How to enjoy our Scottish Coastal Towns with VisitAberdeenshire

This article is part of a paid partnership with VisitAberdeenshire.

I've always loved our Scottish coastal towns. There's nothing like a trip to the seaside, hearing the sound of crashing waves and feeling the sand between your toes (if you're brave enough to go barefoot in Scotland). Not to mention the fresh, locally caught seafood! But you don't always have to travel far for the experience. Living in Peterhead and seeing it every day, it can be easy to take things for granted and forget what's right on our doorstep. So when VisitAberdeenshire asked me to play tourist and rediscover my home town, I took it as a chance to see things through fresh eyes!

Collie dog running on Fraserburgh beach

Peterhead, known locally as the Blue Toon, is the most Eastern point in Scotland, the largest town in Aberdeenshire, and home to Europe's biggest fishing port.

Breakfast at Symposium Coffee House - Our day started as all good days do, with a big breakfast! Symposium Coffee House on Queen Street is the perfect spot, right in the middle of town. It's recent refurbishment opens the café up into a bright and welcoming space. We ordered through the QR code menu to our table, and I enjoyed one of their famous giant, fluffy pancakes topped with crispy bacon and swimming in sweet maple syrup. Gordon went for the Ultimate Bagel stuffed with bacon, egg mayo and cheese and we washed it all down with a pot of pure green tea, and a mocha made with Symposium's signature coffee blend. Their hot chocolates come highly recommended too!

Bacon and maple syrup pancake and coffee at Symposium coffee house

Peterhead Town Trail - One way to get to know the Blue Toon, is to follow the Peterhead Town Trail. I walk past these big blue signs every day yet very rarely took the time to stop and read them, until now. Bringing my good boy along for walkies, I followed the trail from the "Muckle Kirk", through the town centre, around the harbour and over to the historic Port Henry Road. The signs are packed full of information about Peterhead's history, with lots of interesting stories, from Second World War bombings to Jacobite rebellion, and haunted buildings by the harbour. 

I followed the shorter trail which focuses on the town centre, but you can extend the walk along Buchanhaven beach to the Ugie Salmon House (Scotland's oldest working smokehouse), or in the opposite direction towards the Lido bay, the Prison Museum, and up to the Reform Tower at Towerhill. This is a great way to learn about the local history, and take in the harbour and beach scenes at the same time. Keep your eyes peeled for other unique artworks down the town centre closes, and at Cooperage Square!

blue Peterhead Trail sign at Port Henry Road

Fisher Jessie - Right at the top of Marischal Street in Peterhead town centre, stands Fisher Jessie. This bronze statue was commissioned in 2001 and pays homage to women in the local fishing industry. It's designed by none other than Andy Scott - creator of the famous Kelpies and the Poised leopard sculpture that towers over the courtyard of Aberdeen's Marischal Square. You'll pass this local landmark on the Peterhead Trail!

Fisher Jessie - bronze statue of a woman carrying a basket, with a small child by her side

Lunch at Brewdog Peterhead - A more recent addition to Marischal Street, Brewdog's Peterhead bar was ideal for lunch with them being dog friendly too! We were well looked after here by lovely and welcoming staff, who made a good fuss of Harley, and gave us some great recommendations. They helped me decide which sour beer to go for after a few samples (a Vault City Hard Lemonade) and offered alternatives when my Mum's first lunch choice wasn't available. 

The food menu is short and sweet here, featuring just a couple of salad options, cheese and charcuterie boards and their speciality sourdough pizzas. Mum ended up with the Parma Harma special, while I opted for a veggie version of their classic spicy meaty pizza, which came with perfectly crispy crusts and plentiful toppings. I had to take the leftovers home!

Bar stools in Brewdog Peterhead

Our next stop was just 17 miles away, along the coast at our neighbouring seaside town of Fraserburgh. Also known as "The Broch", it's another major fishing port (the largest shellfish port in the country), and home to the first ever lighthouse on mainland Scotland, as well as the 7th oldest golf course in the world.

Fraserburgh beach - We were lucky with the weather this weekend, and despite the clouds coming over it was still a lovely, balmy afternoon to hit the beach. Fraserburgh's award winning beach is a sweeping curve of golden sands, backed by towering dunes. There's free parking, with a kids play park, toilet facilities and a cafe overlooking the bay too. It's popular with surfers, and I'd love to give paddle boarding a go on a calm day. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and head for Fraserburgh next time the sun's out!

Walking barefoot on Fraserburgh beach

Dinner at The Davron Hotel, Rosehearty - As for us, there was no picnic, but luckily we had a table booked at The Davron, in the nearby village of Rosehearty. Opting for a seat in the spacious beer garden, I was delighted to see a gin list and cocktail menu appear in front of me. I couldn't resist the strawberry daquiri - a summer classic! From a menu of pub grub favourites I opted for another classic, battered fish and chips, and my friend tucked into a generous portion of cajun chicken pasta served triple carb style with garlic bread and chips. It was a hearty feast and the perfect end to our day out in Aberdeenshire. 

Fish and chips, served in a takeaway tray, at the Davron hotel

More things to do in Peterhead -  If you have a little more time to spend in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Peterhead Prison Museum! Housed in the former Victorian HM Convict prison, you'll get to visit the cells, hear some wild stories about the inmates and learn all about the infamous siege ended by the SAS in 1987.

Peterhead Lido beach is well worth a visit (you'll find another Symposium coffee house here!), and the bay is a great sheltered spot to try outdoor swimming. You should also grab a few beers from Brew Toon microbrewery while you're in town. Just a short drive away, towards Cruden Bay, you'll find spectacular scenery at the Bullers of Buchan and the dramatic clifftop Slains Castle, said to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Things to see in Fraserburgh - Between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, take a pitstop at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg or Rattray beach to see the much photographed Rattray Head lighthouse. And on that topic, the Broch has it's very own Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, situated at Kinnaird Head Castle.

Head a little further along the coast and explore the sandstone caves at New Aberdour beach and then the tiny picturesque villages of Pennan and Crovie.

Rattray head lighthouse surrounded by sea water

Our Aberdeenshire town centres have so much to offer and they need our support now more than ever. Don't miss these Scottish coastal towns when you're planning trips this summer. Take the time to explore, search out new haunts to eat and shop, and really get to know the area. Make memories in Aberdeenshire! You won't be disappointed.

Rediscover more towns and villages with VisitAberdeenshire.

You may also enjoy:

Scotland | A local's guide to the perfect Aberdeen city break

Scotland | Visiting Findhorn and the surrounding Moray Beaches

Scotland | 25 Most picturesque walks in Aberdeenshire


PIN: Scottish Coastal Towns in Aberdeenshire

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