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For other places with the same name, see Aberdeen (disambiguation).

Aberdeen (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain, Scots: Aiberdeen) is the third-largest city in Scotland, United Kingdom, with a population of almost 200,000 (2018). It is a harbour city on Scotland's north-east coast, approximately 120 miles (190 km) north of Edinburgh and 400 miles (650 km) north of London, where the Rivers Dee and Don meet the North Sea. It is an important sea port, regional centre, and the hub of the North Sea oil industry.

Although remote by UK standards, this is no backwater; Aberdeen is a prosperous and cosmopolitan city (partly due to North Sea oil) and is characterised by its grand and ornate architecture. Most buildings are constructed out of granite quarried in and around the city, and as a result, Aberdeen is often referred to as The Granite City. It is also known for its many outstanding parks, gardens and floral displays throughout the city, and for its long, sandy beach. Aberdeen boasts the title of Oil Capital of Europe and has been voted in several polls as the happiest place in Britain, with a 2006 poll citing access to large areas of greenery and community spirit. It has won the Britain in Bloom competition 10 times.

Aberdeen does not attract as many tourists as other Scottish destinations such as Edinburgh or St Andrews, and can feel more authentic. It is a great place to stop for a couple of days on a tour of Scotland, and especially good as a base for exploring the wider region to take advantage of the castles, golf, whisky distilleries, scenery, mountains (including skiing and snowboarding), coast and other attractions in Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside. Alternatively, Aberdeen's remoteness yet comforts and cosmopolitan nature makes it an interesting destination for a short city break if you really want to get away from the stress.

Understand[edit]

Town House, the city hall

Aberdeen is set in fertile lowlands and is the natural regional centre, becoming a city in 1179 when two villages grew into each other. Old Aberdeen is north, by the mouth of the River Don, and home to the University since 1495. New Aberdeen developed from 1136 two miles south near the mouth of the River Dee: this has a much better harbour and became the city centre. It was bashed about in conflicts until 1745, but then followed a long spell of peace and prosperity. Aberdeen was rebuilt in its signature grey granite along the broad axis of Union Street east-west, which intersects the historic coast road then at Castlegate turns north along King Street. So grand and confident were these buildings, they bankrupted the city in 1817, probably a civic first. Aberdeen recovered through its traditional industries based on farming, fishing, knitware and paper, but by the late 20th century these were in decline. The city was out on a limb, a long way from markets, materials and labour . . . and then they struck oil.

In the 1960s the North Sea was shown to have commercially exciting reserves of gas to the south and oil to the north, and the quirks of international frontiers awarded Britain the lion's share. This transformed UK politics and the economy, nowhere more so than in Aberdeen. The oilfields lay many miles offshore, but in a relatively shallow sea, and technology advanced to exploit them. Oil was brought ashore at Sullom Voe in Shetland and at Grangemouth on the Firth of Forth. It never came through Aberdeen: the city's role was as a support base for the oil platforms, and centre of industrial innovation as the quest for new fields moved into deeper darker waters. The skies were busy with the chatter of helicopters ferrying workers to and from the rigs. The city was a boom town and property prices soared.

"It's Scotland's Oil!" became a rallying cry, OPEC quotas drove up the oil price and until 2014 it looked as if oil could fuel the vehicle of Scottish independence. But a referendum voted against this and the price later collapsed - it (and Aberdeen's fortunes) have been up and down since, illustrating the risks around a single cash crop. Moreover, sentiment turned against oil as a carbon-based fuel from a dwindling non-renewable source. The industry remains a big player here, but the city needs to diversify.

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Aberdeen is a year-round destination, provided you've got enough weather-proof clothing. Its winters are mild compared to other cities at about 56-57 North such as Riga, Gothenburg, Juneau or Novosibirsk, but by British standards it's cool. It's sheltered from the prevailing southwesterly airstream, so it has many sunny days when the granite buildings sparkle; the parks and gardens are glorious in early summer. Mid-summer days are 18 hours long and the nights no more than twilight. In still conditions a fog bank or haar forms over the cold North Sea, and the evening breeze brings it onshore to cloak the city, until the daytime offshore breeze pushes it out again. Northeasterly winds bring the worst of the dreich, a word worth practising before you arrive, and the midwinter sun often fails to get out of bed for its allotted shift of 08:30-15:30. Between the louring low grey clouds, drizzle and churning grey sea, you can pretty much lose the entire grey city.

Even then, you'll still know where you are because of the unique dialect known as "Doric". This is even more marked in the countryside, so see Aberdeenshire#Talk for the gen on Doric, which to date defies machine translation.

Read[edit]

  • Sunset Song is the classic novel of this region in the last days of horse-drawn farming, and the onslaught of the First World War. Written by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (James Leslie Mitchell 1901-35) and published in 1932, it's been voted Scotland's favourite novel. It may also be the most "given up on" novel, problems being the artificial diction used to render Mearns country speech, and the "Cold Comfort Farm" heaping up of misfortunes; but it's worth persevering or a second go.
  • Cloud Howe (1933) is the second of Gibbon's "Scots Quair" trilogy and Grey Granite (1934) the third, as the heroine rebuilds her life and moves to the city. They're not as well regarded but all have been adapted for TV. And then young Gibbon upped and died, with so much creative output yet before him.
  • Logan McRae is the fictional Detective Sergeant who probes the city streets in the thrillers by Stuart MacBride (b 1969). These include Cold Granite (2005), Dying Light (2006), Blind Eye (2009), Shatter the Bones (2011), Close to the Bone (2013) and The Missing and the Dead (2015).
  • Stonemouth (2012, televised 2015) is a novel by Iain Banks (1954-2013), following a man returning to a small seaport (loosely based on Stonehaven) having fled after a sex scandal.
  • Silver: An Aberdeen Anthology (2009) is a collection of poems old and new, edited by Alan Spence and Hazel Hutchison.
  • Architecture: look for Aberdeen: The Illustrated Architectural Guide by W. A. Brogden (4th edition, 2012) and The Granite Mile: The Story of Aberdeen's Union Street (2010) by Diane Morgan, among others.
Find them in Waterstone's bookstore (Union Street/Trinity Shopping Centre) or WH Smith (in St Nicholas Centre) "local interest" sections. Central Library on Rosemount Viaduct has a local section just inside the doorway.

Get in[edit]

"I'm bored with the Med, let's try Ineos, or Apache, or Nexen...."

By plane[edit]

There are direct international flights to Aberdeen from Amsterdam, Bergen, Burgas, Copenhagen, Dublin, Esbjerg, Gdansk, Geneva, Groningen, Haugesund, Paris CDG, Riga, Oslo, and Stavanger, plus seasonal flights to the Mediterranean.

There's a good range of UK flights, as Aberdeen is far to reach by rail. These include London Heathrow (with BA), London Gatwick and Luton (with easyJet), Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Humberside, Kirkwall on Orkney, Leeds, Manchester, Norwich, Newcastle, Southampton, Stornoway on Lewis, Sumburgh on Shetland, and Wick.

