At the end of July, hubby, the kids and I took a road trip to Aberdeen for a fun packed weekend away staying at the lovely Aberdeen Altens Hotel. It took about 3 1/2 hours for us to get there, but it was a nice day and being in Scotland the scenery is always lovely. We had our itinerary all planned out for us and we couldn’t wait to begin. The hotel was easy to find once we were in Aberdeen and it was close by to shops, etc should we have needed anything. Probably not within walking distance, but we had the car. The boys were excited that it was next to some sports car garages, they even got to sit in a few. We pulled up outside the hotel and parked in their spacious car park. Not knowing what to expect, my first impression was that it was bigger than I had picture and looked lovely.
We checked in without any problems and the staff were very welcoming. The foyer was spacious and had a lovely seating area. Everywhere is signposted, with the dining room, bar off the foyer and the pool and leisure facilities through the back. Heading straight to our room, first up on our agenda was swimming in the hotel pool. The room was stunning. Spacious, well laid out and welcoming. There were some lovely towelled robes and slippers for the adults to use in the leisure facilities.
The bathroom was bright and equipped with everything the family would need. There is even a little dressing area. The room was huge, plenty of room to fit all five of us and having been in hotels before, it’s usually very cramped. There was space for everyone to put their stuff and room to move about, which is a first. With two large double beds and a single and ample room with a desk, wardrobes, etc I cannot fault. A sweet gesture was some lovely hotel chocolat chocolates the kids got tucked into after our long drive.
Hubby was delighted to see a fancy Nespresso coffee machine and I was pleased with the sparking water. Everything to suit the whole family.
As you can see all three children were certainly in love with the room, the beds and the pillows. The beds were super comfy. Snow white sheets, that were soft and many bouncy pillows, bliss.
Next stop, testing out the hotel pool. The boys have both recently learned to swim, so they couldn’t wait to get into the pool and Little Miss is just gettings used to the water. So it was swimsuits on and off we went. The long corridors formed no end of entertainment to the kids. The pool was better than I could have imagined. There was a small toddler pool, perfect for Aria. The boys were in the main pool, it was huge, but big enough. It was lovely and warm. Next to the toddler pool was a bubbly hot jacuzzi. For those without kids, there are a steam room and a sauna off the poolside. They aren’t my thing, so I was quite happy to splash about and have fun in the pool.
The hotel was quiet, but there were loads of people about, so not too quiet. It was bliss and no noise at all could be heard from our room, even when there was a comedy night on the Saturday. No noise at all. And we were on the ground floor. It’s some kind of magic room, I think.
After swimming, we got ready for our Aberdeen Altens Hotel high tea. Now I’m not sure about you, but high tea to means little sandwiches, tea and cakes. Not here. It’s a full blown, delicious dinner. Just have a look at the menu. And at £12.50 a head, it’s great value for money. The restaurant looks fab and lovely decorated. You don’t even have to be a guest to have the high tea or eat in the restaurant, if you are in the area, I’d highly recommend it. High tea is served between 3pm and 6pm from Thursday to Sunday. The younger two had the children’s menu of fruit smiley face for starter, pasta and some ice cream for dessert. Us adults and oldest had toast for starter, they even had gluten free toast. My husband had the gammon steak, I had amazing fish and chips and Lucas had scampi. For dessert, Lucas swapped his scones for some ice-cream and I had the best scones I’ve ever tasted. You got to try these.
The next morning we were up early for breakfast. Breakfast is served in the main dining room. We were given a table and helped ourselves to both hot and cold items. There was everything you could think of, cereals, cooked breakfast, fruits, bread, cheeses. It was really lovely. Pancakes were the only items missing off my plate. The staff were amazing and kept asking all guests if they needed anything else, even though they were run off their feet.
We had a busy day ahead and got ready to leave, not before picking up some packed lunches the hotel made for us, including a lovely gluten free one for hubby. First up a trip to the Stonehaven Open Air Pool. It wasn’t the best day for an open air swim, it was chilly and it was rainy. That didn’t stop us. In we went and into the pool we did. A lovely attraction with warmish salty water for an outdoor swim. The decor is lovely, bright and breezy. It was early Saturday morning, so there were a lot of older ladies and gentlemen doing some laps. The Stonehaven Open Air pool, is the most northerly lido in the UK, filled with filtered sea water. I have never been in a sea water pool before. It was a little strange, but thankfully warm. There are lots of lifeguards on duty and there is a large slide into the pool if you fancy it. Being in the pool was fine, getting out and getting ready, was a little on the chilly side.
Due to the drizzly weather, we had a lovely car picnic overlooking the stunning Stonehaven Harbour. It was beautiful, peaceful and a stunning view. It was my first time in Stonehaven and it won’t be the last. It is a beautiful and quaint place.
