Things to do in Aberdeen

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I have lived in Aberdeen City Centre for the majority of my life, so I know the best things to do in Aberdeen, but I also think that is part of the reason that it has taken me so long to write this post.

But here it is, finally, my complete guide to visiting the Scottish city of Aberdeen, also known as the ‘Granite City’. Aberdeen is famed for being the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’ and that is one of the main industries but there is much more to this city than the oil bubble.

The city is often overlooked but there are plenty of reasons why we think that Aberdeen is a city worth visiting.

Keep reading as I highlight some of the best things to do, bars, restaurants and sights that Aberdeen has to offer as well as some of the best beaches in Aberdeenshire.

Your journey to the North East of Scotland and to Aberdeen city is easily accessible by air, road, rail and sea. I have listed some of the transport options available below.

Where is Aberdeen located?

Aberdeen is in the very north-east corner of Scotland and is the countries, second most northern city.

Often referred to as the Granite City, there are plenty of ways to get to Aberdeen from where you are travelling.

How To Get To Aberdeen, Scotland


Aberdeen International Airport is approximately 5 miles from the city centre in the suburb of Dyce. Aberdeen Airport has had a lot of refurbishment in recent years to improve customer experience and it is well connected with frequent flights travelling to and from many other UK cities.

You can fly to Aberdeen from most major cities including three of the London airports, Manchester, Newcastle, Amsterdam and Paris.

How To Get To Aberdeen Airport/City Centre?

Aberdeen airport is only accessible by road and there are two options available for this.

You can book or find a taxi at one of the city centres taxi ranks and from experience, but this will depend on traffic, fees tend to be approximately £20.

Alternatively, you can catch the 727 Aberdeen Airport Terminal bus to/from Union Square bus station. There are a couple of stops of Union Street and on Broad Street, this service runs every 10 minutes and this costs £6 return and less for one way.

Book a rental car in advance

Want to explore Aberdeenshire a bit more? Book yourself a rental car in advance to pick up when you arrive.

Aberdeen Nuart


The Aberdeen Railway Station is attached to Union Square Shopping Centre so it is as central as it gets and the Aberdeen train station is well connected for journeys to and from the whole of the United Kingdom as it is part of the national rail.

The Scotrail service has hourly trains which travel to all the larger Scottish cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.

You can also book tickets on the National Rail website.

The LNER Service travels all the way from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen and the journey takes just over 7 hours with many stops in between.

If you are looking for a first-class and different kind of experience, why not try the Caledonian Sleeper where you can travel overnight from London to Aberdeen with your own cabin to sleep in?

Our So Called Life recommends the Caledonian Sleeper if you’re travelling from London

I would highly recommend booking all train tickets online in advance to save money as these can be quite costly last minute.


Northlink Ferries operate from the Aberdeen Ferry Terminal at Jamieson’s Quay which can be found in Aberdeens city centre harbour.

Journeys to/from here can take you towards the islands of Orkney, Shetland and some of the other Scottish Isles.


Aberdeen is easily accessible to reach by road. Whether you choose to make this journey using your own method of transport or one of the many Aberdeen bus services, the roads are well-signposted to assist you.

Some of the bus providers who travel to Aberdeen are the National Express, FlixBus (by far the cheapest option), Megabus and Stagecoach where you can opt for direct or coastal routes.

Again, I would highly recommend booking tickets in advance.

Journey Times To/From Other Scottish Cities Possible By Public Transport, Road And Rail

How long does it take to get to Aberdeen from Dundee?

Approximately 1 hour 10 minutes

There are plenty of things to do in Dundee. Why not visit the infamous V&A building, the McManus art gallery and museum or Camperdown Wildlife Centre among many others. Read our guide on What To Do In Dundee for more.

How long does it take to get to Aberdeen from Edinburgh?

Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh? The capital of Scotland is steeped in history. With Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Calton Hill and many other attractions. A visit to the capital is a must when visiting Scotland!

How long does it take to get to Aberdeen from Glasgow?

Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes

Glasgow is a great city for culture and music. Often voted one of the friendliest cities in the world, Glasgow is famed for its warm and friendly attitude towards tourists. But more than that, when looking for things to do in Glasgow, you will find that it is filled with beautiful Victorian architecture and great places to eat.

How long does it take to get to Aberdeen from Inverness?

Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes

Visiting the Highlands of Scotland should be high on everyone’s list. Take some time to explore the city and things to do in Inverness, the beautiful scenery and make a stop to visit the world-famous Loch Ness!

Things To Do In Aberdeen With Kids

I imagine that a lot of visitors to the city will be looking for things to do in Aberdeen with kids! While there are a considerable amount of things to do with kids I really wanted to add some family friendly options.

I have added a lot of activities in this section, however, you can find suggestions for parks and gardens or museum suggestions such as the science centre which may be of interest to you.

Lane7 Aberdeen

I felt a little conflicted as to what section to add Lane7 to as it is generally considered as an evening venue, a bar, somewhere for pre-drinks and a couple of games of bowling but during the daytime, I think it is a fantastic location for families and kids to visit.

I think Lane7 is especially great for those who are at that stage where they are too old for really childlike things but not old enough for adult things.

Located on Shiprow in the city centre, Lane7 have really upped the game when it comes to 10 pin bowling Aberdeen. With walnut bowling lanes, arcade games, ping pong/table tennis, American pool tables and shuffleboard all set in some very hip surroundings, it’s no wonder that it has been such a hit with the locals!

While you play the games and build up an appetite, you can order some food and there is a separate children’s menu with the obligatory nachos, pizza and hot dog options. Adults are offered the same but with slightly more exciting toppings.

For drinks, why not order a fruity mocktail? Of course, there are also fruit juice and soft drink options but all in all, it’s a lovely way to spend a day bowling in Aberdeen.

Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult and must leave the premises by 7 pm.

Aberdeen beach

Aberdeen beach is known for its long golden sands and is a very beloved area for people of all ages to visit when the weather is nice but I would still consider it one of the top things to do in Aberdeen on a rainy day.

Not only do you have the beach itself, but also Queens Links which has Codonas Amusement Park, a nine-screen cinema and a selection of restaurants to visit.

Further along the beach, you will find the Linx Ice Arena and Transition Extreme among other attractions.

Aberdeen Beach and Codonas

Codonas Amusement Park

Aberdeens Codonas Amusement Park is a popular choice for children and teenagers to visit, especially during school holidays and has something to appeal to the whole family.

With outdoor rides such as the waltzers, bumper boats, adventure golf and soon to arrive go-karts. Along with these, we have plenty of indoor attractions such as laser tag, bowling, karaoke rooms and dodgems and plenty of fun game machines for children and adults.

If your children are younger and you are looking to let them run free then maybe Smugglers Cove is for you. With an indoor and outdoor adventure play filled with chutes, tunnels and ball ponds it’s always busy.

For the really little ones, there is a soft play area called Little Nippers.

Aberdeen Ice Rink / Linx Ice Arena

The Linx Ice Arena is right next to the Beach Leisure Centre along the beach promenade, and as you can imagine is an ice skating rink.

With private and public ice skating sessions and lessons, there are also times available for parent and toddler sessions as well.

If you are a fan of ice hockey, you can always come and watch an Aberdeen Lynx game! The team trains and plays here and there are often games on so it’s worth checking out if you are looking for something a little different to do!

Beach Leisure Centre

I spent a lot of time at the Aberdeen Beach Leisure Centre growing up. The leisure pool was a hive of activity on weekends and during the holidays. With a wave machine, rapids and four flumes it’s not hard to see the appeal for children.

It is great fun, there is a very shallow entrance for younger children who may not be able to swim but there is also a separate smaller pool for those learning. There is a jacuzzi nearby which was another popular addition for visitors!

The flumes are slightly separated from the rest of the pool so you do not have the interference of that if you are visiting with younger children. The flume rides do range from the use of a ring to the much faster ride.

If you are looking to take your children but not participate yourself, then there is a viewing section on the swimming pool level and another on the upper level which is next to the crèche.

