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Stonehaven Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Stonehaven is a stunning seaside town located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is home to many quaint attractions and beaches that both locals and tourists enjoy.

If you plan to visit this gorgeous town anytime soon, then you’re in the right place! Here, we discuss everything from what to bring to the best things to do in Stonehaven. 

When is the best time to visit Stonehaven?

Time to visit
Photo by Alexnewworld from Pixabay

The best time to visit Stonehaven is in August. The warm weather at this time of the year makes it downright ideal to explore numerous outdoor activities in town. 

The average temperature during this month falls at 17°C at daylight and reaches up to 10.1°C at night. 

When is the best month to book accommodation in Stonehaven?

Book accommodation
Photo by peterweideman from Pixabay

Booking accommodation in Stonehaven is great at any time of the year except for July to October, which are deemed to be the busiest months. Several hotels and other lodgings are costlier than usual during these months.

However, scheduling ahead of time will save you a few pounds, so we recommend planning your visit accordingly.  

What are the things to bring before going to Stonehaven?

Things to bring
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Things to bring to Stonehaven vary depending on the month of your visit. Here are our recommendations by season:

MonthThings to Bring
January-April / November-December– Thick jackets or coat
– Heavy jeans
– Gloves or mittens
– Sneakers or any cosy shoes
– Rain boots
– Umbrella
May-October– Light jackets
– Light jeans
– Light skirts or dresses
– Sneakers or any relaxing shoes
– Umbrella

Generally, you should carry a travel pillow, power bank, travel first aid kit, hand sanitizers, and other essentials at any time of year. 

How to go to Stonehaven

How to go
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

You can travel to Stonehaven by via bus, train or plane. Below are simple directions you can follow if you use any of these modes of transportation: 

1. By Bus

By Bus
Photo by Annie Spratt from Unsplash

There are many departure points headed towards Stonehaven. Some of these include Alten Industrial, Woodside and Union Square. 

From the airport, you must hop aboard bus line X7 or Bus 747. The main bus stop you want to get off at is at Barclay Street, Stonehaven. 

Travel time depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re from Aberdeen, the estimated time travel is about 30 minutes and the fare ranges from £3 – £6. 

2. By Train

By Train
Photo by igorovsyannykov from Pixabay

There are trains running hourly that can help you get to Stonehaven quickly. You can depart from major cities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Fare starts from £3.90, depending on where you’re departing from.

3. By Plane

By Plane
Photo by LN_Photoart from Pixabay

You can book from anywhere you are in the world and land at Aberdeen International Airport. From there, you can either take a bus, train or cab to go to Stonehaven. 

If you prefer to ride a taxi upon arrival, the minimum fare is £38.

Does Stonehaven have a beach?

Stonehaven Beach
Photo from Visit Scotland

Stonehaven is home to some of the most stunning beaches in all of Scotland. These include Cowie, Carron, Muchalls and Stonehaven Beach.

The Stonehaven Beach, which is more popular among others, is even great for walking, running and an ideal place for watersports lovers. 

How long is Stonehaven Beach?

Stonehaven Beach
Photo from Visit Scotland

Stonehaven Beach is over 1.1 kilometre long.

Can you swim in Stonehaven Beach?

Can you swim
Photo from Wee Walks

You can technically swim in Stonehaven Beach, but proceed with caution since the water is quite cold and there are no lifeguards on duty. 

That said, the government provides bathing water quality predictions from June to September to let you know when it is safe to swim. 

You can check the predictions here

Is Stonehaven Beach dog friendly?

Dog friendly
Photo from Wee Walks

Stonehaven Beach is dog friendly. 

As the beach is 1.1 kilometres long, it is perfect for taking your furry friend for a stroll. They are allowed on the beach all year.

20 things to do in Stonehaven

1. Visit Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle
Photo by RockYourCradle from Pixabay

Built in the 13th century, Dunnottar Castle is one of the many renowned tourist hotspots in Stonehaven. The cliff-edge ruin is a must-visit when you tour the town. 

Inside, you can see narrow alleys and blocks of stones tracing back to its history. 

To enter Dunnottar Castle, you must first purchase a ticket. You may buy at the entrance or book a ticket in advance through their website. 

Admission prices online are as follows: 

Concession (age 65+)£8.50
Child (age 5-15)£4.50
Family (2 adults + 2 children)£23.50
Adult Annual Pass£22.50
Child Annual Pass£10
*Please note that ticket prices are subject to change depending on the management. 

