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There's lots to see and do in Aberdeen, a destination full of unique attractions and experiences.
Often, it's the people who reside in a city that make it unique. In this part of Aberdeenshire and Moray, you'll find 180,000 of them.
The nation's capital, Edinburgh, lies 95 miles southwest of Aberdeen, while Stonehaven can be found 13 miles to the southwest.
Everyone in the family is sure to have a blast at Codonas Amusement Park and Storybook Glen. If that isn't enough to tire the young ones out, why not head along to the Belmont Picturehouse and Aberdeen Beach Leisure Centre as well?
Spend a quiet day exploring the Cruickshank Botanic Garden or the Duthie Park Winter Gardens, where you will find a wide variety of plant and flower species.
Curl up with an interesting book, play a game or just watch the clouds pass overhead at Balmedie Country Park and Hazlehead Park. Also consider whiling away a few hours at Victoria Park or Union Terrace Gardens.
You probably already know about its must-see museums and malls, but don't forget that Aberdeen has some impressive natural environments too. Kirkhill Forest and Brimmond Hill Country Park are two to keep in the front of your mind. Den of Maidencraig Nature Reserve and Donmouth Local Nature Reserve are two more that are worth visiting.
Ask the helpful staff at Castle Fraser or the Aberdeen Art Gallery about one-off events. With so many eye-opening displays, you'll want to be sure you don't miss anything. If you're not short on time, also go to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum and the Gordon Highlanders Museum.
Spark your curiosity with a trip to the Satrosphere Science Centre, where you'll witness the latest from the science realm.
Enjoy the imaginative artworks in the gallery spaces of the Tolquhon Gallery. If something is of particular interest, make sure to find out about the creator.
Take an amazing journey into yesteryear at the Marischal Museum and the Blairs Museum. Both attractions pride themselves on making the city's vivid history relevant and entertaining to audiences.
Take a step back in time with a visit to the King's College and the University of Aberdeen. They're some of the best places to fully immerse yourself in Aberdeen's history. If that doesn't satisfy the history geek in you, head onward to Drum Castle and Craigievar Castle.
Roam the border walls and learn about the tumultuous history of Torry Battery, a complex that was instrumental in the defence of this area.
Whether you're religious or simply want a little inner-peace, Cathedral of St. Machar and St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral are sure to add some deeper meaning to your journey. St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Aberdeen Mosque are also must-sees for plenty of spiritually curious travellers.
Spend a few quiet moments thinking back to Aberdeen's bygone times at King’s College Chapel and the Salvation Army Citadel. St Machar's Cathedral is one more significant monument that is bound to take your interest.
The Robert Gordon's College is a flourishing higher educational institution. Mingle with the students and immerse yourself in a rich and stimulating environment. If you've got some time to kill, why not take a look at the Aberdeen College as well?
We hope you knew about Aberdeen's various shopping centres when planning your budget! A day at King's Links and Academy could take quite a bite out of it if you're not careful. Next on the agenda is St. Nicholas Centre or Union Square Shopping Centre, where you'll find plenty of other tempting outlets to pore over. After all, a shopaholic can never have too much retail therapy!
There's nothing like seeing a good show to lift your spirits. Take a look at what's happening at Aberdeen Music Hall and the Aberdeen Arts Centre. If you've got the showbiz bug, why not have a look at the programme guide at the His Majesty's Theatre as well?
Sometimes it's a place's less hyped attractions that offer the biggest surprises. With that in mind, consider having a look at the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society Centre, the Kartstart Indoor Raceways and the Westburn Children's Tennis Club.
With such a decent selection, you shouldn't have too many problems locking in your Aberdeen hotel. The ebookers hotel travel guide currently lists 72 properties.
With outstanding options like the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel and Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, you'll be out of the plane and into a warm shower before you know it.
Make your way to the St. Machar’s Cathedral in Old Aberdeen, where headstones line the pathway to this granite 15th century church, complete with a twin towers, eight bells, and a stunning 16th century wood ceiling adorned with 48 shields of clergy and monarchs.
As the legend goes, Machar, a friend of the famous Gaelic Irish missionary St. Columba received a message from God to build a church where the river bends like a bishop’s staff. The River Don seemed to bend like so, and somewhere around 580 AD Machar founded the church.
Take a tour of Scotland’s majestic castles. A 30-minute drive from Aberdeen will take you to the Castle Trail, a route that leads to fourteen castles built between the 13th and 18th centuries.
Some, like the Balvenie Castle are well-kept estates with expansive gardens, ballrooms, gift shops, and cafes. Others, like the Dunnottar Castle that sits on a cliff over the North Sea are haunting ruins of medieval times.
The 18th century Duff House is an impressive Georgian-style home now a part of the National Galleries of Scotland, holding art exhibitions that consist of paintings, tapestries and furniture.
