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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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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 booked Aberdeen hotels
|Hotel||Last booked||Stars||Price from|
|Thistle Aberdeen City Centre , The Caledonian||5 hours ago||£48.88|
|Holiday Inn Express ABERDEEN CITY CENTRE||6 hours ago||£37.50|
|Thistle Aberdeen Altens||2 days ago||£35.41|
|Britannia Hotel Aberdeen Leisure and Conference||3 days ago||£37.50|
|The Waterside Inn||3 days ago||£49.16|
|Travelodge Aberdeen Central||3 days ago||£39.00|
|Station Hotel||3 days ago||£45.84|
|Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill||5 days ago||£39.00|
|Speedbird Inn - Aberdeen Airport||6 days ago||£41.26|
|Thistle Aberdeen Airport||6 days ago||£46.04|
Recently Rated Aberdeen Hotels
2.6 / 55 reviews
|Holiday Inn Express ABERDEEN CITY CENTRE||
4.4 / 58 reviews
|Thistle Aberdeen City Centre , The Caledonian||
3.8 / 59 reviews
|Hilton Aberdeen Treetops||
2.8 / 55 reviews
|Speedbird Inn - Aberdeen Airport||
4.4 / 55 reviews
|Holiday Inn ABERDEEN - EXHIBITION CENTRE||
4.5 / 52 reviews
|Thistle Aberdeen Altens||
3.7 / 57 reviews
|Courtyard Aberdeen Airport||
3.3 / 53 reviews
|Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill||
4.0 / 52 reviews
|Skene House HotelSuites - Whitehall||
4.0 / 51 reviews
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Featured Aberdeen Hotels
10-14 Union Terrace
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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,...
Ok for a drunken holiday
Short weekend stay
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...
Family weekend trip
looking at the Univ. of Aberdeen
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.
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...
Jurys Inn Aberdeen Hotel, Union Square,
Winter Offer 15% Off
Based in the heart of the city, Jurys Inns hotel in Aberdeen is perfectly situated for anyone looking to stay a night in the city centre. Located on Guild Street, our hotel in Aberdeen has free...
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...
31 St. Andrew Street
Complimentary wired and Wi-Fi Internet Access
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
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...
11 Golden Square
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,...
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...
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,...
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...
Station hotel Aberdeen
Very dated and over priced
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
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...
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...
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
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...
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Classically stylish hotel for leisure and business near city centre The Thistle Aberdeen Altens is a welcoming and stylish hotel just south of the centre of the Granite City, making it ideal for...
Take advantage of the health club
Very good service
Malcolm Road, Bucksburn
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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
South Deeside Road
Rate includes up to 40% off, Breakfast and more
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...
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Thistle Aberdeen Airport is waiting to welcome you whether you're one of the 3 million passengers who use Aberdeen Airport every year, or simply enjoying a weekend break in the Granite City We...
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...
A great place to stay at the airport
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...
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...
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...