Opening hours:

April 1 – September 30 9 AM – 6 PM
October 1 – October 2810 AM – 5 PM
October 29 – January 2710 AM – 3 PM
January 29 – February 2510 AM – 4 PM
February 26 – March 3110 AM – 5 PM

Approximately, 2 hours is needed to tour around the castle. If you have enough time, we suggest you consume this time period to fully appreciate the beauty of the ruins. 

Dunnottar Castle is also considered a Scottish landmark. Hence, adding this to your itinerary would definitely be worth the try. 

2. Stop by Stonehaven Harbour

Stonehaven Harbo
Photo from tripadvisor

Stonehaven Harbour is Aberdeenshire’s largest recreational port housing three basins totaling 18,200 square metres and 550 metres of berthing capacity on the quays. 

The harbour also has additional and regular mooring chains. Unlike Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven Harbour is free to visit. 

Numerous shops and eateries line up the area as well. Hence, you can relax and grab a bite while overlooking the beautiful sea in front of you. 

There are also hotel accommodations nearby the area, so if you prefer to be close to the sea, then finding one along the harbour could be a great fit.

3. Drop by Tolbooth Museum

Tolbooth Museum
Photo from tripadvisor

Tolbooth Museum, which opened in 1995, is a popular site for both visitors and UK residents. It was a former courtroom and jail throughout the 17th and 18th centuries before becoming a popular tourist destination.

You can see the evolution of local crime and punishment throughout time here. There are also gaol cells within, which might give you the impression that you’re travelling back in time. 

The museum is open from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM on weekends during winter and from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM during summer weekends. Admission is free.

4. Experience Stonehaven Open Air Pool

Open Air Pool
Photo from Stonehaven Heated Open Air Pool Facebook

The Stonehaven Open Air Pool is open from May to September. You can enjoy the 29°C pool heat and have fun with your friends and family. 

There are several inflatables in the pool that are suitable for both adults and children. During the peak season, the pool remains open until midnight to accommodate tourists who wish to enjoy disco music.  

Peak season starts from July to August. Here are the opening times to remember: 

June 2 – July 1 / August 23 – September 41 PM to 7:30 PM (Monday to Friday)
10 AM to 6 PM (Saturday to Sunday)
July 2 – August 22 10 AM to 7:30 PM (Monday to Friday)
10 PM to Midnight (Wednesday)
10 AM to 6 PM (Saturday to Sunday)

Meanwhile, here are the admission prices: 

CategoryDaySeasonMidnight SwimSession
Discounted Tickets£3.90£122.00£5.55£41.40
Family (2+2 or 1+3)£16.90£436.00£20.70£158.00
After 5 PM£3.90£107.00£39.20

You can either purchase tickets offline or book in advance through here or their app. Pre-booking is highly recommended particularly during peak season. 

5. Walk through Stonehaven’s Old Town

Old Town
Photo from tripadvisor

If you enjoy history, a trip around Stonehaven’s Old Town will most likely please you. There are several plaques and entrances here that explain the town’s history.   

There are also mediaeval structures like the Old Clock Tower that exist until today. It was built in 1790 and was used to provide weather conditions to fishermen in Stonehaven. 

6. Hop on Stonehaven Boat Trip

Boat Trip
Photo from Stonehaven – Shellfish & Boat Trips Facebook

Appreciate nature by taking a ride on the Stonehaven boat! This is ideal for families, especially those with children, as they can relax and enjoy the scenery at the same time. 

The cruise travels up from Stonehaven Bay to Garron Point. Dinner is also included in the package and is available for consumption after the ride. 

The journey lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs £45 per person or £365 for private rental for 9 pax.

7. Experience Feein’ Market

Feein’ Market
Photo from Feein’ Market

Feein’ Market is held every first Saturday of June each year in Stonehaven’s Market Square. You can witness various performances and events in the Square and Town Hall.

You can also find several stalls selling meals, desserts, drinks and even toys. This 2023, the market will take place on June 3. 

Participating markets include Molly’s Café Bar, The Catering Collective – Whip N Roll, Thinymijigs Gift Shop and The Wool Bandit.

8. Join Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony

Every December 31st, the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony is held to commemorate the New Year. To honour this important event, around 40 men and women swing fireballs along High Street. 

