10 things to see & do in Aberdeen for free
A city break in Scotland is the perfect way to spend a holiday here, whether you have a few days or over a week, there's plenty to explore, uncover and enjoy. Aberdeen is home to an array of attractions, locations and quirky spots on the map which are all free - perfect for those on a budget.
We all know the best things in life are free, so come along to this historic city where you won't be lost for fascinating things to see and do. Keep reading for 10 of Aberdeen's free attractions and things to do.
Aberdeen Beach Aberdeen
Aberdeen is a picturesque city located on the east coast and even boasts its very own beach. Aberdeen Beach is a beautiful stretch of sandy shore that is free to explore whenever you please. This popular spot is only a short distance from the city centre and is the perfect location to watch the sun set on the horizon, spot dolphins in the summer, or make use of the sunny weather with a family day out - how big a sand castle can you build?
If you're looking for something a little extra to add to your outing, or maybe you're feeling a little peckish, there are a variety of cafés and restaurants nearby, as well as a multiplex cinema and Codona's fun fair.
Hazlehead Park Aberdeen
One of Aberdeen's oldest historic properties, the land of Hazlehead Park was gifted to the city in 1319 by King Robert the Bruce, as part of the "Freedom Boundary", in appreciation for the support that the townspeople gave prior to the King's victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The park spans 180 hectares and boasts two golf courses, a maze, Pets' Corner, a heather and conifer garden, an Azalea garden, a children's playground and a café. It's a great place for kids to explore, or enjoy a wander through the tree-lined trails and admire the blossoming flowers of the decorated gardens.
Aberdeen Maritime Museum Aberdeen
Did you know that Scotland is home to a variety of museums and galleries that are all free to enter? Aberdeen boasts a long and fascinating history with the sea. The city has a bustling port and features many North Sea related industries, including offshore oil, fishing and shipping.
Head to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum where you can uncover an excellent collection of paintings, displays and hands-on exhibits, featuring touch screen consoles, computer visual databases, and an education room.
Tolbooth Museum Aberdeen
Speaking of museums, next up is Tolbooth Museum. Housed in a former prison and one of Aberdeen's oldest buildings, this museum is a popular tourist spot and boasts many displays on local history and the evolution of crime and punishment over the centuries. Step back in time, explore the unique atmosphere around the gaol cells, and learn all about what life was really like for prisoners and rebel Jacobites in times gone by.
Aberdeen Art Gallery Aberdeen
A newer redevelopment in Aberdeen's art and culture scene, the Aberdeen Art Gallery is set in one of the finest granite buildings in the city and is home to an immaculate collection of paintings, designs, art and more. With displays and works of art spanning across more than 700 years, it's the perfect place to explore some of the best and most interesting contemporary artworks in Scotland.
Alongside 22 galleries and exhibits, the gallery also features the Cowdray Hall concert venue and the city's Remembrance Hall to create an incredible atmosphere of creativity that has been transformed in recent years. Stop by the café before you leave and admire the stunning views from the new rooftop!Key facilities
- Hearing Loop
- Accessible toilets
- Level Access
- On Public Transport Route
- Cafe or Restaurant
Johnston Gardens Aberdeen
A serene spot in the city, Johnston Gardens is the perfect place to visit if you're looking for a day of tranquillity. Boasting beautiful landscaped gardens with streams, ponds, waterfalls, rockeries and a striking bridge, it's a photographer's dream!
If you're looking to escape the busy city for a while, you'll find all the serenity and peacefulness you need here, complete with a colourful array of plant life and a few species of wildlife who make their home here.
Old Aberdeen Aberdeen
Sometimes you don't even need to visit a castle or a museum to be transported back in time - Aberdeen's streets can do that for you! Old Aberdeen is an atmospheric spot located to the north of the city, where you'll be surrounded by cobbled streets, historic sites, ancient architecture and fascinating buildings.
You'll find St Machar's Cathedral here, along with King's College, the Chanonry, Sir Duncan Rice Library and much more just waiting to be explored.
St Machar's Cathedral Aberdeen
A Church of Scotland dating back to the 12th century, St Machar's Cathedral is an ancient site which boasts many turbulent ties to the city's history. Located in the north of the city centre in Old Aberdeen, the cathedral features an intricate and unique heraldic ceiling and fortified west front.
Did you know, after the execution of William Wallace in 1305, his body was cut up and sent to different corners of Scotland to warn other rebels? His left arm ended up in Aberdeen and is said to be buried in the walls of the cathedral - but what do you think?
King's College Chapel Aberdeen
In the burgh of Old Aberdeen, visit King's College Chapel which is located in the heart of Aberdeen University and boasts incredible architecture to admire.
The chapel features the Crown Tower, one of the most historic and beautiful emblems on campus, as well as the Chapel Sanctuary which sits beneath the tower is a space of beauty, tranquillity and peace.
Sculpture and Curios Trail Aberdeen
Did you know that Aberdeen is home to dozens of quirky statues and sculptures? The Sculpture & Curios Trail encompasses these art works, with everything from traditional to contemporary, they are all unique and fascinating to explore.
Situated outside the Marischal College, admire the sculpture of Robert the Bruce on horseback, head nearby to Marischal Square where, if you look up, you'll noticed a perched leopard, or in the roof garden of the St Nicholas Centre you can find a trumpet leaf carved from clipsham limestone. And it doesn't stop there. How many will you uncover?
Other things you might like
Scotland in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletter and we'll email you with unique attractions, exciting trip ideas and visitor offers.