Aberdeen is also a hub for transfers to the weird sounding destinations of Apache, Hurricane, Ineos, and Nexen. These are the names of oil and gas rigs out in the North Sea, served by helicopter from here.

1 Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ IATA) is at Dyce, 7 miles (11 km) northwest from the city centre. There are car rental desks here but their stock is limited, best book in advance.

Between airport and city centre, take the bus. The Jet 727 is a big blue Stagecoach bus, running every 10-30 min to the main bus station in Union Square, next to the railway station. It runs daily between 04:00 and midnight, taking 30 min. In early 2019, a single ticket costs £3.40 and a return (good for 28 days) costs £5. Bus 747 / 757 runs south from the airport direct to Stonehaven and Montrose, and north to Ellon with some buses continuing to Peterhead.

Dyce has a railway station, but it's wrong side of the runway from the terminal, a 45-min walk with no public transport. You could take a taxi there - you'd only do this to pick up a northbound train without going into city centre. The Aberdeen to Inverness trains stop at Dyce, Inverurie, Insch, Huntly, Keith, Forres and Nairn.

A taxi to town will cost about £20.

By train[edit]

Marischal College
Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in Great Britain.

Aberdeen has trains hourly from Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, both taking 2 hr 30 min, via Dundee. From England it's usually quicker to change in Edinburgh, but there are a few direct daytime trains from London King's Cross (via Peterborough, York and Newcastle) taking 7 hours. Likewise from the Midlands, with two or three trains winding all the way from Penzance via Exeter, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Trains also run from Inverness to Aberdeen every couple of hours, taking about 2 hours.

The Dundee-Aberdeen railway was closed for 12 weeks following a landslide and serious rail accident near Stonehaven on 12 Aug 2020, but it re-opened in November.

The Caledonian Highland Sleeper runs Su-F from London Euston, departing around 21:30 to arrive by 07:40. (Other portions run to Inverness and Fort William; they divide or join at Edinburgh.) The southbound train leaves around 21:30 to reach Euston towards 08:00. No trains on Saturday night. New rolling stock was introduced on all the sleeper routes in 2019. Compartments have two berths and are sold like hotel rooms: you pay extra for single occupancy, and you won't be sharing with a stranger. Tickets can be booked at any UK mainline railway station or online: a single sleeper fare is around £200 for one or £250 for two people. You can also just use the sitting saloon, single £75. If you have an existing ticket for a daytime train you need to buy a sleeper supplement. Pricing is dynamic - weekends cost more, if indeed there are berths available. Booking is open 12 months ahead: you need to print out your e-ticket to present on boarding.

2 Aberdeen Railway Station is in the city centre on Guild Street, one block from Union Street, very close to the bus station and ferry terminal. There's a Travel Centre (M-F 06:30-21:30, Sa 06:30-19:00, Su 09:00-21:30), a left-luggage facility (M-Sa 07:30-21:30, Su 09:00-21:00), ticket machines, ATMs, a WH Smith store selling books, magazines and snacks, a café and toilets. Lots more convenience stores and quick eats in the adjoining Union Square retail complex.

By bus[edit]

Buses from London Victoria take about 13 hours; they pick up at intermediate points, for example, Manchester, but routes vary. Megabus has two direct buses per day and three with a change (two of them overnight). National Express has one daytime and one overnight direct bus, daily.

Buses from Edinburgh take 3 hours, all via Dundee, but bypassing Perth. Megabus G92 runs four times M-Sa, thrice on Sunday. Scottish Citylink also have some half-a-dozen buses, so it's an hourly service.

Buses from Glasgow likewise take 3 hours. Megabus G9 has six buses daily, mostly bypassing Perth and Dundee. Scottish Citylink run almost hourly and do serve Perth and Dundee.

From Inverness take Stagecoach Bus 10. On Saturday only this runs hourly direct to Aberdeen, taking four hours. Other days it only runs to Inverurie, to connect with Bus 37 to Aberdeen. There are 3 connecting services M-F and one on Sunday.

Stagecoach buses fan out from Aberdeen all across the county, see "Get in" details for individual towns. 3 Aberdeen Bus Station is on Guild St, Union Square, next to the railway station. So you can use all the facilities there, e.g. the left-luggage office.

By car[edit]

Bridge of Dee carries the main road from the south

The main road to Aberdeen from the south is A90, running from Edinburgh via the new Queen's Crossing (replacing the Forth Road Bridge), across Fife to bypass Perth and Dundee, inland to Forfar then Stonehaven, then turn onto A92 for the last stretch into Aberdeen. It's dual carriageway as far as Dundee, variable thereafter, with lower speed limits and many speed cameras on the Dundee section. Reckon 3 hours from Edinburgh and 3 hrs 30 from Glasgow.

In Feb 2019 the A90 was re-routed away from Aberdeen, with the opening of the "Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road" to relieve the congested A92. Expect glitches in road signage and Satnav directions for a few months yet.

Another route from the south is to take A93 north from Perth over Glenshee to Braemar, Balmoral and the Dee valley. It's scenic in summer but often difficult in winter, when the Glenshee section may be closed by snow.

From the north-west, take A96 via the airport at Dyce. Reckon up to four hours from Inverness, as it's single-carriageway and serves commuter villages that are short on public transport, so traffic is heavy at rush hour.

By boat[edit]

From city centre to Orkney and Shetland

Aberdeen Harbour is right in the city centre, just about the first thing you see on leaving the bus station. The ferry terminal is off Market Street, next to the Union St car park entrance.

NorthLink car ferries sail overnight, year-round, to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. Three or four nights a week they depart at 17:00 and also call at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands on the way; the other nights they depart at 19:00 and sail non-stop to Lerwick. (They never call at tiny midway Fair Isle, which is reached via Shetland.) For practicalities of using these ferries, see Shetland Islands#Getin and Kirkwall#Getin.

Cruise ships often call at the harbour in summer. Check operators' websites to see if a point-to-point journey to Aberdeen is feasible.

Get around[edit]

Castlegate
High Street in Old Aberdeen

On foot[edit]

Walking is an excellent way to get around Aberdeen, particularly around central areas, as the city centre is relatively compact. Walking is also by far the best way to appreciate the grand architecture of the city. However, the city is not that small (e.g. Union Street is one mile long) so for journeys outside of the city centre, wheeled transport may be useful.

Aberdeen has a mediaeval layout like many cities in the UK, so for the first-time visitor, a map is helpful. There are quite a few of these on signs around the city centre, mainly in points of interest (e.g. the Castlegate). However, it is very useful to have a map of the city to carry with you. You can buy maps from the Tourist Information Centre on the corner of Union Street and Shiprow, or from city bookstores.

By bus[edit]

His Majesty's Theatre from Union Terrace Gardens

Most city buses are operated by First Aberdeen. Pay on entry by cash (no change given), contactless bank card or mTicket. In 2021 the single fare by cash is adult £1.70, child £1.25; a day ticket is adult £4.40, child £2.60. These don't include night buses, or the Park & Ride which is £3.60.

