Aberdeen Tourist Information and Tourism

(Aberdeen, Scotland, UK)

Picture showing His Majesty's TheatreThe 'Granite City' of Aberdeen lies along the North Sea coast of Scotland and has been famed as the 'Oil Capital of Europe' since the discovery of vast oil reserves in the deep waters off its shoreline. The resulting oil boom catapulted the city's economy skywards, attracting major international oil companies to its business district.

This atmospheric city, however, had already been on the map for some 8,000 years due to its location on two major rivers, the Dee and the Don. Prehistoric settlements lined the river mouths and through the millennia the city of Aberdeen developed into a centre for culture and education, as well as commerce and more recently, tourism. Fine buildings line its wide streets, many constructed from quarried local granite with mica deposits which glitter in the northern sunlight.

Provost Ross's House viewAberdeen has long been a favourite tourist destination for its glorious architecture, its central place in Scottish history and its closeness to the wild and remote beauty of the Highlands. It is a relatively small city with excellent transportation options and is famous for its gardens, parks and endless seasonal floral displays.

Many of its districts retain a distinct 'village' feel, and the wide, gently sloping sandy beach and adjacent promenade, between the mouths of the two rivers, is crowded with locals and visitors during the summer months. Tourist information about the plentiful things to see and do in Aberdeen is available at the local tourism office on Union Street, next to the Netherkirkgate and the First Travel Centre, and close to the cinema and Provost Skene's House.

Accommodation here is not known for being cheap and B&Bs tend to provide the most competitive option, with a good choice of guest houses residing on the south-western side of the railway station, on roads such as Springbank Terrace, which is just off South College Street and runs into Willowbank Road. During the week, local hotels are regularly frequented by businessmen and workers from the petroleum industry, meaning that prices remain high, especially for single beds, while guest rooms tend to be reduced at the weekend. In the busy summer season, self-catering flats are often available through the Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen, offering an affordable alternative.

Picture of the gardens at Union Terrace

Aberdeen Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Located just a matter of minutes from the city centre and to the north, Old Aberdeen is packed with charisma and character, being home to many old buildings and entered through the Old Town House gateway. However, tourists should note that the Castlegate area of the city, to one side of Union Street, is actually even older. The Castlegate Tolbooth Tower is particularly notable, since it is the city's oldest structure and the only remnant of the castle.

Photograph of the famous William Wallace statueA lively spot to hang out, the harbourfront is often bustling with activity and its early morning fish market has taken place here for literally centuries.

Of course, it may be that you are in the city to take in a show at His Majesty's Theatre, or perhaps to attend an event at either the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre or the Pittodrie Stadium. More information about Aberdeen Tourist Attractions.

Photo of the beachfront and esplanadeThe main landmarks of Aberdeen tend to be of a historic nature and reflect the city's illustrious heritage. Located in Old Aberdeen and within the city's spreading university campus is the 16th-century King's College, with its hard-to-miss crowning spire and period interior, which remains much the same in appearance as the day it first opened its doors. Another Old Aberdeen highlight is the 14th-century St. Machar's Cathedral, sited between Seaton Park and the Botanical Gardens, which dominates the Chanonry area with its twin sandstone towers and unusual subtle fortifications.

View of the coastal EsplanadeStanding on Broad Street and just across from the Bon Accord Shopping Centre, Marischal College boasts an interesting claim to fame, being the second-biggest granite building in existence, anywhere on the planet. Other significant landmarks worth noting as you tour the city include St. Nicholas Church on George Street, the Salvation Army Citadel on Castle Street and the Statue of William Wallace at the Union Terrace Gardens, as well as the scheduled ancient monument that is the Torry Battery. More information about Aberdeen Landmarks and Monuments.

Image of the Central Library buildingIf it is a rainy day in Aberdeen and you are looking for something indoors, then worthy of consideration are the surprisingly plentiful museums. Enjoying splendid views across the harbour, the Maritime Museum and Provost Ross's House offer two attractions in one, with much shipbuilding heritage information to digest. At the Gordon Highlanders Museum, you can learn all about the famous Gordon Highlanders through its wealth of militaria and armoury. Located on the Schoolhill stretch and close to Robert Gordon's College, the Aberdeen Art Gallery functions as the city's principal visual arts exhibition space and contains collections of themed paintings, including some Post-Impressionist pieces and works created by the famous Scottish Colourists group.

If you are on holiday in the city as a family, then several attractions within this category stand out, such as the Aberdeen University Zoology Museum on Tillydrone Avenue and the Satrosphere Science Centre at the Tramsheds on Constitution Street. More information about Aberdeen Museums and Aberdeen Art Galleries.

Nearby Balmoral Estate imageMost people understandably think that Aberdeen is part of Aberdeenshire, although these two areas are generally treated as individual regions, with lots of day trip possibilities presenting themselves. The Balmoral Estate is located to the west of the city and within reasonable driving distance, with this royal estate being a major nearby attraction with beautiful gardens. Excursions to the Cairngorms National Park are also popular, where lochs, rivers, walking trails and a mountain railway all await tourists. A trip to the Scottish Highlands via the Orient Express Northern Belle railway is something not to be missed, while at under an hour to the north, the 13th-century Fyvie Castle comes with an impressive collection of paintings and arms, as well as a picture-postcard lake and landscaped grounds.

Different view of the nearby Balmoral EstateSlightly nearer and to the west of Aberdeen, Castle Fraser is a Baronial tower house with a long history, and if you head considerably further west you will find the attractions of Inverness and world-famous Loch Ness. Also a fair distance away, although this time to the south-west, are the cities of Dundee (just under two hours), Stirling (around three hours), the Scottish capital of Edinburgh (also around three hours) and Glasgow (roughly three and a half hours). More information about Aberdeen Attractions Nearby.

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