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City Guide – Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen, known as The Granite City, should be on every enthusiastic traveller’s bucket list. Beautiful, particularly in the rain when the grey stone buildings sparkle, the authorities have made enormous efforts to maintain the Georgian and Victorian architecture, providing a historic backdrop to a contemporary and cosmopolitan city where great shopping centres like Union Square and Bon Accord stand alongside older attractions including His Majesty’s Theatre, the University of Aberdeen and the Mercat Cross – erected around 1540.

History

Named from the Gaelic word meaning river mouth, Aber, Aberdeen was built around the River Dee, accumulating its wealth through an extensive fishing industry and burgeoning agricultural trade. When oil was discovered in the 1970s, the North Sea oil industry introduced a new source of economic prosperity to the region, attracting multiple international companies to the ever-expanding commercial district.

Yet despite this very business-like underpinning, Aberdeen has numerous attractions  that have little to do with the stock market and more in common with the thistle-and-heather Scottish image that the international community more usually associate with the third largest city in Scotland and the capital of the North East.

Things to see

Ranked as one of the most prosperous cities in the UK, Aberdeen accommodates different tastes and interests in less than 130 square miles. With a diverse culture that includes music venues of all sizes, including the Royal Opera House, there are art galleries, theatres, bars and world-class restaurants, as well as cinemas, clubs and excellent shopping facilities.

Aberdeen Art Gallery

The striking 19th century building houses paintings and sculptures from the 1500s to the present day. You’ll find an important collection including powerful 20th century works by Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer and Francis Bacon. The paintings also include excellent examples by French Impressionists and Post Impressionists Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bonnard, Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas.

Old Aberdeen

Travel north of the city centre to see the Castlegate Tolbooth Tower, the oldest structure in the city and all that is left of the castle. The 16th century King’s College is little changed from the day it opened, as are St Machar’s Cathedral and Marischal College. Visit the harbour
with its centuries old fish market, or if the rain is putting you off, the Maritime Museum and Gordon Highlanders Museum are both nearby and  highly recommended.

Attractions in Aberdeenshire

Never too far from nature in the raw, Aberdeen is a central hub for exploring the castles and forts that make up Aberdeenshire’s world-famous heritage sites. Understandably thought of as one entity, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are actually two separate entities, with the latter offering more than 350 places to visit. There are family residences, huge stone forts that could still withstand a siege, as well as crumbling ruins that mark the spot of some long-forgotten battle or struggle.


Balmoral Estate

Balmoral, one of the Royal Family’s Scottish residences, was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1852 and it is an excellent example of Scottish Baronial architecture. Public access is allowed to the castle’s ballroom and formal gardens where a number of audiovisual exhibitions can be enjoyed. Balmoral is only closed to the general public from the beginning of August to the end of October when the Royal Family are in residence.

Craigievar Castle

Those with an interest in architecture should also visit Craigievar Castle, another Scots Baronial construction, which is less than 30 miles from Aberdeen and is open to the public from the 1st April until the 30th of September every year. Nestled in the picturesque countryside, this is a fairy-tale castle of perfect proportions that is little changed since it functioned as a full-time residence. Turreted and towered with cupolas and corbelling, this ‘Danzig Willie’ design still boasts the original Jacobean woodwork and beautiful period furniture, as well as a Victorian kitchen garden and extensive parklands.

Getting there

Aberdeen airport is less than 10 miles from the city centre with shuttle buses running a convenient regular service. The main train station is located on Guild Street, right in the centre of the city, and as the third busiest station in Scotland, it is an excellent way to travel more widely.

Where to stay

The various districts of Aberdeen have a distinct ‘village’ feel and that includes accommodation. Although there are a number of competitive options available in the south-west of the city where the B&Bs and guest houses are clustered, the hotels in the city centre provide an excellent base for both business visitors and pleasure seekers.

City centre accommodation

The Hilton Garden Inn on St Andrew Street (rooms from £93 per night)and the Premier Inn on West North Street (rooms from £29) are a great corporate choice. The Copthorne Hotel on Huntly Street has all of the amenities of an international chain with the charm of an independent operator.  On the outskirts of the city, The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa is an exquisite combination of contemporary culture and historical romance – a description that is equally applicable to Aberdeen itself.

