Tours of Edinburgh

Articles about Edinburgh and Scotland by David Wheater

My Edinburgh

Articles about Edinburgh and Scotland by David Wheater, founder of Tours of Edinburgh.

My Guide to Visiting Aberdeen, Scotland

 Marischal College & Robert the Bruce Statue, Broad Street, Aberdeen

Marischal College & Robert the Bruce Statue, Broad Street, Aberdeen

by David Wheater of Tours of Edinburgh

Introduction to Aberdeen

Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city and is situated in the north east of Scotland on the mouth of the River Dee.

Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland with a population of around 210,000 and has been enjoying an economic boom ever since the discovery of North Sea oil off its shores in 1969.

Nicknamed “the Silver City ” because of its granite buildings, which sparkle in the sunshine, Aberdeen’s greatest assets are its striking granite buildings, its beautiful sandy beaches and all its beautiful parks and green open spaces.

Aberdeen has lots to offer visitors, from world-class museums and art galleries to fabulous shopping malls and restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood. Highlights of any visit to Aberdeen would include a visit to St Machar’s Cathedral, King’s College in Old Aberdeen, Provost Skene’s House and the Aberdeen Maritime Museum – and that’s just for starters.

Aberdeen is also a great base for exploring the beautiful countryside of Royal Deeside, the magnificent Cairngorms National Park and the many beautiful castles of rural Aberdeenshire.

The city is well worth a visit and offers plenty for visitors to do over a long weekend. One of Aberdeen’s greatest virtues is its enviable seaside location. The beach is only a short drive from the city centre and really rather wonderful. For a relaxing afternoon, take a walk along the beach promenade to the charming fishing village of Footdee, get yourself some fresh fish n’ chips for supper and watch the sun go down on a warm summers evening – bliss!

About Aberdeen

Aberdeen is predominantly a city built of granite stone earning it the nick name “the Granite City”. On a sunny day, the quartz contained in the granite can make the city appear to sparkle brightly. Aberdeen has also been nick named the “oil capital of Europe” ever since the 1970’s when oil was discovered off its shores in the North Sea and today it has one of the busiest heliports in the world serving the offshore oil-riggs.

Aberdeen’s economy has boomed over the last thirty years thanks to the oil and gas industry and property prices and rents have remained relatively high as a result. There has been a recent slump in oil and gas prices affecting the city, but this situation seems to be stabilising and the city council is exploring new ways to expand and diversify the city's economy. The city has an important maritime history and a busy harbour, although the fishing industry has declined over the years due to dwindling fish stocks and increased European quotas. More efficient deep sea fishing methods have also reduced the number of boats, but despite reduced catches, Aberdeen still has one of the largest fish markets in Scotland.

Aberdeen is famed for its long, beautiful beaches and a visit along the beach promenade is a must for any visitor. It is also a city of beautiful parks, which have won many deserved national prizes over the years.

For trout fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts, there are two famous trout rivers, the River Dee and the River Don, which flow north and south of the city to meet the North Sea. There are some really beautiful places to visit and walk along these magnificent rivers, which many visitors unfortunately don’t take the time to properly discover.

The city has one of the oldest and most respected universities in the U.K. Aberdeen University “King’s College” was founded in the city in 1495 by Bishop Elphinstone which still exists today in Old Aberdeen. The King’s College visitor centre is well worth visiting if only to see the crown spire of Kings College.

Marischal College (see photo) was, until recently, the central campus of the University and used to be a separate university until amalgamated with King’s College in 1860. It is the second largest granite building in the world and it’s neo-Gothic architecture is well worth a visit. Marischal College is now leased to City of Aberdeen Council, but is still used by the university for graduation ceremonies.

Aberdeen’s greatest assets are its striking granite buildings, its beautiful sandy beaches and all its beautiful parks and green open spaces. Aberdeen is a super place to live and even the weather isn’t as cold or as wet as people imagine!

Transport in Aberdeen

For a good overview of all the travelling options, to and from Aberdeen, please visit the Aberdeen City Council transport guide.


Aberdeen airport has regular domestic and international flights. The airport is located at Dyce which lies around 7 miles north-west of the city on the A96. The airport also serves as a heliport for the oil industry. The postcode for the airport is AB21 7DU. There are excellent short stay and long stay car parks.

There are about 30 daily flights to and from London and flights to and from the likes of Dublin, Belfast, Paris, Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Amsterdam (please check for updates).

The fastest way into the city centre from the airport is by bus. Journeys into the city centre take around 1/2 hour with buses stop directly outside the terminal building. The Jet Service 727 runs around every 10 minutes, 7 days a week and is a fast, direct service in to the city centre with limited stops.

There are also regular trains from nearby Dyce Railway Station into Aberdeen city centre.


Aberdeen bus station is centrally located in Guild Street within easy walking distance of city centre shops and attractions (Union Square shopping centre actually connects to the station through doorways in the main atrium). It’s also conveniently located next to the railway station for easy transfers. Most local buses run on a 10-15 minute frequency. Aberdeen is locally served by First Aberdeen. If you are travelling elsewhere in Scotland try First Group, National Express or Scottish Citylink.

The website Traveline Scotland can help you plan any Scottish bus journey and to other parts of the UK.


Aberdeen railway station is located centrally at Guild Street, Aberdeen next to Union Square shopping centre. There is a ticket office, first class lounge, cafe, baggage store, toilet facilities and a branch of WHSmith. There is medium-term car parking in the adjacent College Street Car Park.


Hiring a car

Hiring a car in Scotland is easy and you may like to try the following car hire companies in Aberdeen directly:

Arnold Clark Car Hire
Canal Road, Aberdeen AB25 3TL
T. (01224) 622 714

Enterprise Rent A Car
80 Skene Square, Aberdeen AB25 2UL
T. (01224) 642 642

Hertz Car Hire
Car Rental Building, Aberdeen Airport, Dyce, AB21 7GR
T. (0843) 309 3001

To find the best car rental deals in Scotland try or

Aberdeen Taxis

  • Central Taxis Tel. (01224) 89 00 89 –
  • ComCab Aberdeen Tel. (01224) 35 35 35 –
  • Aberdeen Taxis Tel. (01224) 68 68 68 –

Aberdeen Visitor Attractions

Aberdeen has lots of great visitor attractions which should keep visitors busy for at least a couple of days.

Listed below are some of our ‘must see’ attractions in Aberdeen.

ABERDEEN MARITIME MUSEUM   Tel. (01224) 337700

Telling Aberdeen’s long relationship with the sea, the museum is located on the historic Shiprow with fantastic views over the harbour. There are exhibitions on north sea oil and the gas industry including artefacts & displays covering ship building, fishing and sailing ships.

GORDON HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM   Tel. (01224) 311 200

The museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the legacy of the famous Gordon Highlanders Regiment. The museum houses all kinds of treasures from the Gordon Highlanders 200 year history, including uniforms, weapons, medals and a large collection of diaries and rare documents.


Opened in 1988, the Satrosphere is Scotland’s first science & discovery centre. There are over 50 hands on interactive exhibits and live science shows explaining all about the world we live in and how things work. The Planetarium show is a great way to learn about the solar system.

ABERDEEN ART GALLERY   Tel. (01224) 523 700

Aberdeen Art Gallery is housed in an attractive 19 Century building and contains an important collection of paintings, sculptures and graphics from the 15 Century to the present day. Opened in 1885 and situated in the heart of the city centre, the collection includes paintings from Raeburn, Hogarth and more recently Francis Bacon.

PROVOST SKENE’S HOUSE   Tel. (01224) 641 086

Dating from 1545, Provost Skene’s House is a great opportunity to visit one of Aberdeen’s few remaining examples of early burgh architecture and to see how people lived in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. The furnishings, paintings and decorations of the house, particularly in the Painted Gallery are well worth seeing.

BALMORAL CASTLE   Tel. (013397) 42534

Located in Royal Deeside, Balmoral Castle has been a royal residence since Queen Victoria purchased it in 1848. The current Scots Baronial style castle dates back to 1856 and is still a working estate covering an area of around 50,000 acres. The beautiful gardens, exhibitions and the Castle Ballroom are open to the public during the summer.


Founded in 1886 by William Grant in Dufftown, Glenfiddich is now the world’s best selling single malt whisky. The Distillery is one of very few to remain entirely family owned and has won countless medals and awards over its’ long history. Distillery tours as well as tours for connoisseurs are available along with the opportunity to buy some of this world famous whisky.


Opened in 1983, the GTM is a living museum of transport housing many historically important local vehicles including a steam-powered tricycle, the Sentinel Steam Waggon of 1914 and a restored Cruden Bay Tram. Many of the exhibits can be climbed aboard and there’s also an impressive collection of transport-related publications, manuals, maps and photographs.