The mTicket (for day tickets or longer) doesn't save much, but avoids fumbling for the right change. You buy online or at Paypoint outlets, and display it on your phone.

Useful routes are Buses 1 and 2 from Robert Gordon University in the south, through Union Square transport hub, then north up King St to Bridge of Don, Old Aberdeeen and the University of Aberdeen.

Stagecoach run the buses to other towns across Aberdeenshire, see "Get in" options for each town. These are sometimes better for edge-of-city transport.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis wait at the railway station, Back Wynd (off central Union Street), Chapel St (west end of Union St), Hadden Street (off Market Street) and at the airport. They're saloons or people-carriers of any colour, not London-style black cabs. Taxis and drivers must be registered with the City Council and carry an official registration plate, which is usually on the back.

The main taxi companies are Aberdeen Taxis +44 1224 200200 and Rainbow City +44 1224 878787. Uber does not operate here.

Fares are regulated - in Jan 2022 it's £2.40 for the first 950 yards then 20p for every 180.5 yards, so reckon £3.40 for the first mile and £2 per subsequent mile.

Good luck finding one when the pubs are closing: at night taxis won't pick up waifs and strays flagging them in the street. So either queue at a rank or phone, and be prepared for a long wait either way.

By bicycle[edit]

This is fraught in city centre traffic, where walking is first choice, but more helpful further out. Aberdeen City Council publishes a map of local cycle routes, which is also available in public libraries and at council offices. See below for the Deeside Way cycling and walking route to Banchory and Ballater.

Bike hire is available from Macdui or BeCycle.

There isn't a bike-share scheme. Bike lockers at the Park & Rides are for a year's hire, so they're designed for regular commuters not brief visitors.

See[edit]

Victoria Park
Schoolhill
Granite Buildings on Union Street
Union Terrace Gardens
  • Granite architecture is the defining feature of the city, though much is showing its age. See Read above for more on city architecture. Highlights are:
  • Union Street has a mile-long stretch: but look up, the street frontage in many places is modern. Town House (city hall) is a confident Victorian example. Each building has its own style and scale, it's not like, say, Grey Street in Newcastle upon Tyne with a unified style.
  • Marischal College on Broad Street has been nicely cleaned up. It was acclaimed by Betjeman as "tower on tower, forests of pinnacles, a group of palatial buildings rivalled only by the Houses of Parliament at Westminster".
  • Castlegate has the baronial Salvation Army Citadel.
  • Rosemount Viaduct has the elegant cluster of His Majesty's Theatre, St Mark's Church and the Central Library.
Triple Kirks seen across Union Terrace Gardens
  • 1 Union Terrace Gardens, Union Terrace AB10 1NJ. Closed for redevelopment. A small city-centre park and sunken garden on one side of Union Terrace. A small river, the Denburn, used to flow here but is now covered by the railway. The gardens are a haven of tranquility and greenery in the city-centre - in summer look out for the floral coat of arms, and in warm weather citizens sunbathe and picnic on the lawns. All year round, the gardens give a good view of the surrounding architecture. From 2010 the park was threatened with grandiose redevelopment plans, but in 2012 the council scrapped this idea. A more modest plan was begun, and the park closed from 2019. It was due to re-open in April 2022 but the work is behind schedule. Free. Union Terrace Gardens (Q7886155) on Wikidata Union Terrace Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 2 Aberdeen Beach Aberdeen Beach and Queens Links on Wikipedia stretches for two miles from Footdee by the harbour and mouth of the Dee to Donmouth near Old Aberdeen. It's sandy and popular for surfing and windsurfing; you'll need a wet suit as the North Sea is cold (not that you'd guess from those iconic 1920s railway publicity posters). It's flanked by an Esplanade, good for walking or running. The south Footdee end has a funfair, ice rink, and leisure centre, plus city facilities such as restaurants and a cinema. The quieter north end is flanked by King Links golf course and ends at the Donmouth wildlife reserve.
  • 3 Footdee Footdee on Wikipedia (pronounced "Fitty") is a well-preserved fishing village laid out in 1809, in a pleasing unity of style. The name is a conflation of "St Fittick", "Foot of Dee" (ie the estuary) and "Fish Town".
  • 4 Girdle Ness is the headland south of the Dee estuary. Torry Battery guarding the harbour entrance was built in medieval times. In 1860 it was re-fortified against no-one in particular, and got to fire its guns just once, in 1941, against two friendly approaching vessels that failed to identify themselves. The Ness ends with the 1833 Stevenson Lighthouse, which has a range of 25 miles and was automated in 1991. Nigg Golf Club plays on the Ness, see below.
  • Duthie Park is a pleasant green space on the north bank of the Dee. Its highlight is the Winter Gardens.
  • 5 David Welch Winter Gardens, Polmuir Rd AB11 7HT, +44 1224 585310. Daily Nov-Mar 12:00-16:00; Apr, Sep Oct 10:00-17:30; May-Aug 10:00-19:30. Large indoor gardens in a variety of glasshouse habitats (wheelchair-friendly), with tropical, arid, ferns and Japanese gardens. You can enter via Polmuir Road or Riverside Drive just after the railway bridge. Free. Duthie Park (Q5317515) on Wikidata Duthie Park on Wikipedia
  • 6 Johnston Gardens, Viewfield Road (Bus 16 from Union Street). Daily 08:00 until an hour before dusk. Small, bosky park in a residential area, full of floral displays, water features and rockeries. Toilets are in the car park. Free. Johnston Gardens (Q6268637) on Wikidata Johnston Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 7 Hazlehead Park (off Queens Road, on the western edge of the city). 08:00 until an hour before dusk. Large 180-hectare park on land granted to the city by King Robert the Bruce in 1319. Gardens include the Queen Mother Rose Garden, and the North Sea Memorial Garden to remember the 167 people killed on the Piper Alpha oilrig in 1988. Get lost in the hedge maze then have a cuppa in the cafe. Pay a £3 admission charge to see a collection of domestic and farm animals in the Pets Corner. free. Hazlehead Park (Q5688307) on Wikidata Hazlehead Park on Wikipedia

Museums and galleries[edit]

