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Nine must-visit sites within ONE HOUR of Aberdeen

Escape the busy city centre and in 60 minutes you could be out enjoying these attractions.

Sites around Aberdeenshire within one hour of Aberdeen.
Image: DC Thomson.

Do you ever feel like escaping from the granite jungle of Aberdeen?

Travelling in and out of the city can be stressful, dodging traffic, bus gates and roadworks.

However, once out of the city you can relax a little and take in the surrounding history and beauty of Aberdeenshire.

You might not think it but there are so many places of interest within a short journey from Aberdeen.

Here are the must-see places to visit within ONE HOUR of the Granite City.

Crawton Waterfall, an attraction in Aberdeenshire.
Crawton Waterfall. Image: Shutterstock.

Crawton Waterfall

A drive of 28 minutes and a short hike down the coastal path and you are face-to-face with Crawton Waterfall, as it majestically cascades down the side of a rugged cliff.

Not only can you view the waterfall but in the summer the area is abundant with sea life including seals, dolphins and seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes.

Free entry

The dinnie stones, a famous set of stones in Aberdeenshire.
Nate Castillo successfully lifts the Dinnie Stones in 2022. Image: Paul Glendell / DC Thomson.

Dinnie Stones

The famous lifting stones are located at Potarch around 42 minutes away from Aberdeen.

Made famous by strongman Donald Dinnie, he reportedly carried the stones barehanded across the width of the Potarch Bridge.  They have a combined weight of 332.49 kg.

As of 2024, 306 individuals have managed to lift the original stones off the ground.

Free entry

Standing Stones of Tomnaverie. Image: Shutterstock.

Tomnaverie Stone Circle

Located near Tarland around 55 minutes from Aberdeen, the ancient stone circle surrounds a burial cairn and is thought to be 4,500 years old.

The landscape around the site is scarred and offers walkers a great walk through the Aberdeenshire countryside.

Free entry

Located in Aberdeenshire is the Pitmedden gardens.
Pitmedden Gardens. Image: John Chapman.

Pitmedden Garden

These spectacular gardens designed in the Scottish Renaissance-style are just 30 minutes from the bustling Aberdeen city centre.

More than 30,000 annual bedding plants create the vibrant floral displays. Along with the gardens the site also boasts an apple orchard and nearby woodland.

Visitors can also take a look around the Museum of Farming Life which brings the agricultural past to life.

Paid entry

Kilmarnock Arms are famous for where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula.
Bram Stoker plaque at Kilmarnock Arms. Image: Mike Shepherd.

Kilmarnock Arms

Located in Cruden Bay, around 35 minutes from Aberdeen, the eatery’s claim to fame is where Bram Stoker wrote his famous novel Dracula in 1894.

According to the hotel itself, no one took notice of the red-haired and bearded six foot author when he walked in.

Afterwards he spent many years returning to Cruden Bay where he also The Mystery of the Sea, which is based in the coastal town.

Free entry

Tolquhon Castle a short drive away from Aberdeen.
Tolquhon Castle in Tarves. Image: HES.

Tolquhon Castle

The ruins of this once great castle is a hidden gem near Tarves, 30 minutes from Aberdeen.

While much of the castle is ruined, the gatehouse still stands proud and strong featuring fine carvings of its chief builder Sir William Forbes and his wife.

Explore the interior and venture down into the belly of the building where Sir William’s had a secret hiding place for valuables.

Paid entry

Pitfour Lake. Image: Leah Whyte.

Pitfour Estate

Looking for some peace and tranquility, you’ll find it at Pitfour Estate. Located just west of Mintlaw and 42 minutes from Aberdeen.

In the centre of the estate is Pitfour Lake and is a beautiful setting for walking enjoying the quiet surroundings.

Free entry

Fetternear House a drive away from Aberdeen.
Fetternear House. Image: DC Thomson.

Fetternear House

Also known as the Bishop’s Palace, this ruined building is located north-west of Kemnay, 37 minutes from Aberdeen.

The house was originally built in the early 1200s as a home for the Bishops of Aberdeen, before becoming the seat of the Leslie family in 1566.

However, a devastating fire in 1919 brought the mansion’s life as a grand stately home to an end.

Free entry

Bullers of Buchan in Aberdeenshire.
Bullers of Buchan. Image: Shutterstock.

Bullers of Buchan

Touted as one of Aberdeenshire’s “most impressive” geological features, Bullers of Buchan is a collapsed sea cave south of Peterhead, 37 minutes from Aberdeen.

Follow a narrow clifftop coastal path to the Bullers of Buchan and look upon the 30m deep charm where the waves rush through the natural archway.

The area is also home to a large seabird population including gulls and puffins.

Free entry