St Machar’s Cathedral is located in Old Aberdeen to the north of the city and is a very fine example of a fortified kirk with two towers built in the style of 14th Century tower houses. The heraldic flat panelled roof features 48 coats of arms of kings of Europe and there’s an important number of late medieval bishops’ tombs all of which are well worth seeing. It’s even thought that the left arm of William Wallace is buried deep within the castle walls!


Balmedie Beach & Country Park lies 8 miles north of Aberdeen at the village of Balmedie and has beautiful golden sandy beaches stretching for miles. It has to be one of the best beaches in the UK. An important feature of the beach is the sand dunes which stretch for 14 miles and provide an area of grassland, and in particular marram grass, which supports a lot of local wildlife.


Located 14 miles north of Aberdeen, Pitmedden Gardens is a wonderful formal garden planted up with an abundance of colourful bedding plants every year and offering lovely woodland walks around the whole estate. There’s also a fascinating herb garden and the adjacent Museum houses an interesting array of domestic & agricultural artefacts from years gone by.


Duthie Park was opened to the public in 1883 and covers an are of around 44 acres. One of the highlights of a visit has to be the Winter Gardens which were rebuilt in 1970 and, amongst lots of exotic plants, now houses the largest collection of cacti in the UK. There’s lots for the whole family to do with boating ponds, play areas and a cafe for afternoon tea.


Marischal College lies in the heart of the city and is the second largest granite building in the world. The college belongs to Aberdeen Unversity and houses an impressive collection of quality artefacts that have been donated by graduates of the university since 1786. Collections of note include Egyptian & Classical antiquities and Scottish prehistory and numismatics.


King’s College is located at the heart of the Old Aberdeen campus of Aberdeen University. King’s College itself was built to house the university and has a very interesting stone crown which, as an Imperial crown (not a Royal), is thought to have been built to support the Scottish Crown’s claim to imperial authority in Scotland.

Popular Aberdeen Restaurants & Cafes

Aberdeen has some of the best restaurants and cafes in Scotland.

Ever since the discovery of oil in the North Sea off Aberdeen’s coast in the 1970’s, the “silver city” of granite has become an ever more prosperous and cosmopolitan city. Aberdeen’s wealth has seen demand rise for stylish, contemporary restaurants and cafes to serve the many thousands of visitors and workers moving in and out of Aberdeen every year, from all around the world.

Fortunately, Aberdeen still holds on to it’s good tradtional pubs and cafes and most importantly it’s excellent fish n’ chip shops! Eating a fish supper on Aberdeen’s lovely seaside is still a simple pleasure that’s worth indulging in now and again.

Like other Scottish cities, Aberdeen has played a big role in improving Scotland’s culinary standards and reputation. The Grampian region is well renowned for producing some of the best, if not finest, beef (Aberdeen Angus), lamb, game and seafood in Scotland from it’s rich and fertile land and sea and this is very much reflected in the quality of dishes served in Aberdeen restaurants.

With a very cosmopolitan population, Aberdeen, not surprisingly, has a very wide range of international cusine on offer in its restaurants and eateries including, amongst others, French, Greek, Italian, Indian, Japanese and Chinese. As a starting point for visitors, it’s worth heading to Union Street and Belmont Street in the city centre, where there’s a good range of different types of restaurants, cafe’s and bistros to choose from.

If you’re stuck where to eat out in Aberdeen, here’s a few of our favourites to get you started:


53 Langstane Place, Aberdeen AB11 6EN Tel. (01224) 592 355

A wonderful Japanese restaurant serving all kinds of street food, sushi, seafood and tempura.


Balgownie Road, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen AB22 8NT Tel. (01224) 821 155

The best Indian restaurant in Aberdeen. Consistently good food and great service. They have a sister restaurant in the city centre at Belmont Street.


136 Causewayend, Aberdeen AB25 3TN Tel. (01224) 645 222

If you’re in the mood for some Chinese cuisine, this is the place to head for in Aberdeen.


North Pier, Pocra Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5DQ Tel. (01224) 576 229

A great seafood restaurant with a french influence, offering great views of Aberdeen harbour.


23 Windmill Brae, Aberdeen AB11 6HU Tel. (01224) 210 677

Authentic traditional & modern French cuisine in Parisian style surroundings. Jazz evenings are the best.


52 The Green, Aberdeen AB11 6PE Tel. (01224) 590 094

The perfect place to go to enjoy a good value meal with friends, especially at lunchtime.


1-2 The Green, Aberdeen AB11 6NY Tel. (01224) 586 180

A superb Scottish seafood bistro in the Merchant Quarter, serving freshly caught fish.


62 Union Row, Aberdeen AB10 1SA Tel. (01224) 658 444

A great 1950’s style trattoria in the heart of the city offering excellent Mediterranean cuisine. It’s the place for Italian food in Aberdeen.


9 Correction Wynd, Aberdeen AB10 1HP Tel. (01224) 644 166

A simply wonderful restaurant in the Merchant Quarter, serving a varied menu of seafood and game.


26 North Silver Street, Aberdeen AB10 1RL Tel. (01224) 642 111

A traditional Scottish restaurant located in the city centre, close to the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre, making it perfect for pre-theatre dinner.


14/20 John Street, Aberdeen AB25 1BT Tel. (01224) 636 320

An authentic, family run Greek taverna with excellent food and friendly service.


22 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JH Tel. (01224) 646 438

A book & coffee shop offering great cakes and snacks. If you’re a book lover and looking for somewhere to while away a few hours then this fair trade coffee shop is just the place.

Popular Bars & Pubs in Aberdeen

Aberdeen has lots of really good bars, pubs and clubs, mostly located in and around the city centre.

As a large university town there’s a huge variety of pubs and bars to choose from, from the cheap n’ cheerful student drinking den to the upmarket cocktail bar. Students have a good choice of watering holes to be found all over the city and Robert Gordon University has a very good Student Union.

Aberdeen still has a good number of traditional pubs & bars, many of which host live music and ceilidh nights which make for a great atmosphere and lots of fun.

If you’re planning a night out in Aberdeen, probably the best area to head for is the West End of Union Street in the city centre. This popular street is the main focus in Aberdeen for eating and drinking and you’ll find some of the best pubs and bars in the city here.

Also worth a visit is Belmont Street towards the east end of Union Street which has a few good bars clustered around it.

If cocktails is your thing then the Soul Cafe Bar in Union Street should be worth a visit, or if you’re a real ale fan it would have to be the Prince of Wales in St Nicholas Lane for its great selection of Scottish ales. If you like your whisky, then the Grill Bar at 213 Union Street has to be on your list to visit.

Below are some of our favourite bars and pubs in Aberdeen. We have tried to include a variety of pubs and bars so there’s something for everyone.


17 Gallowgate, Aberdeen AB25 1EB Tel. (01224) 631 223

Opened in 2010, this is the first of the BrewDog bars to open in the UK. The owners of the BrewDog Brewery are passionate about people enjoying craft beer and if you don’t know what a craft beer is – ask their friendly, knowledgeable staff to try their 5am Saint, Hardcore IPA or Sink the Bismarck. BrewDog is pioneering a truly exciting revolution in craft beer.


2 Trinity Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5AA Tel. (01224) 587 602

A very unique (think pirates & gothic theme) bar that is renowned for its alternative music scene, from rock, punk and metal to disco, soul and electronic.


7 St. Nicholas Lane, Aberdeen AB10 1HF Tel. (01224) 640 597

Centrally situated with bags of charm and character, the Prince of Wales is one of Aberdeen’s oldest and best-known pubs. It always has a great atmosphere, for both young and old, and stocks one of the best selection of Scottish and English ales in Aberdeen.


6-8 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JG Tel. (01224) 644 487

Although recently taken over, Ma Cameron’s is still a great city-centre pub with lots of cosy little corners and a great lively atmosphere. Always worth a visit for a rest while shopping or before taking in a show.


213 Union Street, Aberdeen AB11 6BA Tel. (01224) 573 530

A much loved, traditional Scottish pub that specialises in Whisky offering an enormous selection. Conveniently located opposite the Music Hall and just a few minutes walk from His Majesty’s Theatre. A great place to meet friends in the city centre.


7 Stirling Street, Aberdeen AB11 6ND Tel. (01224) 212 373

Famous for its “Cuban cigars, craft beer, Scotch whisky and artisan coffee” this is a great wee bar in Aberdeen’s lovely Merchant Quarter.


97 High Street, Old Aberdeen AB24 3EN Tel. (01224) 483 079

Familiar with all Aberdeen students, the St Machar Bar is located in Old Aberdeen next to the University campus. It’s certainly not pretentious or fancy, but if you fancy some lively conversation and a night away from the books – then this is the place to head.


