Best known for granite, oil, shipping and fishing – this port city has diversified in recent years, firmly establishing itself as Scotland’s third largest city.
The Scotsman calls the city of Aberdeen ‘one of the most architecturally distinctive in Europe’ thanks to the fact that so many of its well-known buildings, houses, statues and monuments are hewn from granite from large quarries in the surrounding area. In the 19th century Aberdeen was the granite capital of the world. Aberdeen’s main street, the mile-long Union Street, is lined with granite buildings.
It’s located right on the North Sea, meaning a trip to the beach to get fresh air and enjoy wide, open spaces and vast sand dunes is easily achieved – keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and seals! Due to the big part maritime has played on the growth of Aberdeen over the years, its award-winning Maritime Museum gives insight into how shipbuilding and the oil and gas industry flourished over the years.
Aberdeen has five shopping centres as well as many shops and boutiques located along Union Street. One of the five is the impressive Union Square which is attached to Aberdeen Railway Station to fulfil all your shopping needs as soon as you step down from the train.
Aberdonian singer-songwriter Emili Sande has been known to return to her roots to perform gigs at venues where she first started out, such as the Tunnels, a live music venue located beneath Union Street.
The city hosts True North, a four-day music festival in September, delivering a programme of singers and performers from Aberdeen and further afield; it’s bound to entertain and inspire.
Aberdeen boasts two Old Towns. Old Aberdeen has cobbled streets and a cathedral dating back to the 15th Century where Aberdeen’s first University was founded in 1495. There’s also Footdee, known as Fittie, a fishing quarter by the sea lined with fisherman’s cottages.
Rich in history, the land surrounding Aberdeen was the home of the ancient Picts so there are plenty of sites and symbols to explore. A short drive outside Aberdeen is Dunnottar Castle, a stronghold in the Jacobite risings and the hiding place of the Scottish crown jewels when Oliver Cromwell’s army invaded Scotland in the 1600s.
We can’t discuss castles without mentioning Balmoral Castle located about an hour outside Aberdeen; one of the official residences of the British Royal Family. The gardens and grounds are open to the public daily from April to July.
The Granite City has a number of parks including Duthie Park, Cruickshank Botanic Gardens, Johnston Gardens and Victoria Park, providing an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Its northern location ensures in summer, days are long and in winter, if you’re lucky you might witness the Northern Lights.
Aberdeen is well-connected with a railway station joining it to all major cities, you can be in Glasgow or Edinburgh in about three hours via train or car. The closest city is Dundee, which can be reached by train in just over an hour and Aberdeen International Airport flies to 46 destinations across the UK and Europe.
If career aspirations lead you to Aberdeen, the cost of renting a flat in the city is around £600 per month for a one bedroom flat in the city centre. Worth every penny!
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