hours inside a hide. The prevalence of individual bird species changes each year, and the chance of seeing them depends on breeding success and nest locations. Depending on the time of year you could could be lucky to spot osprey, merlin, black grouse, peregrines, hen harrier and the majestic golden eagle. Full information and booking details can be found on their website.

Geocaching
The Deeside Geotour runs along the Deeside Way from Drumoak to Ballater, continuing up to Braemar and some of the caches will take you into Glen Tanar Estate. All the caches are freely available and you can find out more information at the Glen Tanar Visitor Centre.”

VisitAberdeenshire

From the Wikipedia Page for Glen Tanar:

“Glen Tanar (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Tanar) is a glen in Aberdeenshire, eastern Scotland, through which the Water of Tanar flows. Near the mouth of the glen, at Tower o’ Ess, the Water of Tanar flows into the River Dee. This flows through Deeside into the North Sea at Aberdeen.

Glen Tanar contains the third largest area of Caledonian Forest in Scotland, and is of national and European importance.


Forty-two square km of the glen is designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as a national nature reserve. Most of the area remains under private ownership as part of the Glen Tanar Estate, however 182 ha is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage, being designated as the “Strict Reserve Zone” of the national nature reserve. Glen Tanar lies within the Cairngorms National Park, and is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, and a Special Area of Conservation. The national nature reserve is designated a Category IV protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Glen Tanar provides the eastern walking route to Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro. Starting at the car park at the end of the public road, walkers follow the glen through the native Caledonian Forest into open moorland before crossing the river to begin the ascent.”

Wikipedia Entry for Glen Tanar

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Codonas Amusement Park

Codonas Amusement Park

Codona’s Amusement Park was established by the Codona Family in 1970 and is currently managed by the third generation of the family. It is situated adjacent to the Aberdeen Beach and Queens Links looking out over the North Sea.

Codonas Website

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Wikipedia entry

The David Welch Winter Gardens

“The David Welch Winter Gardens at Duthie Park are one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens and Scotland’s third most visited gardens.
It boasts a beautiful floral paradise all year round, with many rare and exotic plants on show from all around the world.
Come and visit the Temperate House, Corridor of Perfumes, Fern House, Victorian Corridor, Japanese Garden, Tropical House and Arid House, which has one of the largest collections of Cacti and Succulents in Britain and the world’s only talking cactus!”

VisitAberdeenshire

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Wikipedia Entry for Duthie Park