Seven great family days out in Aberdeen and beyond

GET on horseback, see some dolphins or go back in time with these great family days out in Aberdeenshire
Hang free with GoApe at Crathes CastleHang free with GoApe at Crathes Castle
Hang free with GoApe at Crathes Castle

Hi-tech hide and seek

Geo-caching is like a modern day treasure hunt and this version will have you winding through some of Scotland’s most beautiful spots as you try and find 20 hidden capsules - or geo-caches - on the Deeside Way from Drumoak to Ballater. Another 70 new capsules have recently been dotted through the valley. Once the caches are discovered, the finder must open it up and log their codename and time of discovery, before moving on to the next find.

Saddle up

Hayfield Riding Centre has been getting people on horseback for four decades and is one sure way to bring the family together for some fun and adventure. Sitting right in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park, it keeps people riding throughout the winter in its two indoor schools. Summer sessions are spent out in the park, hacking through one of Scotland’s finest urban spaces.

Dolphin spotting

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Torry Battery is one of the top locations in the country to spot dolphins and over the summer they could be seen from this city limits vantage point on 9 out of 10 days. Cruises now run out of Aberdeen Harbour and bring wildlife watchers up close to the best this stretch of North Sea has to offer. Also expect seabirds, whales and maybe even a shark.

Seal watching and shell collecting

Hundreds of grey seals can usually be found relaxing at the mouth of the Ythan River at Newburgh and their presence can be an awe-inspiring sight. They are one of the attractions of Forvie National Nature Reserve where the wild sandy landscape mixes towering dunes, untamed moorland, sea cliffs and hidden beach hideaways.


Flumes, fountains, rapids and wave machines will have the whole family whooping with water-based wonder at The Beach Leisure Centre. It may face onto the North Sea but indoors you will find a blissfully warm aquatic environment with an afternoon feeling like a small holiday in itself. Not to be missed.

Swing through the trees

GoApe has brought it treetop adventure experience to a number of locations through Scotland but Crathes Castle near Banchory must be the best of them all. Navigate across rope bridges then fly through the air on a zip wire in the grounds of this 16th century fairytale pile. All can take part, as long as you are over 4ft 7ins and weigh less than 20.5stones. The castle and gardens are definitely worth a look.

Feel the magic

Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle is thought to be the first ring of standing stones in Aberdeenshire and dates from between 2,000 to 3,000BC.

The stone of red jasper was said to have magical qualities if touched and parts of the surface have been rubbed smooth over the centuries. Why not join in the legend?

There are 99 stone circles in the area but this is possibly the best, with 11 stones proudly on show.