Aberdeen is the ‘Granite City’, because of its silver grey buildings which glitter attractively when the sun is out. Just like a Texan oil giant, Aberdeen owes its riches to the precious black stuff – and the city is certainly not a cheap date. But Scotland’s third city deserves your patronage for a multitude of reasons – not least because of its wealth of cultural attractions including the Maritime Museum and the Aberdeen Art Gallery – which are free. Off the beaten track somewhat but well worth a visit, is the Gordon Highlanders Museum which tells the story of this famous brave regiment formed in 1794. (Although there are no promises you’ll find out what the devils in skirts wear under their kilts).
Come prepared with plenty of plastic when you step out for a shop on Union Street – every upmarket store worth talking about is here, and Union Square’s new shops, restaurants and entertainments get unveiled in October, for even more choice.
When you’ve splashed your cash and had your fill of history and culture, get yourself some good old fashioned seaside thrills at Aberdeen Beach’s popular Codona Amusement Park -one of Scotland’s most popular funfairs.
Aberdeen's Top 10
10. Old Aberdeen Cobbled streets and charming little lanes dominated by the magnificent King’s College.
5. King’s College Chapel Dates to the 16th Century, and is a landmark Aberdeen attraction with its striking crown spire.
9. Castlegate The spot where Aberdeen’s long since destroyed castle once stood - get fab views of Aberdeen’s spires and turrets.
4. The Medieval Provost Skene’s House is a veritable time capsule of life in the 17th Century.
8. Calling all twitchers! Grab your binoculars and head to the Bird-Watching Hide.
3. St Machar’s Cathedral Where some of the remains of William Wallace are believed to have ended up (other quarters went elsewhere - courtesy of those dastardly English).
7. Satrosphere Provides light, interactively educational relief, on dull days.
2. The University of Aberdeen Founded in 1495. You can sniff that it’s still only the fifth oldest in the UK – but it’s still pretty darn old.
6. Unlike many in the UK, Aberdeen Harbour is still working, with ships bound for offshore oil rigs, and regular ferries to and from Orkney and Shetland.
1. The Marishcal Museum Like any self-respecting museum has Egyptian mummies and Classical antiquities.
July and August see the Stonehaven and Lonach Highland Games. There’s bound to be a spot of highland dancing thrown in for good measure.
Aberdeen International Football Festival features a week of fun and games in July at Balgownie Playing Fields.
The Castle Fraser Steam and Vintage Fair takes place in June at Inverurie – good wholesome family fun.
The Aberdeen Tartan Festival celebrates all things Scottish not just the fabled fabric design, in the city centre in July – be there or be square.
The Aberdeen Book Fair takes place at the Hilton Treetops Hotel in October. Bookworms never know what they will unearth at this second hand and antiquarian book event.
The City of Aberdeen Clydesdale Horse Show takes place at Duthie Park – a rare treat for fans of all things equestrian.
The Coast Festival of Visual Arts takes place at nearby Banff and Macduff – lead on, because it promises to be another good one in May.
Wrap up warm and gather round the city’s Christmas tree at the Aberdeen Winter Festival Christmas Tree Switch on at the end of November. There’s an added bonus of an early practice for your vocal chords in the short carol service.
The Northern Lights Music Festival is Aberdeen’s premier event with top international names making an appearance during the month of July.
How can you resist the wee little creatures at the Aberdeen Highland Pony Show, one of the best of its kind in Scotland, taking place in August.
When To Go
Given its northern location and the fact it shares the same latitude as Moscow, Aberdeen is far milder than you might expect. Winter days are short though – with only six hours, 40 minutes of daylight at Winter Solstice.
Temperatures in the winter months can get down to 0°C, or less. In the summer ,temperatures average out at 18 °C with the odd day or two seeing them climb as high as 30 °C.
Rain Rain Go Away , Come Again another Day. One of the UKs best known nursery rhymes. Enough said.
Aberdeen Airport is just six miles north of the city centre with a large number of flights both domestic and to Europe. A frequent Airlink service runs from the airport to Aberdeen Railway station – a journey of only 10 minutes.
National Express runs a frequent cheap coach service from Aberdeen to all main cities in the UK.
There is an hourly train service from Aberdeen Railway Station to Glasgow and Edinburgh – from where it is possible to get onward connections to London.
Aberdeen General Information
Aberdeen is a must for visitors to Scotland. For a veritable slice of the country's cultural soul, the city of 200,000 people is a terrific base. Between the River Dee and the River Don, with a long sandy coastline on the North Sea, Aberdeen has wonderful scenery and natural beauty. Throw in historic architecture, museums and a fabulous arts and culture scene and Scotland has a marvelous third wheel to compete with Glasgow and Edinburgh for tourism supremacy.
The Aberdeen Art Gallery dates back to 1885 and has a vast permanent collection. Other worthwhile museums in the city include the Marischal Museum, Gordon Highlanders and Aberdeen Maritime Museum. King's College in Old Aberdeen has been a pre-eminent university in Great Britain since 1495, with many fine landmarks to discover on campus. Castlegate sits on the ruins of the late medieval Aberdeen Castle and St. Machar's Cathedral is a significant and ancient landmark with a remarkable past.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery
- King's College
- St. Machar's Cathedral
- The Music Hall
- Cruickshank Botanic Gardens
- Belmont Street Farmers Market
- The Mall Aberdeen
- Aberdeen International Youth Festival
- Aberdeen Beach
- Bhan Thai
- 210 Bistro
- Carmelite <
- Stage Door
- The Wild Boar
- The Prince of Wales
Aberdeen has a temperate climate, with cool to mild conditions throughout the year.
- Winter (December to February) 0-6°C
- Spring (March to May) 1-12°C
- Summer (June to September) 7-17°C
- Fall (October to November) 2-11°C
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