Maritime Museum
  • 8 Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow, +44 1224 337700, . M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 11:00-16:00. This museum, rated 5-star by the Scottish Tourist Board, tells the story of Aberdeen's relationship with the sea, from fishing to trade to North Sea oil. It offers an extraordinary insight into the mechanics and technology of ships and oil rigs, Aberdeen's rich maritime history and the lives of some of the people who have worked offshore in the North Sea for the past 500 years. The newest part of the complex is a blue, glass-fronted building on the cobbled Shiprow. Inside is a spiral walkway, rising upwards around an eye-catching model of an oil rig. Connected to this structure are the much older buildings which take visitors through a series of castle-style corridors and staircases to reach the numerous room sets, historical artefacts and scale models. If your time in Aberdeen is limited, go and see this. There is so much to see, and even the buildings themselves are worth a look. There is also a restaurant - slightly expensive, but the food is pretty good. There are excellent views of the harbour from the top floor. Admission free. Aberdeen Maritime Museum (Q4666952) on Wikidata Aberdeen Maritime Museum on Wikipedia
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Within the Art Gallery
  • 9 Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, +44 1224 523700, . M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 11:00-16:00. The Aberdeen Art Gallery is set in a Victorian building with an exquisite marble and granite main hall. On the ground floor are housed modern works including pieces by Tracy Emin and Gilbert & George, with many others. Upstairs hang more traditional paintings and sculpture. These include Impressionist pieces and workandy the Scottish Colourists. There are frequent temporary exhibitions (see website) and also display of antique silverware and decorative pieces. Columns in the main hall display the many different colours of local granite used to build the city. There is a good gift shop too. For those who like art, an afternoon could easily be spent here, but at least a quick browse is well worth it for anyone. Admission free. Aberdeen Art Gallery (Q4666883) on Wikidata Aberdeen Art Gallery on Wikipedia
  • 10 The Gordon Highlanders Museum, St. Lukes Viewfield Road (Bus 11 from Union St.), +44 1224 311200, . Feb-Nov: Tu-Sa 10:30-16:30, Su 13:30-16:30. At the Gordon Highlanders Museum you can re-live the compelling and dramatic story of one of the British Army's most famous regiments, through the lives of its outstanding personalities and of the kilted soldiers of the North East of Scotland who filled its ranks. Exhibits include a real Nazi flag from Hitler's staff car, and there is a small cinema where you can watch a film on the history of the regiment. For the younger visitors there are a number of uniforms to try on, and there is also a coffee shop. There are some mock-up first world war trenches. The museum is housed in the home of the Victorian artist Sir George Reid, and has a large garden. For those interested in military history this small gem is a must. Adults: £8.00, children: £4.50. Gordon Highlanders Museum (Q5585284) on Wikidata Gordon Highlanders Museum on Wikipedia
  • 11 Provost Skene's House, +44 1224 641086. M-Sa 10:00-17:00 Su 11:00-16:00. Guestrow (walk under passageway at St. Nicholas House on Broad Street and it's in the little plaza there). Scottish towns and cities have a "provost" instead of a mayor and this house used to belong to Provost George Skene. The large, picturesque house dates from 1545 (it's the oldest house left in the city). Admission free. Provost Skene (Q7252817) on Wikidata Provost Skene on Wikipedia
  • 12 Tolbooth Museum, Castle Street AB11 5BB, +44 1224 621167. M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-15:00. The tolbooth was the main municipal building or Town Hall, for council meetings, courthouse and jail. This 17th-century example had jail cells in centuries past, and played a key role in the city's history, including the Jacobite rebellions. The museum has fascinating displays on crime and punishment, and on the history of the city. Limited access for visitors with mobility difficulties. Free. Tolbooth Museum (Q7769509) on Wikidata The Tolbooth, Aberdeen on Wikipedia

Old Aberdeen[edit]

  • 13 Old Aberdeen Old Aberdeen on Wikipedia is the most attractive part of the city, home to the University of Aberdeen's King's College Campus, but it's a misnomer. It was chartered as a burgh in 1489, later than the medieval city centre, but called "Aulton", the town by the pool, which morphed into "old town". Get here on Bus 1 or 2 from Union St or Bus 20 from Broad St. The core of it is along High Street.
  • Powis Gates are a pair of minaret-cum-chesspiece-cum-candlesticks, erected in 1834 as the entrance to a genteel estate, and now the gateway to university Halls of Residence.
  • King's College Chapel was consecrated in 1509: its Crown Tower is a symbol of the city and of the university. It has a well-preserved medieval interior.
  • 14 Kings Museum, Townhouse, Old High St AB24 3EN, +44 1224 274330, . Closed. This University-run museum on the King's College campus has rotating exhibitions. The building, a 1727 townhouse, is closed for redevelopment. King's Museum (Q6411024) on Wikidata King's Museum on Wikipedia
  • Sir Duncan Rice Library is the striking modern building by St Machar Park west side of the campus. It's accessible to the public, with a ground floor gallery for exhibitions. Open M-F 08:00-22:00, Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 11:00-22:00.
  • 15 Zoology Museum, Tillydrone Ave AB24 2TZ, +44 1224 274330, . Closed ufn. This museum is on the ground floor of the university's Zoology Dept. It has a big collection of specimens, from protozoa to the great whales. Exhibits include taxidermy, skeletons, skins, fluid-preserved specimens and models. Free.
  • Cruikshank Botanic Garden is east side of the museum and open daily 09:00-16:30.
  • 16 St Machar's Cathedral is on The Chanonry, the northern continuation of High St. It's mostly from 1530, and was built larger but partly collapsed. It's Church of Scotland and a "High Kirk", not actually a cathedral, as the C of S doesn't have bishops.
  • Cathedral Walk north of St Machar's crosses the park to the student village in a loop of the river.

Do[edit]

Robert Gordon University admin building
  • What's on? For local events listen to Northsound 1 on 96.9, 97.6 & 103 FM, Northsound 2 on 1035 AM, and Original 106 on 106.8 & 106.3 FM. Or read the Press & Journal, which also publishes Evening Express.
  • 1 Belmont Filmhouse, 49 Belmont Street AB10 1JS, +44 1224 343 500. 3-screen cinema showing arthouse, foreign and selected mainstream films.
  • 2 Aberdeen Science Centre (Satrosphere), The Tramsheds, 179 Constitution Street AB24 5TU, +44 1224 640340. Daily 10:00-17:00. Interactive science discovery centre in the former city tram depot. Adult £9, child £5.50, conc £6.80, family £23. Aberdeen Science Centre on Wikipedia
  • 3 Aberdeen Harbour Cruises, Eurolink Pontoon next to Fish Market, Aberdeen Harbour (enter harbour from Market Street; no parking here, use Union Square). Apr-Oct. Tours include harbour trips, spotting sea-life (dolphins, basking sharks, porpoises, puffins), and a ride out to the offshore wind farm.
  • 4 Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve. 34 hectares of lowland heath. Scotstown Moor (Q7435813) on Wikidata Scotstown Moor on Wikipedia
  • Deeside Way is a walking and cycling path from Aberdeen to Ballater along an old railway trackbed. The first section is along the north bank of the Dee, starting from the Polmuir Rd entrance to Duthie Park. It heads pretty much straight through Peterculter, Coalford and Dalmaik to Drumoak near Drum Castle, 10.6 miles. See Banchory for the next section west.

