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Visitors Guide to Aberdeen

The Granite City is crammed with Scottish character, picturesque parks and is crammed with interesting attractions.

Traditionally Aberdeen is often referred to as ‘The Granite City’, ‘The Rainbow City’ or ‘The Silver City’ because of the grey stones, used in the older buildings, which sometimes sparkle in the sun.

Some prefer to call it ‘The Flower of Scotland’ as a city famous for picturesque parks, gardens and floral displays. In more modern times it has also come to boast the title of ‘Oil Capital of Europe’ as a result of the supply of crude oil offshore in the North Sea. It was after the discovery of oil that the city expanded, with several new suburbs being formed. For example, in only thirty years, the district of Bridge of Don has become one of the largest suburbs in Europe. Although it is Scotland’s third largest city, Aberdeen is still substantially smaller than Glasgow or Edinburgh, but it has an identity that is distinct from all other Scottish cities.

The county town of Aberdeenshire and the chief seaport in the north-east of Scotland, it has a harbour and pleasant beach, and, some of the oldest university buildings in Europe, King’s College having been founded in 1495. The King’s College Campus is situated in the oldest part of the city, and it is there that you can find St Machar Cathedral, which is steeped in history. The Maritime Museum is well worth a visit, offering as it does an extraordinary insight into the mechanics and technology of ships and oil rigs, Aberdeen’s rich maritime history and the lives of people who have worked offshore in the North Sea for the past 500 years.

Aberdeen is an ideal location if you want to see castles, play golf or sample local whiskies. Within thirty miles you can visit Crathes, Drum and Dunottar Castles; the Malt Whisky Trail, which is thirty miles north, involves a number of distilleries including Glenfiddich and Glen Grant; and if you want to play golf there are two excellent courses – The Royal Aberdeen, founded in 1970 and the sixth oldest in the world, and the Royal Deeside in the valley of the river Dee. The nearby town of Stonehaven is very popular with visitors, fe aturing an art deco outdoor pool and an attractive seafront.

The Royal Deeside area is also a big attraction. Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar feature prominently on most itineraries and no visit would be complete without a tour of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the biggest draws because of its links with royalty. Aberdeen is also fortunate in that it is easily accessible by road, rail, air and sea.

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