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Royal Aberdeenshire

Regal castles, historic cities and picturesque villages nestled amongst Scotland’s craggy mountains and coastline

  • Scotland

  • 7 nights
  • Full Buffet Breakfasts & Three Course Dinners
  • Culture


  • May





  • Average group size: 12-14


What does this mean?

What does this mean?

What does this mean?


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Walking grade

Grade 2


Adagio Collection

The perfect blend of guided shorter walks, sightseeing trips, and quality accommodation for a more leisurely way to discover the world.


Holiday Highlights

  • Take in the view on Scolty Tower, stretching from the mountains to the sea
  • Walk the Pyramid Trail through the grounds of Balmoral Castle
  • Explore Old Aberdeen, where history comes to life at every turn
  • Spot red squirrels in one of the few places in the British Isles where they can still be found
  • Visit Dunnottar Castle, an imposing medieval fortress situated upon a rocky headland
  • Explore Crathes Castle and its beautifully restored and laid out gardens
  • Visit the home of the Scottish culinary masterpiece. The deep fried Mars bar

Beaches, mountains, castles, coastal paths, forest trails, panoramic viewpoints, waterfalls, cities, picturesque villages, a whisky distillery, sea air, seals, dolphins, red squirrels, rare birds, fine art, great food and a lovely hotel. This holiday truly has something for everybody.

We are based in historic Aberdeen City near its many cultural delights. We have two days and a professional guide to explore here and Old Aberdeen. However, this is not a city tour. We’ll also be exploring some of the finest scenery in Britain. We spend two days on Deeside. A highlight will be walking the paths around the Balmoral estate, combined with a distillery tour. We go to Crathes Castle with its beautifully laid out gardens – be on the lookout for red squirrels! Enjoy a day at Stonehaven south of Aberdeen and a walk to Dunnottar Castle, surely the most dramatic location we visit. Finally, we have a day walking amongst the sand dunes at Forvie National Nature Reserve with great wildlife spotting opportunities.

Each night we return to the Sandman hotel and spa, one of the most luxurious places to stay right in the heart of Aberdeen.

Royal Aberdeenshire is sold with flights included, however we also offer this holiday without flights. You may prefer to take the stunningly scenic train ride up the east coast. From London the journey takes about eight hours, but it’s time well spent as there are few more scenic train routes in Britain. 

  • Comfortable accommodation at our centrally located and beautifully appointed hotel
  • All transport, both public and private, to complete the itinerary
  • Green Badge Guide for a walking tours of Aberdeen City and Old Aberdeen
  • All entrances to sites included in the itinerary
  • The services of an Adagio tour leader throughout
  • Full buffet breakfasts and three course dinners in the hotel
  • Flights from various UK regional airport
  • Personal Expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Lunches
  • Discretionary Tips
  • Optional Excursions
  • Travel Insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Tour Codes


Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1





We arrive in Aberdeen from various regional destinations. The Sandman Hotel is centrally located a 5 minute walk from the main shopping area. The transfer from the Airport to the hotel takes about 30-40 mins depending on traffic. The hotel is also 10 minutes’ walk from the station for any choosing to arrive by train. We will eat in the hotel tonight and every night of the holiday.

Day 2

Aberdeen City


Breakfast & Dinner


After breakfast we will meet our Green Badge Guide in the lobby of the hotel. As with so many things the Scots have a different system of describing guide qualifications to the English. Rest assured you are in highly qualified hands. On our half day tour we will walk through Aberdeen City gaining some insight into the grand civic buildings that dominate the city centre. Aberdeen is known as the ‘Granite City’ for obvious reasons. Our tour will end at Foot of Dee, known in the local dialect as ‘Fitdee’. This is the old fishing village on the north bank of the River Dee where it reaches the sea. 

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the Maritime Museum and the recently reopened Art Gallery. This is Aberdeen’s crowning glory. Recently refurbished at great expense it won the Museum of the Year prize in 2020. It is an outstanding gallery even for those who have little interest in art. It also has an excellent café and is about 500m from the hotel. 

Day 3

Forvie Nature Reserve


Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


Using public transport, we head north on a local bus to Newburgh on the banks of the River Ythan. From here we walk on generally level paths out to the Forvie Nature Reserve. We can then walk through secluded sand dunes to Hackley Bay. Look out for seals, dolphins and flocks of Eider duck on the shoreline along with many other bird species. A good spot for coffee or a picnic lunch is the ruin of Forvie Kirk which is en route. Overall, the walk will be about 5 miles along sandy trails. After visiting the Forvie National Nature Reserve Visitor Centre, we will await our transport back to Aberdeen.