11 North Silver Street, Aberdeen AB10 1RJ
Tel. (01224) 640 253

If you’re after a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere in which to enjoy a glass or two of wine, or a beer, then this is the pub for you. Yes, it’s certainly not fancy with none of the frills, but that’s part of its charm. It’s not far from the Music Hall and Her Majesty’s Theatre which makes it a great place for a pre-theatre drink with family and friends.


14-18 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JH Tel. (01224) 631 877

Centrally located, Slain’s Castle is a gothic style bar based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Set in an old converted church, its eerie atmosphere and creepy decor make it a fun bar to visit with friends. Don’t forget to try their famous “seven deadly sin’s” cocktails – our favourites are Pride, Gluttony and Sloth!


333 Union Street, Aberdeen AB11 6BS Tel. (01224) 211 150

Situated in a brilliantly converted church in the city centre, Soul is a trendy, stylish bar and restaurant with a fabulous cocktail menu. The restaurant serves great pub food and is ideal for a bite to eat at any time of the day.


1 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JR Tel. (01224) 619 930

If you’re after some great live music in Aberdeen – then Cafe Drummond is the place to head for. For anyone into rock n’ roll it’s the place to be! A great place for entertainment with regular DJ nights, open-mic and comedy nights.

Shopping in Aberdeen

Aberdeen is very much the financial and economic centre of the north east and has excellent shopping, with big shopping malls and smaller independent shops scattered throughout the city.

Union Street (the “granite mile”) and George Street in Aberdeen city centre have traditionally been the main shopping thoroughfares and all the best known high street stores have a presence somewhere in the city.

Aberdeen has four excellent indoor shopping malls: Union Square (the newest), The Trinity Centre, St Nicholas & Bon Accord and The Academy.

Shopping in Aberdeen has very much changed since the arrival of the new shopping centres. Traditionally the main shopping streets have been Union Street and George Street, but shopping patterns have changed with the convenience offered by the newer indoor shopping malls.

There are a lot of good shops in Aberdeen, but for some reason they aren’t often well advertised or known about. Income from those working in the fishing and oil industries has traditionally been a really good source of income for many local retailers.

A great shop for men is Menkind in the Bon Accord centre, which specialises in gifts and presents just for men. If you’re stuck on what to buy the man in your life they have a great range of men only gifts including watches, wallets, cufflinks, games and toys. Listed below are some of the most popular shops in Aberdeen.


117 Holburn Street, (01224) 582 266
Amazing original paintings from a wide range of artists.


Union Square Mall, (01224) 660 138
Offering a stylish range of clothing, furniture and home accessories.


2 Urquhart Road, Oldmeldrum, (01651) 873 270
A top ladies fashion boutique just a short drive from Aberdeen.


123 Gallowgate, (01224) 624 940
A fantastic restored furniture, designer jewellery & gifts – a little gem!


17 Rose Street, (01224) 646 599
One of Aberdeen’s best jewellers.


51H Rose Street, (01224) 647 664
A fantastic traditional toy shop with a modern twist.


Union Square, (0370) 192 5870
Scotland’s first MAC cosmetics store.


17 Thistle Street, (01224) 648 130
A great designer shoe shop.


31 Jopps Lane, (01224) 625 450
Quality vintage clothes since the late 80’s – well worth a visit!


9 St Andrew Street, (01224) 631 278
Unique vintage clothes; for something unusual head here.


67 The Green, (01224) 210 121
Fabulous shop for musical instruments & amps; a must for any musician!


22 Grd level Union Square, (01224) 213 567
A great store for mens, ladies & kids clothing and shoes.


22 Belmont Street, (01224) 646 438
A great place for a soup & sandwich and then a browse of their books.


45 The Green, (01224) 252 752
The place to head for surfboard, snowboard and skateboard equipment.


349 Union Street, (01224) 210 050
A great selection of quality tailored menswear and casual wear for men.


Bon Accord Centre, (01224) 620 358
A great little toy shop in the city centre.


474 Union Street, (01224) 647 433
Excellent independent whisky shop offering a huge range of whisky & spirits.


21 Union Street, (01224) 591 621
A great range of branded shoes & everyday footwear.


229 Union Street, (01224) 560 240
A great shoe shop in the centre of town.


201 Rosemount Place, (01224) 566 530
A fantastic cheese shop – a must visit for all cheese lovers!


5 Alford Place, (01224) 626 002
A great range of top fashion brands for men and women.

Popular Aberdeen Shopping Areas & Shopping Centres


Union Street is still the major shopping thoroughfare in Aberdeen, with most of the city’s shopping centres located within walking distance.

The street is almost a mile long and still offers some big high street names such as: Marks & Spencer (St Nicholas St), Debenhams (Trinity Centre), Topshop, Waterstones, Cruise, Hugo Boss, Jaeger, Austin Reed and Sports Direct. There are also several good bars.

Jamie Oliver opened an Italian Restaurant in the old Esslemont & Mackintosh department store in 2011 called “Jamies Italian”. It seems to divide opinion!

An International Street Market used to be held in Union Street, but this has now been happening in nearby Union Terrace.

If you get tired and sore feet while scouring the shops for bargains, then why not visit some of the really good cafes in and around Union Street such as: The Beautiful Mountain 11 Belmont Street, Book and Beans 22 Belmont Street, Kilau Coffee 9a Little Bemont Street, or Cafe 52 at 52 The Green.

There’s also a good Costa Coffee at 3 Union Bridge and a Starbucks at 208 Union Street.


Union Square is Aberdeen’s newest shopping centre and is located in the city centre at Guild Street.

It is a well designed and modern shopping centre with parking for 1700 cars. It also has Aberdeen’s largest 10 screen Cineworld cinema. The centre is open to 8pm on weekdays, 7pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays. Parking is really good with a multi-storey car park and around 1700 spaces.

There are numerous restaurants and cafes throughout Union Square all open from 11am to 11pm every day of the week, including Nando’s, Subway, Wagamama, YO! Sushi, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and lots of other high street favourites.

Shopping is pretty good too, including the following favourites: Apple Store, Marks & Spencers, TK Maax, Mamas & Papas, Dune, Zara, AB10, Next, Fat Face, Zara, Pure Spa and many other well known high street stores. TM Lewin the shirt makers are another favourite here, as is Zara’s being a great store for trendy fashionable clothes at good prices.

If you would like a relaxing bit of pampering or a beauty treatment then PURE Spa is the place to visit and indulge yourself after all that shopping!

Students should take full advantage of all the special deals and discounts which are on offer in many shops throughout the centre.


The Bon Accord Centre is linked to the St Nicholas Shopping Centre and the two are often regarded as the same centre. Both are located in the heart of the city centre and parking is available in nearby Harriet Street and Loch Street car parks.

The Bon-Accord Centre and the St Nicholas Centre joined not long ago to become the second largest shopping centre in Aberdeen. The centre is open 9am -6pm Mon – Sat and 5pm on a Sunday.

The centre has lots of excellent high street shops including: John Lewis, Topshop, Boots, Dorothy Perkins, Hobbs, Jo Malone, Karen Millen, Kurt Geiger, Menkind, Monsoon, Next, Oasis and River Island – to name but a few. There’s also a really good 20,000ft H&M clothing store selling womens, mens and childrens fashion.

A real favourite in the Bon Accord centre is the Build a Bear store where you can make your very own bear and accessorise it!

The centre doesn’t have many places to eat, but the John Lewis Coffee Cart located on the upper mall by the entrance to John Lewis offers sandwiches and snacks to eat in or take away. There’s also a Costa Coffee and The Good Food Store on the lower floor.

In the Bon Accord Centre there’s a really great shop for kids and grown-up kids called the ModelZone which sells everything from remote-controlled cars to Sci-Fi models, Airfix kits and Corgi models.


The St Nicholas Centre is linked to the Bon Accord Centre (see Bon Accord above) and is slightly smaller.

Opening times are the same as for the Bon Accord, except there’s late night shopping to 8pm on a Thursday (subject to change – please check).

Shops on offer currently include: Marks & Spencer, The Body Shop, Curry’s Digital, H&M, Jane Norman, La Senza, Lipsy, Miss Selfridge, WH Smith and other well known high street stores.

For a coffee or something to eat there’s M&S Cafe Revive and Starbucks.


The Academy Shopping Centre is centrally located in Belmont Street, just a short walk from Union Street, and definitely fills a gap in the market for upmarket high quality fashion brands. It’s located in a converted school house which gives it lots of character.

It’s a good place to head for ladies designer clothes and offers something a little more upmarket. The centre is open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm (Thurs 8pm) and 12pm-5pm on a Sunday.

There aren’t a huge number of stores, but they are very good quality with sought after brands. At the moment you will find Attic, Concept, iCandy, iiMusic and Jack Wills.