There are also performances that begin around 11 PM to spice up the countdown. 

If you want to spend the new year at Stonehaven, then you might be on time for this ceremony. There is no entry charge, and you can stay as long as you like. 

9. Enjoy music with locals at Stonehaven Folk Festival

Folk Festival
Photo from Stonehaven Folk Festival Facebook

Derived from the name itself, Stonehaven Folk Festival hosts performances that centre around folk music. 

Both local and international artists are invited to the event and you can listen to all genres of folk music from traditional to contemporary.

The Stonehaven Folk Festival started in 1898 and will be held from July 7 to 9 this 2023.

10. Enjoy the sea at Stonehaven Harbour Festival

Harbour Festival
Photo by Stonehaven Harbour Festival Facebook

Stonehaven Harbour Festival is an event initiated by the town’s local clubs for families to have a fun day out in the open.

These clubs include Stonehaven & District Lions, Rotary Club and Round Table, and the festival is often held in August every year. 

Join the crowd and enjoy a quality time together with your loved ones while overlooking Stonehaven’s famed harbour!

11. Have fun in Midsummer Beer Happening

Midsummer Beer
Photo from Midsummer Beer Happening Facebook 

Midsummer Beer Happening is an event spearheaded by local beer fans to commemorate brewing and music entertainment.

Here, a great deal of beer, street food, cycle activities and live performances can be enjoyed.

Cycling is held to raise donations for charities by running from 52, 70 to 100 miles along Cairn o’ Mount. The event will take place from June 15 to 17 this 2023. 

12. Appreciate the scenery at Black Hill War Memorial

Black Hill War
Photo from Canmore

Standing on the crest of Black Hill, Stonehaven’s war memorial is sure to be a memorable experience.

The memorial was opened to the public in 1923 and was designed by the local architect John Ellis.

On the structure, the names of First World War battles are engraved: Marne, Mons, Gallipoli, Vimy, Somne, Zeebrugge, Jutland and Ypres.

Inside the temple, there are additional tablets with the names of individuals who died during World War II inscribed on them.

From here, you may also enjoy the panoramic views of the whole Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle to the south.

13. Ride Stonehaven Land Train

Land Train
Photo from Yahoo!

Take the Stonehaven Land Train and learn about the town’s history as you travel from Caravan Park to Dunnottar Castle.

Throughout the journey, a guide will discuss the highlights of Stonehaven. You may also hop off and on at any point.

14. Play with your friends at Scallywags Soft Play

Scallywags Soft
Photo from Wikipedia

Scallywags Soft Play is both suitable for adults and children. The huge playroom is stocked with various toys that add to the excitement. 

There are also lots of cafe shops inside where you can have fun while eating your favourite food.

15. Appreciate nature at Dunnottar Woods

Dunnottar Woods is just a few steps away from Dunnottar Castle. Here, you can enjoy the pleasant river and wildlife of Stonehaven.

It is located on the south side of the town and is a good spot for hiking. You can make your entrance in Woodcot Brae or Carron Gardens.

We suggest you wear comfortable shoes before climbing up as the road is moderately steep with a few tree roots and branches scattered around.

16. Have a water-ful time at Stonehaven Paddleboarding

Photo from Stonehaven Paddleboarding

Stonehaven Paddleboarding is open all year round. Enjoy the waters and equip yourself with inflatable boards, boots, paddle and more. 

You can also take lessons beforehand to familiarise yourself with the equipment. This activity is a great way to spend quality time with your family and loved ones. 

17. Visit Catterline Bay

Catterline Bay
Photo from tripadvisor

Catherine Bay is a picturesque setting in Stonehaven’s seaside town. It was a landing station for St. Ninian during the 5th century and is currently one of the major tourist destinations where events such as Gala and Cartie Challenge are conducted.

18. Play golf at Stonehaven Golf Club

Stonehaven Golf Club is an ideal spot to practise your golf skills, or experience how to play one if you haven’t tried it yet. 

The club offers courses that can help you enhance your golf capabilities. They also offer memberships, so make sure to check this out in case you wish to frequent Stonehaven.

You can book your time slot through their website. Ticket prices for visitors range from £20.00 – £80.00.

19. Roam around the town centre

Town centre
Photo from Wikipedia

Stonehaven’s town centre is jam-packed with shops and restaurants that will keep you occupied as you explore the neighbourhood. 