Events[edit]

Johnston Gardens
  • Spectra Aberdeen is a long weekend of indoor and outdoor illumination artworks. The next is probably 9-12 Feb 2023.
  • Aberdeen Jazz Festival has live jazz at several city venues. It's held in March, with the next probably on 16-26 March 2023, tbc.
  • Nuart Aberdeen in the summer is about street art in all its guises. The next is 9-12 June 2022.
  • May Festival is organised by the University of Aberdeen and staged at various venues. It covers science, music, literature, film, Gaelic, sport, food and nutrition, and is suitable for all ages. It didn't run in 2020 or 2021. It used to take place around the late May public holiday, but in 2022 it's deferred to June for the Jubilee.
  • Aberdeen Highland Games are held in Hazelhead Park, with the next on Saturday 19 June 2022.
  • Offshore Europe is a big biennial conference and trade fair for the offshore oil and gas industries, although given the span of technologies involved, there might be something for you. It's held at P&J Live in Bucksburn in September in odd-numbered years, and its main relevance for travellers is that city accommodation is chocablock when it's on. The next event is 5-8 Sept 2023.

Sports[edit]

  • Football: 5 Aberdeen FC, Pittodrie Street, Aberdeen AB24 5QH (just north of Trinity cemetery), +44 1224 650400. The "Dons" play soccer in the Premiership, Scotland's top tier. Their home ground of Pittodrie is an all-seater stadium, capacity 20,000. It's a mile north of the centre, walk up Park Rd or take any bus up King St.
  • Cove Rangers are the city's other soccer team. They were promoted in 2022 and now play in the Championship, the second tier. Their home ground is Balmoral Stadium, capacity 2600, in Cove Bay two miles south of city centre.
  • Rugby: Aberdeen Grammar were relegated in 2022 and play rugby union in National League One, Scotland's second tier for amateurs. Their home ground is Rubislaw in the west end of the city.
  • 6 Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports Centre, Garthdee Road AB10 7BA, +44 1224 810215. M Tu Th 14:00-20:00, W 12:00-22:00, F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-176:00. Artificial ski slopes with an Alpine run, a Dendex run and a nursery slope. Tuition and kit hire plus public sessions.
  • Linx Ice Arena, Beach Esplanade AB24 5NR (next to Beach Leisure Centre), +44 1224 507762. Daily 05:30-22:00. Large ice rink, public skating session times vary, check website.
  • 7 Newhills Bowling Club, Waterton Rd, AB21 9HS (from A947, turn onto Stoneywood Rd.), +44 1224 714825. Lawn bowls.

Performing arts[edit]

Aberdeen Performing Arts list events and act as Box Office for several city venues.
  • 8 His Majesty's Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct AB25 1GL, +44 1224 641122. It hosts a wide range of plays, musicals and panto. It also has a good restaurant. His Majesty's Theatre (Q11838966) on Wikidata His Majesty's Theatre on Wikipedia
  • 9 Music Hall, Union St AB10 1QS, +44 1224 641122. Opened as the Assembly Rooms in 1822, this is an elegant setting for classical and popular music, stand-up comedy and other performances. Music Hall Aberdeen (Q15260398) on Wikidata Music Hall Aberdeen on Wikipedia
  • 10 The Lemon Tree, 5 West North St AB24 5AT, +44 1224 641122. 550-capacity performing arts venue, with pop, jazz, blues, rock, comedy, dance and panto.
  • Aberdeen Arts Centre (Castlegate Centre), 33 King St AB24 5AA (next to Lemon Tree), +44 1224 635208. Community-oriented venue hosting a variety of events.
  • Breakneck Comedy Club is on King St 100 yards north of Mercat Cross.
  • 11 P&J Live Event Complex, East Burn Road, Stoneywood, AB21 9FX (near airport), +44 1224 824 824. Exhibition and events venue which opened in 2019, replacing the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. The biennial Offshore Europe exhibition, held in early September of odd-numbered years, is the biggest event. P&J Live (Q68438367) on Wikidata P&J Live on Wikipedia

Golf[edit]

Royal Aberdeen Golf Clubhouse
  • 12 Deeside Golf Club, Golf Road, Bieldside AB15 9DL (A93 southwest from city centre), +44 1224 869457, . Founded in 1903, with the 18-hole Haughton course, later adding the 9-hole Blairs course.
  • 13 Royal Aberdeen Golf Course, Links Road, Bridge of Don AB23 8AT (Bus 1 or 2), +44 1224 702571. Founded in 1780, and nowadays with two courses. The Balgownie is the championship links course, 6918 yards par 70. It staged the Walker Cup in 2011 and the Scottish Open in 2014. The Silverburn is a par-3 18 hole course. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club (Q2648620) on Wikidata Royal Aberdeen Golf Club on Wikipedia
  • Nigg Bay GC is in Walker Park south of the Dee estuary.
  • Kings Links is on the coast a mile north of the centre.
  • Auchenmill GC is on A96 towards the airport.
  • Hazelhead GC is off B9119 west edge of the city.

Fitness[edit]

St Andrew's Cathedral, King St
  • For casual running, try the Esplanade along the beach, or Duthie Park (entrances on Polmuir Road and Riverside Drive), or Hazlehead Park in the western part of the city.
  • PureGym, Shiprow AB11 5BW (opposite Maritime Museum), 0345 013 3201 (non-geographic number). Open 24 hours. Has a full range of cardio equipment, resistance machines and free weights area. Buy a day pass from a machine at the entrance, this gives you a PIN which you type into a keypad to gain access. Staff are on site until 20:00, after hours it's nominally unstaffed, though in practice there's usually someone around whatever the hour. CCTV cameras flood the area and impenetrable metal turnstiles permit access only to those with a PIN. As a result it feels safe even late at night, with a surprising number (male and female) exercising there till the early hours. Bring a padlock for your locker or buy one from the vending machine. An NCP car park is next door but the gym has deals with other city-centre car parks - ask for details. Day pass £7.
  • Other private gyms in the city are DW Fitness, David Lloyd, and Bannatyne's.
  • Aberdeen Sports Village and Aquatics Centre, Linksfield Road (off King Street, near Kings College campus, Bus 1 or 2 from city), +44 1224 438900. M-F 17:30-22:30, Sa 07:30-19:30; Su 07:30-21:30. This University of Aberdeen centre has a wide range of public facilities including gyms, group exercise and sports hall, plus an Aquatics Centre with 50-m pool and diving facilities.
  • RGU Sport, Garthdee Rd AB10 7GE (RGU campus, take bus 1 from centre), +44 1224 263666. M-F 06:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-19:00. Has similar facilities to the Sports Village and a 25-m pool and climbing wall.
  • Council-run services (Sport Aberdeen) include leisure centres, swimming pools and an ice-skating arena. One of the most popular is Beach Leisure Centre, Esplanade AB24 5NR (on the Prom), +44 1224 655401. There is a gym and fitness studio and other facilities for exercise and indoor sports, including climbing, table tennis, badminton and volleyball. There is a large swimming pool of the "water-park" style. It's not good for swimming laps (RGU is better for that), but has water slides, rapids and waves, and is great fun for the family. M-F 06:00-22:00, Sa Su 08:00-18:00.

