Aberdeen might be regarded as Europe’s oil city, but it is so much more to the citizens who live there. There’s still something new to explore in the Granite City, with ancient castles on the outskirts and an eclectic social scene in the core.
Aberdeen is framed by breathtaking scenery steeped in tradition – imagine gothic castles and picturesque royal burghs – and is set against Scotland’s rough northeastern coastline. There are plenty of fine dining opportunities, galleries, libraries, and theatres in the neighbourhood, where the granite buildings gleam in the sunshine. The bar scene is vibrant enough to match that of Scotland’s larger towns, thanks to a youthful demographic. There’s more to Aberdeen than meets the eye— here’s a list of the best things to do in Aberdeen.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : Live out your fantasy in one of the Shire’s magnificent castles
Both roads leading out of Aberdeen lead to rolling hills, and you’ll almost certainly come across one of the county’s spectacular castles. Don’t leave it to chance; instead, prepare a ploughman’s lunch and travel south of Stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle, an imposing, abandoned mediaeval fortress perched haphazardly on a rugged headland. Set your sights on Craigievar Castle, a blush-pink, turreted treasure worthy of Sleeping Beauty herself, if you prefer your castle Disney-esque.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : Visit BrewDog’s biggest brewery for a tour
Few people are aware that BrewDog was established in Aberdeenshire, but its creators are extremely proud of their roots. In reality, BrewDog’s largest brewery is still located in Ellon, and it now provides DogWalk tours to its adoring fans. Spend the afternoon visiting the state-of-the-art eco-brewery, then finish with a pint from the freshest batch in the DogTap taproom, only a 40-minute bus ride along the breathtaking coastline from Aberdeen’s city centre.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : Take a stroll back in time in Old Aberdeen
The leafy suburbs of Old Aberdeen, like a Dickens novel come to life, are connected by winding, cobblestone streets and feature some of the city’s most beautiful architecture – and there’s no better example of this than St Machar’s Cathedral. You’ll also see students hurrying around as well, bringing textbooks and cups of Kilau coffee. This is due to the fact that Old Aberdeen is now host to the city’s namesake university, as well as King’s College, one of the city’s architectural highlights.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : At Balmedie Beach, climb the dunes
There are many lovely beaches in the Aberdeen district. Though it’s worth travelling to Newburgh to see the sight of over 400 seals congregating there, Balmedie is Aberdeen’s most-loved beach. You won’t want to abandon this unexpected paradise until you set aside a whole afternoon to appreciate the sensation of fine golden sand between your toes.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : At The Lemon Tree, you will dance until dawn.
Going to the first gig at The Lemon Tree is like a rite of passage for Aberdonian teens, but this place speaks to more than just angsty teenagers. The place, which began in the 1930s, offers a forum for up-and-coming artists to obtain experience on the professional circuit, with acts such as Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, and local talent Emeli Sandé both playing here before becoming household names.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : Confess your sins at 21Crimes
If you’re hunting for exclusivity, 21Crimes is the place to be. Unsurprisingly, there are little specifics regarding Aberdeen’s first and only hidden pub. You’ll have to put together information to figure out where it is, but that’s not the only hurdle you’ll have to tackle. On the entrance, a passkey will be needed, which will be updated on a regular basis and unveiled for a limited period on the bar’s Instagram page. Yeah, it seems like a lot of hassle, but it’s well worth it for the expertly mixed drinks, plush lounges, and smugness of walking through its doors.
Things to explore in Aberdeen : Drum Castle, Garden & Estate
Drum Castle is one of the oldest tower houses in Scotland. In 1323, King Robert the Bruce gave the Royal Forest of Drum and the Tower of Drum to William de Irwyn, and the Irvine family lived there for over 650 years. Over the years, the castle has undergone many renovations and extensions, including a Jacobean mansion house expansion in 1619 and a 3,000-volume library that was adapted from the lower hall during the Victorian century. The castle’s High Hall is now in its mediaeval condition, with steep stairs leading up to it.
Drum Castle was given to the National Trust of Scotland in 1975. Throughout the castle, there is family memorabilia, a portrait collection, and antique Georgian furniture. Drum Castle’s grounds feature an ancient oak forest park, three designated walks, and a walled garden with a historic array of fragrant roses.
These are some of the top things to do and see in Aberdeen. Make sure you visit them surely and make the most out of it.