Aberdeen is a vibrant, north sea port city located in North East Scotland.
The landscape of the city is striking; it features distinctive granite architecture that has earned it the nickname “The Granite City.”
Aberdeen’s Scottish history dates back to the 11th century and its buildings are reflective of this, boasting impressive style.
In 1970, Aberdeen experienced a major industrial revolution when oil was discovered in the North Sea which led to an influx of wealth into the city.
Today, Aberdeen continues to thrive on its stunning coastline, open green spaces, medieval castles, botanic gardens and numerous museums celebrating local history and art.
Additionally, there are many renowned golf courses that attract visitors from around the world looking to enjoy some fine Scottish links play.
Things To Do In Aberdeen
1. Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Aberdeen Maritime Museum is a fascinating museum showcasing the city’s rich maritime history and heritage.
Located near the Harbour, it tells the story of Aberdeen’s long and often dramatic relationship with the North sea.
The museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a wide variety of objects from 13th to 21st centuries, which reveal Aberdeen’s global trade links.
It features ship models from 1689 to the present day, whaler’s harpoons, rare examples of medieval imported goods, a complete lighthouse lens assembly and even the entire deck of a historic steamer!
The museum also has an impressive 9 metre-high model of the Murchison platform that explores life offshore and how oil and gas are found and extracted.
On the top floor there are fantastic views out over Aberdeen Harbour for visitors to enjoy.
Aberdeen Maritime Museum is great experience providing captivating exhibits showcasing shipbuilding, sailing ships, fishing and port history.
Admission is free, making this one museum experience you won’t want to miss!
Address: Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow, Aberdeen, AB11 5BY
2. David Welch Winter Gardens
The David Welch Winter Gardens are located in Duthie Park to the south of Aberdeen city centre.
This enchanted oasis of beauty and serenity is one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens, and is open all year round.
The array of flora on display is breath-taking; from rare and exotic plants to a Temperate House filled with diverse species from various regions across the globe.
The Corridor of Perfumes, Fern House, Victorian Corridor, Japanese Garden and Tropical House can be admired through carefully crafted exhibits.
What makes the David Welch Winter Gardens particularly special is its one-of-a-kind Arid House which holds one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents in Britain!
Not only does this house contain a vast array of unusual plants but it also houses the world’s only talking cactus!
Address: David Welch Winter Gardens, Polmuir Road, Aberdeen AB11 7TH
3. The Gordon Highlanders Museum
The Gordon Highlanders Museum is located in the trendy west end of Aberdeen
This 5-star Scottish Tourist Board attraction celebrates the story of one of Scotland’s most historic regiments.
Originated as the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot in 1794, it was then merged with the 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot in 1881 before being amalgamated in 1994.
Acquired by the War Office in 1960 and transferred to the trustees of the regiment in 1994, its doors were opened to visitors as a museum two years later.
The museum contains numerous historical artefacts, memorabilia and regimental silverware, including works by Sir George Reid on loan from Aberdeen Art Gallery.
The main gallery features ‘the Grant Room’, along with a display of edged weapons and guns in ‘the Armoury’.
There is also a mock-up of the Regimental Officers’ Mess, a Silver Room, and a temporary exhibition space.
In 2019, the replica of a First World War trench was opened at the museum and has since won an award for its tourism efforts.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, visitors can take a self-guided tour that will usually last about an hour and a half, or take part in a guided tour to gain deeper insight into the history behind this incredible regiment.
Address: Gordon Highlanders Museum, St. Luke’s, Viewfield Rd, Aberdeen AB15 7XH
4. Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen Art Gallery, housed in one of the city’s finest granite buildings, is one of the oldest art galleries in Scotland, with a rich history and extensive collections.
Founded in 1884, the gallery was designed by architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie and has seen several additions over the years, most notably the sculpture court added in 1905.
Aberdeen Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of modern Scottish and international art, including works by respected artists such as Ken Currie, Gilbert & George, Ivor Abrahams, Bridget Riley, and Bruce McLean.
The permanent collection includes 18th-century works by renowned painters such as Henry Raeburn and William Hogarth, and 20th-century pieces by Paul Nash and Francis Bacon; plus Post-Impressionists and Scottish Colourists.
Most recently, 50 artworks from the gallery have been made available digitally via Smartify app due to the pandemic restrictions in April 2020.
