Aberdeen Travel Guide
Located in the county of Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland next to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The word, “Aberdeen” comes from Scottish Gaelic: “Obar Dheathain”. Aberdeen is the chief seaport in the north-east of Scotland and is often called “Oil Capital of Europe” due to the immense supply of crude oil from the North Sea, thereby achieving the status of Offshore Capital of Europe.
Archibald Simpson, a native architect designed major part of the city with granite found in abundance locally. Aberdeen still retains this architecture style of Archibald Simpson and is often referred to as “The Granite City” (nearly all the buildings in the centre are made of the grey, occasionally sparkling material), which has been famous for its outstanding parks, gardens and floral displays.
Aberdeen lies on a bay of the North Sea, between the mouths of the rivers Don and Dee, 120 miles northeast of Edinburgh – extends to 71.22 square miles (184.7 km˛), and includes the former burghs of Old Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Woodside and the district of Torry to the south of the Dee. The original settlement, often referred to as Aberdon, lay at the northern end of today’s city, on the south bank of the River Don.
Of the total population of 212,125 in the city, ethnic groups include English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%.
Climate and Weather
The climate in Aberdeen is temperate, influenced by the coastal North Sea. Average overall temperature is 46.2 degrees Fahrenheit (7.9 Celsius) and average rainfall 754.5 mm per year.
In 1136, David I created “New Aberdeen” built upon an older settlement on the north bank of the River Dee. Aberdeen quickly grew in size an importance after this. However, the city also saw bad times as well as good. For instance, there were two serious fires in the 1200s. By 1639 Aberdeen was the second largest city in Scotland after Edinburgh and in the same year, it was occupied by five separate armies in quick succession.
Aberdeen’s quick growth lay in its importance as a port (by1300 Aberdeen had already been an important wool exporting port), and had established strong trading links with Germany and the Baltic. The Don had been bridged since 1318, and the Dee since 1529 and the renowned shipyards of Aberdeen first began in 1790. Through the Industrial Revolution, sail boats gave way to steam and the boatyards adapted to the change.
Other industries also thrived, with wool particularly important to the city’s early growth. Some of the oldest university buildings in Europe were also founded during this period with King’s College founded in 1495.
The 19th century saw a period of considerable expansion and by 1901, the population was 153,000 and the city covered more than 6,000 acres. During this century much of the harbors like Victoria Dock, the South Breakwater and the extension to the North Pier were built as it exists today. With the advent of gas, improvements in street lighting came in 1824, and a vast improvement was made to the water supply in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place.
Today, its rich and complex history has made Aberdeen into a beautiful city with magnificent granite buildings and gardens and the harbor has been larger and busier than it has ever been.
Aberdeen International Airport is situated 7 miles from the city centre in Dyce and offers a wide range of domestic and some international flights like British Airways, BMI, Easy jet etc.
Aberdeen Station is located next to the Harbor and Bus Station, slightly down from Union Street, the main thoroughfare. Services come from the South via Perth and the North to Elgin, Inverness and other similar places, and ferries arrive at Aberdeen harbor from Lerwick, Kirkwall and other places.
Aberdeen Art Gallery – opened in 1885, it displays a varied collection of works of art, including impressive examples of Modern Art, and work by the Impressionists and the Scottish Colorists. You can also see contemporary craft, Aberdeen silver and a wide range of decorative art.
Provost Ross’ House – built in 1593 master-mason Andrew Jamieson, it is the third oldest dwelling in Aberdeen and houses the redeveloped Aberdeen Maritime Museum 1984.
James Dun’s house – dates back to 1769, it was the home of James Dun, rector of the Old Grammar School. The house is now a museum featuring temporary exhibitions.
Aden’s Country Park – covers about 230 acres on the Buchan Estate which dates from the 18th Century. The park offers woodland trails and bridleways, extensive lawns, the ruins of a large mansion, a sensory garden, a lake with ducks and a river for paddling.
King’s College Conference Centre – housed in 1991, in the former University Library, adjacent to King’s College Chapel, in Old Aberdeen. Distinctive include the fine east window in the auditorium and the barrel vaulted ceiling which have been carefully preserved.
Provost Skene’s House – dating back to 1545, it is a good example of early burgh architecture. Features The Painted Gallery, the Costume Gallery and The Cellar where visitors can eat light snacks at Provost Skenešs House. Displays religious paintings, coins and archaeology.
Braemar Castle – built in 1628 by the Earl of Mar and used by Hanovarian troops after the Jacobite Rising of 1745, which was later transformed by the Farquharsons of Invercauld into a place of residence.
Doonies farm – has one of the largest collections in Scotland of endangered breeds of farm animals. There are 23 rare breeds of animals to be seen, including horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry
The Northeast Falconry Visitor Center – features spectacular falcons, owls and eagles and regular daily flying demonstrations. Houses a Cafe and gift shop.
Marischal College – is a theatre and premier arts venue. Hosts a fantastic Traditional music festival called “Rootin’ Aboot” every year in April. Also houses restaurant and holds a Children’s Certificate.
Popular Festivals and Events
Aberdeen International Youth Festival – Held in August, one of Aberdeen’s most prestigious cultural events. Around 1000 young people from the world’s finest youth orchestras, bands, dance and theatre groups come together here.
Aberdeen Jazz Festival – The greatest Jazz musicians come together to this Jazz musical concert held in March.
Aberdour Festival – music, dance and creativity from around the world including bellydancing, henna painting, tabla drumming etc.
Aberdeen Highland Games – held in June, a rich programme of events and competitions showcasing the skills of sportspeople, dancers and musicians from all over Scotland. Caber tossing, hammer-hurling, shot-putting and Kilts are all part of the festival.
Devron Festival – held in June, the Deveron Festival celebrates ten years of musical fireworks with an exciting programme of events. The festival is concluded with a gala concert with exciting and noisy cannon and firework effects.
The Spirit of Speyside Whiskey Festival – a packed programme of events and Celebration of Whisky, Music, Food & Fun.