Skirting the edge of the north east coast, an ancient city awaits. The city is famous for its granite, but Aberdeen’s heart definitely isn’t made of stone – how could it be, with such a vast tapestry of culture, charms and places to go?
Perhaps you’ll find yourself speaking a little Doric, the ancient Scottish dialect, which is still spoken here. Fit like? Or, you might get lost in the nooks and crannies of a 12th century castle, or spot a dolphin rise from nearby waters?
Yes, there’s a lot to say about Aberdeen, and we thought it was best to ask our fans on social media. Browse below for the most popular suggestions. Thanks everyone!
1. Slains Castle (Bar)
Are you a fan of Dracula? Then this is a pub you must visit. Slains Castle, located in a former Gothic church, still features the original carved wood panelling which gives an authentic and eerie atmosphere to this Dracula inspired bar. Boasting delicious menu deals each day and with extensive food and drink menus, there’s plenty to keep your taste buds tingling all night.
2. Johnston Gardens
If you love Japanese culture, colours and blooming flowers you can find all this and more in the peaceful Johnston Gardens. The gardens have won the prestigious Britain in Bloom award numerous times and feature a stunning waterfall, glistening streams, and a rustic bridge that make for a perfect outing with friends and family.
3. Dolphin Spotting
Head down to Aberdeen's harbour and hop aboard a cruise out to sea for a chance to spot some dolphins up close. Common sightings include bottlenose dolphins, white beaked dolphins, risso dolphins and even minke whales; the nearby Torry Battery is a popular viewing spot too, where you can get an exquisite view of the resident marine life feeding in the harbour mouth.
4. St Machar Cathedral
If there’s one thing you can count on in Aberdeen, it’s unbelievable architecture. And it doesn’t get much better than the St Machar’s Cathedral, a striking place of worship. From the curious question of whether William Wallace’s arm remains within the walls to the age-old debate over whether it is a true cathedral, this building is full of mystery. All we know is, it’s beautiful, beguiling and breathtaking.
5. Books and Beans
For a quiet moment to yourself, head to 22 Belmont Street and settle down inside this quirky second-hand book shop. Use your imagination and write a story, catch up on some reading or find a new book to get lost in, all with the help of free Wi-Fi and a tasty lunch menu.
6. Seaton Park
Let the stresses of the modern world drift away with a trip to the chilled-out Seaton Park, one of Aberdeen's most tranquil hideaways. Lose yourself amid the leafy pathways and grassy expanses. Forget about your smartphone, turn off those pesky notifications and recharge your batteries for a little while.
Wander through the charming streets of Footdee, known locally as 'Fittie' - try saying it with your best Aberdeen accent! A former fishing village exuding 19th century allure, these clusters of charming cottages and atmospheric cobbled lanes were originally built to rehouse an influx of fishermen to the city. Fresh seafood is still a local speciality here, so why not try out the menus at Moon Fish Café or Silver Darling?
8. Brig O' Balgownie
This medieval crossing is somewhat legendary in Aberdeen, and there are a few reasons for this. It dates back to the 13th century, it lies over a mystical deep pool known as the Black Neuk and it was famously immortalised in Lord Byron’s poem Don Juan. Nowadays, it’s a fierce contender for the title of the ‘oldest bridge in Scotland’.
9. The Lemon Tree
A good tune never goes unsung in Scotland. For a night of toe-tapping tunes and hearty laughs, your evening shenanigans should begin at The Lemon Tree on North Street. The downstairs lounge plays host to talented musicians, so open up your ears to some new music and hilarious comedy, or kick back with a pint of Brewdog, the local ale.
10. Old Aberdeen
The weaving, windy streets of Old Aberdeen have seen their fair share of Aberdonian politics, education and culture throughout the ages. Besides the incredible imposing buildings (did I mention, Aberdeen's architecture is incredible?), you'll find an array of student haunts, budget eateries and numerous places to indulge in an artisan coffee. Find out more about Scotland's third oldest university.
11. Aberdeen Beach
Only a short distance from the city centre lies a classic beachfront, complete with an esplanade featuring shops, cafés and an art-deco style ballroom. Stop for an ice-cream and look out towards the swirling North Sea, or embrace the salty sea air on a brisk walk or jog along the promenade, all the way from Footdee to the River Don.
12. King's College, University of Aberdeen
The King's College Chapel is a hauntingly beautiful, with its stained glass windows, tall ceilings, sloping archways and intricate carvings. Follow the Old Aberdeen Heritage Trail to see more classical period features of the city.
Of course, there are plenty of other Aberdeen gems to discover. Check out our Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire pages for more inspiration. Do you have a favourite place in the city that we've missed out? Let us know in the comments below.
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