This innovative move was recognized internationally when Aberdeen Art Gallery was named one of five winners of ArtFund Museum of the Year Award in October 2020.
The gallery is open daily and admission is free for everyone.
Address: Aberdeen Art Gallery, Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FQ
5. Slains Castle
Slains Castle is a sixteenth-century castle located in the Cruden Bay area of Aberdeenshire, about half an hour north of Aberdeen.
It was constructed in 1597 by the powerful Earl of Erroll and his family, who had long been influential figures in the region.
The castle, also sometimes referred to as New Slains Castle, quickly became renowned for its grandeur and saw many esteemed guests over the years, including celebrities in the nineteenth century.
In 1919 it was sold to Sir John Ellerman, but in 1925, due to high taxes, he had to remove the roof of the castle to avoid paying them.
It is said that Bram Stoker based his famous character Count Dracula on Slains Castle and more recently it stood as a location for Castle Mey in Season 1 of Netflix original series ‘The Crown’.
As one approaches Slains Castle from afar, its towering presence can be seen atop a cliff overlooking crashing waves below.
Its walls are made from granite stone quarried locally and are surrounded by the castle grounds with pathways winding through them.
Visitors can explore the dramatic ruins of Slains Castle free of charge.
Address: Slains Castle, Cruden Bay, Peterhead AB42 0NE
6. Duthie Park
Duthie Park is one of Aberdeen’s most beloved and historic parks, located on the banks of the River Dee.
Initially gifted to the city in 1880 by Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie, it has been a cherished destination for generations.
The park offers many unique features and activities such as Victorian Band Stand, fountains, boating ponds, astro turf area, two play areas and the Park Café.
Moreover, Duthie Park also houses one of the most visited public indoor plant collections in Scotland and provides a unique venue for weddings and carol concerts.
Aside from its attractions, Duthie Park is also great place for dog walks, picnics, children riding bikes and visits regardless of weather conditions.
With so many features and activities available onsite, it isn’t hard to see why Duthie Park continues to be a favourite destination among locals as well as tourists looking to explore Aberdeen’s beautiful scenery.
Address: Duthie Park, Polmuir Road, Aberdeen AB11 7TH
7. King’s College Chapel
King’s College Chapel is an awe-inspiring 15th-century college chapel located in Aberdeen.
Built of sandstone from Moray, the chapel combines both religious and imperial symbolism with its Imperial crown spire and design meant to emulate Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
The chapel contains some of the finest medieval woodwork in Scotland, including a pulpit, choir stalls, and rood screen; these features were restored in the 17th century after storm damage.
Inside, the chapel retains its 52 medieval choir stalls and screen which date back to 1509.
King’s College Chapel has become a cultural icon standing proudly against time with its centuries-old architecture still retained today.
The Chapel is open to visitors from Monday to Friday from 9am to 3.30pm.
Address: King’s College Chapel, King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2 1ST
8. Aberdeen beach
Aberdeen beach is a popular coastal destination for visitors and locals alike.
Boasting a stunning, sandy beach complete with all the necessary amenities, it is renowned for receiving the Resort Seaside Award in 2013.
Located just a short distance from Aberdeen city centre, the beach offers an array of recreational and sports activities to entice visitors, including swimming, sunbathing and playing sports such as volleyball or football.
There are plenty of other attractions available too; The Beach Leisure Centre provides family fun activities such as slides and climbing walls; the Linx Ice Arena offers ice skating classes; cafes, restaurants and family fun fairs can all be found along the seafront.
Address: Aberdeen beach, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB24 5NS
9. Seaton Park
Seaton Park is a tranquil escape from the bustling streets of Aberdeen, situated north of the city on the banks of the River Don.
Amongst its lush green fields and woodlands, visitors can find an array of historical sites and attractions to explore.
St Machar’s Cathedral towers form an impressive backdrop to the ‘Cathedral walk’, with its ramparts dating back to medieval times.
Other important listed features within the park include the Wallace Tower, the motte, a man-made earthen mound which was once used as a defensive structure, and a Bronze Age mound which still stands today.
Families with younger children will love playing around with Mr Therm, a former steam engine now turned into an imaginative play sculpture in Seaton Park.