There are also some good bars, restaurants and cafes including Nando’s, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and the bar & restaurant Rye & Soda. One of the nicest features of the centre is the central open air courtyard which makes for some lovely alfresco dining in the summer. There’s also the Old School House Pub with its own beer garden.

The I-Candy hair and beauty salon is also well worth a visit for a little pampering.


The Trinity Centre is centrally located and Aberdeen’s oldest shopping centre. It’s home to around twenty good high street shops and is easy to find with access from Union Street and the railway station.

This is Aberdeen’s oldest shopping centre, but still has a lot to offer. The flagship store is Debenhams located over 3 floors which is always worth a look for clothes and things around the home. If shoes is your thing, the Schuh store is always worth a look.

Shops include: Debenhams, Primark, Argos, HMV, Waterstones, Schuh, Claire’s and Tresspass, amongst others.

Parking is available (400 spaces) via Wapping Street. Opening hours are Mon-Sat 9am-6pm (Thurs 8pm) and 11am-5pm on a Sunday.

Annual Festivals in Aberdeen & The North East

Aberdeen may not be the first city you think of when someone mentions ‘festivals’, but, as can be seen from the list below, there’s a surprising amount going on in and around the city.

  • Aberdeen & North East Music & Drama Festival (June) –
  • Aberdeen International Youth Festival (July) –
  • Aberdeen Jazz Festival (March) –
  • Aberdeen Winter Festival (Oct-Jan) –
  • Aberdeen 50+ Family Festival (September) –
  • Aboyne & Deeside Festival (July) –
  • Ballater Walking Festival (May) –
  • Ballater Victoria Week (August) –
  • Braemar Gathering (September) –
  • Braemar Creative Arts Festival (October) –
  • Coast Festival of the Arts (Banff & Macduff – May) –
  • DanceLive (October) –
  • Garioch Theatre Festival (June) –
  • Granite City Country Music Festival (August) –
  • Great Grampian Beer Festival (June) –
  • Haddo Arts Festival (October) –
  • Huntly Book Festival (October) –
  • In Motion Animation Festival (March) –
  • Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival (November) –
  • New Words (September) –
  • Pitmedden Community Music Festival (June) –
  • Scottish Traditional Boat Festival (Portsoy July) –
  • Sound – Scotland’s Festival of New Music (October) –
  • Spectra: Aberdeen’s Festival of Light (February) –
  • Stonehaven Folk Festival (July) –
  • Buchan Heritage Society – Strichen Festival (May) –
  • Taste of Grampian (June) –
  • Techfest in September –
  • The Big Beach Ball (May) –
  • The Enchanted Castle (Crathes Castle November) –
  • Ugie Folk Festival at Aden (July) – aden
  • University of Aberdeen May Festival –

Please note that all dates given are approximate. Festivals can be cancelled at short notice. Please check with the festival organiser before making plans to travel to Aberdeen.

cycling in aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council is working hard to make Aberdeen a cycle friendly place. They are currently developing a city cycling network in the aim of encouraging more people to travel by bike.

The council publishes a very useful Cycling Map which plots cycle lanes, places to lock bikes and recreational routes all around the city. Keen cyclists may also find the Aberdeen Cycle Forum website useful.

Aberdeen Cycling Routes


  • Edinburgh to Aberdeen via Dundee
  • 236 miles long; 29hrs 28min to cycle
  • National cycle network route number: 1 & 76

For the more experienced tourer, this is a great way to see the east coast of Scotland and all its wonderful fishing villages and castles.


  • Aberdeen to Inverness to John o’Groats, Orkney & The Shetlands
  • 556 miles long; 69hrs 31min to cycle
  • National cycle network route number: 1

This fabulous route takes you from Aberdeen to Inverness (150miles), from Inverness to John o’Groats (170miles) with the possibility of taking the ferry from Scrabster to Orkney and eventually The Shetland Isles. This route takes you into some fabulous highland scenery and the ancient peatlands of the Flow Country. Superb journey.

Aberdeen Golf Courses

Aberdeen is a great place for golfers, with some excellent courses in and around the city. Here’s a few of the most popular.


  • Tel. (01224) 702 571
  • 18 Holes, Par 70, Links, Length 6800

This Royal Aberdeen club dates back to 1780 and is home to a spectacular links course that should probably get more recognition.


  • Tel. (01224) 704 354
  • 18 Holes, Par 71, Links, Length 6504

This is a classic links course that everyone will thoroughly enjoy.


  • Tel. (01651) 863 002
  • 18 Holes, Par 72, Heathland, Length 6700

A challenging course that will hook you. Check out the par 72, 18 hole Swailend course too.


  • Tel. (01779) 812 285
  • 18 Holes, Par 70, Links, Length 6291

Although lying 23 miles north of Aberdeen we had to include this course. Founded in 1791, this is an absolute gem not to be missed.


  • Tel. (01330) 822 447
  • 18 Holes, Par 69, Parkland, Length 5801

Famous as the course where Paul Laurie started, this is a lovely course with great visitor facilities.

Popular Aberdeen Hotels

Aberdeen offers lots of excellent accommodation in one of the busiest and industrious cities in Scotland. There are many hundreds of hotels, guest houses and B&Bs that cater, not only for tourists, but also for the many oil-related personnel that come to work in Aberdeen every year.

There are plenty of excellent Aberdeen hotels to choose from including the stylish Malmaison Hotel in Queens Road and the contemporary Bauhaus Hotel in the city centre, which offers a new style of ‘value for money’ boutique accommodation in Aberdeen city centre.

For those visitors who would rather stay in a guest house or a bed and breakfast, Aberdeen offers a good range of accommodation to suit all budgets and requirements. As many oil workers spend considerable time in the city away from home, many prefer the more homely comforts and personal touches offered by guest house accommodation. Most offer very high standards of accommodation and excellent value for money in one of the busiest and bustling cities in Europe.


  • (4 star)
  • 49-53 Queen’s Road, Aberdeen AB15 4YP
  • Tel. (01224) 327 370

Part of the Malmaison boutique hotel chain, this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s in a central location and has the usual style and flair we expect from this group. There are 80 luxurious rooms and suites, some with a private terrace. There’s a very stylish brasserie and bar called the “Mal”. The brasserie is very good and dishes pleasingly include good local produce. The bar has it’s very own “whisky snug” which is basically a really cosy snug to chill out in with your favourite dram. There is also an excellent wine tasting cellar which is great fun if you’d like to try and educate your taste buds to the delicacies of fine wine. One feature we absolutely love is the fact you can bring your dog to stay with you – what a great idea! There is also a well-equipped gym and a spa offering a nail bar, tanning and steam room. This is a great hotel to escape to.


  • (4 star)
  • 2 Whitehall Place, Aberdeen, AB25 6SY
  • Tel. (01224) 659 392

These are centrally located self-catering apartments near to His Majesty’s Theatre and Aberdeen Music Hall. A free continental breakfast is provided every morning in the restaurant (breakfasts only) with a full cooked breakfast costing extra. The excellent rooms have all been individually designed and range from traditional to contemporary. Each has a kitchenette with stove, fridge and microwave. The rooms also come with Sat TV and a laundry/dry cleaning service is available. Free parking and free WiFi are the icing on the cake. Child care facilities are also available. The idea is to provide a “home away from home” and they certainly seem to have fulfilled this – particularly with the excellent kitchenette facilities. A really nice touch that we like is the provision of free tea and coffee in the lounge area. The staff are friendly and efficient and we are confident to recommend these apartments.


  • (4 star)
  • 52-60 Langstane Place, Aberdeen, AB11 6EN
  • Tel. (01224) 212 122

The Bauhaus Hotel is a contemporary, granite building located in the heart of Aberdeen city centre, close to Union Street. It is the first high quality, no fuss, value-for-money boutique hotel in Aberdeen. The hotel provides easy access to the city’s shops, nightlife and sights and offers a little style and flair without breaking the bank. Their lovely cocktails, fabulous linen, flat screen TV’s, free wifi, and luxurious Aveda bathroom products all help to make this one of the best urban hotels in Aberdeen. Grant Walker has opened up a brand new restaurant within Bauhaus which offers a la carte dining and an extensive choice of local produce, beautifully prepared and presented. The bar has luxury leather sofas for you to sink into and is a popular place for meeting up, offering a large selection of bottled beers, fine wines, champagne, spirits and cocktails. A great hotel.


  • (4 star)
  • 31 St. Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA
  • Tel. (01224) 451 444

Set in the heart of Aberdeen, the Hilton Garden Inn is conveniently located just minutes from the city’s train and bus stations. The luxurious rooms feature luxurious Garden Sleep System beds, free WiFi access, LCD TV’s and luxurious bathrooms, containing both a separate bath and double sized walk-in rain showers. For business travellers there is a handy 24-hour business center with secretarial services. There is also a complimentary Fitness Centre and a good on-site restaurant, the Granite City Grill.