UPDATE: The Beach Leisure Centre has sadly closed down and is earmarked for rebuild as part of the ongoing beachfront redevelopment plans.

If you’re looking for somewhere to go swimming in the city, then check out our round up of all the swimming pools in Aberdeen.

Transition Extreme Sports

This is one for the more adventurous. Transition Extreme is an indoor and outdoor adventure sports complex.

With a climbing wall, high ropes, BMX and skate park it’s good for people of all ages and levels.

Something else at Transition that really pleases me is that it engages freedom to express with their Graffiti Wall. The Graffiti Wall is a legal space along the side of the building where local artists can come and experiment with new techniques and creativity in the art without the fear of breaking the law.

Jump In Adventure Park

Looking for things to do in Aberdeen on a rainy day? I think Jump In Adventure Park is a perfect option for these kinds of days. Another one for kids and adults (I did say I wanted to keep this family-friendly and why shouldn’t the adults have some fun too!), it is essentially a trampoline park.

But it is so much more than just trampolines. With the interconnected trampolines, there are games of dodgeball and basketball to join in on, children can challenge themselves on the interactive wall, see how high they can jump onto the giant airbag, they can fight it out on the battle beam or use the clip n climb wall. There are so many possibilities to allow for hours of fun!

For the under 5’s there is a soft play area where they can climb and crawl and have some fun of their own.

Doonies Farm

My final suggestion is the Doonies Farm. The options above are perhaps for the more energetic but sometimes it’s nice to simply experience and I think a lovely choice for doing this is Doonies Farm.

A short distance from Aberdeen city centre and you will find Doonies Farm, a family-run working and public farm. From sheep to goats, pigs, horses, ponies and cattle you can feed, touch and learn all about the livestock (many of which are rare breeds) and if you are so lucky as to visit in the springtime, then you may be witness to all the new lambs, calves, chicks, kids, piglets and foals to arrive.

Our So Called Life Recommends this tour in Aberdeen

Things To See In Aberdeen

Painted Doors Aberdeen + Nuart Aberdeen


I am a huge fan of the street art in Aberdeen and I think it adds such an interesting dimension to an area.

Aberdeen City is known for its strong use of granite and all things grey so when international and local Aberdeen artists were invited to take part in creating some public art around the city, as many other Scottish cities have done, I thought it was a great idea and a change that I was really excited for.

Giving artists free rein to add some colour and create either a painted door or large wall mural is a wonderful celebration showing alternative art in Aberdeen, perhaps reaching a wider or more varied audience and hopefully drawing some more tourism to the city.

The Aberdeen street art from previous years certainly inspired something in those that came across it and there are often posts on social media with tweets, Facebook and Instagram showing recognition to the artists for their wonderful work.

I have to say that certain pieces have really been adopted by the city and by the people in Aberdeen, which is great and I look forward to seeing what’s to come!

I believe over the past couple of years that the annual Aberdeen Art Festival event has been run, (which is the only street art festival in Scotland) there are now over 30 Painted Doors in the city centre and also over 30 Nuart Festival murals to find with more being added each year.

During this Aberdeen festival, which I believe is typically held in April but this could change, there are many guided walking tours of the city to show and locate new pieces of artwork. These are always popular and it’s nice to see adults and children of all backgrounds really engage and be excited over the new art that Aberdeen has to show.

Make sure to download an Aberdeen street map or Aberdeen location map for all of the Painted Doors and Nuart pieces to aid you on your tour of the city.


RSPB Dolphinwatch Aberdeen / Greyhope Bay

One thing you may not have been aware of is that Aberdeen is one of the best places to spot bottlenose dolphins in Europe! And even better, it’s a free attraction.

The harbour in Aberdeen city is one of the best and most reliable places to see dolphins if you do not have access to a car and as this is a feeding ground they are here all year round.

Aberdeen Harbour and much of the city is very lucky to be witness to marine wildlife such as dolphins, porpoises, seals, otters and whale spottings but it is the bottlenose dolphins that are some of the most special as they are the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world.

