The East Coast of the North East 250 takes you along the rugged edges of the North Sea. Here you can enjoy spectacular coastal walks, tee off at one of the many golf courses or spot wildlife at one of the area’s nature reserves.
As you depart Aberdeen along the North East 250, you’ll soon reach Balmedie. There you can enjoy an award-winning sandy beach, Balmedie Country Park or a round of golf at Trump International Golf Links.
From Balmedie, head to the village of Newburgh which sits on the Ythan Estuary near the Sands of Forvie. Here you can undertake beautiful coastal walks and bike rides, bird watching, fishing and golf. Newburgh is also the rumoured birthplace of the sticky toffee pudding so make sure you give it the taste test at the Udny Arms Hotel!
Next along the route is Forvie National Nature Reserve which boasts some of the largest sand dunes in Britain. The moving sands constantly change the landscape here and layers of history have been hidden beneath the dunes which shift to reveal the remains of a 12th century church. A stop at Forvie National Nature Reserve will blow away the cobwebs and give the opportunity to see something a little different at ‘Scotland’s Sahara’.
A little further north, the village of Collieston is the first safe haven in more than 15 miles of beaches and dunes. After Collieston, the landscape changes to cliffs and rocky bays in the north. From its establishment in the 1500s Collieston was a thriving fishing village. To improve the safety for boats, breakwaters were constructed in the 19th century which caused the harbour to fill with golden sand and created the idyllic sheltered beach you see today.
Near Collieston enjoy views from Cransdale Vantage Point or head to Tolquhon Castle; a fairy tale castle that has been described as one of the most beautiful in Scotland.
Heading north again, the pink sands of Cruden Bay cover a distance of around 2.5km and is a popular spot with water sports enthusiasts and for sea fishing. Old Slains Castle and New Slains Castle are also worth visiting, especially if you’re a fan of the Gothic novel Dracula, whose author, Bram Stoker, is thought to have found inspiration for the story from the New Castle.
Make your way to Peterhead, via the collapsed sea cave Bullers of Buchan, which has the largest settlement in Aberdeenshire outside of Aberdeen itself. Here you can get an insight into prison life at Peterhead Prison Museum, delve into maritime history at Arbuthnot Museum or squeeze in a round at Peterhead Golf Club.
Nature lovers may want to head to the RSPB Loch of Strathbeg and Rattray Head nature reserves before travelling through St Combs, and heading to Whitelinks Bay or the Waters of Philorth and Waters of Philorth Local Nature Reserve.