Beautiful landscapes, breathtaking castles, the Scottish highlands, great food and whiskey all spring to mind when I think of Scotland. So where should you begin when visiting? Well that answer is simple, come to Aberdeen! Aberdeen is famously known as the granite city because most of the town was built using locally sourced grey granite. It is also sometimes known as the city of bon accord meaning goodwill and friendship. Aberdeen is is the UK’s oil and gas capital and is located on the North east coastline of Scotland.
Aberdeen’s Castle Street with a distant view of Union Street between 1890 and 1905.
Aberdeen Art Gallery is one of Aberdeen’s most popular tourist sites. Located right in the heart of the city the building is an example of late 19th century architecture and is home to the finest art collections in Britain dating back to the 15th century to the present day. With special attractions and new exhibitions there is always something to see at this fabulous gallery.
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen is steeping in historical buildings for all of you history lovers. The Maritime Museum offers you a magnificent view of the bustling harbour and incorporates one of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings, Provost Ross House which was built in 1593. This spectacular museum is home to stories of shipbuilding, fast sailing ships, fishing and port history and it is the only place where you can view displays on the North Sea oil and gas industry. From the 31st of March to the 28th of April the Maritime Museum has created a spectacle called Your Titanic, in commemoration of the sinking of The Titanic on its maiden voyage 100 years ago this year, this spectacle is allowing locals to display their own personal Titanic collections which includes models, commemorative poems or stories, postcards or newspapers. It’s an exhibition not to be missed.
The Maritime Museum and Provost Ross House
The Tolbooth Museum opens from the 30th of June to the 9th of September 2012 and is one of the best preserved 17th century gaols (jail) in Scotland. It was built between 1616 and 1629 by Thomas Watson. The Museum offers its visitors an insight and knowledge of Aberdeen’s local history and how prisoners and rebel Jacobite’s were treated throughout their time in the gaol. Visitors will also get a chance to see the 17th/18th century cells, original doors and barred windows. A display not to be missed has to be the Maiden and the blade of Aberdeen’s 17th century guillotine.
The Tolbooth Museum, Aberdeen
Provost Skene’s House is Aberdeen’s oldest building dating back to 1545. The building boasts period rooms fully furnished which demonstrates how people lived throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries in Britain. The building is named after one of Aberdeen’s most famous residents Lord Provost George Skene. This is an exciting building steeped in history and fantastic viewings.
Provost Skene’s House, Aberdeen
Places of see/things to do
Stonehaven is a small picturesque fishing village easily accessible from Aberdeen, by either train which will take you 15 minutes or by bus which takes 45 minutes, it’s a well worth while trip. Go for a 15 minute walk along the cliffs until you reach Dunnotar Castle which is perched on a cliff top overlooking the horizon. When the hunger sets in you can come back to the village to sit and relax along the beach which overlooks the North Sea while eating the most delicious fish and chips you will ever taste from award winning The Bay fish and chips. Treat yourself to an ice-cream, if you have room from Aunt Betty’s Ice-Cream shop right next door.
If you would prefer to stay in Aberdeen, then visit Aberdeen Beach. This two mile long beach boasts an amusement park and lots of restaurants catering to all tastes. The beach itself is beautiful and with the views of the oil tankers in the horizon makes the beach views nice and unique, maybe not for everybody but don’t knock it until you see it.
Aberdeen Snow Sports will get you limbered up in preparation for the slopes in the winter. The centre caters for all ages, from beginners to advanced skiiers, snowboarders and tubers there’s something for everybody. Aberdeenshire is home to the UK’s second highest mountain, at 4295ft, Ben Macdui located in Cairngorm is ideal for skiing, mountain climbing, or for the less adventurous hill walking will provide you with spectacular views. So get out there and get active.
Aberdeen is bursting with fantastic hotels, however if your bringing the family along a serviced apartment might suit you much better. A serviced apartment will provide you with spacious 1 to 2 bedroom apartments including a fully equipped kitchen, en-suite bathroom, a maid service, continental breakfast on request and most importantly gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. Order a take away from the local chippy, pizzeria or Indian and get it delivered to your apartment or if you prefer to cook your own meals, hit the local shops, pick up the local produce and enjoy the succulent flavours of your own creation from what Scotland has to offer. It’s just like being at home, the only difference is, you have a new city to explore.
So what are you waiting for, there’s a world out there to be explored, and who knows it may be right on your doorstep.