Aberdeen Travel Tips: Local Guide & Top Things to Do

Home » Aberdeen Travel Tips: Local Guide & Top Things to Do

Looking to uncover the hidden gems of Aberdeen‘s aberdeenshire area? Want to explore the vibrant town like a local? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got all the insider tips you need to make the most of your visit to central Aberdeen‘s harbour.

Aberdeen, located in the Aberdeenshire area, is known as the Granite City and is home to many interesting buildings. This town has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike, from stunning architecture to picturesque landscapes. Navigating through Aberdeen like a pro is made easy with our help. Whether you’re exploring the town or visiting the charming harbour, we’ve got you covered.

Aberdeen docks
Aberdeen docks

With our expert advice and local knowledge, you’ll discover the best spots in Aberdeenshire that only Aberdonians know about. So get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Aberdeen city and its surrounding towns. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these tips will ensure an unforgettable experience, including day trips to nearby whisky distilleries.

So pack your bags and join us on this exciting adventure through Aberdeenshire, including day trips to the North Sea and Duthie Park – let’s dive right in!

Discover the Charm of Old Aberdeen and Places of Worship

Old Aberdeen and Places of Worship
Old Aberdeen and Places of Worship

Immerse yourself in the rich history and stunning architecture of Old Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire. This part of the city is brimming with interesting buildings, museums, and churches that offer a glimpse into Aberdeen’s past. Explore the whisky distilleries for a taste of local tradition.

St. Machar’s Cathedral: A Testament to Time

Located in central Aberdeen, St. Machar’s Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in Aberdeenshire. Dating back to the 12th century, this magnificent church showcases exquisite medieval architecture. As you step inside, you’ll be transported to a bygone era, surrounded by intricate stone carvings and beautiful stained glass windows. St. Machar’s Cathedral is a must-visit attraction for those exploring the rich heritage of Aberdeenshire.

King’s College Chapel: A Gothic Masterpiece

Located in the heart of Old Aberdeen, King’s College Chapel is a true gem for lovers of Gothic architecture. This church, situated in Aberdeenshire, boasts soaring arches, ornate detailing, and an awe-inspiring ceiling that will leave you in awe. Take your time to explore this architectural marvel and appreciate its historical significance in the city centre.

The Perfect Place for History Enthusiasts

Old Aberdeen, located in Aberdeenshire
Old Aberdeen, located in Aberdeenshire

Old Aberdeen, located in Aberdeenshire, is a haven for history enthusiasts with its array of museums and attractions that showcase the city’s rich heritage. From quaint cobblestone streets to historic landmarks like the harbor, there is something for everyone to discover. Wander through the winding alleys and stumble upon hidden gems like ancient kirks or charming courtyards that have stood the test of time. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens that add to the charm of this historic area.

Don’t Miss Out on Footdee – The Hidden Gem

While exploring Old Aberdeen, make sure to venture towards Footdee (pronounced “Fittie”), a unique fishing village located at the eastern end of the city center. This picturesque neighborhood offers a delightful blend of traditional cottages, flower-filled gardens, and narrow lanes. It’s like stepping into another world where time moves at its own pace. Plus, don’t miss the charming aberdeenshire harbor and lighthouse, just a minute walk away.

The Guiding Light:

Girdleness Lighthouse
Girdleness Lighthouse


For a breathtaking view of Aberdeenshire’s coastline, head to Girdleness Lighthouse. Standing proudly on the cliffs, this iconic structure has been guiding ships since the 19th century. Take a leisurely stroll along the rugged path that leads to the lighthouse and soak in the panoramic vistas of the North Sea. It’s a good place to reflect and appreciate Aberdeen’s maritime history, as well as enjoy the nearby harbor and gardens.

Old Aberdeen, located in Aberdeenshire, is not just a collection of buildings; it’s an enchanting journey through time. Whether you’re fascinated by ancient churches or captivated by architectural wonders, this historic district in the city centre/city center of Aberdeen will leave you spellbound. Soak up the charm, explore at your own pace, and let Old Aberdeen transport you back in time to experience Scotland’s rich cultural heritage firsthand.

Explore King’s Museum, Gordon Highlanders Museum, and Aberdeen Art Gallery

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the vibrant art and culture scene of Aberdeen, there are three must-visit destinations in Aberdeenshire that should be at the top of your list: King’s Museum, Gordon Highlanders Museum, and Aberdeen Art Gallery. Each of these attractions, located in the city center, offers a unique experience that will transport you into different realms of history, artistry, and heritage. Don’t miss out on exploring these cultural gems nestled amidst the beautiful gardens of Aberdeen.

Dive into art and culture at King’s Museum

King’s Museum, located within the University of Aberdeen campus in Aberdeenshire, is an absolute gem for those who appreciate fascinating exhibits that shed light on various aspects of history. This museum, situated in the city center, showcases a diverse range of artifacts and collections. As you step inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a treasure trove of historical wonders, including exhibits related to the church.

The Aberdeen Science Centre, located in the Aberdeenshire city centre, boasts an impressive collection that spans across different periods and cultures. From ancient Egyptian relics to intricate medieval manuscripts, there is something to captivate every visitor. One highlight is their exhibition on William Wallace, where you can learn about the legendary Scottish hero who fought for independence against English rule. The interactive displays bring history to life, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the stories of the past.

Learn about Scotland’s military heritage at the Gordon Highlanders Museum

For those with an interest in Scotland’s military history, a visit to the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeenshire is a must. This museum, located near Aberdeen Science Centre and Aberdeen Harbor, pays homage to one of Scotland’s most renowned infantry regiments – the Gordon Highlanders. Through captivating displays and engaging exhibits, visitors can gain insights into the regiment’s rich heritage while enjoying the beautiful gardens surrounding the museum.

As you explore the museum’s halls adorned with medals, uniforms, and weaponry from various eras, you’ll develop a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers throughout history. The museum also offers guided tours where knowledgeable staff share gripping tales from battles fought on distant shores. It’s an opportunity not only to learn about military strategy but also to understand the human stories behind the uniforms. In addition, the museum offers courses on military history, and its gardens are open to the public during park hours.

Historical Aberdeen
Historical Aberdeen

Admire impressive artworks at the renowned Aberdeen Art Gallery

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the treasures housed within the esteemed Aberdeen Art Gallery, located in the city centre. This gallery, situated in a stunning Victorian building, is home to an extensive collection of artworks from both local and international artists. Whether you have a passion for classical paintings or contemporary sculptures, this museum in the city center has it all.

As you wander through the gallery’s halls in the city centre, you’ll encounter masterpieces by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. The diverse range of styles and genres ensures there is something to captivate every artistic taste. The gallery often hosts temporary exhibitions in the park that showcase emerging talent and explore thought-provoking themes. Additionally, they offer courses on gardens for those interested in learning more about this subject.

Immerse Yourself in Peacock Visual Arts and Arty Streets

If you’re an art enthusiast looking for a unique cultural experience, Aberdeen has plenty to offer. From contemporary art hubs like Peacock Visual Arts to arty streets filled with vibrant galleries and shops, this Scottish city is a haven for creativity. Immerse yourself in the world of art at the museum and explore the arty streets like Belmont Street and Union Street. Take advantage of the courses offered by the university to enhance your artistic knowledge in the area.

Experience contemporary art at Peacock Visual Arts, a hub for creativity.

Peacock Visual Arts is a prominent museum located in the heart of the city center. This dynamic museum showcases innovative works by local and international artists. Step inside their gallery and be captivated by thought-provoking exhibitions that push boundaries and challenge traditional artistic norms.

Peacock Visual Arts offers workshops, artist residencies, and educational courses for those who want to deepen their understanding of contemporary art. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or simply curious about the creative process, these engaging activities provide a unique opportunity to interact with the local art community. Additionally, Peacock Visual Arts is located near a museum, park, and building.

Wander through arty streets like Belmont Street and Union Street for unique shops and galleries.

As you explore Aberdeen’s city center, don’t miss the chance to wander through Belmont Street and Union Street – two areas known for their artistic charm. These bustling thoroughfares are lined with independent boutiques, quirky shops, and captivating galleries that showcase local talent in the heart of the museum district.

Belmont Street, located in the city center, is particularly renowned for its eclectic mix of stores offering everything from vintage clothing to handmade crafts. Take your time strolling along this vibrant street, popping into hidden gems such as record shops or specialty bookstores that cater to niche interests. Don’t forget to explore the nearby museum, park, and iconic building.

Union Street, located in the city center, is another must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. Its grand architecture serves as a backdrop for numerous galleries where you can admire diverse artworks ranging from traditional paintings to avant-garde installations. Don’t forget to check out The Aberdeen Art Gallery, a museum located nearby in the area on Schoolhill, which houses an impressive collection of both historical and contemporary art.

Discover vibrant street art that adds color to Aberdeen’s urban landscape.

Aberdeen’s urban landscape is not only adorned with traditional art forms but also boasts a vibrant street art scene. As you navigate the city streets, keep an eye out for colorful murals and graffiti that bring life and character to otherwise ordinary walls. The museum area, building, and center are particularly rich in artistic expression.

One notable area to explore in Aberdeen is the King Street corridor, where you’ll find striking street art pieces created by local and international artists. From large-scale murals depicting the city’s history to abstract designs that challenge your perception, these outdoor artworks contribute to Aberdeen’s creative atmosphere. The King Street corridor is a must-visit for art enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in the vibrant cultural scene of the city.

To delve deeper into Aberdeen’s street art culture, consider joining a guided tour or festival in the museum area dedicated to showcasing this unique form of artistic expression. These experiences provide insight into the stories behind each artwork and allow you to engage with the local community of artists who are continuously transforming the city’s visual landscape at the center.

Stroll Along Aberdeen Beach Promenade and Boardwalk

Aberdeen Beach Promenade
Aberdeen Beach Promenade


The Aberdeen Beach Promenade and Boardwalk offer a delightful escape from the bustling city life, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. As you embark on a leisurely walk in this museum area, you’ll be greeted by stunning sea views that will take your breath away. The center of Aberdeen is a great place to explore.

One of the highlights of strolling along the promenade in the city center area is the opportunity to indulge in delicious fish and chips from local vendors. Take a break from your walk and savor this classic British dish while enjoying the salty sea breeze. The combination of crispy golden batter, tender fish, and perfectly cooked chips is simply irresistible. Don’t forget to visit the nearby museum for a cultural experience as well.

While walking along the beach promenade in the city center, make sure to capture beautiful sunset moments. The sunsets in this area are truly magical, casting vibrant hues across the sky as it dips below the horizon. It’s an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts or anyone looking to create lasting memories against a backdrop of natural beauty near the museum.

Located near Aberdeen Harbor in the city center, the sandy beach is just a short walk away from Union Street, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists alike. If you’re arriving by public transport, there are bus and railway stations nearby for convenient travel options to the museum. Alternatively, if you prefer driving, it’s only a few minutes away by car.

For those seeking outdoor activities beyond strolling along the promenade in the city center, consider exploring Duthie Park, a beautiful museum with lush greenery and serene surroundings. You can unwind amidst nature’s embrace and enjoy hiking trails available for those who enjoy more adventurous pursuits. Don’t miss out on this nearby attraction!

If you’re interested in exploring beyond Aberdeen itself, day trips to various destinations in the city center and museum are also possible from this harbor area. Whether it’s visiting historic castles or discovering quaint coastal towns along Scotland’s northeast coast, there are plenty of options to choose from based on your preferences.

As you stroll along the boardwalk or promenade in the city center, you’ll also have the chance to admire the impressive Aberdeen Harbor. Watch as boats sail in and out of this bustling activity of a working harbor, and marvel at the sheer size and grandeur of this maritime hub in the city center.

Enjoy Shopping in Aberdeen and Exclusive Online Shop Offers

Shopping in Aberdeen
Shopping in Aberdeen


If you’re visiting Aberdeen, don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy. The city offers a variety of shopping options that cater to all tastes and preferences. From large shopping centers to independent boutiques, Aberdeen has something for everyone.

Retail Therapy at Union Square and Bon Accord

Union Square and Bon Accord are two must-visit destinations in the city center of Aberdeen. These vibrant malls in the city center house a wide range of stores where you can find everything from high-street fashion brands to luxury items.

At Union Square, you’ll discover over 50 shops, including popular retailers like H&M, Next, and Zara. This modern shopping center also features various dining options, making it an ideal place to take a break and grab a bite after your shopping spree.

Bon Accord, located in the city center, is another fantastic option for shoppers. With more than 70 stores under one roof, this city center mall offers an extensive selection of fashion, beauty, electronics, and homeware brands. Whether you’re looking for the latest trends or timeless classics, Bon Accord in the city center has got you covered.

Exclusive Online Shop Offers

In addition to the physical stores in Aberdeen’s shopping centers, many retailers also provide exclusive online shop offers. This means that even if you can’t make it to the city or prefer the convenience of online shopping, you can still enjoy great deals from your favorite brands.

By visiting the websites of businesses located in the city center or following them on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, you can stay up-to-date with the latest promotions and discounts available exclusively online. Take advantage of these offers to save money while treating yourself or finding unique gifts for loved ones.

Supporting Local Businesses

While exploring Aberdeen’s retail scene, don’t forget about the independent boutiques scattered throughout the city. These local businesses offer a refreshing alternative to mainstream shopping experiences by providing unique products crafted with passion and creativity.

Torry Battery, located in the city center near the coast, was once a defense site during World War II. Today, it has been transformed into a vibrant hub for local artisans and independent vendors. Here, you can find handmade jewelry, artwork, clothing, and other one-of-a-kind items that make for memorable souvenirs or special additions to your own collection.

Supporting these local businesses in Aberdeen’s city center, specifically on Union St, not only allows you to discover hidden gems but also contributes to the growth of the city’s entrepreneurial community. By shopping at independent boutiques in the city center, you are directly supporting the dreams and aspirations of talented individuals who pour their hearts into their craft.

Uncover Castles and Whisky Distilleries near Aberdeen

Aberdeen coastline
Aberdeen coastline

Embark on an adventure to nearby castles like Dunnottar Castle and Crathes Castle.

Aberdeen, located in the picturesque Aberdeenshire area of Scotland, is a treasure trove of historic sites waiting to be explored. Just a short distance from the city, you’ll find two magnificent castles that are sure to transport you back in time.

Dunnottar Castle, located in the city center, is a sight to behold. Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the North Sea, this medieval fortress has witnessed countless battles and sieges throughout its long history. As you wander through its ancient ruins, you can almost feel the echoes of the past whispering through the stone walls. From stunning panoramic views to fascinating tales of Scottish history, Dunnottar Castle offers an unforgettable experience for visitors in the city center.

Another castle worth visiting in the city center is Crathes Castle, situated amidst enchanting gardens and woodlands. This 16th-century tower house boasts intricate turrets and fairy-tale-like features that will capture your imagination. Explore its grand rooms filled with antique furniture and artwork or take a leisurely stroll through its beautifully manicured grounds. Crathes Castle provides a glimpse into Scotland’s aristocratic past and offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life in the city center.

Discover the world of whisky with tours at Glenfiddich or Royal Lochnagar distilleries.

No visit to Aberdeen’s city center in Scotland would be complete without indulging in its national drink – whisky. Luckily, Aberdeen’s proximity to some renowned distilleries in the city center makes it an ideal destination for whisky enthusiasts.

Located in Dufftown, within easy reach of Aberdeen city center, Glenfiddich Distillery offers guided tours that take you behind the scenes of their whisky-making process. From learning about malted barley to witnessing traditional copper pot stills in action, you’ll gain insight into every step involved in creating this golden elixir. Of course, no tour would be complete without a tasting session, allowing you to savor the distinct flavors that make Glenfiddich whiskies world-famous.

Another notable distillery in the city center worth visiting is Royal Lochnagar, nestled at the foot of the stunning Cairngorms National Park. This historic distillery in the city center holds a Royal Warrant and has been producing whisky since 1845. Immerse yourself in the rich aromas of aging casks and learn about the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle in the city center. The guided tours in the city center provide an opportunity to delve into the art of whisky-making while enjoying a wee dram or two along the way in the city center.

Immerse yourself in Scotland’s rich heritage while exploring these historic sites.

Both castles and whisky distilleries in the city center offer a window into Scotland’s captivating history and cultural heritage. As you wander through ancient corridors and listen to tales passed down through generations, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for this remarkable country.

In addition to Dunnottar Castle and Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire boasts many other castles waiting to be discovered in the city center. Explore the enchanting landscapes of Royal Deeside, where you can visit Balmoral Castle – the summer residence of the British royal family – or venture further north to explore Fyvie Castle with its impressive turrets and ghostly legends.


So there you have it, some top tips for first-time travelers to Aberdeen. From exploring the charm of Old Aberdeen and its places of worship to immersing yourself in the vibrant art scene at Peacock Visual Arts and Arty Streets, there is something for everyone in this Scottish city.

Don’t miss out on visiting the King’s Museum, Gordon Highlanders Museum, and Aberdeen Art Gallery to delve into the rich history and culture of the region. And if you’re looking for a relaxing day by the sea, be sure to take a stroll along Aberdeen Beach Promenade and Boardwalk.

For those who enjoy shopping, Aberdeen offers a range of options both in-person and online. Take advantage of exclusive online shop offers while also exploring local stores.

If you’re up for an adventure outside the city limits, uncovering castles and whisky distilleries near Aberdeen is a must. You’ll get a taste of Scotland’s fascinating heritage while enjoying some fine spirits along the way.

In conclusion, whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, Aberdeen has something to offer every traveler. Plan your trip today and start making unforgettable memories in this captivating city.


Can I visit all these attractions in one day?

It may be challenging to visit all these attractions in one day due to their varying locations within Aberdeen. It’s recommended to plan your itinerary accordingly and allocate enough time for each attraction based on your interests.

Are there any discounts available for entry tickets?

Some attractions near Union St may offer discounts or special promotions from time to time. It’s advisable to check their official websites or inquire directly with the respective attractions for any ongoing offers or discounts before your visit.

Is public transportation easily accessible in Aberdeen?

Yes, public transportation is readily available in Aberdeen. The city has an efficient bus network that can take you to most attractions within and around the city. Taxis are also a convenient option for getting around.

Can I bring my children to these attractions?

Yes, many of the attractions mentioned are family-friendly and suitable for children. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific attraction’s guidelines regarding age restrictions or any special facilities they may have for families.

Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available for some of the attractions in Aberdeen. These tours can provide valuable insights and enhance your overall experience. Check with the individual attractions or local tour operators for more information on guided tour options.

Is it necessary to book tickets in advance?

While it may not be necessary to book tickets in advance for all attractions, it is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons. Booking in advance ensures you secure your spot and helps avoid potential disappointment if tickets sell out quickly.

What is the best time of year to visit Aberdeen?

The best time to visit Aberdeen depends on personal preferences. The summer months (June-August) generally offer pleasant weather and longer daylight hours. However, spring and autumn can also be beautiful with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. Consider your desired activities and weather preferences when planning your trip.