To find the best place for your stay in Aberdeen with the most up-to-date information, use our comprehensive search tool today.
 

Recently Rated Aberdeen Hotels

Hotel Reviews Stars Price from
Speedbird Inn - Aberdeen Airport
4.7 / 5
6 reviews
3 stars £41.26
Courtyard Aberdeen Airport
3.3 / 5
3 reviews
3 stars £49.17
Thistle Aberdeen Altens
3.4 / 5
5 reviews
4 stars £42.50
Holiday Inn Express ABERDEEN CITY CENTRE
4.4 / 5
7 reviews
3 stars £41.67
Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill
4.0 / 5
2 reviews
2 stars £39.00
Skene House HotelSuites - Whitehall
4.0 / 5
1 reviews
4 stars £66.66
Station Hotel
2.3 / 5
3 reviews
3 stars £44.16
ibis Aberdeen Centre
4.0 / 5
2 stars £42.75
Hilton Aberdeen Treetops
2.2 / 5
5 reviews
4 stars £48.24
Travelodge Aberdeen Central
3.0 / 5
3 reviews
2 stars £44.00

Aberdeen

Featured Aberdeen Hotels

Hotel only £41.67

1 Holiday Inn Express ABERDEEN CITY CENTRE

3 stars
4.4 / 5 7 reviews

29-43 CHAPEL STREET

Choose the contemporary Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen City Centre hotel, seconds from lively Union Street and close to major transport links. Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen City Centre is located in...

looking at the Univ. of Aberdeen
The staff was very helpful and professional. Very pleased, would come back.
22 Oct 2013
Let down by parking
Usual Holiday Inn Expres - i.e. exactly what you would expect and all good . I booked because the hotel has a car park. However, it only has room for about ten cars. Nearest car park (five minute...
21 Oct 2013
Hotel only £53.13

2 Thistle Aberdeen City Centre , The Caledonian

4 stars
3.6 / 5 8 reviews

10-14 Union Terrace

Book in advance and SAVE!

The four star hotel, The Caledonian, is located right in the city centre , near Aberdeen Rail Station and Union Terrace Gardens. Immediately near St Nicholas Academy and Robert Gordon University,...

Highly Recommended
The location was perfect! It was central to everything in Aberdeen. There was a street market right outside the hotel the entire weekend. The room was just the right size for myself and clean and...
2 Apr 2014
Ideal location for business and studying travellers
Initially I was dubious due to the mixed reservations however on entering the hotel I found the staff to polite and accommodating to my needs. On entering the room I queried a couple of things...
27 Jan 2014
Hotel only £46.00

3 Copthorne Hotel Aberdeen

4 stars
3.1 / 5 7 reviews

122 Huntly Street

Leisure For Longer

The Copthorne Hotel Aberdeen, Aberdeen's premier hotel, is located in the city centre within easy walking distance of the main shopping area. Behind the granite facade of this historic building one...

Brilliant all rounder
Staff exceptionally friendly and helpful. Lovely food. Relaxing atmosphere. Great value.
22 Oct 2013
Nice surprise
Had to book here instead of my usual hotel due to it being a busy period. Very nice location. You can walk to anything downtown. Hotel is clean and everything you would expect. Decent breakfast...
9 Jul 2013
Hotel only £66.66

4 Skene House HotelSuites - Holburn

4 stars
5.0 / 5

6 Union Grove

FREE WiFi and Guest Parking

Skene House Holburn has an enviable location where the west end meets the city centre, minutes walk from Union Street - offers guests a hotel experience, a welcoming environment and a...

Hotel only £66.66

5 Skene House HotelSuites - Whitehall

4 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

2 Whitehall Place

FREE WiFi and Guest Parking

Skene House Whitehall is situated in a quiet residential part of Aberdeen, yet only 5 minutes walk from the city centre, with its own private garden exclusively for guests use. The gardens lend...