Learn[edit]

Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • 14 University of Aberdeen, Kings College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX, +44 1224 272000. One of the oldest universities in the UK (founded 1495), it is renowned for its teaching and research in a full range of disciplines including the liberal arts, sciences, social sciences and the professions. Until the University of the Highlands and Islands was created in 2011 with its centre at Inverness, Aberdeen was the most northerly university in the UK (the Robert Gordon University, also in the city, is a little way south of the University of Aberdeen). It is a research-focused university of about 15,000 students, most at its main Kings College campus in Old Aberdeen, but some at its Medical School at Foresterhill. The Medical School is prestigious and the centre of a great deal of research, and is where (for example) the MRI scanner was developed. The university's iconic buildings, Marischal College (in the city centre but now occupied by Aberdeen City Council) and the tower of Kings College, are also iconic images of the city of Aberdeen. A huge new library was opened in 2011 at the Kings College campus. It is of unusual architecture for Aberdeen, taking the form of a seven-story zebra-striped tower. the Sir Duncan Rice Library is open to the public and outstanding views are available from the upper floors; ID is needed to sign in. The university provides popular part-time adult education courses, in addition to its Language Centre which also provides classes in languages at all levels. University of Aberdeen (Q270532) on Wikidata University of Aberdeen on Wikipedia
  • 15 The Robert Gordon University (RGU), Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QG, +44 1224 262000. Usually referred to as "RGU", it became a university in 1992 but developed out of an educational institution dating from 1750 founded by the Aberdeen merchant and philanthropist Robert Gordon. The word "The" is officially part of the title. It has a suburban campus at Garthdee in the south-west of the city by the banks of the River Dee, known for its modern architecture by major architects such as Norman Foster and Associates. A campus in the city centre was operated also but it has transferred to the main Garthdee campus, although the university still owns its Administration Building on the Schoolhill, next to the Art Gallery (designed to match it for the building used to be a school of art). RGU has been rising rapidly in university rankings and was named Best Modern University in the UK for 2012 by the Sunday Times, and equivalent standings in 2013, in addition to other recent awards. It is a teaching-focused university of about 15,500 students but significant research is also conducted (but not as much as the University of Aberdeen). Degrees are offered from undergraduate to PhD level in a wide range of disciplines, primarily vocational and professional disciplines and those most applicable to business. It has become known for its high level of graduate employment of around 97%. The university's art school, Gray's School of Art, offers short courses in art, sculpture, photography and fashion to the general public with no need for prior training. Robert Gordon University (Q1788342) on Wikidata Robert Gordon University on Wikipedia
  • 16 North East of Scotland College. The largest further education college in Scotland, and it has campuses within the city and also in the surrounding region. Its largest facility is on the Gallowgate on the outskirts of the city centre.

Buy[edit]

Rosemount Viaduct
Regent Quay
Union Square shopping centre

Union Street is the traditional shopping strip, but like High streets across Britain it's become hollowed out. The big stores have moved into the malls, while the independents have moved back a block or so - or folded.

Malls in city centre are Bon Accord Centre (entrances on Upperkirkgate and George Street), St Nicholas Centre (entrances on Upperkirkgate and St Nicholas Square), Trinity Centre (entrances on Union Street and Guild Street), The Academy (entrance on Schoolhill) and Union Square on Guild Street.

Independents: look for them on Rosemount Viaduct, Holburn Street, Rose Street, Chapel Street, Belmont Street, Upperkirkgate and The Green, with Rosemount Place further north.

Money: the major banks are found on Union St and Union Square, with half-a-dozen ATMs. Bank hours are typically M-F 09:30-16:30, with some open Saturday morning.

Markets: Castlegate has a general outdoor market Friday mornings. The Farmers Market is on Belmont St last Saturday of the month 09:00-17:00.

Supermarkets[edit]

Crown St Post Office is now apartments
  • Co-op Food at 204 Union Street is a small supermarket open daily 06:00-23:00. They have five others further out.
  • Marks & Spencer are in Union Square (M-Sa 08:00-20:00, Su 09:00-18:00), and St Nicholas Square (M-Sa 08:30-19:00, Su 09:00-18:00) with another by the Royal Infirmary.
  • Morrisons at 215 King Street are open M-Sa 07:00-23:00; Su 08:00-22:00.
  • Asda is in the Beach Retail Park behind the funfair, open daily 08:00-20:00. Their store at Garthdee Road by the Bridge of Dee roundabout is open till midnight.
  • Sainsbury's Local and Tesco Express are mini-supermarkets or convenience stores in city centre.

Eat[edit]

Aberdeen butteries or rowies
  • The Aberdeen buttery or rowie is a cross between a pancake and a croissant. They have a flaky yet heavy texture and are very salty. They're served plain or with butter or jam to make a tea-time or mid-afternoon snack. They're seldom found in cafes or restaurants, you buy them in bakeries or supermarkets to eat at home or on the go.

Budget[edit]

  • Union Square upstairs has the usual chains including Ask, Yo! Sushi, Wagamama, Nando's and TGI Fridays.
  • Mount Everest, 5 Palmerston Rd AB11 5QP (east flank of station), +44 1224 586005. Tu-Th Su 16:30-22:00, F Sa 16:30-23:00. Reliable Nepalese restaurant handy for the train or bus.
  • 1 Books and Beans, 22 Belmont Street, +44 1224 646438. Daily 10:00-16:00. A second-hand book shop with lunch menu.
  • Contour Cafe, 47 The Green AB11 6NY (facing Moonfish cafe), +44 1224 582151. W Th 09:00-15:00, F Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Friendly cafe with indoor and small outdoor dining areas.
  • 2 City Bar & Diner, 37-39 Netherkirkgate AB10 1AU, +44 1224 649592. M Tu 10:00-18:00, W Th 10:00-21:00, F Sa 10:00-22:00. Its customers rate it a hidden gem, great scores for food and service.
  • 3 The Coffee House, 1 Gaelic Lane AB10 1JF, +44 1224 478621. Daily 10:30-16:30. Bright friendly place for coffee and lunch, dog-friendly.
  • Sand Dollar Cafe, 2 Beach Bvd, Queens Links AB24 5NS (Next to Cineworld), +44 1224 572288. W-Su 09:00-17:00. Friendly place for a meal at the beach.
  • 4 Ashvale, 42 Great Western Rd AB10 6PY, +44 1224 575842. M Tu 16:30-20:00, W Th 12:00-14:00, 16:30-20:00, F-Su 12:00-20:00. Proper sit-down traditional fish restaurant, worth coming the extra distance from city centre.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Lahore Karahi, 145 King Street AB24 5AE (100 yards north of Premier Inn), +44 1224 647295. Daily 15:30-22:30. Pleasant restaurant serving inexpensive Pakistani cuisine.
  • La Lombarda, 2-8 King Street AB24 5AX (Castlegate), +44 1224 640916. M 17:00-22:00, Tu-Th Su 12:00-22:30, F Sa 12:00-23:00. Popular central Italian coming up to its centenary.
  • Royal Thai, 29 Crown Terrace AB11 6HD (facing railway station), +44 1224 212922. Tu-Sa 17:00-22:00. This long-running Thai restaurant gets great reviews.
  • 5 Chinatown, 11 Dee Street AB11 6DY, +44 1224 211111. Daily 12:00-14:00, 17:30-22:30. Great Chinese food with nice decor and bar.
  • Nazma Tandoori, 62 Bridge Street AB11 6JN (facing railway station), +44 1224 211296. Daily 17:00-22:00. Good quality Indian fare.
  • Saigon and Namaste Delhi are in the same block as Nazma.
  • 6 Moonfish Cafe, 9 Correction Wynd AB10 1HP, +44 1224 644166. W-Sa 12:00-22:30, Su 12:00-18:00. This cosy bistro does good seafood.
  • 7 The Tippling House, 4 Belmont Street AB10 1JE. Tu-Th 16:00-00:00, F 16:00-03:00, Sa 13:00-03:00. This cellar place is primarily a cocktail bar but has expanded the food side during the covid restrictions.
  • 8 Poldino's, 7 Little Belmont St AB10 1LG, +44 1224 647777. Tu-F 12:00-14:30, 17:30-21:00, Sa 12:00-22:30. Bright cheerful reliable Italian.
  • 9 Cafe 52, 52 The Green AB11 6PE, +44 1224 590094. W-Sa 12:00-00:00. Great little bistro hidden away just south of Union St.
  • 10 Rendezvous Nargile, 106 Forest Ave AB15 4UP (corner with Cromwell Rd), +44 1224 323700. Tu-Sa 12:00-21:00. Slick friendly place for Turkish cuisine.
  • Silver Darling, Pocra Quay, Footdee AB11 5DQ, +44 1224 576229. M-F 12:00-14:00, 17:30-20:00, Sa Su 12:00-20:00. Seafood restaurant on Footdee quay (see above) with great views.

