The Royal Town (or Burgh) of Aberdeen is one of Scotland's most important commercial, religious and academic cities. It has been Scotland's main north-eastern seaport since the 13th-c, and in the 19th-c became a very important fishing port. Although large catches of fish are still landed here, the docks and harbour area are now fully dominated by the offshore oil industry. The best time to visit the harbour is during the early morning when the sea's bounty is landed and auctioned in Scotland's largest fish market.

Provost Ross' House, Aberdeen

Provost Ross' House, by Colin Smith - CCL

Known locally as Granite City, Aberdeen's streets are lined with dull grey buildings, built from locally quarried granite. The city's rugged outline is greatly softened however by its many beautifully laid-out parks and flower gardens.

The city centre flanks the main thoroughfare of Union Street, which ends towards the East at Castlegate; where the city's castle once stood. The castle grounds now form a grand marketplace, in the centre of which stands the ancient Mercat Cross, one of the finest burgh crosses in Scotland.

About 1.5 miles north of the modern city centre lies the old town of Aberdeen, which provides a more serene atmosphere, filled with peaceful mediaeval streets and wynds (narrow street or alley).

The coastal bay of Aberdeen is lined with two miles of golden sands, backed by an Esplanade (or Promenade), that stretches from the harbour area to the Don Estuary. At the harbour end of the bay is Beach Boulevard; a typical seaside resort area with amusement arcades, fairgrounds and adventure playgrounds.

Visitor Information Centre:

23 Union Street, Aberdeen, Scotland AB11 5BP - Tel: 01224 288828

Places to Visit in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Art Gallery

Purpose built neoclassical structure, circa 1884. The main gallery displays fine art, sculpture, photography and local silver. Temporary exhibits cover wide range of works with emphasis on the contemporary. Included in the masterpieces on permanent display are works by Augustus John, Degas, Henry Moore, Hogarth, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec.

James Dun's House

Houses a museum designed especially with children in mind, with various hands-on activities and exhibits from Victorian toys to natural history.

King's College

Part of the University of Aberdeen. Located in the Old Town. Dating back to 1494 it was founded by James IV. The college chapel supports a splendid Lantern tower, topped by a massive stone crown. Visitors centre open to the public.

Parks and Gardens

There are a number of very attractive parks and gardens to be found in and around Aberdeen. The largest of which is Duthie Park Winter Gardens.

Provost Ross' House

One of the oldest residential buildings in Aberdeen, dating back to 1593. Hosts a Maritime Museum which traces the history of the oil industry and shipping in the area.

Provost Skene's House

Once the home of sir George skene, a 17th-c Provost mayor of Aberdeen. Contains many splendid Regency rooms and great halls, filled with period furnishings and features. In the wing is an amazing painted gallery, representing religious scenes thought to be 17th-c. Currently closed to the public.

St Machar's Cathedral

Built on a site chosen by St Machar, who was told to travel to place where there was a bend in the river resembling a shepherd's crook. The original 15th-c medieval cathedral was fortified to withstand attacks by English marauders from the seaward side and Celtic Highlanders approaching from the mountains.

St Nicholas' Church

Aberdeen's main city church, founded in the 12th century by St Nicholas. The present structure dates from 1752 and contains many relics from the mediaeval period. Iron rings can be found in the East Chapel that were once used to chain witches. In the West Church is a collection of embroidered 17th-c tapestries attributed to Mary Jameson. The Bell Tower hosts on of the largest carillon (set of bells) in the UK.

Map of Aberdeen


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Towns in NE Scotland

Aberdeen, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntley, Inverurie, Peterhead, Elgin, Fochabers, Forres, Rothes, Lossiemouth

Attractions in NE Scotland

Braemar Castle | Atholl Museum | Blair Castle | Blair Atholl Watermill | Cairngorm Railway | Grantown Museum | Cairngorm Reindeer Centre | Corgarff Castle | Dalwhinnie Distillery Visitor Centre | Glenlivet Estate | Glenmore Forest Park | Highland Folk Museum | Highland Wildlife Park | Landmark Forest | Rothiemurchus Centre | Strathspey Railway | Tomintoul Museum


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