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    Balmoral Castle
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    Cairngorms National Park
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    Dunnottar Castle
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Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms

Aberdeenshire, UK

  • A plane in a circle with a strikethrough No fly
  • A plate with a knife and fork Half board

Experience truly authentic Scottish moments in Aberdeenshire

Each year, Queen Elizabeth II makes the journey northwards to Aberdeenshire and her estate surrounding Balmoral Castle. It is for the area’s wild beauty and undeniably significant history that she perhaps enjoys her holiday here so much. As it’s good enough for a monarch, we invite you to holiday like a queen!

During your time with us, you will stay in the fabulous four-star Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel on the outskirts of Aberdeen. It is then a kilted hop, skip and jump to explore the UK’s largest national park - the Cairngorms - and enjoy a stroll around Balmoral Castle. In Stonehaven, spend a day at leisure, perhaps visiting Aberdeen Art Gallery or the local maritime museum.


Bed5 nights at your hotel

Dinner plate11 meals: 5 breakfasts (B), 1 lunch (L) and 5 dinners (D) (2021 departures / 10 Meals: 5 breakfasts (B) and 5 dinners (D) (2022 departures)

PersonDedicated Saga Host


  • Cancellation rights
  • Hosted drinks reception
  • Guided orientation walks
  • Free hotel Wi-Fi
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities in your room
  • Assistance when booking flights
  • Porterage at your hotel

MapIncluded excursions and visits

  • Balmoral Castle (half day) (August - December departures will visit Glamis Castle instead, due to the Royal Family being in residence over the summer.)
  • Cairngorms National Park (full day)
  • Dunnottar Castle and Stonehaven (half day)

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 Aberdeen

Aberdeen, Scotland

Settle in to your hotel and join your host for a welcome drink before dinner. D

Day 2 Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle, Scotland

In 1852 Prince Albert bought Queen Victoria a present. That present was Balmoral Castle, which continues to provide a Scottish home to the royal family today. Upon arrival for your half-day tour you will perhaps capture the castle’s turrets and battlements on your camera before stepping inside. Explore the network of corridors lined with portraits and step outside to admire the grounds.

Spend the afternoon at leisure. B, D

Please note: If the Queen is in residence, it will not be possible to visit the castle. An alternative half-day tour of the local area will be provided instead. August - December departures will visit Glamis Castle instead, due to the Royal Family being in residence over the summer.

Day 3 Cairngorms National Park

Purple heather on the hills of the Cairngorms national park

As Britain’s largest national park, the Cairngorms are home to plenty of Britain’s native, often endangered species. Depending on the time of year, purple hillsides of heather give way to extensive grasslands, overlooked by impressive mountains. Perhaps during your visit you will spot a red deer or two skipping gaily through the landscape, or lifting your eyes skyward a red kite - recognisable by its uniquely shaped tail - will swoop low, searching out for any carrion below.

You will spend some time at leisure in Tomintoul, home of the Whisky Castle and Highland Market - a perfect place for whisky drinkers and souvenir seekers. Also spend time in Aviemore, a town neighboured by ancient woodland. B, D

Day 4 At leisure

Seals on the beach at Newburgh, Scotland

The day is yours to spend as you wish. Perhaps wander the historical streets of Aberdeen, or venture further afield to Newburgh where seals lay lazily on the beach. B, D

Day 5 Dunnottar Castle and Stonehaven

Dunottar Castle on the East Coast of Scotland

The ruined medieval fortress of Dunnottar is as dramatic as one can be. Positioned on a rocky headland, it looms above the North Sea and impresses all who approach. Despite its glory days being long gone, we invite you to explore the ruined castle and discover its history, from the siege conducted by William Wallace and his Scottish troops in 1297, to royal residence for Mary Queen of Scots, James Vi and Charles II.

Spend time at leisure in Stonehaven before returning to your hotel for the afternoon. B, D

Please note: there is a large number of steps leading into Dunnottar Castle, along with cobbled paths that may be challenging for customers with walking difficulties. Due to the castle’s positioning, wheelchair access is not possible. During 2021 departures you will be treated to a fish and chip lunch in Stonehaven.

Day 6 Farewell

Following breakfast, make the return journey home and reflect on your Scottish adventure. B

From your hotel, it is a short taxi ride into Aberdeen city centre, or you can take a local bus from the stop 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel. Known as ‘The Granite City’, Aberdeen is far from a grey area when it comes to things to do. Perhaps stroll through the galleries of Aberdeen Art Museum, or spend some time in the local maritime museum, exploring the city’s sea-going heritage. A short drive northwards will bring you to the coastal town of Newburgh, the beach of which is bustling with the undignified shuffling of seals.

Back in Aberdeen, at the end of the harbour, you will find ‘Footdee’ a charming old fishing community and a hidden gem of artistic curiosity. Of course no visit would be complete without passing by a local whiskey distillery. Perhaps during your day at leisure you will be tempted to visit the Glen Garioch Distillery, offering you a chance to bottle your own.

Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel (3Q+)

Built on the site of the 15th-century Pitfodels Castle, the four-star Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel

is surrounded by seven acres of private gardens and is located eight kilometres from Aberdeen City Centre. Its 73 bedrooms are traditionally decorated and are equipped with the essential amenities such as an en suite bathroom and free Wi-Fi, alongside a television, hairdryer, a safe and tea & coffee making facilities. You can look forward to dining in the hotel’s Tapestry Restaurant, which has been awarded 2 AA Rosettes, and offers classic Scottish menus in stylish surroundings. The hotel’s Georgian lounge and bar offers a laid-back atmosphere, and serves more than 80 malt whiskeys. 

Combining comfort with visual splendour, the hotel is perfectly suited for an exploration of Aberdeenshire’s many treasures. For golf enthusiasts, the hotel is just 4 miles from Balnagask Golf Course, a ‘distinctive’ golf course located at the entrance to Aberdeen harbour.

Hotel address
Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel
Garthdee Rd, Aberdeen AB15 9FX

Getting there

By car
From the A90 continue onto the A92 (Stonehaven Rd) following directions to Aberdeen for 12 miles. After crossing the Bridge of Dee take the first exit at Garthdee roundabout onto Garthdee road. At the next roundabout continue on Garthdee road for 1.2 miles until you see the left turn into the hotel entrance.  Your hotel is situated a short distance along the driveway. There is a free car park at the hotel subject to availability.

By rail
If you have arranged rail travel through Saga you will receive tickets to Aberdeen railway station. Transfers to and from the hotel are not included – it is about 3.5 miles from the hotel and easily reached by taxi.  Your Saga host will meet you on arrival at the hotel.

Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms

Aberdeenshire, UK