This bustling seaside resort is best-known for its spectacular New Year’s fire ceremony.
Stonehaven is a lovely harbor town, where pretty, family-friendly beaches draw many summer visitors. The town is also an ideal base for excursions to nearby Dunnottar Castle, an infamous medieval castle set in a striking cliff-top location. Relax on the beach and visit one of Britain’s largest seabird colonies. Arrange your visit for New Year’s to witness one of the country’s most thrilling Hogmanay celebrations.
Stroll along the coastal path leading from Stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle. Perched in a moody location and surrounded by the thrashing sea on three sides, this medieval castle has been visited by Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace and numerous other legendary historic figures over the centuries.
Learn about the town’s history at the Tolbooth Museum, a modest museum set in a 17th-century former tolbooth. Browse the exhibits, which tell the story of how the tolbooth once functioned as a town jail and court in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Sign up for a boat trip to the nearby Fowlsheugh RSPB Reserve. One of mainland Britain’s largest seabird colonies, the reserve is home to around 130,000 birds.
Take the kids to the Stonehaven Open-Air Swimming Pool, a seawater pool dating back to 1934. Designed in art deco style, the pool is one of the country’s few remaining heated outdoor pools. Consider taking an after-dark dip during one of the pool’s midnight swims, which take place on Wednesday nights during the summer.
Head to Stonehaven Beach for more salt-water fun. Stretching for 0.6 miles (1.1 kilometers), this beach is a popular base for watersports. The southern end of the bay is sandier, making it a better spot for those looking to swim.
Plan your visit during New Year’s to see the town’s famous Stonehaven Fireballs event. At midnight, a group of men dressed in kilts swing balls of flame on chains, symbolically warding off evil spirits. Watch the men make their way through the center of town to the harbor, where they throw the fireballs into the sea.
Stonehaven is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Aberdeen. It’s well-connected to Aberdeen and Dundee by both bus and train service. Enjoy historic attractions and seaside fun in this quaint town.