Right in the heart of town is the largest public gallery in Scotland, The Aberdeen Art Gallery. Opened in 1885, the granite columned halls contain French Impressionist and post-Impressionist works from artists such as Monet and Renoir, as well as pieces by the Scottish Colourists of the 1920s and 30s. Also on display is a collection of ceramics, jewellery, textiles, and metalwork. The gallery is open from Tuesday through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Opened in 1997, this digitally interactive and educational museum details the maritime history of Scotland’s North Sea. The museum contains exhibits on fishing and shipping and uses a nine-metre high oil platform to illustrate the process of offshore oil drilling.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
For those who enjoy malls or who like to rife through collectibles, Aberdeen has some great shopping destinations. Main streets to hit are Chapel, Thistle, George, and Union. Packed with fine brand name stores and restaurants are complexes such as Union Square, The Academy Shopping Centre, and The Bon Accord.
Antique lovers will want to head to Colin Wood on Rose Street for their Elizabethan and Victorian maps and prints, or Grandad’s Attic for antique pine furniture.
Check out the Aberdeen Indoor Market on Market Street for a mix of local food and shops. For local farmers’ produce, Scottish whisky, and handcrafted goods, every last Saturday of the month The Aberdeen Country Fair is held on Belmont Street. You can also find your Scottish lineage at the Aberdeen Family History Shop on King Street.
Just a 50-kilometre drive from town is the Bennachie Hill, offering both easy and challenging hiking routes and spectacular views of the countryside from various tops.
Climb to the Oxen Craig summit, a 3.5 to 4.5-hour feat of fairly steep terrain, and take in breathtaking panoramic views.
For a medium 2.5-hour hike climb, try neighbouring Millstone Hill and spot red squirrels, Roe deer, grouse birds, and even osprey.
Those wanting a low-key walk should try the waymarked trails that offer the same wilderness without the intensity. Before heading back, stop by the visitor centre to learn more about the nature and history of Bennachie.
Coordinate your holidays in Aberdeen with this renowned international cultural event, which generally takes place in late July and early August each year.
The Aberdeen International Youth Festival brings together thousands of young performers and performing arts companies from around the world for a two-week artistic exchange. Aberdeen venues and streets are flooded with dance and musical performances ranging from the traditional to the experimental, from ballet and opera to jazz and contemporary.
Located in the heart of Aberdeen is The Caledonian hotel, a four-star hotel with a Victorian style and modern amenities. Overlooking the Union Garden Terrace, each room at the Caledonian’s is equipped with sky television, wireless Internet, a coffeemaker, bathrobes, and a hairdryer. The Caledonian is also ideal for business meetings as it features four large meeting rooms and free on-site parking.
Traditional charm meets great service at the Copthorne Hotel, one of Aberdeen’s premier places to lodge and only a short walk to all major shopping areas. The hotel owns a ballroom, banquet, and a bar. Other standard features include wireless Internet access, 24-hour room service, laundry, and dry cleaning services.
Originally built in 1849, the Aberdeen Douglas hotel is a granite treasure of the city on the outside and stylish and hospitable hotel from within. Just off Union Street, the hotel is steps from the Aberdeen Rail and Bus station. Rooms are comfortable and include a wireless Internet connection, a TV, a hairdryer, and an ironing board and iron. The Aberdeen Douglas also owns the restaurant Molly’s Bistro and Malone’s Irish Pub.
Set amidst 30 acres of beautiful countryside, less than 5 kilometres out of town is the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, a 19th century mansion with 109 traditionally decorated rooms. All rooms come with wireless Internet service and satellite TV. The hotel also features a heated indoor pool.
From the Aberdeen Airport in Dyce, there are regular buses that will take you to the city centre. One is First Bus # 27 that runs Monday thru Friday and takes about 45 minutes.
Another is Stagecoach Bluebird #10, which runs between Aberdeen and Inverness via the airport. Taxis from the airport are run by Comcab, cost about £15 and take 25 minutes.
To both enjoy the city and the countryside of the region, consider car hire in Aberdeen Traffic drives on the left and seatbelts are mandatory. Make sure to bring a map of Northeast Scotland and respect speed limits, which are usually 48km/h in town and 80km/h on highways.
The A90 highway connects Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh, while the A96 will get you to Elgin and Inverness.
If your car breaks down, call the Automobile Association (AA) at 0800-887-766.
Aberdeen taxis are the most expensive in Scotland, however there are many public transportation options.
Bus service is run by First and is extensive in town. Weeklong passes can be bought at post offices and daylong ones once aboard.
For long-distance travel, the ScotRail has various routes from cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow into Aberdeen. If coming into town by train, get yourself a Plusbus ticket that serves for travel on local buses.
Download a copy of the Visit Scotland’s Castle Trail guidebook that includes a map, descriptions of each of the 14 castles, along with other suggested sights, restaurants, and hotels.
Located in the heart of Aberdeen, this hotel is steps away from Union Terrace Gardens, Academy and Aberdeen Music Hall. His Majesty's Theatre and Aberdeen Art ...
Located in the heart of Aberdeen, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Academy and Aberdeen Music Hall. His Majesty's ...
Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Carby Art Gallery and Codonas Amusement Park. King's Links and Pittodrie Stadium are also within ...
Located in Ardoe, this spa hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Blairs Museum and within 6 miles (10 km) of Academy and Duthie Park Winter Gardens. Gordon Highlanders ...
Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency. Local charges may apply