The coast of northeast Scotland from Aberdeen to Inverness has a rugged, sometimes bleak fringe with pleasant if undramatic farmland rolling inland. Still, if the weather is good, it’s well worth spending a couple of days meandering through the various little fishing villages and along the miles of deserted, unspoilt beaches.

The largest coastal towns are Peterhead and Fraserburgh, both dominated by sizeable fishing fleets; the latter’s Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is one of the most attractive small museums in Scotland. Most visitors, however, are more drawn to the quieter spots along the Moray coast, including the charming villages of Pennan, Gardenstown, Portsoy and nearby Cullen. The other main attractions are Duff House in Banff, a branch of the National Gallery of Scotland; the working abbey at Pluscarden by Elgin; and the Findhorn Foundation, near Forres.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

Large and severe-looking FRASERBURGH is home to the excellent Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Here you can see a collection of huge lenses and prisms gathered from decommissioned lighthouses, and a display on various members of the famous “Lighthouse” Stevenson family (including the father and grandfather of author Robert Louis Stevenson), who designed many of them. The highlight is the tour of Kinnaird Head lighthouse itself, preserved as it was when the last keeper left in 1991, with its century-old equipment still in perfect working order.