Rattray Head Lighthouse is an iconic and historical point on the north east of Scotland. It lies on the North East 250 (NE250) road trip, outside of the city of Aberdeen. 

This is a spot we would highly recommend visiting if you are ever in this part of Scotland as we were blown away by the beauty and tranquillity.

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Rattray Head Lighthouse is a must visit on your trip to the north of Scotland. The beach alone is one of our favourites in Scotland! In this guide, we will discuss the best time to go to Rattray Head Lighthouse as well as the following

  • What is Rattray Head Lighthouse?
  • Where is Rattray Head Lighthouse?
  • How to get to Rattray Head Lighthouse?
  • Why Should I go to Rattray Head Lighthouse?
  • When Should I go to Rattray Head Lighthouse?
  • Preparing for your trip to the NE250.
Rattray Head Lighthouse drone

What is Rattray Head Lighthouse?

Rattray Head Lighthouse is a historical lighthouse that sits in the North sea and was built in 1895 by engineers and brothers Charles Alexander Stevenson and David Alan Stevenson. It is currently unmanned and self working and has been since 1982.

Rattray Head Beach overlooks the lighthouse and is surrounded by sand dunes. The soft white sand beneath your feet and turquoise waters will make it a beach you will want to return to again and again.

rattray head lighthouse

Where is Rattray Head Lighthouse?

Rattray Head Lighthouse is located on the north east coast of Scotland and sits just outside of Peterhead in Buchan. 

The Lighthouse itself sits at the end of a causeway which is covered at high tide and accessible at low tide. The causeway is wide enough for a vehicle to cross if it was necessary. 

rattray head lighthouse

How to get to Rattray Head Lighthouse?

Rattray Head Lighthouse isn’t the easiest beach to get to on the NE250 road trip. It is located at the end of a narrow track with limited passing places. Follow the road from Rattray towards Old Rattray and St Mary’s Chapel, then you will know you are on the right track.

The road becomes unsealed with many pot holes and a very uneven surface. You will pass a building on your right hand side and the parking is just beyond this in a very muddy car park.

From the car park, follow through the gate towards the sea and take a right in between the sand dunes and you will be on the beach.

rattray head lighthouse

Why Should I go to Rattray Head Lighthouse?

Rattray Head Lighthouse is well worth the visit if you are able to get there safely as the surrounding scenery of the beach and the surrounding sand dunes is absolutely beautiful! We could have sat and watched the turquoise waves crashing off the beach for hours. The sand is also very clean and lovely to walk on. 

rattray head lighthouse

When Should I go to Rattray Head Lighthouse?

The best time to visit Rattray Head Lighthouse is during the summer months. The sunshine really brings out the colours of the water and the sand overlooking the lighthouse and it will be a lot more pleasent to sit on the beach and enjoy the view. 

With the being said, we haven’t visited in winter and I can imagine it may be very dramatic to watch the stormy waves crash off the lighthouse and hit the shore. 

There are no amenities at Rattray Head Lighthouse so if you are planning to stay a while, make sure you bring supplies with you to the beach. 

rattray head lighthouse

Before You Leave on the North East 250

Before you head off on your trip around the NE250, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.

How Do I Get Around the NE250?

Given the reasonably remote location of the NE250 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.

As for public transport, this isn’t completely impossible, it is just a lot more difficult.

If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip around the NE250, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.

Browse the full range of vehicles on offer at Bunk Campers over here.

rattray head lighthouse

What Should I Pack for the NE250?

When it comes to packing for a trip along the NE250 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NE250 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.

Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C

Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C

Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C

Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C

As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

Photography Equipment

Main Photography Camera – Sony A7iii Mirrorless Camera

Main Lens – Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM 

Zoom Lens – Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8

Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm

Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8 Black

Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2

Camera Bag – Lowepro Flipside 300 AW

Where Should I Stay in Aberdeen?

LuxuryResidence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen is a luxury hotel in the city of Aberdeen. It is within 20 minutes walk of the beach front and has free wifi, a gym and laundry facilities on site. The best things about this hotel might just be that it was rated highly for the comfort of the beds!

Book your stay at Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen here.

Mid-range – The Jurys Inn Aberdeen is located a stones throw away from the city centre shops, bars and restaurants. All rooms have air conditioning, a TV, hairdryer and most importantly, a comfortable bed.

Book your stay at the Jurys Inn Aberdeen here.

BudgetThe Station Hotel sits opposite the train station in Aberdeen and is a fantastic budget option for your trip to the city. Each room is equipped with a TV and tea/coffee making facilities as well as having it’s own private bathroom.

Book your stay at The Station Hotel here.

Rattray Head Lighthouse drone

What is the Best Travel Insurance?

No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.

Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.

Get covered for your next trip and get a quote from World Nomad’s right here.

So there you have it, a guide to visiting Rattray Head Lighthouse. If you have visited the NE250 recently, let us know what you thought of Rattray Head Lighthouse or if you have any suggestions of what to do nearby, let us know in the comments below.

As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own North East 250 adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.

When you set off on your own adventure, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and we will share them with the rest of our community. In the meantime, why not follow us over there to see what we are currently up to and keep up with us on our Instagram Stories.

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