  • (3 star)
  • 1 Justice Mill Lane, Aberdeen, AB11 6EQ
  • Tel. (01224) 592 999

The Park Inn is a stylish, contemporary hotel located in the city centre of Aberdeen, just moments from Union Street and close to the vibrant west end. The hotel offers 185 colourful, modern rooms overlooking the nearby harbour or city centre. In-room amenities include a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee facilities and individual climate control. The in-house RBG Bar & Grill serves a breakfast buffet and a la carte lunch and dinner service. The hotel’s contemporary bar combines an international drink menu with outstanding Scottish hospitality. The fitness room has a variety of exercise equipment, a plasma-screen television and individual changing facilities. There’s also a public car park available.


  • (4 star)
  • 96 Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, AB25 1NX
  • Tel. (01224) 659 392

Rosemount’s serviced accommodation is within the city’s Rosemount neighbourhood only a few minutes’ walk from the theatre, art galleries and shopping centres. The suites provide smart, modern & comfortable serviced accommodation in Aberdeen with the additional benefit of hotel services. The suites have been designed by leading interior designers to offer guests a “minimal, streamline aesthetic” – from the duplex penthouses offering bright and airy loft-style living to a more homely environment in Rothko’s tequila sunrise hues. Established in 1979, Skene House has created a unique niche to satisfy the needs of business and leisure travellers who want a more spacious and comfortable alternative to an ordinary hotel room and more services and facilities than the typical serviced apartment in Aberdeen. If you’re not so keen on hotel rooms, this may be an option worth considering.


  • (4 star)
  • Overton Circle-Dyce, Aberdeen, AB21 7AZ
  • Tel. (01224) 77 00 11

Located 6 miles from the city centre and 3 miles from the airport, the Aberdeen Marriot hotel offers luxury 4 star accommodation with good leisure facilities, a swimming pool and a gym. It is also located near the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC). The stylish accommodation and rooms have air conditioning, a work space, mini-bar, 24 hour service and wireless internet. The Ballroom can hold up to 300 guests and is ideal as a wedding venue or for private functions. The restaurant creates wonderful Scottish and International dishes and Chats Café Bar offers an informal setting for catching up with family and friends. There is also a good indoor pool and sauna and a well-equipped fitness centre. Parking is free for registered guests.


  • (4 star)
  • Westhill Drive, Westhill, Aberdeen, AB32 6TT
  • Tel. (01224) 270 300

The Holiday Inn is just 10-minutes drive from the city centre and the airport. The standard air conditioned bedrooms incorporate the very latest in design and technology and for extra space and comfort you can upgrade to one of their executive rooms or suites. The hotel is serviced by a 24-hour food and beverage operation that includes a Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, the relaxing Glentanar Lounge Bar, Scots Corner themed bar, 24-hour Room Service and a full conference and banqueting facility. The hotel also has a fully equipped gymnasium, sauna facility and beauty salon.


  • (3 star)
  • Straik Road, Westhill, Aberdeen, AB32 6HF
  • Tel. 0870 990 6348

On the A944 to Alford road, less than 8 miles from Aberdeen city centre, this Premier Inn offers great value, with free parking and spacious, comfortable and modern rooms. The Arnhall Business Park and Westhill Industrial Estate are within walking distance. The spacious, en-suite rooms come with power showers and baths and high quality super-king sized beds. Some rooms can take 2 adults and up to 2 children (under 16 years). The 2 children also get a free full breakfast when accompanied by an adult eating a full breakfast. Free on-site parking. While not everyone’s cup of tea, this Premier Inn is well run, comfortable and great value for money, especially if you book early.


  • (4 star)
  • 47 Regent Quay, Aberdeen, AB11 5BE
  • Tel. (01224) 589 282

These are luxury, serviced apartments, just a few minutes walk from the city centre, with a choice of 1 to 4 bedroom apartments. Facilities include free parking, breakfast, WiFi, welcome hamper, health club entry, baby & child package, daily maid service, concierge, XBox 360 & Wii, plasma TV, hi-fi, fully fitted kitchen, skype phone and stunning harbour views. Everything you need when you’re away from home and especially if you are in a big group or have a family. This is a place to relax and enjoy the space and freedom that only a private apartment can really offer. Close to the Union Square retail complex and restaurants, cinemas, pubs, shops and museums in the city centre. (There is also a 5 star, 5 bedroom country house available for weekly, self-catering lets, 20 miles to the west of Aberdeen).

Aberdeen Bed & Breakfast

Aberdeen has some excellent Bed and Breakfast accommodation of a very high standard. If you’re not so keen on staying in a hotel, the following Aberdeen B&B’s should serve you well.


  • 3 Redmoss Walk, Altens, Aberdeen AB12 3JL
  • Tel. 07525 395 001
  • Free Wi-Fi.

Crayfords is a great guest house located in a lovely residential area of Aberdeen. All rooms have LCD TV’s, Tea&coffee facilities and WiFi access. It is in a quietly located cul-de-sac and very convenient for the gas and oil offices around Altens, Tullos & Nigg (reduced rates are offered for longer term stays). The city centre is only a short drive away. There is off-road parking which is a bonus. The rooms themselves are clean and modern and most come with double beds and walk in luxury showers.


  • (4 star)
  • 422 King Street, Aberdeen AB24 3BR
  • Tel. (01224) 638 295
  • 4 Stars. Wi-Fi. 10 rooms.

The Jays Guest House is an attractive, traditional, detached granite house in a handy central location (Union street short drive/bus journey away). There is free private parking and all ten rooms (8 ensuite) have freeview satellite TV, tea/coffee facilities, double glazing and central heating. The rooms are clean and traditionally furnished. A free Wi-Fi connection is available. There is an excellent cooked breakfast. This is a real gem that people clearly love, mainly down to the owners wonderful hospitality. You won’t be disappointed.


  • (4 star)
  • Strawberry Field Road, Westhill, Aberdeen AB32 6TB
  • Tel. (01224) 279 640
  • 4 Star. Wi-Fi. 8 rooms.

Kilnhall is situated in a semi-rural location on the outskirts of the town of Westhill, about 7 miles west of Aberdeen city centre. Kilnhall has an impressive entrance and dining hall with original granite walls and a large wood burning stove. The double rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and furnished and each have their own en-suite. The rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TV and hair dryer. Underfloor heating is throughout the ground floor, with individual controls in each room. There is a local Taxi service and ample private parking.


  • (4 star)
  • Ann Street, Stonehaven, Aberdeen AB39 2DA
  • Tel. (01569) 762 381
  • 4 Star. Wi-Fi. 4 rooms en-suite.

Arduthie House is a lovely detached Victorian house located in the lovely seaside town of Stonehaven, which is around a 15-20 minutes drive from Aberdeen. Arduthie House is the ideal place to relax and explore the North East of Scotland during a vacation. The 4 en-suite rooms are very tastefully decorated and furnished.


  • 169 Bon-Accord Street, Aberdeen AB11 6UA
  • Tel. (01224) 590 867
  • Free Wi-Fi. Restaurant & Bar. 9 rooms en-suite.

Ferryhill House is set back from the main street, in its own private gardens, giving it almost a country feel. The hotel has 9 en-suite bedrooms with Sky television, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary wi-fi and trouser presses. The Malt Room Bar is a very popular and friendly venue for a wide range of clientele and a real ‘local’ for those who live in the Ferryhill area. The Restaurant, which opens out onto a spacious conservatory offers an extensive menu with dishes to suit all tastes, whether conservative, traditional, or adventurous. Local produce is used wherever possible and fresh fish is delivered daily. Ample parking is available.


  • (4 star)
  • 56 Polmuir Road, Aberdeen AB11 7RT
  • Tel. (01224) 584 484
  • 4 Stars. Free Wi-Fi. 7 rooms.

The Aberdeen Allan Guest House is situated in a quiet yet convenient location for shopping, site seeing or a relaxing stay whatever the occasion. Only a few minutes walk from Europe’s largest indoor garden situated within the Duthie Park, all rooms are tastefully decorated with a touch of tartan and have TV’s ,hospitality tray, hair dryer and en-suite or private bathroom/shower facilities. For those who enjoy a wee dram, bottled beer or glass of wine there is a table licence. There is also a self-catering, executive apartment within a mansion house, two minutes walk from the Aberdeen Allan Guest House that sleeps 2-4 people.


  • Greenford, Wartle, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 5BA
  • Tel. (01467) 671 354
  • 3 Rooms.

Standing Gables looks out onto the beautiful Bennachie Mountain and is located in beautiful countryside around 25 miles west of Aberdeen. There are three rooms all of which are very attractively appointed which offer irons, hair dryers, ironing boards and tea & coffee facilities. There is also a lounge, for guests to relax in pleasant surroundings, with a real coal fire and a stunning view of Bennachie. There is a fantastic garden with lovely views and a luscious green lawn for children to play on. Parking is also available.


