The North East 250 is Scotland’s newest tourist trail. Consisting of 250 miles, it is the ultimate road trip to the heart of Scotland taking you through Speyside, Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms, along the Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen.
It is a circular route that will take travellers on a journey that encompasses everything for which Scotland is famous. Castles, wildlife, coastal villages, stunning beaches, golf courses, mountains, forests and distilleries – the North East 250 has it all in one exquisite experience.
The North East 250 has been developed by local businessman Guy Macpherson-Grant. His family has had roots in Speyside since the 16th century. Passionate about the North East of Scotland, Guy is confident that the North East 250 will encourage more people to visit the region and enjoy everything it has to offer.
The North East 250 is a circular route that will take visitors on a journey through Speyside, Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms, along the Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen that encompasses everything for which Scotland is famous. Castles, wildlife, coastal villages, stunning beaches, golf courses, mountains, forests. There are three clear points from which to join the Route: Ballindalloch; Aberdeen Airport; and through Glenshee.
Of course, the beauty of the route is that it really does offer something for everybody – over and above the joy of travelling itself – from families, golfers, history enthusiasts and thrill seekers to foodies and whisky lovers so we anticipate that visitors will create their own itineraries. The fact that it is a circular route means visitors can complete the North East 250 clockwise or counter-clockwise to suit their individual schedule.
This is a private enterprise launched and funded by Guy Macpherson-Grant. Official sponsors of the route include Chivas, Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens, Turcan Connell, Walkers Shortbread, Aberdeen International Airport and Speyside Gardens.
There are a number of ways for businesses to get involved, from having a free listing on the website’s interactive map (put on by the North East 250 team) to being paid members. Businesses wishing to find out more should visit our website www.northeast250.com or contact the team at [email protected].
Before launching the North East 250, there has been extensive consultation amongst businesses along the route and also with key industry bodies including VisitScotland, Moray Speyside Tourism and Visit Aberdeenshire. There is enormous support for this new tourist trail, which if successful might provide a boost to the economy by attracting new visitors to the North East of Scotland. The route’s attractions and places to visit will be added to all the time as businesses sign up, and feedback from people who have completed the route is encouraged to ensure that the best experience is created for future visitors.
The North Coast 500 has really catapulted the North of Scotland to the international stage. We believe, and indeed statistics show, that tourism interest in Scotland has never been higher. We believe that the North East of Scotland is relatively untapped in terms of its potential as a tourism destination and that the North East 250 will realise that potential.
The North Coast 500 has shown that there is a real appetite for exploring Scotland in a different way and for visitors to take control of their own itineraries. The North East 250 will tap into that trend, with the belief that the travellers’ experience on the North East will be as exquisite as that of north and west of Inverness. One of the first conversations we had before developing North East 250 was with the team behind the successful North Coast 500 who were extremely helpful in terms of sharing learnings.
Whilst it is true that the North East 250 is primarily a road trip, we anticipate that there will be relatively less pressure on roads infrastructure. There are very few single track roads and passing places along the route. Most of the villages and towns along the route are bigger than those on the North Coast 500 and therefore offer more amenities.
We have consulted extensively with local businesses along the route, and the overall feedback has been positive. We will keep a close eye on the impact that an increase in visitors may have in terms of pressure points along the route and will work closely with relevant stakeholders to identify solutions.
We don’t think that it is a case of either or. If anything, we anticipate that those that have done the North Coast 500 will be inspired to return to Scotland and might consider the North East 250; and vice versa. We see the routes as complementary.
For visitors who want a reason to do the North East 250, we believe that it is the ultimate road trip to the heart of Scotland, taking you through Speyside, Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms, along the Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen. It will take travellers on a journey that encompasses everything for which Scotland is famous: castles, wildlife, coastal villages, stunning beaches, golf courses, mountains, forests and whisky distilleries. The beauty of the route is that it really does offer – over and above the joy of travelling itself – something for everybody from families, golfers, history enthusiasts and thrill seekers to foodies and whisky lovers.
The North East 250 team has carefully curated lists of the top places to visit, as well as providing information on accommodation providers and local amenities. Information on these can be found on www.northeast250.com under each of the route’s sectors: Speyside, Royal Deeside, Cairngorms, Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen. These attractions and places to visit will be added to all the time and we encourage feedback from people who have completed the route to help us create the best experience for future visitors.
Those doing the route can also become a member for access to additional extras. These include a downloadable itinerary of your choice, a printed map of the route, two North East 250 Member car stickers and a souvenir North East 250 Passport – to be stamped in each sector as you travel along the route.
A Passport has been created for visitors to get stamped in each sector of the route, acting as a souvenir of their journey along the North East 250. Passports will be included for those who have become members of the North East 250 and will also be available to purchase from a number of businesses along the route and on the North East 250 website. Stamps from each sector (Speyside, Royal Deeside, Cairngorms, Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen) can then be obtained from Business Members along the route. Those who have completed their Passport, having collected a stamp from each sector, can then download a certificate of completion from the North East 250 website.
There are hundreds of attractions along the North East 250, from whisky distilleries, golf courses, castles, skiing, mountain biking and sealife centres, not to mention the natural attractions and spectacular scenery, to give you a taste of all that Scotland is renowned for in one trip.
On www.northeast250.com you will find lists of attractions broken down by each sector of the route (Speyside, Royal Deeside, Cairngorms, Moray Firth Coast, East Coast and Aberdeen) and by activity (adventure, golf, whisky, food, families, luxury, etc.). Those who become a member of the North East 250 will receive an itinerary to help them plan their trip – this can be chosen by activity such as those listed above.
Yes! The aim of North East 250 is to promote the north east and the wonderful attractions and activities available to do in the area. We’ve brought together all of these sights and attractions into one trip to allow visitors, and locals, to experience all the things Scotland is renowned for in one circular driving route. Of course, visitors will have to pay for accommodation, activities and attractions, etc. along the route but the information found on the North East 250 website has been brought together for visitors free of charge.
If you would like some added extras ahead of your trip, you can become a member of the North East 250. For a one off fee of £25, members will receive:
To take full advantage of member benefits it is recommended that visitors take out membership before they embark upon their trip and to allow for delivery time of the various items that are included. Registering in advance will also allow you to explore the member areas of the North East 250 website and download your chosen itinerary; helping you plan your trip, book accommodation and book ahead for any popular attractions.
It is difficult to estimate with any accuracy the number of visitors to the North East 250 in the first year. The North Coast 500 was a whirlwind success and attracted higher numbers of visitors than ever expected, and we hope that the North East 250 can replicate even some of its success.
The North East 250 was chosen due to its developed infrastructure that can support and encourage travellers to the route. There are many accommodation providers and services along the route which will facilitate higher visitor numbers and the North East 250 team will monitor carefully the impact of increased visitor numbers to the area.
It is hoped that the new route will bring additional trade to communities situated along the North East 250, with visitors to the North East wishing to explore Scotland in a different way and to make the most of the various itineraries possible. A study carried out by the University of Glasgow Training and Employment Research Unit estimated that the North Coast 500 attracted 29,000 additional visitors and £9 million additional spend in its first year.
With the North Coast 500 focussing on the area’s natural beauty, we feel that there is a similar opportunity for a roadtrip in the north east, an opportunity focussed on the unrivalled experience there for travellers. Certainly the route has a substantial interest for visitors, with plenty of accommodation available and all the necessary services. North East 250 will monitor local economic impact over its first year and beyond.