It is evident to see that every detail has been assessed and catered for.
Due to my plane flight being later than anticipated I requested to stay later and the staff accommodated me accordingly. The staff were helpful the room had beyond my requirements. I enjoyed my...
29 Jun 2014
Hotel only £72.39

6 Jurys Inn Aberdeen

3 stars
3.8 / 5

Jurys Inn Aberdeen Hotel, Union Square,

Summer SALE - 15% OFF

Jurys Inn Aberdeen is ideally located in the heart of Aberdeen, situated on Guild St between the rail and bus stations and just a couple of minutes walk from Aberdeen Harbour and the ferry...

Hotel only £66.66

7 Skene House HotelSuites - Rosemount

4 stars
4.0 / 5

96 Rosemount Viaduct

FREE WiFi and Guest Parking

Skene House Rosemount is situated on Rosemount Viaduct in the heart of the city only a few minutes' walk away from Union Terrace Gardens, His Majesty's Theatre, Art Gallery and the Trinity and...

Hotel only £53.68

8 Park Inn By Radisson Aberdeen

3 stars
4.4 / 5

1 Justice Mill Lane

Save 15% on your stay

The hotel offer 185 bright and modern guest rooms along with excellent meeting facilities making it the perfect base for business and leisure travellers.Located in the city centre, the hotel is an...

Hotel only £63.65

9 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Aberdeen City Centre

4 stars
2.5 / 5 2 reviews

Beach Boulevard

Rate includes 30% off

Located less than a mile from Union Street with excellent road, rail and airport links, the DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen City Centre hotel offers picturesque coastal views and is only a short...

Poor for Hilton
Room had several items broken and inoperative and overall say pet friendly but want to charge more for a small dog than for the two humans in the room. In 2014 they can only give free Wi-Fi in the...
8 Jan 2014

10 Aspect Apartments Aberdeen

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

11 Golden Square

stay 7 nights save 10 %

Serviced apartments in the heart of Aberdeen city centre offering a home environment that is inviting and comfortable, making short and long stays a very enjoyable experience.11 GOLDEN SQUARE,...

11 City Wharf Apartments

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

47 Regent Quay

Luxury serviced apartments in the heart of Aberdeen city cent-re. With free continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi & free welcome hamper. Every apartment has a separate bedroom(s), a modern fully...

12 Bauhaus Hotel

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

52 - 60 Langstane Place

Set in the heart of Aberdeen City Center, contemporary, iconic building opened its doors in November 2009. located very close to union street, the hotel provides easy access to the city's shops,...

Hotel only £52.93

13 Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen City Centre

3 stars
3.5 / 5 6 reviews

31 St. Andrew Street

Save 30% on your stay

Set in the heart of Aberdeen - the oil capital of Europe - the Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen City Centre is only minutes from the city's train and bus stations. Scotland's 3rd largest city features an...

Superb bathroom and a view overlooking the city
We are so very happy we chose this hotel! It couldn't be better for this prise - definitely value for money ! Location was perfect - stone throw to the city centre, University and the Art Gallery....
26 Nov 2013
Hotel only £44.16

14 Station Hotel

3 stars
2.3 / 5 3 reviews

78 Guild Street

The Station Hotel is located in Aberdeen city centre, opposite the railway station, with onsite parking available. Part of the Cairn hotel group, we offer spacious and comfortable bedrooms and an...

not worth £100.
the room provided was very small overlooking the roof.
22 Feb 2013
Location is it's best asset
I would not recommend a stay in this hotel unless you are interested in the location - the location is probably it's most appealing feature, being directly opposite the main shopping centre in the...
20 Jan 2013
Hotel only £95.84

15 Craibstone Suites

4 stars
2.0 / 5 1 reviews

15 Bon Accord Square

The Craibstone Suites consists of slylish immaculately presented hotel suites. Hotel serviced apartments in Aberdeen are located within a recently refurbished Grade B listed townhouse in the very...

16 Carmelite Hotel

3 stars
2.0 / 5 1 reviews

Stirling Street

Carmelite is a boutique hotel with free WiFi in public areas, set amongst the nightlife of Aberdeen's centre. It has a stylish bar and restaurant with relaxing sofas, cocktails and a creative...