  • (3 star)
  • South Deeside Road, Maryculter, Aberdeen AB12 5FX
  • Tel. (01224) 733 212
  • 3 Stars. Restaurant. 7 rooms en-suite.

The Old Mill Inn is a family run country inn, located only 5 miles from Aberdeen on the edge of the River Dee. All the rooms are en-suite and offer tea/coffee, TV’s, telephones & hairdryers. The rooms are plainly decorated but functional and comfortable. The restaurant has a varied menu and daily specials take advantage of seasonal produce.


  • (3 star)
  • 138 Bon Accord Street, Aberdeen AB11 6TX
  • Tel. (01224) 580 012
  • 3 Stars. 7 Rooms.

Aldersyde is a traditional granite villa, with many original features, just minutes from Union street (City Centre) and the bus/train stations. There are seven well-furnished bedrooms and all have a TV and tea/coffee making facilities. Rooms on offer include single, twin, double and family rooms for your stay.


  • (3 star)
  • 92 North Deeside Road, Peterculter, Aberdeen AB14 0QN
  • Tel. (01224) 732 189
  • 3 Stars. Free Wi-Fi. 9 rooms.

Furain Guest House is a late Victorian house built from red granite located on the A93, 8 miles west of Aberdeen. The guest house is located in a region of very lovely countryside and is an ideal base for those wishing to explore Aberdeenshire. Drum and Crathes Castle are only a few minutes drive away and the River Dee is close by. The rooms are very comfortable and come with Freeview TV in every room and free WiFi. Golf can even be arranged at the local course, Peterculter Golf Club. Evening meals can be served by prior arrangement. Parking is available.

Hogmanay Parties in Aberdeen

Aberdeen has a good choice of venues for celebrating Hogmanay. The pick of the bunch, however, must be the spectacular Fireballs Ceremony in nearby Stonehaven, which is one of the best ways to see in the New Year anywhere in Scotland.


circa 31 December – 9pm-Midnight

Aberdeen organises a fireworks display which is normally held from the rooftop of His Majesty’s Theatre. The best vantage points are Union Bridge, Union Terrace, Blackfriars Street and Schoolhill. Also, don’t forget that there’s normally live music on Union Street too.


circa 31 December

Bring in the New Year in style at the Beach Ballroom with a traditional Hogmanay Ceilidh. There’s normally a great Ceilidh band with a piper, stovies and a glass of bubbly to bring in the New Year.


circa 31 December

The traditional Hogmanay Concert at Aberdeen Music Hall is a fantastic celebration of all things Scottish and a truly uplifting way to bring in the New year.


circa 31 December

This amazing annual festival is held at Hogmanay in the lovely seaside town of Stonehaven, just a short drive south of Aberdeen. The ceremony involves around 45 “swingers” parading up and down Stonehaven high street swinging fireballs around their heads to welcome in the New Year. This is something a little different and very worthwhile supporting. It’s free – no ticket required!


circa 31 December

Enjoy a black tie, sparkling drinks reception at the Hilton Aberdeen Treetops with a mouth watering Hogmanay dinner served in the Atrium. Entertainment always includes a fantastic Ceilidh band to dance in the New Year. Over 18’s only.


circa 31 December

The Hogmanay Party at Pittodrie has become one of the biggest Hogmanay parties in Aberdeen. Glass of fizz on arrival followed by a 3 course Hogmanay dinner. DJ’s, Ceilidh band and piper. Lots of fun, good food and frolics!


circa 31 December

The Mercure offers a wonderful traditional Scottish Hogmanay party, normally starting off with a canape reception, followed by a four-course dinner, a Ceilidh band, disco and a pipe band to bring in the new year.

The Mercure also holds a Hogmanay Family Ceilidh with lots of family fun and entertainment for children. In previous years there’s been a 3-course Scottish carvery, Ceilidh band, disco and pipe band duo to see in the New Year.


circa 31 December

One of Aberdeen’s best-known venues always has a great Hogmanay party to bring in the New Year.


circa 31 December

Another great Aberdeen venue that always puts on a great New year party.

All dates given are approximate. Events can be cancelled at short notice. Please check with the event organiser before making plans to travel to Aberdeen.

Popular Districts of Aberdeen

If you’re moving to Aberdeen you’ll be keen to find out more about its popular residential districts. Below is a brief guide to some of the most popular areas and districts to live in Aberdeen.

Bridge of Don, Aberdeen

Bridge of Don in Aberdeen lies around 3 miles to the north of Aberdeen city centre and is one of the largest residential suburbs, not just in Aberdeen, but also in Europe.

The area includes such districts as Danestone and Denmore and housing is typically modern, consisting of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom detached and semi-detached family homes, along with 1, 2 & 3 bedroom flats. There are also bungalows and the odd period property that existed long before the developers moved in.

Bridge of Don is also home to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) where many major music gigs, sports events and community events take place throughout the year.

For golf lovers, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is based here. Donald Trump’s new golf course at Balmedie is also nearby.

There are excellent local shops, including a Tesco supermarket, pubs, restaurants and other good recreational facilities including a swimming pool, sports centres, bowling clubs, golf course and a library.

Transport links are excellent in the area with many of the outlying bus services stopping outside the AECC and continuing down King Street into the city centre. There are two regular bus services into the City centre.

This is an area favoured by families and executives alike for its convenience to Aberdeen airport, the “oil headquarters” and industrial estates at both Bridge of Don and Dyce.

Local Schools:

  • Upper Westfield School
  • Danestone Primary School
  • Balgownie Nursery Primary School
  • Scotstown Primary School
  • Greenbrae Primary School
  • Bridge of Don Academy
  • Oldmachar Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Bucksburn, Aberdeen

Bucksburn in Aberdeen is a well established residential suburb on the western fringes of Aberdeen, approximately 4 miles north-west of the city centre.

The main arterial road serving the district is the A96 Auchmill/Inverurie dual carriageway which takes commuters in and out of the city centre and is the main link to Aberdeen Airport from the city.

The area has a mix of residential properties, typically including 1 & 2 bedroom flats, 2 & 3 bedroom terraced houses and 3 & 4 bedroom semi-detached houses.

Bucksburn is served by a good range of amenities and everyday shops, pubs and hotels (including a bakers, florists, chemists, Co-op store etc) with a Tesco and Asda Supermarket and Dyce shopping centre a short journey away by car. Bucksburn also benefits from a post office, library, doctor surgeries, community leisure centre and swimming pool.

The area is convenient for Aberdeen International airport and Dyce industrial Estate to the north, which are both just a short journey away by car. The area is served by good primary and secondary schools including Bankhead Academy. For those working in the city centre of Aberdeen, there are regular buses running along Auchmill Road.

Recreationally, the countryside is on your doorstep for long walks and for those into golf there are a number of good 18 hole golf courses nearby, including the attractive Craibstone, although membership is limited. Swimmers can join Bucksburn Amateur Swimming Club which has over 100 members and encourages swimmers of all ages and abilities to join.

Bucksburn is probably most famously known for its excellent Pipe Band – Bucksburn & District Pipe Band – which was established in 1947 by Gordon Highlanders, reputedly in the Four Mile Inn, which is still a much-favoured venue today. The junior band were Scottish, British and World Champions in 2008.

Local Schools:

  • Newhills Primary School
  • Bucksburn Primary School (merging with Newhills)
  • Stoneywood Primary School
  • Bucksburn Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Aberdeen City Centre

Aberdeen city centre is a bustling, lively and dynamic place featuring many shops, pubs, bars, clubs and much more!

In recent years, new housing developments have steadily grown, however, a majority of the housing is still in the form of the city’s famous granite terraces and buildings.

The likes of Union Street, George Street and King Street host lots of flats which are very popular with students for their convenient location to the universities.

Aberdeen is now home to a brand new, state of the art shopping centre called “Union Square”. It hosts many of shopping’s biggest names plus many more new stores in the fields of fashion and technology.

The main thoroughfare, Union Street, is itself full of may interesting shops large and small. Aberdeen is also renowned for the wide choice of pubs and nightclubs it has to offer – residents and visitors are always guaranteed a great night out!

Transportation links are very strong to Aberdeen and the city centre in particular. Aberdeen train station, recently revamped to link with Union Square, is easily accessible and the main bus station is situated right next to it. Buses run from the centre to Aberdeen Airport on a regular basis.

