It’s impossible not to get a sense of Aberdeen city’s rich and compelling history while walking amongst its imposing granite buildings. Discover beautifully preserved historic buildings that offer a window onto the past such as the 16th century Provost Skene’s House and the Tolbooth, a 17th century jail.
The University of Aberdeen is home to another of the city’s oldest and most striking features – King’s College – a breathtaking fusion of medieval and Renaissance craftsmanship. Close by you’ll find St Machar’s Cathedral, the oldest granite cathedral in the world.
Learn about the region’s seafaring heritage at the award-winning Aberdeen Maritime Museum where engrossing exhibits and displays illustrate how the region’s fishing and North Sea oil and gas industries have been integral to its growth.
The towns and villages of Aberdeenshire have plenty of historic treasures of their own which span everything from crumbling castles to fascinating museums and ancient Pictish stones.
Learn more about the region’s maritime history at the Arbuthnott Museum in Peterhead, one of the oldest in Aberdeenshire, or why not pay a visit to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh?
Aberdeen City and Shire is home to 300 castles, more per acre than anywhere else in the UK. Follow Scotland only Castle Trail which takes in 17 of these centuries-old monuments. From haunting ruins like the cliff-top fortress of Dunnottar Castle to the fairytale Crathes Castle and the royal residence of Balmoral, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice.
Travel back in time to the Victorian age by taking a ride in a steam train along the Royal Deeside Line which once transported the Royal Family on its way to Balmoral. Closed in the 1960s, a mile-long stretch of the line has since be reopened allowing a train to run once more. You can even see a replica of the Royal train carriage used by Queen Victoria in 1869 at Ballater Old Royal Station.
Delve even further back into the region’s past and learn about the Picts, a Celtic tribe which inhabited Aberdeenshire nearly 2,000 years ago. All that survives of this mysterious civilisation are stone circles and elaborately carved stones found scattered throughout the region. See the ornate Kinord near Aboyne and Sunhoney, an enigmatic stone circle which stands on a hill near Echt, are just two Pictish sites found in Aberdeenshire.
You can find out if you have historical connections to the region by getting handy tips and using some of the great resources listed in the guide Routes to your North East Roots.