Nature and Wildlife
One of Aberdeen’s major attractions is its abundance of local fauna, particularly marine life. The dolphins are amongst its most famous residents, finding a fish-rich home in the harbour and the city’s two rivers, the Dee and Don. Harbour cruises are available for those who want to get up close to the playful creatures, who will more often than not oblige spectators with a lively show. Venture out to Newburgh Beach, and you may well spot some of the hoards of playful seals who flock to the estuary to relax.
After getting your fill of marine wildlife, head back inland to enjoy some of the many green areas and parks in Aberdeen; Duthie Park and Winter Gardens, Johnstone Gardens and Victoria Park are all within a stone’s throw of the city centre. Visitors may want to make time to squeeze in the highly recommended Zoology Museum, too; it is located within the must-see, 11-acre Cruickshank Botanical Gardens. Tellingly, the city has won the Britain in Bloomcompetition a record-breaking ten times, and it shows.
Life by the Sea
Like the dolphins, signs of the seafaring life are everywhere in Aberdeen. The Maritime Museum lays bare the long and lucrative relationship locals have had with the sea. Situated in the centre of the city, the museum has plenty on offer for all ages, with its mascot pirate Granite Jack sure to appeal to young visitors. Of particular interest are its fascinating exhibits on the the North Sea oil and gas industry, the engines behind Aberdeen’s most recent economic boom.
The cutting edge technology behind that boom is part of a scientific history that Aberdonians are particularly proud of. This aspect takes centre stage at the Aberdeen Science Centre, a hands-on experience that moves visitors from the sea to the skies with treats such as its Big Telescopes exhibition.
Aberdeen has become a real hub for the cultural scene in this corner of Scotland, and boasts a number of venues that regularly attract headlining names. The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, His Majesty’s Theatre, ACT Aberdeen and the Lemon Tree count amongst the hot spots where visitors may catch shows catering for every taste. There is even an underground venue – The Tunnels – which regularly showcases the coolest acts.
City-wide venues will become exponentially more bustling during the annual Aberdeen International Youth Festival, now approaching its fiftieth year. This truly international event welcomes performers from across the globe to celebrate music, dance and the performing arts.
For those hoping to indulge in a spot of shopping, Aberdeen will never disappoint. As well as the famous Granite Mile, boasting a wealth of boutiques and independent outlets, city-goers enjoy no fewer than five shopping centres. Union Square is the place to head for the big High Street names, handily located right by the train station.
At sundown – which can be well into the evening during the light, northern summer months – there is a vast choice of pubs, bars, clubs and even casinos to unwind in.
Aberdeen is extremely well-linked by national and international transport links, whether you are flying to the city or going by train or road. Enjoying the Silver City with the Golden Sands – another of Aberdeen’s several affectionate nicknames – has never been easier. With so many reasons to visit, why not make Aberdeen your next fun-packed city break?