Visiting Aberdeen for the Weekend: A Guide

Aberdeen City
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Over the last few years, Aberdeen has been the perfect spot for tourists, offering up a great mix of history, culture, nightlife, and fantastic food. Scotland is famous for its castles, bucolic countryside, mountains, and wildlife – and you’ll find no better example of these than in Aberdeenshire. Here we have put together a guide on spending the perfect weekend away in this stunning part of the UK.

Aberdeen City

Whether you are looking to visit Aberdeen for its iconic granite buildings or a night on the town, you are sure to have a good time. Start your time by taking a casual walk around the city, including the beautiful old town with its grand buildings and cobbled streets. Stop by Marischal College – an impressive granite structure finished in 1906; Marischal College is the second-largest granite building in the world and currently occupied by the local council, although owned by Aberdeen University.

Looking to learn a bit about the city’s history? A great place to go next is the Maritime Museum, which has several detailed exhibits covering the story of the city’s path from a small fishing village to the third-largest city in Scotland. Here you will also learn about the city’s hugely important role in the North Sea oil industry, and how this shaped the economy of Aberdeen.

In the evening head over to Rustico which offers kid-friendly casual dining. Rustico is a family-run Italian restaurant with options such as rigatoni, linguine with king prawns and meat options such as lamb.

Ballater, Aberdeenshire

The picturesque village of Ballater in the Royal Deeside is a gateway to the Cairngorms National Park – the largest national park in the UK. Make this village one of your destinations during your weekend in this stunning part of the country. In the village itself, you will find local boutiques, quaint little cafes and a range of hotels.

From here, head on a trip to the Cairngorms and explore one of the UK’s most incredible parks. The Cairngorms include a range of mountains – many of which are classed as Munros – which are hugely popular for climbing; the park is also a popular place for fishing, skiing, wildlife spotting and mountain biking. In the evening warm-up and fuel up at the Darroch Learg Restaurant, a 1880s hotel just minutes from the centre of Ballater.


With the remaining time you have, head over to the harbour town of Stonehaven which is known for its beautiful beach, great seaside food, seabird reserve and the impressive Dunnottar Castle – which partly inspired the movie Brave. Make sure to make time to see Dunnottar which is perched on a cliff overlooking stunning views of the North Sea. This now ruined fortification saw the likes of Mary Queen of Scots and James the VI pass through its corridors – it was even where the Scottish crown jewels were once hidden from Oliver Cromwell when he invaded. Today the castle is open all year round but is easier to access on a warm summer’s day – which also guarantees uninterrupted views over the coast. The castle is also a popular spot for weddings in the summer, making for some great photographs to last a lifetime.

The great thing about a trip to Aberdeen is that no matter the time of year you go, there is always something to do and lots to discover. The area is also easy to access, no matter where you’re coming from. Aberdeen even has its own airport and lots of great hotels nearby. There are also links via train and road to all major cities in the UK, meaning there’s no excuse not to visit this 2020!

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