A Guide To: Portsoy Harbour

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The Out About Scotland complete guide to Portsoy Harbour

Castle or Historic BuildingBeach or marine attraction

What’s this attraction all about?

Portsoy harbour is one of those hidden gems that you’ve probably never heard of, but if you get the chance to explore this quiet section of Aberdeenshire you really should take the time to check it out. Nestled in a small bay on the picturesque Moray coast between Cullen and Banff, Portsoy is a small fishing village that time appears to have forgotten about.

Quaint cottages line the roads that wind their way down to the sea-front, and it’s here in this 17th-century harbour that you’ll find some of the warehouses that once stored the Portsoy marble jewellery that the village was once famous for. This jewellery was renowned for its quality and was at one time shipped all over the world, and even today you’ll likely come across examples of fine-quality Portsoy marble if you ever visit the palace of Versailles in France.



What can you do there?

Recent years have seen the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival held in the old harbour each year in June and July, where a celebration of the region’s rich cultural fishing heritage can be enjoyed in a variety of events including competitive sailboat racing and demonstrations by traditional craftsmen.

Up to 16,000 people attend the event annually which is as good an excuse as any to visit Portsoy to sample another of its secrets – Portsoy ice cream. Made locally and available in a dizzying array of flavours it’s the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing summers day in this remarkable and historic village.

It won’t take you long to explore Portsoy as it really is quite a small place but on a summer day when the sun’s glinting off the sea in the pretty harbour it really does have a special feeling about it, and if you’re ever in this part of Aberdeenshire you could do a lot worse than visiting this interesting piece of Scotland’s maritime heritage.


The history of the attraction

Although Portsoy was well-known as a fishing port in the 16th-century, the harbour that we see today wasn’t constructed until 1693 when the 8th Earl of Boyndie decided that the Aberdeenshire fishing industry would benefit from improved infrastructure in the village of Portsoy.

The 3800 sq. metre harbour with its 200-metre quay has since become popular with visitors who are keen to take advantage of the photo opportunities offered in the pretty little village, where a little exploring to the western side will take you up a small embankment to glorious views overlooking both the village and the north sea. A sculpture of a dolphin gives some clue as to why nature-lovers also flock to Portsoy, as pods of dolphins are frequently seen swimming by and playing close to the shoreline.


What I liked about this attraction

  • The harbour is fascinating and very pretty
  • There are some really good views from the harbour walls

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • There’s not much to do in the village

Getting there

Shore Street,
AB45 2RX

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Contact details

Prices and opening times

Portsoy harbour is open 24/7. There is no fee to enter the harbour from the village. Car parking charges may apply.


Virtual Tour


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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is your guide to the best attractions in Scotland. He loves exploring the Scottish wilds and is happiest when he's knee-deep in a muddy bog in the middle of nowhere.

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