RSPB Scotland has set up tours called Dolphinwatch which can be found at the Torry Battery car park, off Greyhope Road. Just look out for the RSPB van.

The Torry Battery offers panoramic views of the harbour mouth and the North Sea but it can be cold, so make sure to wrap up warm and take any food or drinks that you may need.

The RSPB Dolphinwatch will provide you with binoculars and telescopes along with plenty of information on the wildlife that can be found in the area.

For more information on the dolphin spotting experience in the North East and Aberdeenshire, make sure to check out RSPB Dolphinwatch.

Footdee Aberdeen (Fittie)

Sheds in Footdee
Famous Footdee Sheds
Houses in Footdee

Footdee is an old fishing village found at the end of Aberdeen beach and Aberdeen Harbour.

Known locally in the North East as Fittie, this hidden gem is an area that was originally planned to re-house some of the local fishing community in the 19th century. Designed by architect John Smith (who also designed Balmoral Castle), this area which was originally known as fish town is now one of the most loved and sought-after areas in Aberdeen.

To those of us that visit today, it is a really quaint little fishing village, reminiscent of times gone by but with plenty of fun character. Nothing matches in Fittie which makes it a great place to take photos.

Designed in squares, we have North Square, South Square and the later added Pilot Square and middle row. All of the houses and cottages face inwards to protect both architecture and people from the unpredictable and blustery weather of the North Sea.

The homes look onto the grassy areas and sheds which are the main attraction of Fittie. This is where you find the character and charm. They are utterly mismatched and you could spend hours upon hours admiring the thousands of details large and small that are to be found here.

Make sure to look out for the beautiful Footdee Mission Hall which is located in the centre of North Square. This is a really lovely building created for general and religious purposes and I think its central location plays a big part in its significance to village life. Now, I say to look out for it as it could be so easily missed as it is surrounded by all these wonderful sheds!

Footdee (Fittie) has been given conservation area status which aims to protect the special architectural or historic interest of an area.

For Footdee Aberdeen directions – Located at the far East end of the city harbour towards the end of the promenade.

Our So Called Life Recommends this tour in Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen
Buildings at Kings College

What was once a separate burgh to the north of the city, is now considered part of the Aberdeen City council area and I regard Old Aberdeen as one of the most beautiful areas of the North East.

With its cobbled streets and rich history, I recommend visiting the old town primarily as a location to walk around and simply enjoy the scenery but there are plenty of things to admire while you are here such as the Old Town House – King’s Museum, St Machar’s Cathedral, Powis Gates and Seaton Park which are mentioned elsewhere in this guide.

Places I recommend visiting in Old Aberdeen are King’s College which was the first university in the city but is now part of the University of Aberdeen. Visit this along with the Aberdeen University Chapel, and King’s College Chapel. These are two of the oldest buildings on the Aberdeen campus and date back to the 15th century. The beautiful architecture along with the cobblestone roads and green areas reflect the time in which they were built making this area a tourist favourite to visit.

Another popular venue on the King’s College campus that is a favoured spot to visit is Elphinstone Hall. This was built much later in 1931 but is a firm favourite for photography.

Bishop Elphinstone was the founder of King’s College and there is an imaginative bronze and marble tomb monument at the front of the chapel. The original tomb was badly damaged and Bishop Elphinstone is not buried here but in the chapel.

Take a walk along the Old Aberdeen High Street and The Chanonry. Admire what feels like stepping into another era. With many of the buildings still owned by the University of Aberdeen, there are some coffee shops and other attractions to visit such as The Snow Kirk, MacRobert Memorial Garden, Brig o’ Balgownie and the College Well.

Old Aberdeen is around 2 miles from Aberdeen City Centre and with great bus connections which are easily accessible throughout the city, this journey can take approximately 10 minutes. If walking, I would estimate around 40 minutes time to do this.

St Machar’s Cathedral

St Machars Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Machar is still an active part of the Church of Scotland Aberdeen and is situated by Seaton Park in Old Aberdeen.

