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Aberdeen Off the Beaten Path

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Aberdeen is a beautiful historic city situated on the northeast coast of Scotland. Although Aberdeen is a popular tourist destination, it does not attract the sheer volume of tourists that Edinburgh and St Andrews do, offering its visitors a chance to better experience the 'real Scotland' with more opportunities to venture off-the-beaten-path. From barren coastlines to local watering holes; this guide encourages visitors to choose the path less trodden, and enjoy a truly authentic experience.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer

13 Places

10 City Tips

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Map

13 Places

Foodstory

Restaurants

Aberdeen Harbour

Bodies of Water

Footdee (Fittie)

Neighbourhoods

Peacock Visual Arts

Art Galleries, Lessons & Workshops

Moon Fish Cafe

Restaurants

Fettercairn Distillery

Factory Tours

Slains Castle

Castles

Bullers of Buchan

Geologic Formations

Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool

Water Parks

Aunty Bettys

Gift & Speciality Shops

Linn O' Dee

Geologic Formations

Cairngorms National Park

National Parks

Mercyfcb's City Tips

  • People in Aberdeen generally tip 10% when dining out.
  • Often referred to as "Granite City", Aberdeen is nonetheless surrounded by beautiful beaches and rugged scenery, offering plenty of options for day-trips.
  • Aberdeen is extremely accessible from other UK cities by both bus and train. Stagecoach is the main bus operator in the area surrounding the city, while First Bus runs the city centre network. Check their websites for more information.
  • Aberdeen can get extremely cold so be sure to pack appropriately. In addition, the city is very windy, so during rainy weather a rain coat may be more use than an umbrella.
  • Sample Scottish staples such as haggis and whisky in one of the many pubs in Aberdeen, or visit a local distillery.
  • There are many attractions in rural Aberdeenshire which are extremely accessible from Aberdeen. From the city, it is possible to do day trips to Loch Ness and other areas in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Taxis are relatively expensive. If you are planning on doing a few trips further afield, I would recommend hiring a car.
  • The centre of Aberdeen is not very big and easily explored on foot.
  • The Tourist Information Centre can be found on Union Street.
  • The easiest way to explore the centre of Aberdeen is on foot.
  • Foodstory
    Restaurants (Cafe, British, Soups, Healthy)
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Foodstory Cafe is a unique eatery in the centre of Aberdeen. The cafe sells healthy, organic, home made food that is locally sourced, affordable and tasty! The chic interior is also consciously constructed from repurposed wood and recycled materials.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the helpful website for opening hours and further information.
    • The cafe serves a fantastic array of gluten free cakes. Try the gluten free chocolate cake!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 581 restaurants in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good food 22/10/2018
    • Outstanding 20/10/2018
    • Foodstory
    Address:
    Anderson House 11-15 Thistle Street
    Aberdeen AB10 1XZ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 7926 373034
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Mon - Thu
    8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Fri
    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
    Sat
    9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Aberdeen Harbour
    Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Aberdeen is a thriving industrial city and its economic success is intrinsically connected to the North Sea and it's busy harbour. Although the Aberdeen Maritime Museum is fascinating and extremely informative, I would recommend visiting the harbour itself for a more authentic taste of Aberdeen's maritime industries.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The harbour's central location makes it extremely accessible.
    • The harbour is a hive of activity: relax on the harbour side and watch the comings and goings of an array of vessels.
    • Look out for dolphins at the mouth of the harbour!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 122 things to do in Aberdeen
    • Roaming around 20/10/2018
    • Ok today 24/09/2018
    • Aberdeen Harbour
    Address:
    16 Regent Quay
    Aberdeen AB11 5SS
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1224 597000
    Hours:
    Mon - Thu
    8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Fri
    8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
  • Footdee (Fittie)
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Footdee is an old fishing village at the easternmost point of the harbour, and a great area to explore for a taste of authentic Aberdeen. A quiet place that is only a short walk away from the bustling city centre, visiting Footdee is almost like stepping back in time as the area is largely unchanged and retains much of it's quaint, original charm. Admire the sea view and the picturesque fishing cottages.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Head here at sunset to enjoy the sea view.
    • Buy a takeaway fish and chip supper and enjoy it by the sea.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 122 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Footdee has lost some of its flavour. 15/10/2018
    • Old fishing village 14/10/2018
    • Footdee (Fittie)
    Address:
    Pocra Quay
    Beach Esplanade
    Aberdeen AB11 5DQ
    Scotland
  • Peacock Visual Arts
    Art Galleries, Lessons & Workshops
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Peacock Visual Arts is a contemporary art gallery whose extremely varied exhibitions have the common goal of bringing together leading contemporary Scottish artists and the public. This small gallery is certainly off the tourist trail, and hosts a variety of fascinating events such as film screenings, talks, workshops, residencies, and of course, exhibitions. The Peacock Visual Arts is a creative hub in Aberdeen and is a must visit for those wishing to experience the Granite City's creative side.

