South Coast Walks & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire
Regal castles, historic cities and picturesque villages nestled amongst Scotland’s craggy mountains and coastline
Tour codes: 50100
Our range of Adagio leisurely walking holidays and sightseeing tours are designed at a slower pace than the average Ramblers Walking Holidays, perfect for those who would like to slow things down but keep active.
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.
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
Easy walking discovering the cultural heritage of Durham
Enjoy the highlights of England’s smallest island county
Situated on Europe’s Atlantic edge, the Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides are a diverse set of interconnected islands. The Isle of Lewis and Harris is just one island but enjoys vastly different landscapes; from immense white beaches to heather covered mountains, lunar like boulder-strewn hillsides to sea and freshwater lochs and peatlands.
Northumberland’s unique collection of gardens is a real delight, together with the wonderful heritage coastline. We stay in the heart of Northumberland, a short drive from the Northumberland National Park, perfectly located for our explorations.
Itinerary & Travel
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.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
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.
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 we will 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.
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 walk down to the picturesque village of Collieston to await our transport back to Aberdeen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After breakfast, we return to the airport or train station for our journeys home.
Departure dates for your selected tour
1st Oct 2022 - 8th Oct 2022 (7 Nights)
6th May 2023 - 13th May 2023 (7 Nights)
29th Jul 2023 - 5th Aug 2023 (7 Nights)
16th Sep 2023 - 23rd Sep 2023 (7 Nights)
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.
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, cooks offers food and rinks in a pleasant atmosphere. For whisky lovers the hotel offers a cosy specialist whisky bar, Freedom an' Whisky where the 'water of life' runs.
All Adagio holidays are expertly designed to allow you to immerse yourself in the destination. Leisurely exploration of the must-see, as well as lesser known, highlights together with relaxed enjoyment of local food and wines is what we have in mind.
There may be days of sightseeing on foot around a spectacular city or unchallenging strolls on easy terrain in open countryside interspersed with winery visits, guided tours, boat trips, cafe stops and traditional restaurants.
Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.
Leaders Evening Briefing
Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.
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.
An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights. They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people. They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Luggage Allowance & Tickets
When booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday with us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements.
Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements
If you wish to organise your own flights from either a non-UK or UK regional airport, or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. If you choose to do this, before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at the hotel. Although airport/train station transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport/train station, depending on your flight/train arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight/train must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight/train to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight/train number, arrival time and departure point so that your Adagio Leader is able to meet up with you.
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.
Breakfast and dinners are taken at the hotel. Breakfast is a full buffet with fruit, cereals, cheese, cold cuts and of course a full Scottish cooked breakfast. Dinners will offer a choice of three starters, three main courses and three desserts along with a choice of tea or coffee. Meat, fish and vegetarian options are offered each evening. Please have a look at the photos on the website for a sample menu.
Packed lunches are not included but your leader will be able to advise the closest place to buy provisions.
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
We recommend you bring the following items with you:
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
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
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:
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
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.
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.
It is a condition of booking with Adagio that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
We're committed to operating responsible tours in all our destinations as best we can. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
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.
Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel Ltd’s (inc Adagio) profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public.
In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
View Dates & Book
Can't find what you're looking for?
Call for help or regional flights on 01707 331133