Aberdeen is a vibrant city on Scotland's North East coast

Top 11 Things to Do in Aberdeen

Written by on 10th May 2019
Category: City guides

A historic city in northeast Scotland, Aberdeen is a hub of tourism, commerce and culture. Famed for its lucrative petroleum industry, the city is colloquially referred to as the “Oil Capital of Europe”. Aberdeen achieved this mantle after vast reserves of petroleum were discovered in the North Sea during the latter years of the 20th century. As a busy centre for business travel, Aberdeen attracts visitors from all over the world at all times of the year. In light of this, we thought we’d take a look at the top 11 things to do in Aberdeen.

Museums in Aberdeen

Aberdeenshire is a historic part of the country that is believed to have been first settled some 8,000 years ago. The city’s fascinating past is perfectly reflected by the number of museums found in the city centre. With institutions dedicated to exhibiting everything from maritime life to Highlander history, there is a wide array of things to do in Aberdeen.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum

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One of the most popular museums in Aberdeen is The Gordon Highlanders Museum in the west of the city. Celebrating the 200-year history of the Gordon Highlanders infantry regiment of the British Army, this museum features everything from old uniforms to weaponry. Ideal for those curious about British military history, this museum is certainly worth a visit.

The Tolbooth Museum

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The Tolbooth Museum – another of the best museums in Aberdeen – is one of the city’s oldest buildings. This fantastically preserved 17th century jail provides a haunting insight into the life of prisoners during the 1600s.

Aberdeen Maritime Museum

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On the lookout for things to do in Aberdeen? The Maritime Museum looks at the city’s ever-changing relationship with the sea and is home to a fascinating range of exhibitions. From early shipbuilding to the growth of the North Sea petroleum industry, this museum doesn’t leave a stone unturned. Found in central Aberdeen, this well-loved cultural institution is easily accessible and plenty of fun.

Aberdeen Attractions

Johnston Gardens

A well-loved outdoor space in western Aberdeen, the Johnston Gardens offer visitors an idyllic getaway just a short walk away from the city centre. Complete with waterfalls, ponds and babbling brooks, these Japanese gardens feature a range of flowers such as spring bulbs and rhododendrons. If you’re after a bit of tranquillity, this great Aberdeen attraction is definitely worth checking out.

Aberdeen Beach

Aberdeen Beach overlooking the dramatic waves of the North Sea

Overlooking the North Sea, the city’s beach offers visitors a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline and a range of things to do in Aberdeen. Popular with Aberdeen locals and sun-loving holidaymakers, the beach also marks the beginning of a number of spectacular coastal walks. Come for the dramatic scenery, stay for the ice cream!

Old Aberdeen

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With roots that date back to the late Middle Ages, this historic part of the city was once a significant political centre in the Scottish northeast. These days, famed for its antiquated architecture and prestigious university, Old Aberdeen has become a popular student hub, full of coffee shops and trendy eateries.

Slains Castle

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Bored of your ordinary boozer? Located within a former church, Slains Castle is a quirky Aberdeen pub that draws inspiration from the supernatural spookiness of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Boasting a well-loved breakfast menu and an atmospheric interior, Slains Castle is certainly worth checking out.

Seaton Park

Seaton Park in northern Aberdeen

Found in Old Aberdeen, Seaton Park is a popular city green space that features an immaculate, landscaped garden that is adorned with various arrangements of beautiful flowers. The perfect place for a quick run or a relaxing evening walk, Seaton Park offers a number of things to do in Aberdeen.

Brig O’Balgownie

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Said to be the oldest bridge in Scotland, the Brig O’Balgownie is a medieval crossing that is believed to have been constructed in the late 13th century. Mentioned in Lord Byron’s iconic poem, Don Juan, this age-old crossing has achieved legendary status among Aberdeen locals. If you find yourself exploring Old Aberdeen, this architectural marvel is certainly worth seeing.

Criagievar Castle

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Aberdeenshire’s very own fairy-tale castle, Craigievar is believed to be the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Cinderella. Built in the early 17th century, Craigievar is famed for its well-loved pink façade, stunning turrets and proud battlements. Less than 30 miles from Aberdeen, this stunning structure is perfect for those keen on journeying westward from the city.

St. Machar’s Cathedral

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St. Machar’s Cathedral is a place where magnificence and grandeur meet faith and modesty. Thought to be a significant site of worships in Aberdeen since 580, St. Machar’s hasn’t actually been the seat of a bishop since 1690 – officially making it a High Kirk rather than a cathedral. Certainly one of the best things to do in Aberdeen, this holy place is a fundamental part of the city’s identity.

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