    Good for
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the informative website for details about upcoming events and opening hours.
    • There is a lovely shop onsite where you can buy original pieces at reasonable prices.
    • The Peacock Visual Arts is located in central Aberdeen, down a small close off Castle Gate.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 7 Classes & Workshops in Aberdeen
    • Great Arts Facility 20/07/2016
    • Poor Quality Framing 17/05/2016
    • Peacock Visual Arts
    Address:
    21 Castle Street
    Aberdeen AB11 5BQ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1224 639539
    Hours:
    Tue
    9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
    Wed - Thu
    9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
    Fri - Sat
    9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
    Other:
  • Moon Fish Cafe
    Restaurants (Seafood, European, British, Scottish)
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Although Moon Fish Cafe is extremely popular (and therefore busy) with locals and visitors alike, it remains a must-visit restaurant for good reason. Head here for a decadent lunch or dinner at least once during your visit; the restaurant serves up delicious and innovative dishes that are created using locally sourced, seasonal products.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    Tips
    • The lunches are reasonably priced, and they offer set menu deals in the evenings.
    • I would recommend booking in advance as Moon Fish Cafe is extremely popular!
    • Visit the website for up to date information and to see the latest menu.
    • The seafood dishes are delicious.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 581 restaurants in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Delicious 22/10/2018
    • Fine Dining with Great Service 18/10/2018
    • Moon Fish Cafe
    Address:
    9 Correction Wynd
    Aberdeen AB10 1HP
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1224 644166
    Price range:
    US$ 39 - US$ 111
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    Tue - Sat
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Sat
    12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    Other:
  • Fettercairn Distillery
    Factory Tours
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Scotland is famous for it's whisky - gain a better understanding of the fascinating distilling process and sample an array of whiskies by visiting a distillery. Escape the city by travelling to the Fettercairn Distillery which is located in the picturesque foothills of the Grampian Mountains, and enjoy the magnificent setting as you learn more from the incredibly helpful staff.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • If you are travelling as part of a large group I would recommend booking your tour in advance.
    • There is a shop onsite selling a variety of whiskies by the bottle, and other related souvenirs.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 21 Tours in Aberdeen
    • Interesting and informative. 30/08/2018
    • Interesting and very good 28/07/2018
    • Fettercairn Distillery
    Address:
    Fettercairn
    Laurencekirk
    Aberdeen AB30 1YE
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1561 340205
    Other:
  • Slains Castle
    Castles
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Get off-the-beaten-track by travelling to the rugged cliffs that line the North Sea. Slains Castle is a dramatic ruin perched on the cliffs, just a short walk away from Cruden Bay. These ruins are particularly fascinating, as, having been reconstructed several times throughout its history, the castle is a culmination of many different architectural styles and masonry techniques. However, arguably the most spectacular thing about Slains Castle is its imposing outline against the North Sea, as well as the fact that visitors are free to roam around its rough and unkept ruins.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • After visiting the castle, stop and enjoy the beautiful beach at Cruden Bay
    • Be mindful that the cliffs here are extremely steep and winds can be strong. Keep a safe distance away from the edge as you explore.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 122 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • really interesting 02/10/2018
    • Breathtaking 21/09/2018
    • Slains Castle
    Address:
    Cruden Bay
    Aberdeen AB10 1JE
    Scotland
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
  • Bullers of Buchan
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Take a walk along the cliff tops and enjoy some bird and seal watching. The views are spectacular and the geological features are extremely impressive. Bullers of Buchan is a large blow hole formed by the sheer force of the sea, and is also surrounded by several arches.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Wrap up warm as this area is extremely exposed and during the cooler months it can be bitingly cold.
    • The cliff edge is unprotected, so take extra care.
