Grampian Escapes and Tours ran its first tour season in 2018, and after a few interesting and challenging years, we are pleased to announce we are expanding!
Grampian Escapes and Tours was founded by Jacqueline van den Akker in 2018. After moving to Aberdeen in 2002, she spent a lot of time exploring Aberdeenshire at the weekends with her Sunday Explorations.
Sunday was a day to do something different and Jacqueline would make a packed lunch, grab a map (yes, before the time of smart phones) and take a drive. Not knowing what was out there was part of the fun! It started with following the brown tourist signs and now, many years later, she is creating tours taking visitors to some of the region’s highlights as well as locations off the beaten path.
When the opportunity arose to change career and start doing something different, it didn’t take long to decide on setting up a tour guiding business in Aberdeenshire. Since then, Jacqueline hasn’t looked back and the business is going from strength to strength.
Aberdeenshire's Tourism is Growing
When we first started looking at travel guides before staring our tours, one of the travel industry’s biggest brands, The Lonely Plant Guide, didn’t even include Aberdeenshire in their Scotland guide book!
Thankfully times have changed and more and more people are starting to discover beautiful Aberdeenshire and are including a visit to the northeast of Scotland in their itineraries. With a huge variety of activities and sights to chose from and a wide variety of landscape to explore, Aberdeenshire is becoming a “must see” destination.
Joining us on Tour..
Joining us this year is guide Alex Duncan. Alex is born and bred within the region with family roots in Aberdeen. Alex spent much of his youth in the countryside of Aberdeenshire on the door step of Haddo House in the heart of Buchan. He developed a deep interest in the history, culture and geography of both the city and shire.
Alex worked as Principle Teacher of Geography in Aberdeen and he has always enjoyed sharing the beauty and diversity of the geography, history and culture of the northeast. His passion for the region makes him a natural tour guide.
Alex has been a rugby coach for a long time and he has travelled with teams and schools throughout Europe playing games and hosting International Rugby teams from Tonga & Samoa among others. Not content with just Rugby, Alex spent time as a Mountain Ski Leader taking school groups on Skiing holidays.
With a passion for outdoor sports including hillwalking, pot holing and skiing, Alex is bound to keep visitors busy with plenty of activity and insight.
Alex will the touring with our scheduled tours and will also be working with our private and bespoke tours.
Adding more tour dates
For our 2023 tour season we have increased our number of tours to eight departures every week. Now we offer tours 6 days week! We are confident visitors to the area will be able to see a variety of destinations in Aberdeenshire including Royal Deeside, Coastline, castles, distilleries and a few ancient heritage locations too. To find out what tours we have available click here.
Our day tours include stops to show the landscape and heart of Aberdeenshire, opting to make the most of the time visitors have in here. We also ensure the tour days are well planned allowing us time to take in the sights and sounds. Wherever possible we support independent local businesses and promote local produce and goods.
We are delighted to be hosting visitors from around the globe again this year and we are looking forward to meeting everyone.