17 Aberdeen Douglas Hotel

3 stars
1.0 / 5 2 reviews

43-45 Market Street

Close to the train and bus stations, Aberdeen Douglas Hotel has a central location, comfortable bedrooms and a free Wi-Fi internet connection. Built in 1856, the Douglas Hotel is one of Aberdeen's...

Hotel only £41.26

18 Speedbird Inn - Aberdeen Airport

3 stars
4.7 / 5 6 reviews

Aberdeen Airport

Book now and SAVE 10%

The closest hotel to Aberdeen Airport, Speedbird Inn offers great value and convenient accommodation for anyone traveling to and from Aberdeen. This excellent privately owned hotel, has an...

Pre-Offshore Stay
Stayed at this hotel numerous times but this time hotel was extremely busy due to fog delayed guests. Restaurant/Bar very busy and delays in getting served & food coming out from kitchen (was told...
26 Jul 2014
A great place to stay at the airport
Just needed a place in the airport for an early morning flight. Wonderful reception help! Excellent polite gentleman drove us in a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. Free breakfast, but no time to...
28 Jun 2014
Hotel only £42.50

19 Thistle Aberdeen Altens

4 stars
3.4 / 5 5 reviews

Souterhead Road

Book in advance and SAVE!

Thistle Aberdeen Altens is the largest of the hotel's three Thistle hotels in Aberdeen. Traditionally known as the Granite City, thanks to its distinctive architecture, Aberdeen earned the title...

Great!
Relaxing, clean & warm welcoming staffs.. Thank you
24 Jul 2014
Staff failed to know of promotions
Room was extremely comfortable and clean however, when I questioned reception about a promotional offer on an additional free nights stay I was given the wrong information. This led to me and my...
4 Dec 2012
Hotel only £41.67

20 Holiday Inn Express ABERDEEN - EXHIBITION CENTRE

3 stars
3.0 / 5

Parkway East,Bridge of Don

Enjoy a Restful Stay at the Modern Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen-Exhibition Centre Hotel, Conveniently Located on the A90 Next to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre There's time for...

Hotel only £80.75

21 The Spires Luxury Serviced Suites Aberdeen

4 stars
5.0 / 5

505 Great Western Road

Book, Pay and SAVE 5%

The Spires Serviced Suites are the ideal alternative to traditional hotels. Enjoy the additional space, flexibility and independence of your own luxury apartment. Situated in the West End of...

Hotel only £66.00

22 Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa

4 stars
4.7 / 5

South Deeside Road

Save 30% on your stay

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa is a 19th century mansion house set in 30 acres of tranquil countryside. This 4 star Aberdeen hotel is 3 miles outside the city centre, and has 119...

Hotel only £85.27

23 Dreamhouse Apartments Aberdeen

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

The Forbes Building Baker Road

IMPORTANT! Check in instructions (click here)

The Dreamhouse Apartments Aberdeen City North are located in a new development which offers contemporary and comfortable accommodation, with easy access to the city centre, Old Aberdeen, and the...

Hotel only £40.84

24 Britannia Hotel Aberdeen Leisure and Conference

3 stars
3.5 / 5 4 reviews

Malcolm Road, Bucksburn

Book in advance and SAVE

The Hotel also features eight Conference and Banqueting Suites within the hotel and can accommodate up to 450 people. As the hotel is so close to the airport it can offer transfers to the airport...

Excellent Friends getaway
Hotel is simply the best to stay. It has got everything that we want to stay comfortably and peacefully.
16 Jan 2013
lovely hotel
lovely hotel dont look much from the outside but insude its lovely room was comfy everything was clean staff very friendly and helpful
3 Nov 2012
Hotel only £41.67

25 Holiday Inn ABERDEEN - EXHIBITION CENTRE

3 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

CLAYMORE DRIVE,EXHIBITION & CONFERENCE CENTRE

Located conveniently just off the A90, the Holiday Inn Aberdeen Exhibition Centre is adjacent to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre . Friendly staff will greet you as you enter the...

MY WONDERFUL VACATION
There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe how fantastic my stay in Aberdeen was. It certainly was a trip of a lifetime for a working class man like me but what made it so...
13 Aug 2012