Local Schools:

  • Gilcomstoun Primary School
  • Ferryhill Primary School
  • Hanover Street Primary School
  • Skene Square Primary School
  • Aberdeen Grammar School
  • Harlaw Academy
  • St Margaret’s School for Girls (fee paying)
  • Robert Gordon’s College (fee paying)
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen

Craigiebuckler in Aberdeen is a well established residential suburb of Aberdeen, located around 2 miles south-west of the city centre. It is a popular suburb with families and characterised by pleasant tree lined streets and lots of open green space and parkland.

The local schools; Walker Dam Infant School, Hazlehead Primary School and Hazlehead Academy are all very popular. The Academy is a modern comprehensive that encourages pupils to flourish in all sporting arenas and all are within easy walking distance of Craigiebuckler.

The area has a library and everyday shops including those at Seafield and Mannofield. Craigiebuckler Parish Church, built in 1883, is an attractive granite, gothic style church which sits on the cusp of Springfield Road and Craigiebuckler Avenue. The church is very much involved in the local community hosting various community events throughout the year and lots of clubs and organisations, including Badminton, Bowling, Girl Guides, The Boys’ Brigade and Kids Groups.

The accommodation in this area is mostly spacious 3-bed semi-detached houses with garages, but there are also detached, individually designed, houses from Springfield Road up to Queen Road and round to Hazlehead.

Hazlehead Park, located a few minutes drive away to the west, offers a multitude of sporting and recreational activities via its attractive 180 hectares of wooded parkland that includes 2 golf courses, pitch n putt, football fields, children play areas, rose gardens, a maze and cafe, not to mention the lovely walks throughout the park. There is also an excellent summer activity programme for all ages including Highland Games and Steam Engine Rallies.

For those into their horses, Hayfield Stables are a large livery and teaching stables located in the centre of Hazelhead. This is a well established equine centre who provided the horses for the Mel Gibson classic movie Hamlet. Hazlehead also has a swimming pool and 18 hole golf course which are easy for Craigiebuckler residents to access.

Craigiebuckler is particularly convenient for those working at the West End of the City, the new commercial centre at Westhill, or those working at the oil offices at Hill of Rubislaw. The Macaulay Institute, an international centre for research into the environmental and social consequences of rural land uses is located in Craigiebuckler and employs quite a few people locally.

The area is well served by buses from the terminus at Craigiebuckler or nearby Hazlehead into the city centre and beyond. For car owners there is relatively good access to most of the major arterial roads into Aberdeen and other parts of the city.

Local Schools:

  • Walker Dam Nursery School
  • Hazlehead Primary School
  • Airyhall Primary School
  • St Joseph’s R.C. Primary School
  • Hazlehead Academy
  • Aberdeen Waldorf School (fee paying)
  • Albyn School (fee paying)
  • The Hamilton Montessori School
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Dyce, Aberdeen

Dyce in Aberdeen is a very popular residential suburb of Aberdeen, lying around 6 miles North West of the City centre and close to Aberdeen Airport.

With its own unique identity, some people regard it as a separate village in its own right and it certainly benefits from a good number of open green spaces. It is perhaps most associated with nearby Aberdeen Airport and, despite its distance from the city centre, is very easy to reach with excellent bus services and a regular rail link into Aberdeen city centre.

Dyce is also home to the major oil companies who depend on Aberdeen airport to conduct business operations.

Dyce has a very varied housing stock ranging from 1, 2 & 3-bed flats to new 2-bed executive flats and modern detached and semi-detached houses with up to 6 bedrooms.

The area is served by two bus routes from the City centre and also has its own train station with links to rural Aberdeenshire, Inverness and into Aberdeen city centre itself.

Dyce is a particularly convenient location for those working at the airport and the industrial estates at both Dyce and Bridge of Don. Shopping and recreational facilities in the area are very good and include an Asda superstore and Tesco Express and a swimming pool, squash club, bowling club, library and community centre amongst others.

For families moving to the area there are good primary and secondary schools (see below). Particularly worthy of mention, however, is Aberdeen City Music School (ACMS) which caters for children with excellent musical ability from all over Scotland.

Local Schools:

  • Dyce Primary School
  • Stoneywood Primary School
  • Dyce Academy
  • Aberdeen City Music School
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Garthdee, Aberdeen

Garthdee in Aberdeen is a very popular residential area about 2 miles south-west of Aberdeen city centre.

It is where the whole of Robert Gordon University intends to be based in the next ten years and already, most of the Universities courses and students are based in the Garthdee Campus (Garthdee is also now home to the popular Gray’s School of Art).

Unlike much of Aberdeen city centre, there is virtually no traditional terraced granite housing in the Garthdee district. The area is mainly composed of spacious 2-bed ex-local authority flats, 3-bed terraced houses and some new build blocks of flats.

Transportation links are frequent with two of the cities main bus services running through Garthdee to the city centre.

The Robert Gordon University Garthdee campus is also home to a £10 million state of the art sports facility which features a gym, swimming pool and a large sports hall. Membership is happily open to both students and the public.

Shopping and recreational activities in Garthdee are never far away and, in particular, there is a large shopping complex nearby at Bridge of Dee, including both a Sainsburys and Asda supermarket and a Boots the chemist.

For those wanting to do up a property there’s also a handy B&Q Diy store close by on Garthdee Road. For recreation, there is the nearby lovely Duthie Park and good walks can be had along the old Deeside Railway Line which runs close by.

There is easy access to Aberdeen city centre by bus and the Aberdeen city ring road by car. The industrial estates “Tullos” and “Altens” are also easily accessible from Garthdee.

Local Schools:

  • Kaimhill Primary School
  • Craighill School (no website)
  • Kincorth Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Kittybrewster, Aberdeen

Kittybrewster in Aberdeen is thought to derive its name from the Gaelic ‘Cuitan Briste’ meaning broadly ‘broken fold’. Alternative theory suggests it comes from the Gaelic name meaning ‘stepping stones over a bog’. Either way, Kittybrewster is a primarily residential area located North of Aberdeen city centre and South West of the historical centre known as Old Aberdeen.

Given that three railways lines have run through this area over the years (all but one of them are now disused) much of the land belonged to the railway as station sites and has since been developed into either residential accommodation, or more recently retail park developments.

Accommodation in the area is very mixed in style too, with a blend of older, traditional tenement style properties with some modern new-build developments mixed in too. Albeit mainly a residential area with modern retail attachments, Kittybrewster does have some identity of its own in the form of small traditional shops and a few ‘local’ type bars.

A short journey away at the beach is “Queen Links” which offers a wide range of shops and recreational facilities including an ice rink, multi-screen cinema, swimming pool and a variety of bars, restaurants and cafes.

In Kittybrewster itself there is the “Junction Retail Park” which offers the likes of Comet, Halfords, Staples and other big name stores. Also close by is the “Berryden retail park” which has, amongst others, a Sainsbury’s superstore, Mothercare and Next. You are therefore never far away from most of the best high street shops!

Worthy of mention is the 3 star Northern Hotel located in Kittybrewster at 1 Great Northern Road. It was built in 1939 in a striking Art Deco Style and is now an A listed building with a very unusual violin shaped hall in the ballroom.

Despite being a mile and a half or so from central Aberdeen, Kittybrewster is perfectly accessible given that two main roads, the A9012 and the A978, join within the boundaries of this district. As you’d expect, there are regular bus services in and out of the city centre.

Kittybrewster is very convenient for those working at Foresterhill Hospital, the Royal Infirmary, the Royal Cornhill Hospital and for Aberdeen University Kings College Campus.

Local Schools:

  • Kittybrewster Primary School
  • Woodside Primary School
  • Cornhill School
  • St Machar Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Mastrick, Aberdeen

Mastrick in Aberdeen is a primarily residential area of Aberdeen, situated in a position roughly two and a half miles west of the City Centre. It is a growing commuter area nowadays with access to all parts of Aberdeen and very easy to reach by car or by public transport.

The accommodation in Mastrick is primarily a mixture of flats and small houses (usually 2 & 3-bed terraces) with a fairly significant proportion of them still being council owned. The average house price in the district is lower than in other parts of the city. That said, the area’s accessibility and proximity to hospitals, schools and open spaces such as Hazelhead Park, make Mastrick an up and coming district which is sure to be popular with young people looking to get their first foot on the property ladder. It isn’t traditionally a student area, but the location of nearby Foresterhill Teaching Hospital has meant an influx of medical staff and students over the years.

There are small pockets of retail in the area, but most of them are of convenience store type and consequently the facilities of the city centre and other nearby districts such as Northfield or Summerhill may provide better alternatives.

There is a very good community centre in the area which offers a wide variety of recreational activities and a public library in the Mastrick Shopping Centre located at Greenfern Road. The shopping centre also contains a Boots, Post Office, Sem-Chem and the Clydesdale – all handy for everyday needs in the area.

Mastrick is very much an area on the up and a £400,000 regeneration project was completed in recent years to help improve the amenities, appearance and prosperity of the area.

