Here are my tips for things to do in Aberdeen in North East Scotland.
Soak up the History in Old Aberdeen
Old Aberdeen lies to the north of the city centre. It was founded in the 15th century and there are still some medieval buildings here. It’s the location of the University of Aberdeen and St Machar’s Cathedral. One of my favourite Aberdeen cafes, Kilau Coffee, now has a branch in the High Street of Old Aberdeen. Kilau also serves great food, especially smoothies, salads and cakes.
Interior of St Machar Cathedral by Gordon M Roberston
Discover Science at the Satrosphere
Our sons loved the hands on science related activities at the Satrosphere. It’s located close to the beach, has a cafe, free parking and free WiFi. Admission costs £5.75 for adults and £4.50 for kids aged 4+. You can get a voucher for one free kid’s entry with an accompanying paying adult on their website.
Cycling Skeleton at the Satrosphere Science Centre by Bruce McAdan
Have a Bracing Stroll Along Aberdeen Beach
The East Coast of Scotland isn’t renowmed for its balmy weather, but the prom alongside Aberdeen Beach is wide and flat so ideal for buggies and wheelchairs. If you feel like a swim, you’d probably be better going into the pool at the Beach Leisure Centre, than braving the North Sea.
Get Lost in Hazelhead Park
Hazelhead Park has a maze. There’s a Pet’s Corner, with minature donkeys, chincillas and rabbits; entrance costs £3 for adults and £1 for kids aged 3+. The Queen Mother’s Rose Garden in the park was created in memory of the victims of the Piper Alpha Disaster.
Queen Mother’s Rose Garden at Hazelhead Park by NEMason
Find Your Sea Legs at the Maritime Museum
It’s free to get into Aberdeen’s Maritime Museum. I love the views down to the harbour. In addition to the permanent collections focusing on the intertwining of the city’s history with the sea, there are usually several temporary exhibitions. The Granite Jack Trail gets younger visitors involved, as they look out for the answers to questions in their quiz sheet.
Provost Ross House part of the Maritime Museum of Aberdeen, by roger4336
Explore Duthie Park
If it’s chilly outside you can cosy up at the Winter Gardens, which has a large collection of cacti. In better weather, I’ve read that there are now canoes for hire at one of the ponds. The imposing pink granite McGrigor Obelisk commenorates the life of Sir James McGrigor, who was instrumental in setting up the Royal Medical Corps and also the rector of Aberdeen University.
McGrigor Obelisk in Duthie Park by Nick Bramhall
I’ve also got some tips for great day trips from Aberdeen, including the town of Alford, home to the Grampian Transport Musuem and a narrow guauge railway, and on following the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail and the Malt Whisky Trail.
Hotels in Aberdeen can be pricey due the local oil industry, so make sure that you book well in advance outwith peak periods. I found cheap accommodation one Summer in the university halls of residence. The Travelodge at Aberdeen Airport is surprisingly quiet and convenient, if you have a late arrival or an early departure.