We couldn’t be in Stonehaven and not stop by the famous Aunty Betty’s Ice Cream Shop. Award winning ice-cream and wall to wall sweets. I am a huge sucker for jars of boiling sweets and may have bought a bag of three of floral gums and cherry lips. Yup, you either love or hate.
Heaven for my sweet tooth. We stepped outside and the heaven’s opened. Huddling together under an awning we waited out the Summer downpour. Ahh gotta love Scottish weather.
Next on our places to visit was the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. This is a free to visit museum and well worth a stop. There are lots of free activities going on all year round. We did some crafts and Lucas tried his hand at building a pillar from the oil rigs. There was also a great toy collection going on. It was a bit strange to see my beloved childhood toys in a museum, but it has been a few years since I was a child and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane. Explaining to the kids, the ZX spectrum was my first computer and yes I too had My Little Pony’s and let’s not forget Sindy. Ahh, the memories. Anyway, the kids had a great time.
Little Miss giving a go at writing her favourite toy on the memory board. The Aberdeen Maritime Museum tells its visitors about the story of the city’s long relationship with the Sea. There are lots of things to see and do. It is fascinating and very educational for us all. Not to mention the most stunning view over the busy harbour.
Before heading back to the hotel for dinner, we headed to Footdee beach for some dolphin spotting. Or a little stroll along the beach. My favourite picture of the holiday and look it brightened up.
A closer look at the sea, just in case the dolphins were sleeping. Look at my wee family.
Any dolphins yet?
Just look at that view! I could have stayed there all day. It really is stunning. Crystal clear water and a spotless beach. I find the sound of the ocean the most relaxing experience. Ahhh.
Well we didn’t see any dolphins, they were having their dinner, so Little Miss told me. We brought our own from the Museum shop, just in case. A lovely end to a perfect day.
Dinner in the Aberdeen Altens Hotel was spectacular. The kids menu is fab, a great range of food and more than enough for them to eat. Fish goujons and tomato pasta for them, after their new found favourite starter of fruit smiley face. They loved this so much. Then ice-cream for dessert. I had haggis, neeps and tatties for starter and it was divine, then some salmon for my main. Robert had the same. The dessert was delicious. Everything was tasty, extremely well presented, a great price and the staff bent over backwards to accomodate every customer’s needs. While we were there, they had decorated a table for a little boys birthday and sung happy birthday to him, so sweet.
We all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows after our busy day. Up early again for breakfast and we fitted in another trip to the hotel pool before check out. The kids would have stayed there all weekend. We had some free time in the morning, so I had a look through the guide books in the hotel room. I’m a big lover of castles, this was the ideal place to visit, off we headed for Dunnottar Castle. My goodness this castle is breathtaking and the views aren’t like anything I’ve ever seen before. Another drizzly day and over 200 stone cobbled steps up and down in heels, may not have been my smartest move, but we did it and loved it.
The costs were £17 for a family ticket and the kids were given some pencils and sheets to fill in. The castle is ruins, but it is fascinating and stunning, did I mention stunning views. The dramatic setting used to be the home of the Earls Marischal, who were once, one of the most powerful families in Scotland. There is definitely an eerie and haunting feel to this castle. It is steeped in history and there are parts they have restored.
And a rare occassion I am in front of the camera for once. With such a beautiful back drop. A must see attraction if you are in the area, it is worth the trek across.
Our last stop before we headed back home was a visit to Deeside Railway for a ride on a steam train. What a quaint little place it was. It was like stepping back in time. The little platform, station and the magnificent steam train. All the children love going on the train, but have never been on a steam train. They were excited and loved getting their tickets, the conductor even comes round to punch their tickets. The trip down the rail line takes only 20 minutes, but it is enjoyable and a lot of fun and worth a visit.
We had the most wonderful time in Aberdeen. There is so much we didn’t visit on our trip there and the parts we did was incredible. The beaches are clean and peaceful, everyone is friendly and it was our first time swimming in an outdoor pool, well in Scotland anyway. I can tick that off the bucket list. I would recommend planning your trip before going so you can fit it all in. And don’t forget the outdoor pool and the steam train.
We all loved the Aberdeen Altens Hotel and cannot praise it highly enough. The staff were outstanding, they really bent over backwards to accomodate your every need, not just to us, but to all the visitors in the hotel. The place was immaculate and the food was excellent. The kids adored the pool and loved the room, in fact they wanted us to move there. We came home with so many wonderful memories of Aberdeen and our weekend there, it will stay with us for a very long time and we will be back. I hope you will go too, you won’t regret it. If there is anything I’ve missed out for next time, let me know or if you’ve been in the comments below.
Disclaimer:- My trip has been made possible by the Aberdeen Altens Hotel, and all accommodation, dining and facility use is provided free of charge. Other venues have provided their services on a complimentary basis. And we paid for quite a few things ourselves. None of this reflects my opinions and all words are my own.