If you are planning a campervan or motorhome trip to Scotland, the new North East 250 is well worth considering, especially as an alternative to the busier North Coast 500. Modelled on the NC500, the NE250 offers a beautiful road trip that is perfect for a campervan or motorhome tour around Scotland.
The North East 250 driving route
The 250-mile North East 250 forms a circular route in the north-east corner of the Scottish Highlands and passes through a wide variety of landscapes in the Cairngorms, Speyside, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside.
Two logical entry points for the driving tour of Scotland are the city of Aberdeen or, from Glasgow, the small settlement of Spittal of Glenshee in the southern Cairngorms.
The journey offers myriad attractions including castles, churches, museums, heritage centres, whisky distilleries, golf courses, ski resorts, mountain bike and walking trails, nature reserves and many beaches.
There are plenty of caravan parks along the NE250 so the route can be split into a multi-day journey.
Four-day driving tour on the NE250
Day 1: Spittal of Glenshee to Aberlour
Miles: Almost 70 miles.
(Travelling north from Glasgow, head for Perth and then follow signs to Blairgowrie. The A93 takes you to Spittal of Glenshee.)
The NE250 route includes Spittal of Glenshee at its most southerly point. Leaving the small settlement behind and travelling north, the Cairngorms scenery quickly envelops travellers and offers huge open views of rounded mountains and wide glens.
The road climbs to the first high point at Glenshee Mountain (great for skiing in winter and for hiking and mountain biking in summer) before descending towards the famous historic village of Braemar.
There are plenty of attractions to visit from Braemar and you could easily spend a day or two here. The Scottish Highlands residence of the Royal family, Balmoral Castle, will be a must-see for many visitors, as well as Crathie Kirk which is best known for being a place of worship for the Royal Family when at Balmoral.
The road then climbs again on a narrow road to another ski mountain, The Lecht, and also to Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands.
A fast-flowing river is never far from sight and, as the seasons change, the heather-covered moorlands will provide a colourful backdrop through browns, yellows, oranges, greens and purple-pinks.
A long descent takes you into the rolling countryside of Speyside, which is famed for its fertile lands and whisky distilleries.
The final destination for the day is Aberlour where there is a lovely whisky distillery (if you arrive before closing time of 5pm) or take a quiet riverside walk to see a waterfall. Linn of Ruthie walk.
Other things to see & do:
- Walking and mountain biking trails at Glenlivet Estate.
- Tour one of many Speyside whisky distilleries.
- Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens.
Suggested overnight: Speyside Gardens camping and caravan park. See: www.speysidegardens.com
Day 2: Aberlour to Banff
Miles: 45 miles
Driving north from Aberlour, the landscape changes from rolling farmland to flatter coastal plains before reaching Spey Bay on the Moray Firth.
This north coast is a famous location for spotting wildlife, especially dolphins.
A string of fishing villages and towns, such as Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen, are great places to stop for a walk, a morning coffee or for lunch. Park up and take a stroll to see historic harbours and pretty beaches.
A coastal walking path links the settlements and offers many views of a coastline of rocks, cliffs and some amazing geological formations, including sea stacks and arches.
Look out for the slanted arched rock called Whale’s Mouth near Cullen and sea arch, Bow Fiddle Rock, near Portknockie.
Back on the road going east, you could visit Findlater Castle. It is discovered on a magnificent cliff-top location after a short walk from a car park.
Other things to see & do:
- Craigellachie Telford Bridge.
- Cardhu Country House.
- Fochabers Folk Museum and Heritage Centre.
- Duff House at Banff.
Overnight: Book ahead for a caravan park in or near Banff or choose your own quiet spot.
Day 3: Banff to Maryculter
Miles: Around 85 miles.
If you have seen the 1980s film Local Hero you might like to visit the tiny settlement of Pennan, along the coast from Banff. The tiny shore-side village was made famous as the fictional village of Ferness in the movie and many people will remember the red phone box in the film that now features in so many visitors’ photographs.
It’s a steep and winding road down – and back up – but well worth it for the picturesque setting. Note, this road is not recommended for caravans.
If you fancy a walk, a coastal path heads away from the harbour along the hilly coast to Aberdour Bay.
Driving further east and then south through the large fishing town of Fraserburgh, the eastern coast of Aberdeenshire serves up more landmarks for visiting. Bullers o’ Buchan is a collapsed sea cave, located adjacent to a precariously perched hamlet.
Next is Slains Castle, an imposing cliff-top ruin reached on a narrow sandy road. The castle is claimed to have served as inspiration for the author of the 1897 novel Dracula.
Other things to do:
- Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh.
- Fraserburgh Bay and esplanade.
- Peterhead Prison Museum.
- Cullen Bay.
- Balmedie beach and country park.
Suggested overnight: Deeside Holiday Park, Maryculter.
Day 4: Maryculter to Spittal of Glenshee
Miles: Around 66 miles.
The route heads west through the rolling countryside of Royal Deeside. There are plenty of attractions to detour to including striking Crathes Castle and its beautiful gardens.
You could rake a ride on a steam train on Royal Deeside Railway or head to Braemar for lunch. You could visit one of the attractions that you missed out when you drive through Braemar at the start of the Scottish tour route.
The route returns into the mountains of the Cairngorms and this time you descend, rather than climb, the long road back to Spittal of Glenshee.
Other things to do:
- Road from Braemar to Linn of Dee.
- Detour to Stonehaven for the open-air pool.
The North East 250 (NE250) offers a good alternative Scottish sightseeing tour to the NC500.
For more details of the North East 250 route see NE250.
Hire a campervan in Scotland
Open Road Scotland offers a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland.