Tag Archives: Aberdeen

Things to do in Aberdeen and the best Aberdeen attractions.

Girl’s Weekends: A Guide to a Night Out in Aberdeen

Aberdeen, otherwise known as ‘The Granite City’ because of the material from which its buildings are made, is the most desirable place to live in United Kingdom and it shows. People from all over England are moving there because of its deep roots in history, low unemployment rate and low crime statistics. It’s little known, however, that Aberdeen is truly a young city with a diverse night life, making it the perfect spot for a weekend away. So read this guide, grab your girls and get yourself to Aberdeen. We’ve put together recommendations for whatever kind of night you want to experience, be it beach, hen party or musical.

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Union Terrace in Aberdeen by Library of Congress

Beach Night

If you fancy a higher-class do or something a little different from the standard drink and dance, look no further than Aberdeen’s beach. Located within the city, it’s a great spot to spend with your ladies. You could make your own party, by cracking open the champagne, getting a good quality food hamper, and plugging your phone into a mini-amp to play your favourite Beyoncé Spotify playlist. You don’t have to spend tons of money to have a fantastic time. There have even been sightings of dolphins in the sea, so bring your binoculars, kick back and relax, unless you’re brave enough to actually attempt to ride them.

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Aberdeen Beach Front by Gordon Robertson

Hen Do

Has he popped the question or are you sure he’s going to? Well then, this is the section for you. If done properly, a hen do can be the best night of your life. We actually think it is much more fun than your wedding night! Make sure that you do it in style – you are marking the end of an era after all. To ensure a fantastic transformation from singleton to married woman, prestigious hen events organisations like Hen Heaven have a variety of packages, from clay pigeon shooting to cocktail making lessons. Better yet, you won’t have to sort out a hotel as it is all included in the package, as is a queue jump to the local nightclub. Pretty good, huh? If you’re interested, check out their website for prices.

cocktail making equipment

Cocktail making equipment by Callum Mckain

Posh Night

As Aberdeen is surrounded by forests and sea, the city has many fine eateries, each selling fresh produce that visitors of the area adore. Bistro Verde, a local’s favourite, is the prime location for the fresh catch of the day from Aberdeen’s fresh waters.

After you’ve finished wining and dining your girls, be sure to move to the nearest jazz club, The Blue Lamp. The club is a local’s favourite, sponsored by Jazz Scotland, the prestigious music promoter. The Blue Lamp puts on nights from orchestra to experimental and people from all over Scotland flock to experience the internationally-renowned talent that perform on the prestigious stage such as the Aberdeen Jazz Orchestra. Don’t believe us? We’ll leave you with one of AJO’s top hits, Belly Roll:

We’ve more tips on fun things do in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen day trips

3 great Aberdeen day trips

There are many possible day trips from the city of Aberdeen during which you can explore the beautiful surrounding area.  Here are my ideas for three great Aberdeen day trips, based on my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour and an earlier trip to the area.  You could do a bit of a hybrid day out, taking in some elements from each of the three suggestions.

Aberdeen day trips

The lovely Aberdeenshire countryside in August

Visit Alford

The town of Alford lies around 25 miles west of Aberdeen.  It’s home to the  Alford Valley Railway where you ride on the narrow gauge railway to Haughton Park. There are events such as Teddy Bears Picnics on Wednesdays in August and Santa Specials in the run up to Christmas.

The Grampian Transport Museum is also in Alford.

I loved the carvings in the pink granite boulders which sit just outside the Alford Valley railway station.

Pig and sheep stone carvings in Alford

Take the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail

There are fourteen castles in the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail, I visited three of them on a previous trip to Aberdeenshire; Crathes Castle with its lovely garden, Castle Fraser and Haddo House.

Aberdeen Day Trips

Crathes Castle and Garden

Follow the Malt Whisky Trail

On the Malt Whisky Trail you can visit seven working distilleries including Glen Grant,  the Glenlivet and Cardhu. As a teetotaller and being short of time on my way to Elgin, I only had a quick look around the Glenfiddich Distillery. As I walked down from the car park, I was almost knocked out by the pervasive strong whisky odour.

Glenfiddich Distillery

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for enjoyable Aberdeen day trips.  If you have any favourite routes/places to visit in Aberdeenshire, please leave a comment.

Review of Premier Inn Aberdeen West Central

I stayed at the Premier Inn Aberdeen Central West for one night in August 2010 on a complimentary basis. It was the second night of my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour.  The hotel lies just off Anderson Drive, on the Aberdeen ring road. However the hotel is set back from the road so I didn’t hear any external traffic noise during my stay. The hotel is a couple of miles from the city centre and has a large free car park.

I was allocated a room on the 4th (top) floor, which had a small window set in a sloping ceiling. I found the room to be a bit dark but spacious and well maintained.  The bed was large and very comfortable.  The bathroom was pristine.

There was plenty of space to work at the desk. However wifi access at Premier Inns is priced at £5 an hour or £12 for 24 hours which I think it too expensive. I used my 02 mobile broadband which costs me £15 a month for up to 3GB.  However there is free wifi, with a good signal, in the restaurant right next to the Premier Inn, where breakfast is served.

My room at Premier Inn Aberdeen Central West

Everything for breakfast at the Premier Inn Aberdeen Central West was laid out as a buffet (unlike other Premier Inns at which I stayed, where the cooked breakfast was freshly prepared to order). While this was a good thing as you could get your cooked breakfast at the time that best suited you, some of the items weren’t hot enough. There was a good selection of cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit salad, fruit juices, croissants and muffins.  You could make your own toast in one of these conveyor belt machines, which never seems to do a good job. Hot water for tea and coffee were on the buffet table in flasks. I didn’t find this arrangement worked well, as the drinks were lukewarm as opposed to hot. Breakfast isn’t included in the room rate, most Premier Inns offer a choice of either a continental breakfast for £5.25 or a  cooked breakfast for £7.75.

The rooms at Premier Inn Aberdeen Central are very well presented.  The location is good if you don’t want to be staying in a potentially noisy city centre Aberdeen hotel.  All the staff I spoke with were very friendly and helpful. You’d probably need a car to stay here, so it would be handy as a base for day trips from Aberdeen. The quality of breakfast items is very good but I think preparing the breakfasts to order and bringing freshly brewed tea and coffee to guests tables would ensure a hotter, fresher breakfast.  I think that Premier Inn should reduce or abolish their wifi charges.

Keep It Real Travel Review - No FluffKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

St Mary’s Kirkyard, Banff, Aberdeenshire

I should start by explaining that kirk is the Scottish word for a church. When I first drove into Banff I was amazed to see an old graveyard sitting in the middle of the town. There was car parking space around it and a small supermarket and tyre and exhaust garage opposite the graveyard. Fortunately St Mary’s church dating from 1471 has survived, at least in part, with one aisle remaining.

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St Marys Church, Banff 

The aisle houses the tomb of the Ogilvy family with stones dates 1558 and 1580. The window has stone mullions or cross bars in the late Gothic style. However you can’t enter the aisle as a protective grille was erected during renovations in 2003.

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The Bairds of Auchmeddan Tomb 

The Bairds of Auchmeddan tomb was built in 1636 as the resting place of George Baird, who is portrayed lying dressed in his armour, with his dog at this feet. The detail is so intricate. The tomb combines medieval and Rennaissance elements.

Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire

Castle Fraser is a splendid castle where the whole family can enjoy a day out. The castle itself is very beautiful, dating from the 16th century. You can climb to one of the towers to have fantastic views. of the surrounding countryside. There’s a lovely formal garden and woodland walks.

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Castle Fraser 

However kids will love the “Woodlands Secrets” adventure playground. There a tepee, stone circle, musical instruments and various carved wooden animals.

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The Woodlands Secrets Tepee 

Pitfour Observatory, Aberdeenshire

Pitfour Observatory was built in 1845 by the fifth Laird of Pitfour, Admiral Sir George Ferguson, so that he and his guests could watch horse racing. The Laird had constructed a four and a half mile race course to indulge his passion for horse racing, without having to leave his own estate. The race course was exactly 50 feet wide and level, with all troughs levelled with rock from local quarries. The course was nicknamed the “Ascot of the North”.

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Pitfour Observatory

The Observatory was purchased and renovated in the 1990s by the local authority. It’s open daily 10 – 17 from May to September and it’s free of charge to enter. There are great panoramic views from the windows in the octagonal tower, with information boards detailing all the local landmarks.

The Observatory is fairly well sign posted from the the A952 running between Mintlaw and Fraserburgh and the A950 west of Mintlaw. If you are following the signs from the A950 make sure you take the first, sharp left, a mile or so at the 2nd junction once you’ve left the A950. The sign isn’t clear there, as there are 2 left turns If you drive past a graveyard you have taken the wrong turn. There’s a large car park with picnic benches. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the conservatory There are several possible walks in the woods and you can also visit the Louden Wood Stone Circle and a chambered cairn but this involves a much longer walk and I didn’t have time to do this.

Fraserburgh beach, Aberdeenshire

Fraserburgh is situated on the north east coast of Aberdeenshire, It has a lovely beach, looking at its best when I visited on sunny afternoon.

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Fraserburgh Beach

Fraserburgh is the largest shellfish port in Europe, the harbour is situated behind the lighthouse in the photo below.

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You can visit the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, where you can climb the castle tower to the original lighthouse. This was the first lighthouse constructed on mainland Scotland in 1787 and unique in being the only lighthouse to be built on top of a castle.

Crathes Castle gardens, Aberdeenshire

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Aberdeenshire was the gardens at Crathes Castle near Banchory, around 15 miles west of Aberdeen. I arrived there in the early evening, too late to visit the castle but the gardens are open until dusk. The gardens are famous for their ancient yew hedges which have been trimmed reently.

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Crathes Gardens yew hedges

The gardens were a riot of colour during my visit and provided a magical foreground to the castle.

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Forthcoming guide to Aberdeenshire

I’ll be in Aberdeenshire for a few days next week to research my guide to the area. The countryside and the coast around the Aberdeen area are really beautiful. I’ll spend a couple of nights in Banff on the north coast of the county and a couple of nights in Aberdeen. There are many castles in the area, apart from Balmoral the Queen’s Scottish retreat. I really like the bird reserve at Newburgh, on the coast about 15 miles north of Aberdeen, not because I’m a bird watcher, it has the most amazing sand dunes.

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