Ellen is a pretty little town in North East Scotland with attractive self catering cottages riverside walks, a ruined castle and fine restaurants. It’s a great destination for those seeking a holiday with access to glorious beaches, country walks, ancient castles or days out with the kids. There’s a circular walk that takes you around the town’s historic streets. Stop off at the Chocolate Bar, a tiny coffee shop selling wonderful chocolates and cakes. You may be on a self catering holiday, but there are plenty of restaurants in Ellen, to tempt you away from your cottage kitchen such as ‘The Cornkist’ or ‘Eat on the Green’. If you fancy fresh fish for dinner, purchase (or catch them yourself) from Ellen’s trout fishery. Visitors to Ellen are welcome to play a round of two at the tree-lined McDonald golf club or the Newburgh on Ythan Golf Club. Alternatively, enjoy leisurely rural walks along the Formartine and Buchan Way through lush rolling farmland.

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Nearby Cruden Bay offers a wide sandy beach and dramatic coastal walks to the ruins of Slains Castle, reputedly the inspiration for Dracula. Fovie Sands at Collieston – a huge expanse of dunes and heathland. There are more dunes and a great beach to explore at Balmedie Beach, a good place to swim and build sand castles.

For heritage lovers, exploring the well-preserved picturesque ruins of 16th Century Tolquhon Castle is a must. Alternatively, explore the grand 18th Century house and parkland at Haddo House near Tarves with its lakes and beautiful trees or relax while the children burn off energy in the childrens playground. If that doesn’t wear them out, the indoor playground at the Hoodles Play Barn in Oldmeldrum surely will! Get a more tastes of yester year at Hareshowe, a working farm set in the 1950’s or the nearby Aberdeenshire Farming Museum (also with play areas and nature walks).