Please note whilst the distance covered on this walk is longer than one might expect on a Grade 2 holiday the walking is easy under foot and almost level. We think Grade 2 most accurately describes the walking experience.

Day 4

Royal Deeside


Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


Today we take private transport out of Aberdeen in the Dee Valley and the mountains. Our first stop will be at Crathie before setting off on the ‘Balmoral Cairns Trail’ through the grounds of Balmoral. The various pyramids were built to celebrate the marriages of Queen Victoria’s children. After the walk we go the Royal Lochnagar Distillery for a tour and tasting of the whisky. On our way back to Aberdeen, we stop in Ballater for a stroll around and possibly tea. A quick visit to the Tourist Information Centre is a must. It is located in the rebuilt former railway station. This was the end of the line as although Queen Victoria was a keen user of the railway, she would not allow it to be built any closer to Balmoral. 

Day 5

Old Aberdeen


Breakfast & Dinner


We are back in the city today. We will meet our guide again for a half day tour of Old Aberdeen, until recently an entirely separate city. Old Aberdeen is a fascinating place full of history. Highlights include the University, the Botanic Gardens and St Machar’s Cathedral.  We finish the tour with a walk through Seaton Park with its beautifully laid out gardens followed by a visit to the Brig o’ Balgownie – an historic bridge situated over the Black Neuk and mentioned in one of Lord Byron’s poems. This afternoon we will have free time to further explore the gardens or perhaps revisit the museums. Your Adagio leader will be happy to advise.

Day 6



Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    2.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


We are back in the Dee Valley today with a visit to Crathes Castle with an included visit to the castle and the beautifully maintained gardens. The castle is noted for its fine painted ceilings. Our guide will point out the highlights. When walking through the grounds keep a look out for Red Squirrels. Sightings are not uncommon here. We will take lunch in the grounds as a picnic or in the café as you prefer before continuing to Banchory town. We have a quick stop at the impressive Falls of Feugh. Look out for salmon leaping in season! We will then walk up to Scolty Tower. The walk is about 2.5 miles in total climbing 200m on a gentle gradient. The views from the top are magnificent with Aberdeen to the east and the Cairngorms to the west.

Day 7

Stonehaven & Dunnottar Castle


Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


Today will perhaps offer the most spectacular walk. We catch the local bus south to Stonehaven. Sit on the left for the best coastal views. Also look out for the occasional deer in the fields close to the road. On arrival in Stonehaven, we walk down to the seafront and along the boardwalk; take time to explore the picturesque harbour. For our walk we head south, climbing up out of the town on a gradient to reach first the War Memorial; it is fitting monument. From here, there are panoramic sea views and plenty of benches from which to enjoy them. From here we continue to Dunnottar Castle. Entrance to the castle is included however it is important to note there are 180 steps to descend to get to the castle gate. If this does not appeal there is a café 400m away in the car park. The views of Dunnottar Castle can easily be enjoyed without visiting. The walk from harbour to castle is 5 miles return with 150m of ascent on good paths throughout.

Whilst in Stonehaven it would be a pity not to visit the place that invented perhaps Scotland's most famous dish. Carron World Famous Fish Bar just off the main square in Stonehaven is the home of the deep-fried Mars bar. Enjoy!

Day 8

Departure day



After breakfast, we return to the airport or train station for our journeys home.

Departure dates for your selected tour

27th Jul 2024 - 3rd Aug 2024 (7 Nights)

14th Sep 2024 - 21st Sep 2024 (7 Nights)

3rd May 2025 - 10th May 2025 (7 Nights)

26th Jul 2025 - 2nd Aug 2025 (7 Nights)

18th Aug 2025 - 25th Aug 2025 (7 Nights)

13th Sep 2025 - 20th Sep 2025 (7 Nights)

4th Oct 2025 - 11th Oct 2025 (7 Nights)


Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel

Located in one of Aberdeen’s most historic buildings, in the heart of the Granite City, the Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel & Spa is situated in the former Robert Gordon University. The historic building contributes to the architectural landscape of the city centre. The hotel offers 218 beautifully appointed guest rooms. There is a spa and fitness area. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi. The Chop Grill & Bar, offers food and drinks in a pleasant atmosphere. For whisky lovers the hotel offers a cosy specialist whisky bar, Freedom an' Whisky where the 'water of life' can be sampled in an appropriate atmosphere.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This level mixes active sightseeing with shorter, city or countryside walks. Trips are not aimed at seasoned walkers, but you should be confident in managing walks of around 3miles at a leisurely pace with a few ups and downs. Where in more mountainous areas we use transport to access higher ground with ease. 

Usual daily walks - Distance: 3 miles; Ascent/Descent 150-200m; Terrain: good paths and tracks; Time: Short or Half Day exploration. 

