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Marischal College in the city of Aberdeen

Cities

4 Days in Aberdeen

Don't miss the opportunity to visit Aberdeen, a compact city with bags of personality. In this packed itinerary we show you a range of places to visit over four fantastic days - an exciting mix of history, culture and beauty spots.

So, what are you waiting for? Find the Aberdeen accommodation that suits your taste and budget, arrange travel to Scotland's gorgeous north east coast, and pack your suitcase! From city sightseeing to discovering the wider region of Aberdeenshire, a holiday in Aberdeen will give you a snapshot of Scotland to remember.

Transport

Car Cycle Walk

Days

4

Miles

80

Route

Aberdeen City Centre, Aberdeenshire

Highlights

Aberdeen Art Gallery, Marischal College, Craigievar Castle, King's College Chapel

Areas Covered

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Day 1

overview

Exploring Aberdeen

We find ourselves in the centre of Aberdeen for your first day exploring. There are a lot of things to see in this bustling and beautiful city, from medieval buildings to expansive beachfront views. Look out for great shopping at Union Square and Trinity Shopping Centre too, as well as a host of pubs and restaurants to stop for a bite to eat.
  • Miles

    1.9

  • Km

    3

  • Stops

    4

  • Transport

    Cycle Walk

Aberdeen Art Gallery

Provost Skene's House

Your first stop is a visit to one of Aberdeen's oldest buildings. Originally built in the 16th century, Provost Skene's House offers a revealing insight into how people used to live in the city. Through a series of period rooms, you'll be introduced to the elegant furnishings of earlier times. On the top floor there are changing displays of local history, coins and archaeology. A fascinating visit - reopening after an extensive refurbishment in late 2021!

The Tolbooth Museum

Continue delving into history at The Tolbooth Museum, where the exhibits are housed in a former jail. The museum features displays that show the evolution of crime and punishment in Aberdeen, including the treatment of rebel Jacobites in times gone by. The atmospheric setting only adds to the intrigue.

Aberdeen Art Gallery

One of Scotland's finest art collections awaits you at the recently renovated Aberdeen Art Gallery. The collection spans over 700 years of art and design, including must-see artworks by the Pre-Raphaelites, Tracey Emin, Dame Barbara Hepworth, and the French Impressionists. The revitalised gallery was originally built in 1885 and offers a dynamic blend between the past and present. A must for art lovers. 2021 sees the opening of the British Art Show in July and Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous, in November.

Torry Battery

Now that you've had your pick of culture and history for the day, take a chance to walk down by the coast past Aberdeen Harbour to Torry Battery. This is an excellent place to spot some of the world's largest resident bottlenose dolphins at play in the harbour and soak up fine coastal views. It is also an important historical monument having been used as a defensive structure during wartime.

Day 2

overview

More Great Sightseeing

Having the spent the previous day strolling around Aberdeen city centre, you'll have noticed that there are plenty more places to see. On your second day in the city, you'll see some of Aberdeen's famous granite architecture and finish the day at Aberdeen Beach where you could even try watersports!
  • Miles

    1.2

  • Km

    2

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Cycle Walk

Aberdeen Beach

Marischal College

Without doubt one of Aberdeen's most striking buildings and the second largest granite building in the world, Marischal College presents a wonderful photo opportunity. Many Aberdonians consider it to be the finest of example of granite architecture in the city, which for those of you who don't know is often nicknamed 'The Granite City'. The college building is open to the public as a museum.

Mercat Cross

History buffs will enjoy a stop at Aberdeen's Mercat Cross, an impressive hexagonal structure originally built in the 17th century. The Mercat Cross was traditionally the site of public punishments as well as royal proclamations. Look closely at the top and you'll see a unicorn, the national symbol of Scotland.

Aberdeen Beach

What better way to finish your day off than a bracing coastal walk along Aberdeen Beach. And if you're the adventurous type, you could have a go at surfing, paddleboarding or sea kayaking! Perhaps you'll catch the sun setting in this beautiful part of the city, and it's definitely a great way to work up an appetite before visiting one of the city's top restaurants.

Day 3

overview

A Day Out in Aberdeenshire

As well as being close to the sea, Aberdeen is surrounded by beautiful Scottish countryside. Often called 'Castle Country' the landscape of Aberdeenshire is studded with ancient buildings that dominate the skyline. On your third day in the area, you'll travel out to see a few of these castles as well as a distillery.
  • Miles

    50

  • Km

    80

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Car Walk

Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle

As Scottish castles go, this has to be one of the most enchanting - and it's pink! Craigievar Castle in the rolling Aberdeenshire countryside is said to have been the inspiration for Disney's Cinderella castle. Enjoy a peaceful walk around the estate or venture inside to see artefacts and portraits, weapons and armour from days gone by.

Drum Castle & Gardens

This castle is like something straight out of Outlander! From the beautiful garden grounds where you can witness centuries-old oak trees, to the medieval High Hall, you'll come away feeling inspired. Deeply rooted in Scottish history, Drum Castle was originally granted to the Irvine family in 1323 by King Robert The Bruce.

Banchory

There is plenty to see and do in nearby Banchory, a pretty Aberdeenshire town next to the River Dee. Surrounded by lush countryside and hills, Banchory is a setting you won't forget. While there, why not visit one of Scotland's newest whisky distilleries Deeside Distillery or if you prefer rum, you could stop in at Dark Matter Distillery. These are just a couple of the secret distilleries you can find here, there are another 8 in the region!

Day 4

overview

Back to Aberdeen

It's your final day in Aberdeen and there are still so many things to see! Spend the morning relaxing in one of the city's famous gardens before treating yourself to a bit more culture. After all, that's what great city breaks are all about - a mix of different experiences. Don't forget to share your experiences on social media (if that's your thing!) and tag @VisitScotland.
  • Miles

    3.1

  • Km

    5

  • Stops

    4

  • Transport

    Cycle Walk

King's College Chapel

Cruickshank Botanic Garden

The Cruickshank Botanic Garden is situated in Old Aberdeen on the King's College campus of the University of Aberdeen. Appreciate the diversity and importance of plants and their role in the natural world. Stretching over 11 acres, don't miss the rock and water garden, sunken garden, rose garden and arboretum.

King's College Chapel

Another Old Aberdeen favourite, King's College Chapel has been delighting visitors for centuries. An icon of Aberdeen University (one of the country's oldest) this is a place of beauty, peace and tranquillity. With more medieval woodwork than any other church in Scotland, a quick peek inside is a must.

Zoology Museum

Admire the permanent and temporary collections at the University's Zoology Museum and learn all about the study of the animal kingdom. From the tiniest creatures to the great whales, there is so much to learn about the natural world. The museum contains around 75,000 specimens.

Gordon Highlanders Museum

Welcome to the story of the finest regiment in the world (according to Winston Churchill). The Gordon Highlanders Museum delves into the 200-year history of the regiment, including a replica WW1 trench to explore. Let experienced guides, spectacular displays and films take you on a journey through military history.