When MSc Psychology student Maria isn’t studying or working, she loves to explore what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer. In this blog, Maria shares her top 5 places to explore in Banff and Macduff, located around 46 miles away from Aberdeen, making it an ideal option for a day trip up along the Aberdeenshire coast.
How to get from Aberdeen to Banff and Macduff
Banff and Macduff are located around 46 miles away from Aberdeen, but you can easily visit by public transport. Stagecoach operates the Number 35 bus to Elgin which you can catch at the bus station at Union Square in Aberdeen. The journey will take around two hours during which you will enjoy views of the beautiful Scottish countryside.
If you wish to drive by car you can get there via the A947 or A948, it takes around an hour from Aberdeen so is quicker than the bus.
Once in Banff or Macduff you can easily get between the two towns as they are connected by the Banff bridge.
My top places to explore in Banff and Macduff, Aberdeenshire
1. Duff House
Duff House is a country house gallery which displays collections from the National Galleries of Scotland. The house was owned by William Duff, and designed by architect William Adam. It was never finished according to the original plans, as the two Williams had a fallout, and in 1907, the house was gifted to Banff and Macduff.
Today you can view contemporary art and important artwork from El Greco, Gainsborough, Raeburn, Ramsay, and Etty. If you love art or are an art student at Gray’s School of Art, then Duff House is a place you would enjoy! The house is also used as a theatre, so check out their website to see what is on.
2. Banff Museum
The Banff Museum is on the High Street and has been around since 1828. Home to a collection of Banff silver, one of my highlights was the the MacPherson’s fiddle. MacPherson was a Scottish outlaw, who played a song on his fiddle before he was hanged. MacPherson’s Rant inspired Robert Burns to write a poem, called MacPherson’s farewell.
3. Banff and Macduff Heritage Trails
There are a number of different trails that you can go on depending on where your interests lie. Some highlights include the Maritime Trail, the Banff Wildlife Trail, and the Military Trail.
As well as learning about the history of the towns, and taking in the beautiful Banff Marina and Macduff Harbour, you can also appreciate some of the local seabirds, such as kittiwakes and herring gulls.
The coastline and the Moray Firth are home to seals and porpoises, and if you are lucky, you can see basking sharks, orcas, mink and humpback whales travel through the Firth. The Moray Firth also has the largest population of bottlenose dolphins!
Find out more about the Banff and Macduff Heritage Trails.
4. Macduff Marine Aquarium
According to VisitAberdeenshire’s website, the Macduff Aquarium is a jewel on the Aberdeenshire Coast. This is a great place to visit for everyone, regardless of your age!
The tanks show a fascinating insight into what is living beneath the waves in the Moray Firth. Visitors can also get hands-on experience at the touching pool, watch divers hand feed fish, and find out more about the species in the daily talks.
They also have a small gift shop, where you can purchase books, marine plush toys, keyrings and even water guns! I got a water gun that was shark-shaped, my friend did not like when I used it, as it pumps the water out quite suddenly and in big quantities. We had a couple of fun days fooling around with them.
If you decide to visit the Macduff Marine Aquarium, I recommend around 3-4 hours of exploring the tanks and taking photographs of the species and exhibits while learning about the marine life of the North Sea. But you can do it in less time too.
5. Tarlair Open Air Swimming Pool
During my wee hike, I saw the Tarlair Open Air Swimming Pool in Macduff. Now a ruin, this tidal pool opened in 1931 and used to function as an old mineral spa. During the 1970s, when more people began to go on holidays abroad, the pool lost popularity which eventually led to the pool closing in 1995.
There are plans that the pool will under go restoration in the future, so people may be able to swim in it again!
I had a walk around the pool and took photographs from the top of the hill, it is a lovely view, along with the black cliffs, the sea, and the green hills. It must have been an amazing place to socialise in the 1930s and would be great to see the pool in use again.
I hope this blog has given you some ideas of places to explore in Banff and Macduff. If you would like to find out more about exploring Banff and Macduff download the official ‘Love Banff and Macduff’ app.