The above statistics are generalisations of a day’s keys walk, it does not include distance covered during general sightseeing or  daily activity. Detailed information of the daily walking requirements are specified in the specific holidays ‘Daily Itinerary" .

Local Costs

Holiday Budgeting

As you plan your holiday budget, it's essential to account for expenses such as drinks, meals not covered in the holiday price, entrance fees not included, optional local excursions, and any souvenirs or additional services like laundry. For a rough estimate, budgeting around £10-£20 per person per day for lunches and drinks is a helpful guideline.

Local Transport Costs

In the holiday cost, we've included all local transport expenses related to the advertised activity program for your convenience. If there are additional visits or excursions to enrich your experience, you can choose to participate and cover the costs locally. Depending on the itinerary, local transport may involve a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses, and ferries.


In your holiday price, we've included tipping for our local suppliers, covering hotel and restaurant staff, local guides, and drivers. Should you wish to make an extra contribution for a specific service, this should be given directly to the recipient at your discretion.

Your Group

Your Leader

Your tour leader plays a crucial role in enhancing your holiday experience, and they share your passion for exploring the world on foot. In addition to being resourceful and organized they are also well-travelled and deeply enthusiastic about showing you new destinations. Your tour leader takes care of all the local, ensuring you can fully enjoy your holiday without worrying about the logistics. While leading group holidays, they always keep in mind that each group is composed of individuals. Each tour leader brings their unique style, talents, and professional background to the table. Rest assured, they are all trained, qualified, experienced, and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting, and inspiring as possible. Remember, your leader, while on holiday, is your first port of call for any issues, ensuring a smooth and worry-free experience for you.

Leaders Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will meet with you to review the programme for the next day. This is your chance to discuss details and ensure that the planned activities align with your walking ability. If you have any concerns about clothing or equipment, feel free to bring them up during this discussion. If, for any reason, you prefer not to participate in the organised group programme, please inform your leader. Your preferences are important, and your leader is there to make sure your experience aligns with your expectations.

Group Size

We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.

Travel Plans

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements

If you prefer to arrange your own flights from a non-UK or regional airport or travel to your holiday destination by rail or car, you may qualify for 'land only' reductions, and we can provide details upon request. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.

Before finalizing any independent travel arrangements, especially if you're doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended travel date, please check with us first to ensure your holiday has been cleared to operate. If you plan to join your holiday locally, kindly inform us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you're joining and leaving your holiday overseas, we assume, unless you specify otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making independent travel arrangements, you may have the option to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time. If interested, contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.

Please be aware that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be eligible for the group transfer. Additionally, we'll need your flight number, arrival time, and departure point to ensure the group leader can meet up with you. If you have a mobile, please ensure we have the number, and it is turned on while you are traveling for effective communication.

Luggage Allowance & Tickets

If you're booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, rest assured that details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be clearly outlined in your 'Final Travel Documents'. These will be sent to you approximately 10 days before your departure, ensuring you have all the necessary information for a smooth and well-prepared journey.

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Passport Information

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport page (with your photo on). Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country. Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements. 

General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.

Footwear & Kit List


Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun screen
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the days activity)
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Reusable Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)

This list is not exhaustive and every traveller is different and may have their own preference.

Holiday Specific Kit

In addition, we recommend that you bring a flask with you on your walks each day. Due to the time of year, it is sensible to bring a hot drink out with you to help keep warm.  

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWH17 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday departing after November 1, 2023, you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Travel Document Checklist

To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday currency
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Maps & Guidebooks

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: themapshop@btinternet.com

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Staying Healthy on Holiday

Further Health Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.

Our Ethos

Responsible Travel

We are dedicated to promoting responsible travel practices that prioritise the well-being of both the environment and local communities. We believe in the transformative power of travel and aim to minimize our ecological footprint by selecting eco-friendly accommodations, encouraging waste reduction, and supporting sustainable transportation options where possible. Our walking tours are designed to immerse participants in the local culture, fostering meaningful connections with the communities we visit. We strive to leave a positive impact by engaging in responsible tourism activities, respecting local customs, and contributing to the preservation of natural landscapes. Through our commitment to responsible travel, we aim to create enriching experiences for our guests while actively contributing to the conservation of the destinations we explore.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. 

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The primary focus of our Trust's financial support is directed towards Britain's premier walking charity, The Ramblers. They play a crucial role in advocating the benefits and significance of walking to the British public. Additionally, our Trust invites applications for small grants from local organizations in the UK that require support for walking-oriented activities. This encompasses initiatives such as establishing footpaths and bridleways, funding for the reconstruction of bridges and refurbishing huts, and bursary funding for organisations that support individuals to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors..

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.


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