This area is particularly handy for those working at nearby Woodend Hospital, the Aberdeenshire Council Headquarters, Foresterhill and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Maternity Hospital.

Local Schools:

  • Kingsford Primary School
  • Muirfield Nursery & Primary School
  • Holy Family R.C. Primary School
  • Fernielea Primary School
  • Hazlehead Academy
  • Northfield Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Northfield, Aberdeen

Northfield in Aberdeen, located between the residential districts of Mastrick and Bucksburn, is a well established residential area of Aberdeen located around two miles North West of Aberdeen City Centre.

It is a relatively affordable residential area and also easy to get to with car and bus access straightforward, given the numerous road links which straddle this suburb of Aberdeen. It has consequently become relatively popular with students and 1st-time buyers, attracted to the area by its affordability and accessibility.

Property in Northfield mainly comprises of ex-local authority 2 & 3 bedroom semi’s and terraced houses and upper and lower villa flats.

Northfield has enough convenience stores alongside a couple of small supermarkets to meet everyday shopping needs. The area is well served by primary and secondary schools, nurseries, a medical centre, library and local church. There are also numerous larger retail developments just a short journey away by car or bus.

There is also a local community centre, an outdoor centre offering bowling, tennis courts and an 18 hole putting green, plus a really good swimming pool at Kettlehills Crescent. Northfield is also home to the Aberdeen Youth Choir who offer free group singing lessons to children 8-18 years.

Northfield has a lot going for it, particularly in terms of affordability and access. The Industrial estates, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Aberdeen Airport are all within easy reach of Northfield, with the main arterial roads, the A96 Great Northern Road (to the city centre) and the A90 North Anderson Drive (to the south & north) both running close by.

Local Schools:

  • Manor Park Primary School
  • Northfield Academy
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Old Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen is located around 2 miles north of Aberdeen city centre and is home to Aberdeen University. It has the traditional architecture, history and atmosphere that you would rightly expect when visiting a university that dates back to 1495.

Old Aberdeen used to be an entirely separate burgh from Aberdeen and contains many historically important buildings such as St Machar’s Cathedral, Kings College Quadrangle, Elphinstone Hall and the imposing Old Town House. A walk down the charming cobbled High Street is very popular with visitors and a very definite ‘everyday perk’ for students and staff living on campus.

Unsurprisingly, Old Aberdeen has a high population of students and academics with the majority of property around the High Street belonging to the University, although a few residences are privately owned. Much of the housing available to students is either in the halls of residence or privately on the edge of Old Aberdeen, typically along the Spital Heyes – a street that runs from just on the outskirts of the city centre through to Old Aberdeen.

Accommodation can also be found nearby in areas like Linksfield and Pittodrie and along King Street and Bedford Road and streets thereabout (e.g. Sunnyside Road and Froghall Terrace). Property varies tremendously in the area from fine period properties to granite bungalows and 1,2 & 3-bed modern flats.

A regular bus runs through Old Aberdeen to the City Centre and also in the opposite direction towards Hillhead (Halls of Residence) and Seaton Park which has lovely walks along the River Don. Buses also run regularly from Bedford Road and King Street to the City Centre.

Aberdeen’s new Sports Village has recently opened in nearby Linksfield which hosts a state of the art swimming pool, an indoor football pitch and even a running track.

Old Aberdeen is a little gem and well worth a visit whether a student or not!

Local Schools:

  • St Peter’s R.C. Primary School
  • Seaton School
  • Hanover Street Primary School
  • St Machar Academy Secondary School
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Rosemount, Aberdeen

Rosemount in Aberdeen, generally referring to the streets around Rosemount Place, is a district of central Aberdeen located about 1/2 mile north-west of the actual City Centre. Nearby areas include Queen’s Cross and Berryden, but Rosemount has an identity all of its own.

Primarily a central residential area, Rosemount is characterised by granite tenement buildings which are entirely representative of the boom in house building in the Victorian era, with an abundance of beautiful Victorian villas at the western end of the neighbourhood.

The houses are, on the whole, at the larger end of the scale, particularly near the picturesque Victoria and Westburn Parks, but there are also plenty of smaller tenement flats in the area too en route up Skene Street and Esslemont Avenue, amongst others. The traditional tenement flats to be found in the area are normally one or two bedroom and very popular with renters and first-time buyers for their close proximity to the city centre and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Being within walking distance of Union Street in the city centre makes this a very popular area in which to live and is populated with lots of specialist shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Rosemount itself remains a thriving commercial area nowadays too, with a good number of traditional stores and boutique style shops and generally you would describe this part of town as one of the more trendy parts, but also one of the more expensive areas in which to rent property.

The recently refurbished and extended His Majesty’s Theatre is located at the Rosemount Viaduct as are Aberdeen Central Library, the Cowdray Hall and Aberdeen Art Gallery. Union Terrace Gardens are situated directly below and in front of the theatre.

Rosemount is earmarked for development into an open civic area for the people of Aberdeen. This has been funded partly by a very generous donation from Sir Ian Wood, a local businessman to the tune of £50 million pounds.

In Skene Street, Aberdeen Grammar School is a popular Secondary School whose records were first shown in the Burgh Records for the year 1418! Here is also Robert Gordon’s College, a fee paying co-educational school founded in 1729. The area is served well by local buses numbers 3 and 23.

Local Schools:

  • Gilcomstoun Primary School
  • Riverbank Primary School
  • Skene Square Primary School
  • Aberdeen Grammar School
  • Robert Gordon’s College (fee paying)
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Ruthrieston, Aberdeen

Ruthrieston in Aberdeen is a residential area located approximately one and a half miles south-west of Union Street and Aberdeen city centre.

Ruthrieston is well served by local roads, being very close to the A90 South Anderson Drive (one of the city’s main arterial routes north and southwards) and Holborn Street and Riverside Drive which both provide quick and easy access to the city centre, as well as the main routes south of the nearby River Dee.

There is a real mixture of property styles in Ruthrieston with 20th Century bungalows, detached granite houses, traditional granite tenement flats and modern blocks of flats (along Riverside Drive) all available in the area. It’s an established area which is popular with families and doesn’t have any commercial activity.

There are a small number of everyday shops in the area, but the nearby Garthdee retail complex at Bridge of Dee has excellent supermarkets (Sainsbury’s & a large Asda Wal-Mart) and high street shops such as Boots, Currys and B&Q.

The area is very convenient for Robert Gordon’s new Garthdee Campus and the Garthdee Sports and Adventure Park at Bridge of Dee which even has it’s own dry ski slope.

The area has a bit of space about it and perhaps a slightly sleepy suburban feel. The River Dee is a short walk to the south, as is the lovely Duthie Park and Winter Gardens to the east, which are enduringly popular destinations for the whole family.

Ruthrieston is a great place to consider staying if you work at the Tullos or Altens industrial estates which are a short journey away by car along the West Tullos Road.

In all, Ruthrieston is a good family orientated suburb with many positives.

Local Schools:

  • Broomhill Primary School
  • Kaimhill Primary School
  • Abbotswell Primary School
  • Kincorth Academy Secondary School
  • (subject to catchment areas)

Torry, Aberdeen

Torry in Aberdeen is a popular residential district, located on the south bank of the River Dee, about 1 mile south of Aberdeen city centre. It is connected to the nearby city centre by three bridges of which Victoria Bridge provides the most direct access.

Although historic Torry was once designated a Royal Burgh in its own right, the image of the area in recent times hasn’t been so grand. Renowned at one time for its fishing industry community, the decline of the fishing industry did not help the area, although it still maintains a good community spirit today and is becoming more and more popular.

The area has a good mix of property types available including inter alia traditional granite tenements of 1 and 2-bed flats, terraced granite houses and 3-bed semi-detached villas.

Torry has a wide range of local amenities including good everyday shops, public transport, a municipal golf course (Balnagask), swimming pool, library, community and sports centre. For more extensive shopping, the city centre is only a short journey away as is the wonderful new Union Square Shopping Mall.

Torry even has it’s own scheduled ancient monument – a fortified Battery which was last used during the second world war. The “Torry Point Battery” was built around 1860 primarily in response to the threat of French Invasion and was last used as a training ground for troops during the second world war. The Battery is one of Aberdeen’s most interesting places and well worth a visit.

The area also offers easy access to the oil and commercial industrial estates of Tullos and Altens. which are located a short journey southwards.

Although Torry has not been so well thought of in the past and has been regarded as an area of low-cost housing, it is now an up and coming area with a lot going for it, especially now that it has been earmarked for significant financial assistance as part of Aberdeen’s Community Regeneration Project.

Local Schools:

  • Walker Road Primary School
  • Tullos Primary School
  • Victoria Road Primary School
  • Torry Academy Secondary School
  • (subject to catchment areas)

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