The Granite City where planes from London to Aberdeen land today isn't the same as even 20 years ago. North Sea oil money has fashioned it into a truly global city. Restaurants dazzle with diversity and creativity, museums are packed with eyebrow-raising artwork, while shops swagger with designer flair and boutique sparkle. But old Aberdeen it still there, offering castles that glower, wild moors that haunt and malt whiskies that linger – as should you.
As the oil capital of the UK, the year-round business traffic flattens the peak season for London to Aberdeen flights. Prices stay pretty much the same from month to month, except for a spike at Christmas. If you want to save money on your flights to Aberdeen, you'll need to book quite early – prices start rising 6 weeks before your flight leaves. Avoid Sundays, and try to fly out on Wednesday or Saturday evenings if you're counting your pennies.
Most of those looking for airfare bargains will be heading north to Luton, and the train is the simplest way there, departing from St. Pancras throughout the day. Get off at Luton Airport Parkway, then catch the shuttle bus to the airport terminal. Allow 50 minutes for travelling from central London. There are also several affordable coach services direct to Luton, leaving from London Victoria Bus Station, but make allowances for the traffic on the way up the M1.
The 500-plus mile trek north taken by London Aberdeen flights will have you in the air for an hour and 20 minutes from Luton, or an hour and 40 minutes from Gatwick. easyJet is generally the cheapest option and runs both these routes. Many business travellers choose Flybe or KLM from London City for convenience, but Virgin Atlantic and BA CityFlyer are also good first-class travel options.
It's easy enough to get from Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ) into the city centre. The airport is just 6 miles to the northwest. If you're renting a car, then it's a simple drive down the A96. Or, if you're looking for less hassle and cost, the 727 bus will get you into Aberdeen in less than 30 minutes. A single costs roughly £3 and a return, which is good for a whole month, is less than £5.
Travellers here for a break are often keen to rush out of the city: trekking the tracks of the Cairngorms or wandering around the palatial glories of Royal Deeside. That's a shame, as Aberdeen deserves a few days as a destination in its own right. The port is a delight, bobbing with deep-sea trawlers hauling fresh fish onto the quay. In contrast to this, Aberdeen's Old Town is all rocky arches, narrow alleys and fire-lit pubs, with the stark corners of St. Machar’s Cathedral brooding over everything. Refreshment for the soul is provided by the Pre-Raphaelite glories that adorn the Aberdeen Art Gallery. Whatever you do, a day spent sight-seeing, Aberdeen-style, is best finished with a plate of golden kippers and a dram or two of single malt.
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