Drink[edit]

Archibald Simpson Bar, Castle Street
Oh, Samson was a mighty man, he fad on fish 'n chips
and walkit doon the Gallowgate, picking up the nips
- most Bible scholars place this episode in Glasgow, but it could be anywhere with a low opinion of Edinburgh

As elsewhere, smoking is illegal indoors in pubs. It may be permitted outdoors in the beer garden.

Belmont Street is the drinking strip north side of Union St, near the bus and railway stations. Watch out for drunken belligerent fellows like Samson, staggering towards his last bus for Gaza after a drouthy evening getting eyeless.

  • 1 Drummonds, 1 Belmont Street AB10 1JR, +44 1224 619930. M-Th 12:00-02:00, F Sa 12:00-03:00, Su 17:00-02:00. A small late-licence venue with live bands.
  • Siberia Vodka Bar at 9 Belmont Street has rooms, see Sleep.
  • 2 Slains Castle, Belmont Street AB10 1JH, +44 1224 631877. Su-Th 12:00-00:00, F Sa 12:00-01:00. An old church converted into a gothic pub with Dracula theme. The real Slains Castle is in Cruden Bay 20 miles north: it's where Bram Stoker wrote much of Dracula. Vlad the Impaler was a different fellow entirely so the pub's decorative references are probably meant as a warning against drink-spiking.
  • Wild Boar, 19 Belmont Street AB10 1JR (opposite Slains Castle), +44 1224 625357. Su-Tu 11:00-23:00, W Th 11:00-00:00, F Sa 11:00-01:00. Belhaven pub, cosy place with stylish decor.
  • Revolution, 25 Belmont St AB10 1JS, +44 1224 645475. M-W 12:00-02:00, Su Th 12:00-20:00, F Sa 12:00-03:00. Part of the Revolution cocktail chain. Decent food.
  • Revolución de Cuba is a separate tapas place across the street in Academy Shopping Centre.
  • 3 O'Neils Aberdeen, 9-10 Back Wynd AB10 1JN, +44 1224 622693. Su-Th 12:00-00:00, F Sa 12:00-03:00. Irish-themed chain pub with a nightclub upstairs, good grub.
  • 4 Old School House, 16 Little Belmont Street AB10 1JG, +44 1224 626490. Su-Th 10:00-23:00, F Sa 10:00-01:00. Belhaven pub behind a granite portico, suggesting that the former school specialised in Latin, Greek and physical chastisement. Good selection of food, TV sport, beer garden and dog friendly.
  • Ma Cameron's, 6-8 Little Belmont Street AB10 1JG (next to Old School House), +44 1224 644487. Daily 11:00-00:00. Also a Belhaven pub, in a former coaching inn. Friendly place with good pub grub.
  • Triplekirks, Schoolhill AB10 1JT (top of Belmont St), +44 1224 619920. Su-Th 12:00-00:00, F Sa 12:00-01:00. Lively pub, the food is okay. Their Exodus nightclub didn't open in 2021.
  • 5 Prince of Wales, 7 St Nicholas Lane AB10 1HF, +44 1224 640597. Daily 10:00-23:00. Long, long bar, almost as long as HRH Charlie's tenure of the post of Prince of Wales. It's a Belhaven pub where you need to bring an appetite for their hearty trad food. It's hidden away in a block north side of Union St, surrounded by banks that haven't yet been converted to pubs but are presumably looking anxiously over their shoulders.
Aberdeen Harbour: the day's brightening up, the ferry shouldn't be too heaving

Old city centre is a little further east, where Union St meets Castle St. Two blocks south are The Quays.

  • The Archibald Simpson, 5 Castle St AB11 5BQ, +44 1224 621365. Daily 08:00-01:00. This is in a converted bank at the city's old crossroads. The historical name tells you it's a JD Wetherspoon. Simpson (1790-1847) was the architect most responsible for the granite cityscape. Reliable chain pub for real ale and food.
  • Krakatoa, 2 Trinity Quay AB11 5AA (On quay in front of Maritime Museum), +44 1224 587602. Su-Th 14:00-01:00, F Sa 14:00-03:00. A tiki dive bar and Grassroots music venue. Great range of world beers, real ale and cider, authentic absinthe, rum, and outlandish tiki cocktails served in pint jars.

West where Union St gets over the 200 numbers has another strip, along with Langstane Place a block south.

  • The Grill, 213 Union Street AB11 6BA (opposite Music Hall), +44 1224 583563. M-Th 10:00-00:00, F Sa 10:00-01:00, Su 12:30-00:00. No longer a restaurant, it has a small plain interior, little seating so you stand at the bar, but a huge selection of whiskies.
  • 6 Soul, 333 Union St AB11 6BS, +44 1224 211150. Daily 12:00-00:00. Cocktail bar in the elegantly converted Langstane Kirk.
  • Jam Jar, The Galleria, Langstane Place AB11 6FB (opposite Soul), +44 1224 574237. Tu-Th 19:00-00:00, F Sa 18:00-02:00. Popular cocktail bar.
  • Paramount, 23-25 Bon-Accord St AB11 6EA, +44 1224 590500. W Th 17:00-00:00, F 17:00-02:00, Sa 16:00-03:00. Glam cocktail bar next to Jam Jar.
  • Prohibition, 31 Langstane Pl AB11 6EN (opposite Soul), +44 7722 770022. Su-Th 20:00-02:00, F Sa 19:00-03:00. This nightclub gets very mixed reviews.

