Motorhome season in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Motorhome season in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

The inaugural Great Aberdeen Run and the Tour Series cycling competition are amongst a number of exciting events taking place in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire this year.

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Motorhome season in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

The tourism season will soon be getting underway in the region once again, with a host of activities, things to see and do and fresh, locally-sourced food and drink on offer.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said she was looking forward to another fantastic year: “As we quickly progress towards the 2017 season, we have much to be excited about.

“With 2017 being the themed year for History, Heritage and Archaeology (YoHHA) and some key heritage attractions in the Granite City and the surrounding area, both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are poised to take advantage of a busy summer.

Motorhome season in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

“With over 300 castles, stately homes and ruins dotting its landscape, Aberdeenshire is unsurprisingly known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country.’ There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK, and you can discover 19 of the most famous and dramatic castles in the region on Scotland’s Castle Trail.”

As part of the themed year celebrations, Crathes Castle, near Banchory, is hosting a Tartan Times event in August, where visitors can delve into Scotland’s past and join Clan Hay in finding out how the country’s culture developed.

Involving displays and talks on quintessential elements of Scottish history, the Clan Hay Pipe Band will perform. There will also be demonstrations between the music and visitors can join a language course in basic Gaelic. There are also talks on the history of tartan from earliest recorded finds to present day designs and visitors can hear the story of the great kilt to the small kilt with a demonstration of kilt making. Those attending can learn about the history of the clans and families in the Lowlands and Highlands as well as Clan Hay, including heraldry, a display, the History of Hay Pursuivant and medieval weaponry.

Jo added: “Several popular established events in the region lend themselves perfectly to this themed year, including the Bon Accord Steam Engine Club’s Steam Fair at Castle Fraser in June and the 176th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games in August.

“There is also a fantastic programme of festivals lined up for the summer. I am particularly looking forward to the May Festival in Aberdeen and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy – both great opportunities for a family-friendly day out!

“The city will welcome two new events this summer – the inaugural Great Aberdeen Run (yes, I have entered along with three of my VisitScotland team!) and The Tour Series cycling event, featuring professional cyclists, including Olympic champion Ed Clancy MBE, former Australian champion Steele Von Hoff and top sprinter, Chris Opie.

“Seeing these athletes compete on the closed-road, city centre circuit will be a real attraction for sports enthusiasts and I’m looking forward to being part of the buzz on 25th May.”

Other events taking place in the season ahead include a Victorian Weekend at Milton of Crathes Station in June, a vintage vehicle event at Peterhead Prison Museum in July, in conjunction with Grampian Transport Museum; and the Scottish 6 Days Orienteering in Royal Deeside at the end of July and into August.

Jo added: “I have visited Peterhead Prison Museum on several occasions, but am planning to take the family along for a visit this summer – with so many beautiful beaches up the east coast of Aberdeenshire, I’ll definitely be making a day of it, with some ice cream and sandcastles thrown in!”

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is a must-visit location for outdoor enthusiasts with cycling, walking, fishing and golf all included in the regional offering. From the adrenaline rush of downhill mountain-biking at Pitfichie to the relaxation of a round at Cruden Bay Golf Club – the region provides a range of options to suit all abilities and interests.

Jo said: “This summer, I’m looking forward to really enjoying the outdoors and getting my children active with plenty of walks and days out on our bikes. Having moved to Laurencekirk last year, I now have a beautifully-scenic drive over the Cairn O’Mount to Banchory and onwards along the Dee, where there are so many outdoor activities to try, and scenic spots for walks and cycles. It’s not all healthy though – I’m armed with a long list of cafes and restaurants to help fuel these action-packed weekends!

“I’ll be spending several weekends camping and will also look forward to dolphin-spotting on the coast and mountain biking in the Cairngorms National Park.”

The tourism horizon in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – and indeed Scotland – is constantly changing and VisitScotland has positively responded to the change in the way in which visitors are accessing information and inspiration about their holiday, as well as the welcome they receive when arriving in Scotland.

Jo said: “We have been working with businesses in the tourism industry over the last year or more to take advantage of advances in digital technology and while there is still a lot of work to do, we are pleased with the number of businesses signing up to schemes such as the VisitScotland information Partner Scheme and digital training opportunities.

“The way we market Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is also changing. With the huge reach potential of digital and social media, we will be focusing on producing digital content for uploading to the major media resources including Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and Instagram. This gives us a huge opportunity to build joint resources which can be used by the industry and provides a much greater reach than was ever thought possible by traditional means.”

A number of major developments are currently ongoing, which are also expected to bring huge economic benefit to the region, including the redevelopment of Aberdeen Airport, the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

Jo said: “This level of investment shows great confidence in the region. A number of other projects are ongoing, including the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment, the Music Hall transformation and the Marischal Square development, so it is a very exciting time for the city. With new flight routes also planned this year for direct flights to Alicante, Malaga and Faro run by Ryanair, this means Aberdeen is much more accessible to visitors.

“I am very much looking forward to the coming season and I trust that both industry and visitors will be delighted with the opportunities available to them throughout the coming year.”