Address: Seaton Park, Don St, Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 1XS
10. St Machar’s Cathedral
Located just south of Seaton Park, St Machar’s Cathedral is an iconic site of worship and history in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Legend has it that St Machar, the patron saint of Aberdeen, originally founded a site of worship on the same spot around 580 AD.
For centuries, St Machar’s was an important Catholic Church and remained so until 1690 when it became a high kirk.
The impressive building standing today dates back to 1131 when the See from Mortlach was moved to Aberdeen and construction began on the Norman cathedral.
Visitors can still see remnants of the original structure in the Charter Room of the present church.
Not only has St Machar’s served religious purposes since the 6th century but it is also one of Aberdeen’s most picturesque buildings.
Erected with red sandstone blocks and two striking towers, St Machar’s impresses all who pass by with its grandeur.
Inside, visitors will find a tranquil atmosphere full of artworks illustrating historical events as well as several monuments dedicated to local noblemen.
St Machar’s Cathedral Transepts are open daily and are free to visit.
Address: St Machar’s Cathedral, The Chanonry, Aberdeen AB24 1RQ
11. Hazlehead Park
Hazlehead Park is a magnificent property located in Aberdeen, Scotland.
A historic landmark, the land was gifted to the city in 1319 by King Robert the Bruce as part of his ‘Freedom Boundary.’
Spanning city and countryside, Hazlehead Park offers something for everyone, from two golf courses, a maze, mini zoo, heather and conifer garden, azalea garden, and large children’s playground to woodland walks and nature trails.
The park also boasts two formal rose gardens where visitors can view hundreds of varieties of beautiful flowers.
Address: Hazlehead Park, Hazlehead Ave, Aberdeen AB15 8BE
12. The Tolbooth Museum
The Tolbooth Museum is a remarkable museum located in Aberdeen, housed in an impressive former wardhouse or prison complex of 17th and 18th century gaol cells.
At the museum, visitors are able to explore displays on local history, original prison cells with original doors and barred windows, and the evolution of crime and punishment.
Visitors can expect to have a unique experience exploring the ancient gaol cells which provide a striking atmosphere.
It gives visitors real insight into imprisonment and provides an interesting look into how prisoners, including rebel Jacobites, were treated many centuries ago.
Open daily the museum is free to visit and there are guides that are able to answer questions and to give brief talks.
Address: The Tolbooth Museum, Castle Street, Aberdeen AB10 1EL
13. Aberdeen Science Centre
Aberdeen Science Centre is a must-visit 5-star attraction in the North East of Scotland offering an amazing day out for the whole family.
With over 60 interactive, exciting, hands on exhibits, this centre of science exploration provides educational fun for everyone from young children to adults.
The Aberdeen Science Centre also boasts a sensory garden where visitors can discover how plants grow and change over time, as well as workshops and science shows.
For those looking for an immersive experience there’s even an immersive theatre, The OPITO Theatre of Energy, where a humanoid talking robot tells stories about energy production and consumption.
Finally, after a full family day out of scientific exploration there is an onsite café serving refreshments throughout the day and a gift shop.
Address: Aberdeen Science Centre, 179 Constitution St, Aberdeen AB24 5TU
Innoflate is an indoor inflatable theme park located in Queens Links Leisure Park, that covers 15,000 square feet and can take in 100 people every hour.
The park means hours of fun for all the family, with giant obstacle courses, huge slides, climbing walls and a bouncing bed among its attractions.
People of all ages, abilities and sizes are able to enjoy the park, with parties and classes just for young children or adult only available.
Open daily, the park also has an onsite cafe for refreshments.
Address: Innoflate, Beach Esplanade Aberdeen AB24 5NS
Where is good for shopping in Aberdeen?
Union Street is the major street and shopping area in Aberdeen.
It has lots of bars, restaurants and shops and is about one mile long.
Union Street is located the midst of the city centre, and starts at Alfred Place then ends at Castle Street.
What is Marischal College Aberdeen famous for?
Located in Aberdeen’s city centre it is known as the second largest granite building in the world, it’s also the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council.
Does Aberdeen have an old town?
Old Aberdeen is located 2km north of the modern city centre and has a wonderful sense of history, well worth a look when you visit Aberdeen.
How far is Aberdeen airport from the city center?
Aberdeen Airport is located seven miles north-west of Aberdeen city center.