Distilleries: The big-name whisky distilleries are some miles northwest towards the Grampians and Spey Valley.

Sleep[edit]

South end of the Esplanade

Budget[edit]

  • Siberia, 9 Belmont St AB10 1JR, +44 1224 645328. Inexpensive place in the Belmont St pub quarter, with notable vodka bar. B&B (room only) £65.
  • Hotel Ibis Aberdeen, 15 Shiprow AB11 5BY (next to Maritime Museum), +44 1224 398800. Clean reliable chain offering. Parking by voucher in NCP is £10 / night. B&B double £70.
  • 1 Premier Inn, Inverlair House, West North Street AB24 5AS, +44 333 777 3655. Chain hotel half a mile north of centre. Boxy brutalist exterior but comfy and well-run. Parking £6 / night. B&B double £90.
  • Travelodge Aberdeen, 9 Bridge Street AB11 6JL (one block north of station), +44 871 984 6117. Large budget chain hotel looking over Union Street. B&B double £100.
  • Travelodge also have branches at Justice Mill Lane next to Park Hotel, and A96 near the airport.

Mid-range[edit]

King's College, Old Aberdeen
  • Douglas Hotel, 43-45 Market Street AB11 5EL (corner of Guild St / Trinity Quay), +44 1224 582255. Central Victorian hotel close to the stations. Comfy enough but some rooms tired. With Molly's Bistro and Irish bar. B&B double £90.
  • 2 Northern Hotel, 1 Great Northern Road AB24 3PS (Bus 17 from centre), +44 1224 483342. Art Deco hotel on the historic Great Northern Road in the suburb of Kittybrewster. Rooms are comfy but cleaning is erratic. B&B double £120.
  • 3 Park Inn by Radisson Aberdeen, 1 Justice Mill Lane AB11 6EQ, +44 1224 592999, . Large modern hotel with business facilities, clean and central. B&B double £140.
  • 4 Mercure Aberdeen Caledonian (formerly Thistle Caledonian), 10 Union Terrace AB10 1WE, +44 1224 640233. Reliable mid-range hotel, part of Accor chain, two blocks north of station. Some street noise. B&B double £110.
  • Station Hotel, 78 Guild Street AB11 6GN (Opposite railway station), +44 1224 587214. Traditional hotel in the former offices of the Great North of Scotland Railway. Cleaning erratic. B&B double £75.
  • Jurys Inn, Union Square, Guild Street AB11 5RG (next to railway and bus station), +44 1224 381200, . Clean well-run chain hotel, couldn't be more central. B&B double £100.
  • 5 Norwood Hall Hotel, Garthdee Road AB15 9FX (Bus 1 or 2 to RGU Gray's School of Art), +44 1224 868951, . Stylish 19th-century estate next to Robert Gordon University campus. Often used for wedding receptions. B&B double £110.
  • Atholl Hotel on Kings Gate is a Victorian Gothic affair a mile west of Union Square.

Splurge[edit]

  • 6 Ardoe House (formerly Mercure), South Deeside Road, Blairs AB12 5Y (on B9077), +44 1224 860600. Victorian mansion with Baronial cod-castellations on southwest edge of city. With spa and fine dining. B&B double £115.
  • 7 Malmaison Aberdeen, 53 Queens Road AB15 4YP, +44 330 016 0380. Chic hotel in the Queens Cross area with good dining. B&B double £140.

Airport[edit]

  • 8 Craighaar Hotel, Waterton Rd, Bucksburn AB21 9HS, +44 1224 712275. Comfy modern hotel north edge of city. B&B double £120.
  • 9 Hilton Aberdeen TECA, East Burn Road, Stoneywood AB21 9FX (near airport), +44 1224 984111, . Modern accommodation next to The Event Complex, with spa, restaurant, bar and event facilities. B&B double £170. Hilton Aberdeen TECA (Q69647678) on Wikidata
  • Travelodge is at the junction of A96 and A947 south of the airport. They also have two in city centre.

Stay safe[edit]

Girdleness Lighthouse

Aberdeen is broadly safe, but you need to use your street sense. There is the usual motley crowd of drunks, beggars, rough sleepers and sex workers. Aggressive drunks are the main hassle, especially at weekends: the centre is heavily policed but trouble can flare in a moment. Some drunks are capable of assaulting lampposts that they reckon have looked at them amiss, so English football colours are a red rag to a bull. Above all don't be drunk or drugged yourself.

Areas to avoid, especially after dark, are Tillydrone (north of Bedford Road and east of St Machar Drive) and Torry (the south bank of River Dee).

Connect[edit]

As of Oct 2021, city centre has 5G from all UK carriers. This doesn't extend very far out but all the burbs and the airport have 4G. Wifi is widely available in public places.

  • 2 Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct (just along from His Majesty's Theatre, or right in front of you if you walk down Union Terrace from Union Street). Daily 09:00-17:00 (till 20:00 on M and W). The central library (one of the libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie) has a few computers on the upper level where you can access the internet for up to 20 minutes free of charge without being a library member. They are situated next to the staircase.

Cope[edit]

Golden Post Box for Neil Fachie at London 2012

Post offices[edit]

The main city post office is at the west end of Union Street close to the junction with Holburn Street. There's another in the basement of WH Smith in the St Nicholas Centre. There is a smaller post office in the back of RS McColl on the Castlegate. Post offices are usually open M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-12:30.

Golden post boxes honour local winners of gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics: on Castlegate for rower Katherine Grainger, on Golden Square for Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie, and in the nearby town of Westhill for canoeist Tim Baillie.

Places of worship[edit]

There are some 140 active churches in Aberdeen, two mosques, one synagogue and one Buddhist temple.

The three cathedrals are St Machar's in Old Aberdeen (Presbyterian, so ecclesiastically it's not a cathedral), St Mary's on Huntly Street (Roman Catholic) and St Andrew's on King Street (Episcopalian).

Go next[edit]

See Aberdeenshire for the full range of castles, scenery, whisky distilleries, golf resorts, and what you will. Some within a day trip are:

  • Stonehaven, a picturesque fishing port 15 miles south, with Dunottar Castle.
  • Banchory for Crathes Castle and Ballater for Balmoral.
  • Cairngorms National Park starts 30 miles west of the city, and its Aberdeenshire side lends itself to day-trips, whereas the Spey Valley side needs a longer stay, e.g. in Aviemore.
Routes through Aberdeen
LerwickKirkwall  N NorthLink S  END
FraserburghPeterhead  N UK road A90.svg S  StonehavenDundee
merges with UK road A90.svg (N)  N UK road A92.svg S  StonehavenArbroath
CairngormsBanchory  W UK road A93.svg E  ENDS AT REGENT QUAY



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