Well-designed academies can also be found in the town centre like Mackie Academy. The town centre is a vibrant site with many enterprises and people from all over the world.

20. Immerse in nature at Baird Park

Baird Park
Photo from Fields in Trust

Relaxing in a peaceful setting and spending time with nature might be an excellent way to wrap up your day. If this fits to your liking, then a visit to Baird Park may be ideal.  

The Baird Park is protected by the Fields of Trust. Hence, the park is clean and well-preserved. 

There is also a pavilion, as well as football pitches which you can enjoy while resting.

What are the best restaurants in Stonehaven? 

1. The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant

Tolbooth Seafood
Photo from Tolbooth Restaurant

The Tolbooth Restaurant is one of the town’s finest seafood restaurants. Here, you can eat a variety of cuisine such as roasted Shetland scallops, potted smoked salmon and sweet potato falafel.

This restaurant will not only satisfy your appetite – the view of the harbour is also worth coming for.

2. The Creel Inn

The Creel Inn
Photo from The Creel Inn Facebook

The Creel Inn is another seafood restaurant in town many have their eyes on. Some of the best-sellers include scallops, shellfish pasta, and fillet steak. 

There are also wines, beer and cider sold in the restaurant. As The Creel Inn is situated in Stonehaven’s coastline, it would be a great fit if you prefer a peaceful meal while overlooking the spectacular scenery.

3. The Bay Fish & Chips

Bay Fish & Chips
Photo from thebayfish Instagram

The Bay Fish & Chips is an award-winning seafood restaurant located in Stonehaven seafront. Crowd-favourites include haddock, battered scampi and chicken fillets. 

Listed in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist, UK’s No. 1 Independent Takeaway 2013 and a consecutive awardee at Nfff Quality Award are just a few of the many restaurant’s awards.

What are the famous pubs in Stonehaven?

1. Market Bar

Market Bar
Photo from Alan Robertson

Located in the Market Lane of Stonehaven, be served with great beer in the Market Bar. This pub was rated as 4.5 in the Google review ratings among users. 

If you’re looking for a cosy place to relax from the hustle and bustle of town, then visiting Market Bar could be a great option.

2. Marine Hotel

Marine Hotel
Photo from marinestoney Instagram

Marine Hotel is both a pub and restaurant residing in Shorehead, Stonehaven. Smoked salmon, smoked haddock and fish & chips are some of the many crowd-pleaser cuisines.

There are also desserts like cheesecakes and pudding. You can order a variety of beverages here such as scotch, ale and beer. 

3. Six°North

Photo from sixdnorth Instagram

Among the several popular pubs in town, Six°North is another good spot. The pub’s good craft beer is one of the reasons why visitors return. 

Even the ambience of the place is superb for a hangout with friends. They offer beers in ipa, belgian, lager, fruit and dark flavours.

1. Aunty Bettys

Aunty Bettys
Photo from Aunty Bettys Facebook

Aunty Bettys is well-known for its delectable ice cream. The shop also has mouth-watering cakes that are perfect for any occasion. 

2. My Beautiful Caravan

My Beautiful Car
Photo from mybeautifulcaravan Instagram

If you’re looking where to shop gift cards before going back, then My Beautiful Caravan could provide you with what you need. 

This boutique shop is among the more renowned stationery shops in Stonehaven and has been frequented by tourists due to its wide range of choices. 

Here, you can purchase several collectibles such as magnets, brooches and mini cards with inspirational quotes inscribed in it. 

3. E Giulianotti

E Giulianotti
Photo from E Giulianotti 

E Giulianotti is another popular ice cream shop in Stonehaven. This shop is located in Evan Street and offers a variety of flavours like strawberry, chocolate and raspberry.

Is Stonehaven worth visiting?

Is worth visiting
Photo by mattiaverga from Pixabay

Stonehaven is definitely worth visiting! With its wide variety of beaches, swimming and other popular activities, the town is also great for hiking, cycling, and exploring.

You’ll definitely want to bring your camera along to capture the breathtaking coastal scenery.

It is also a great place to visit if you’re particularly looking for a seaside escape.

FAQS about Stonehaven

Stonehaven is indeed a charming town that is attractive in its own right!

We hope we have guided you well and helped you plan your trip. While you’re here, you may also check other things to do in Aberdeen. 

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