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Home Vacation Aberdeen beach holiday park plans could spark seaside boom

Aberdeen beach holiday park plans could spark seaside boom

by Staff

A new holiday park could be created at Aberdeen Beach – if the council is willing to sell off the land.

City businessman Hamish McDonald is behind a multi-million-pound vision for the visitor site, which would be the first of its kind in the city.

It’s understood it would be built on a large patch of land along the Esplanade.

The potential sale of the area will be discussed behind closed doors by the council’s finance committee on Tuesday.

Land near Aberdeen beach
The development could bring scores of holidaymakers to the beach. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Who is Hamish McDonald?

Documents published on the council website ahead of the talks indicate that Mr McDonald wants “to acquire land at the Beach Esplanade on which to develop a holiday lodge park”.

The 56-year-old is a director of McDonald Properties Ltd.

And Mr McDonald appears to have some experience in the hospitality business, as he was a director of River Lodge Holiday Park Ltd from 2017 to 2022.

An aerial view Aberdeen beach seafront
The seafront could soon be changed under expensive regeneration efforts. Image: Kenny Erick/DC Thomson

Where will it be?

Details are scarce at this stage but it is understood the Aberdeen beach holiday park would be based somewhere off the Esplanade, as it stretches from King Street down to the mouth of the River Don.

The location would allow easy access for vehicles coming off the busy route.

A screenshot from Google Maps showing the area where the Aberdeen beach holiday park could be developed
This image shows the area of land around the Esplanade route which could be developed. Image: Google Earth

Is Aberdeen missing a holiday park?

From Laurencekirk to Peterhead and at dozens of spots in between, holidaymakers are able to stay at caravan parks across Aberdeenshire.

Since the Covid pandemic forced people to holiday closer to home, the staycation market has proven lucrative in various parts of the UK.

And last summer, the cost-of-living crisis meant that many chose to eschew trips abroad in favour of exploring Britain.

Whether this continues in 2024 remains to be seen but decades ago, before the advent of package holidays, Aberdeen was something of a hotspot.

Many will have fond memories of a time when “the silver city with the golden sands” was a holiday haven.

A black and white photo of a view along the sands of Aberdeen Beach in 1958
A view along the sands of Aberdeen Beach in 1958. Image: DC Thomson

By the 1950s, Aberdeen was known as “Scotland’s leading holiday resort”.

It was this phenomenon city leaders hoped to recapture as they outlined a vision to regenerate the seaside.

Aberdeen beach holiday park comes amid efforts to revive seafront

It’s understood the accommodation plans have been formed to capitalise on an expected surge in interest in Aberdeen’s seafront.

The council’s masterplan for the beach is aimed at making it more of an attraction.

But the only hotel there, the Hilton Doubletree, is currently being used to house asylum seekers and faces an uncertain future beyond that.

An impression of how the Aberdeen beach masterplan could look when finished
The beach could be reimagined in the years ahead. Image: Morrison Communications/Aberdeen City Council

In the coming months, work is expected to get under way on a futuristic playpark and events area.

Ultimately, it could also feature a new leisure centre and even a replacement football stadium for the Dons.

Mr McDonald is hoping to speak at the meeting, as the early stages of the holiday park plan take shape.

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