    • It is possible to get the bus here from the centre of Aberdeen.
    • The walk is sadly not buggy or wheelchair friendly.
    • Look out for the nesting puffins!
    • The clifftop walk snakes past the imposing ruins of Slains Castle; a good site to combine with this walk.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 122 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Craggy dtamatic cliffs 24/09/2018
    • Sea walk 19/09/2018
    • Bullers of Buchan
    Other:
  • Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool
    Water Parks
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Stonehaven is a short drive from Aberdeen, and is the perfect place to get off-the-beaten-track. Visitors will hugely enjoy a dip in Stonehaven's traditional Open Air Swimming Pool; the heated Olympic-sized pool is a great place to visit with children, for a workout or to see a different side of Scotland. The pool has a retro charm and even on cooler days the water is warm and inviting.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • It is possible to get the bus to Stonehaven from Aberdeen city centre.
    • They offer midnight swims for those desiring a truly unique experience.
    • Check the website for opening times, prices, and special events such as aqua ceilidhs!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Stonehaven
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun swim 01/09/2018
    • Unique experience 28/08/2018
    • Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool
    Address:
    Queen Elizabeth Park
    Stonehaven AB39 2RD
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1569 762134
    Price range:
    US$ 9 - US$ 9
    Other:
  • Aunty Bettys
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Travel to Stonehaven to experience the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area, and then rest and refuel with a truly unique ice cream experience. Aunty Bettys' is a kitsch ice cream parlour situated on the Stonehaven promenade, and serves up sundaes decorated in a fun and extravagant manner, that both children and adults will enjoy. It also offers delicious hot drinks, as well as traditional cakes and treats, meaning there's something for everyone!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Dairy free sorbets and dairy free chocolate is also available.
    • Relax in the outdoor seating or walk along the promenade with your ice cream.
    • The ice cream and sorbet flavours are extremely unusual, so be adventurous.
    • Although prices may seem relatively steep, the servings are certainly on the generous side, and every ice cream comes with ample free toppings.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 4 Shopping in Stonehaven
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A proper ice cream shop 22/10/2018
    • Busy because its SOOO GOOD 15/10/2018
    • Aunty Bettys
    Address:
    The Promenade
    Stonehaven AB39 2RD
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1569 763656
    Other:
  • Linn O' Dee
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Linn O' Dee is a beautiful example of the spectacular highland landscape that surrounds Aberdeen. Enjoy the peace and tranquility as you admire this fantastic geological feature. The River Dee has carved a 300m long gorge through solid rock, dropping into pools below. Pack a picnic and relax by the water's edge.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the website to find out more information about the various trails on offer here.
    • Be sure to pack warm clothing as it can get extremely cold.
    • There is an information point located in the car park.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Braemar
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Spectacular Place 08/10/2018
    • Fantastic 24/09/2018
    • Linn O' Dee
    Address:
    7 Miles Beyond Braemar
    Past Inverey on the Linn O' Dee Road
    Braemar AB35 5YB
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1339 720164
    Other:
  • Cairngorms National Park
    National Parks
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Cairngorms are the largest mountain range in the UK, and the area is home to a vast array of forests, rivers, and mountain peaks. I would advise any outdoor enthusiasts visiting Aberdeen to visit the neighbouring Cairngorms National Park in order to make the most of the beautiful Scottish countryside.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the informative website for more information, and to plan your trip.
    • I would recommend hiring a car to get here.
    • The weather can vary greatly so be sure to pack appropriately.
    • During the winter months there are often opportunities to ski, however it must be noted that this is very much weather dependent.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 45 things to do in Badenoch and Strathspey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Breathtaking!!! 08/10/2018
    • great country 06/09/2018
    • Cairngorms National Park
    Phone:
    +44 1479 873535
    Other:
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