Aberdeenshire is an area that is rich in local history, fantastic sites and beautiful scenery. To ensure you soak up every bit of Aberdeenshire during your visit, we’ve put together a handy guide to the absolute best and must-see attractions in the area.
With over 200 castles to visit in the area, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing which one to visit. Many of the castles also sit in impressive grounds, which can lend themselves to a wonderful day out, complete with a well-stocked picnic or a stroll along one of the local walks.
Discover what is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ castle, Craigievar. This wonderful pink fairytale castle is surrounded by woodland trails suitable for the whole family - you might even spot some pine marten on your walk. For lovers of fairy tales, this castle is one for the bucket-list!
To the north of Thainstone House sits the impressive Fyvie Castle. This castle is the perfect location for a day out as the castle is open seasonally, while the grand grounds are open throughout the year just waiting for you to explore. For fans of classic literature, New Slains Castle, north of the hotel, is said to have inspired the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula after he stayed there. With its cliff-edge location and gothic feel, we can see how it could inspire a truly gothic tale.
Discover more castles in Aberdeenshire here.
Historic Stone Circles
For those eager to uncover the rich history of the area, a visit to The East Aquhorthies Stone Circle should be on your wishlist. It is one of the country’s best preserved recumbent stone circles, a monument type of a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, that you will only find in the North East of Scotland. The stones were erected over 4,000 years ago and their purpose remains mysteriously unknown. These stones are the only known stones in history still complete with no requirement for re-erection through the centuries.
Afterwards, visit one of the most admired pieces of Pictish sculpture in the area, The Maiden Stone. Legend has it that a local maiden lost a bet with the Devil who then turned her into stone as punishment. An interesting but macabre tale! Other stories say it is a memorial to a young woman killed due to a dispute between families - we’ll let you decide which story you’d like to imagine. On the way back to Thainstone House, visit the Loanhead of Daviot Stone Circle, another example of a recumbent circle. There are plaques displayed around the stones telling the history of the stones and points for you to uncover the history.
On your scenic drive back to Thainstone House, you will pass many other sites of Pictish stones including the Brands Butt Stone, Inverurie Pictish Stones and Broomend of Crichie Stone. To learn more about these stones, read our Aberdeenshire Stone Circles article.
For lovers of malt whisky and avid collectors, Aberdeenshire has an array of distilleries available to visit. Sample the finest malts and discover how it was made with tours of distilleries including Glen Garioch, Royal Lochnagar, Glenglassaugh and Glen Dronach.
Learn more about whisky tours in Aberdeen in our 10 Whisky Distilleries in Aberdeenshire blog.
Those who are looking to experience the historic practice of deer stalking on Aberdeenshire estates have plenty of choices. Many estates offer Red and Roe Deer Stalking across the breathtaking landscape. The area also offers some of the best loch and river fishing as well as the option of sea angling for those keen to cast their hook.
For more information on local fishing, see our Fishing in Aberdeen blog post.
Shopping in Inverurie
Whether you need to pick up some essentials or wish to check out the local shops, Inverurie is a bustling market town. The high street has many independent shops and local produce where you can pick up a memento of your time in Aberdeenshire. There is no shortage of charming, unique gift-shops where you can pick up a thoughtful gift for a loved one.
Discover our blog on Inverurie shops.
Thainstone House is well located to enjoy both the city and countryside of Aberdeen. The exhibition centre, the P&J Live is located on the west side of the city, next to Aberdeen Airport and en-route to Thainstone House which is a short drive away. The hotel is also located next to the Thainstone Centre. A trip to Aberdeen City Centre provides an action-packed day of heritage and culture. The Aberdeen Art Gallery is a must-visit. It has undergone a recent transformation to enhance its collections, while the Aberdeen Maritime Museum celebrates the city’s long relationship with the sea. A fine example of 16th-century architecture, Provost Skene's House houses an attractive collection of rooms, furnished to show how people lived from the 17th to early 19th centuries, a Painted Gallery and a museum of period dress.
From Thainstone House, the city centre is located around 15 miles away, a 30 minute drive. For those who would prefer public transport, there is a handy bus you can catch from the Thainstone Agricultural Centre that will drop you off in the city.
Ideally nested in the centre of Inverurie, Thainstone House is the perfect location for exploring all that Aberdeenshire has to offer. Relax and restore at our spa and leisure centre to rebalance your body and mind with indulgent treatments, our Thermal experience and access to our state-of-the-art fitness centre. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, we’ll welcome you into The Green Lady, our on-site restaurant for a sumptuous meal made with fresh, local ingredients.