8 Reasons to visit Aberdeen!

Aberdeen, UK

I'm not usually one to make New Year's resolutions but I began this year determined to see more of Scotland. So when an email from Visit Aberdeenshire appeared in my inbox inviting me on a press trip, I was thrilled. Having only briefly visited Aberdeen once when I was young, I was otherwise clueless to what the Granite City had to offer. Thankfully, this trip was a wonderful introduction to the area and has opened my eyes to what Aberdeenshire has to offer, so, here are 8 reasons to visit Aberdeen.

1. Aberdeen's Street Art

Street art might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Aberdeen. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that a recent public art festival 'Nuart Aberdeen' has endeavoured to make art a part of everyday life and encouraged artists to use the city as their canvas, meaning the city centre is bursting full of murals, sculptures, and general street art. We got the chance to spot a few as we wandered around the city centre but I'd love to return to walk the complete route. You can download the Street Art Map here.


2. Footdee (referred to as 'Fittie' by locals)

One of the highlights of my trip was our visit to the adorable old fishing village, Footdee. Footdee sits at the east end of Aberdeen's harbour and is a pocket of colour in the Granite City. There's so much in this little village's favour, from dolphin spotting to a Michelin Guide restaurant. I recommend a meal at the Silver Darling, followed by dolphin spotting, and a wander Footdee to admire the quirky homes. 


3. Home to the Most Castles in the UK

Well here's a fact I didn't know before the press trip! With over 260 castles, stately homes and ruins,  Aberdeenshire quite rightly holds the title of 'Scotland's Castle Country.' A few castles to keep an eye out for on your visit are Dunnottar Castle, Craigievar Castle, and Fyvie Castle.

As part of the trip, we visited the 800 year old Baronial-style, Fyvie Castle. The turreted pink castle may look picture perfect from the outside but as you step inside, like any castle, it's shrouded in mystery and folklore. For a glimpse into Fyvie's history, look up the 'Green Lady of Fyvie Castle', for a rather horrifying tale. The decadent castle is also home to one the largest collections of Raeburn paintings as well as the most expensive artefact owned by the National Trust of Scotland, a Pompeo Batoni portrait of Colonel William Gordon, insured at £22 million!

Fyvie Castle


5. Vibrant Foodie Scene 

Known for its fresh seafood, whisky distilleries, and legendary Aberdeen Angus, Aberdeenshire has a long-standing link with sublime food and drink. In more recent years the area has also been the birthplace to Deans shortbread and craft beer revolutionaries, Brewdog. So, it should come as no surprise that Aberdeen's restaurant game is pretty high too! As part of the press trip, we visited several places I'd happily recommend such as The Silver Darling, Vovem, and Meldrum House. 


5. Old Aberdeen & Brig o' Balgownie

The cobbled lanes and intriguing architecture of Old Aberdeen was somewhere I had spotted a few times on Instagram, so I was very much looking forward to exploring it for myself. The area is home to the University of Aberdeen which comprises of a mixture of beautiful old buildings such as King's College as well as stunning modern builds like The Sir Duncan Rice Library.

A short walk through Seaton Park will bring you to Brig o' Balgownie, where you'll find rows of quaint cottages as well as its ancient single Gothic archway bridge, which was rumoured to have been built under the order of Robert the Bruce! We were slightly short on time so rather than walking we drove but I'd love to return to explore more of Old Aberdeen by foot.

King's College Powis Gates

Brig o' Balgownie

6. Quirky Museums

I know museums aren't everyone's cup of tea but I personally love them and I think that Aberdeenshire has enough quirky and wonderful museums to intrigue even the few sceptics out there! Starting in the city centre, there's the Maritime Museum which tells the story of Aberdeen's relationship with the sea both past and present, The Tolbooth Museum, and the Aberdeen Art Gallery which is currently closed to undergo under a £30 million refurbishment but is scheduled to open later this year.

Further out of the city centre, there's the Peterhead Prison Museum - a former Victorian HM Convict Prison - which I was unsure what to expect yet it became one of my personal highlights from the trip. As well allowing you a glimpse into the previous life of the prison it also detailed Scotland's most notorious prison riot which ended with the SAS intervening (the only the SAS have ended a domestic siege!).

Peterhead Prison Museum

7. Whisky Distilleries

Whisky fans rejoice! Aberdeenshire has its fair share of whisky distilleries, with the majority of them allowing visitors to have a sneak peek at the process, the trickiest part will be choosing which one to visit. We had the pleasure of visiting Glen Garioch Distillery, and were shown around the distillery where we got a glimpse of the whisky being made. At the end of the tour, we sampled a few of their whiskies before heading on our merry way.

8. Foodstory Cafe

On its own, it might be a bit of a stretch to ask you to travel all the way to Aberdeen to visit a cafe but coupled with the compelling reasons listed above, and the fact that I love a coffee shop, I feel justified adding this brilliant cafe! Just before we caught our train back home, we had a couple hours to spare and after hearing various recommendations to visit this cafe we popped in for a cuppa. We were not disappointed.

I was invited by VisitAberdeenshire to Aberdeen as part of a paid partnership and press trip. All opinions are my own.

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