The North East 250

If you're looking to do a manageable Scotland tour in one of our campervans, then a great starting point for your plan is the North East 250.

This is a ready-made tour where you can hop aboard your motorhome and set off on the planned route to discover the very best Scotland offers.

To see the sights and get the most enjoyment, you are best to allocate at least three days to the trip, but there are plenty of places along the route to park up for the night so you really can enjoy it at your own pace.

The North Coast 250 route. Image from North Coast 250

The 250-mile route closely follows the North East Coast of Scotland, circling Aberdeen to the east and Aviemore in the west. It offers a range of breathtaking sights, including dramatic coastlines, the beauty of the Cairngorms, pretty towns and villages, and expansive rolling countryside.

Whatever you love most about Scotland, you will find here on the route. On the North East 250 website, you can even choose from three itineraries depending on what you want to see most - Outdoor and Adventure, Food and Drink or History and Heritage. We recommend looking at all three itineraries and picking the best from each!

You can also sign up for the North East 250 passport, collecting stamps from businesses and attractions along the way, which you can exchange for a completion certificate after the end of your trip.

Spital of Glenshee. Image from Walk Highlands

The great thing about the North East 250 is you can start at any point on the route, although three recommended points to start are the Spittal of Glenshee, Aberdeen Airport or Ballindalloch. So let's have a look at some of the wonders that await you.

If you're heading into Scotland from the south, then the southernmost starting point is at the Spittal of Glenshee, a beautiful location in the Cairngorms where four glens meet in one place. Don't rush to jump into your camper van and get started because this is a charming place to stop and contemplate.

The road to the start of the circular route runs parallel with the River Dee before approaching the village of Crathie and choosing to head anti-clockwise towards Aberdeen or clockwise towards Glenlivet.

You are spoilt for choice at this point! If you turn left, you will head north towards the Moray Firth Coast, arriving at Glenlivet, where one of Scotland's most famous whisky distilleries awaits. If whisky is your thing, you will be delighted to hear that several distilleries are on the route! Take some time to see how Scotland's national drink is made, and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the country's most traditional master crafts.

Ballindalloch distillery. Image from Ballindalloch Castle

After sampling a wee dram, continue north to Ballindalloch, where you can admire the grandeur of Ballindalloch Castle from its beautifully mature formal gardens, before taking a tour of the castle itself. The castle is a delicate yet fascinating piece of historical architecture, and you can while away many hours strolling through the nearby meadows.

Follow north towards Craigellachie, where you will find the Speyside Cooperage, which will have you over a barrel! Another traditional Scottish craft, you can watch the art of coopering by age-old methods as the master craftsmen create casks for whisky distilleries. It is surprisingly addictive viewing, so definitely pencil in some time for a tour.

From Craigellachie, you will find yourself arriving at the mouth of the River Spey where it meets the coast of Spey Bay. Stop here to have a careful look, and you might catch sight of some dolphins if you are lucky.

Following the Moray Firth coastal road, you will be winding your way through some beautiful fishing villages and able to see the ever-changing coastline. Make your way along the coast towards Fraserburgh, making sure you stop in the harbour village of Portsoy on the way for one of their award-winning ice creams - it would be rude not to!

Pennan

Next, you can head to Fraserburgh, a busy port for Scotland's Successful fishing industry. At Fraserburgh, you will find Scotland's oldest mainland lighthouse, the 18th century Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. You will also find Kinnaird Head Castle and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses if you would like to learn more.

From Fraserburgh, you will start to head south along the North Sea coast towards Peterhead. Here you will discover the Peterhead prison museum. Take a tour of the museum that was in service until 2013 to find out what life was really like inside the prison walls. Just south of Peterhead, stop at the coast to find the Bullers of Buchan, a collapsed sea cave through which you can see straight down into the sea.

Aberdeen

Keep heading down the coast where you will, of course, come across Aberdeen to add a city break vibe to your North East 250 road trip. Known for its stunning granite architecture, it is well worth parking up your camper for the night and getting lost in this beautiful city, with its 15th-century cathedral in the Old Aberdeen town and its surprisingly coastal feel in the fishing quarter at Footdee. Find yourself a nice place to eat dinner while you watch the world go by in the evening.

As you depart Aberdeen aboard your camper van, you will start to head west away from the coast, back towards the Spittal of Glenshee and completing your route.

If you fancy a bit of activity after overindulging in Aberdeen, stop at Crathes Castle, where you will find this magnificent 16th-century building, with a Go Ape treetop adventure on the grounds! Don your harness and swing between the trees for a few hours of excitement. This contrast with the relaxing countryside around the castle will offer an exciting addition to your journey.

As you dive back into the Cairngorms and the end of your tour, stop off at Balmoral Castle, where you will find Scotland's royal residence, where the Queen and the Royal family like to spend their leisure time. This is an unmissable end to what has hopefully been a wonderful trip.

Keen to get out on the road? Check out one of our Volkswagen California campervans and explore the breathtaking northeast of Scotland.