This Aberdeen cathedral is a cathedral only in name as it hasn’t had a Bishop for several hundred years but it still remains one of the most admired churches in all of the city. It is now considered more of a High Kirk.

Its location is sitting on a bank above a bend in the River Don and is easily recognisable thanks to its twin spires. Once inside, make sure to look at the St Machar Cathedral Heraldic ceiling, the organ and the myriad of stained glass windows which are mostly in memorial but also depict important moments from The Bible.

There is a rumour that when William Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered in 1305 and parts of his body were sent to different corners of Scotland to warn others, his left arm was buried in the walls of St Machar’s Cathedral. However, I don’t believe that this has been confirmed as a fact.

Powis Gate

Powis Gate

This is one of my favourite things to see in Aberdeen. Powis Gate is a really unusual structure for Aberdeen but it’s one that I am also really drawn to for that same reason. You can find it in the Aberdeen University campus in Old Aberdeen.

Powis Gate was built as quite an ostentatious entrance to Powis House Aberdeen in the 1830s by Hugh Fraser Leslie, a wealthy Scottish landowner who owned several coffee and sugar plantations in Jamaica. Originally the gates to Powis House, these gates are now entrance to the University of Aberdeen Halls of Residence.

An impressive archway with two large minaret towers, which may suggest some Turkish influence, the Powis Gates is a prominent structure in Old Aberdeen and for the city. Above the impressive archway is the Fraser Leslie family coat of arms and another shield at the back shows the busts of three black slaves and commemorates the Slavery Abolition Act (1833), the freedom it brought and the part in which the Fraser Leslie family played a part.

Provost Skene House

Skene House

Built in the 16th century, the Provost Skene’s House is one of the most historical buildings in Aberdeen city. This is one of the few remaining examples in the North East of early burgh architecture and while all surrounding buildings from this time were knocked down, Provost Skene House was saved from destruction and is currently under refurbishment until Autumn 2020.

The newly built Marischal Square is a mixed-use complex consisting of offices, hotel and restaurants which now surrounds the historic Provost Skene building. It is a complete juxtaposition which draws a lot of attention to both buildings and their differences.

The Provost Skene House is primarily used as a museum and cafe. The rooms have all been furnished with influence and artefacts creating an atmosphere from the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.

Things to see when visiting Provost Skene House – The attic painted ceiling, coins, costume gallery, religious paintings and make sure to look out for The Russel Head which can be seen on the corner of the South East outfacing walls!

The Russel Head is a gargoyle effigy of an old man appearing very unhappy with a furrowed brow and baring his teeth. The story is that Russel carved this effigy of himself after his bakery was closed down by the town council as it was located next to a sewer. Russel believed that his neighbour had complained to the council and in retaliation, carved this effigy into the stonework so that his neighbour would always see it as he passed. It was subsequently attached to Provost Skene House after the demolition of the lane in which the bakery was located.

Our So Called Life Recommends this tour in Aberdeen

Marischal College

Marischal College in Aberdeen

Marischal College is one of the grandest and most prominent buildings in Aberdeen. Located on Broad Street and now primarily home to Aberdeen City Council, it was originally part of and I believe is on long-term lease from the University of Aberdeen.

The University of Aberdeen does still maintain and use parts of the building for Marischal museum and ceremonial events but it is mainly used as office space for the Aberdeen Council.

Marischal College was founded in 1593 by George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal of Scotland as part of the Marischal College and University of Aberdeen and it is the second largest granite building in the world. Adjoined to the end of Marischal College is Greyfriars Church with architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie being involved in the construction of both buildings.

Until its recent renovation, much of the building lay unused except the Mitchell Hall which was used for ceremonies and graduations, the Marischal Museum and the students’ Anatomy department. The exterior of the building has recently been power washed which has removed a century of grime and restored it to its former beauty.

Make sure to keep an eye out for Open Doors Days as there is often an opportunity to step inside the Quadrangle and The Anatomy Rooms.

Mercat Cross

Mercat Cross

Mercat Cross is the Scottish name for a Market Cross. Market Crosses are a structure which usually signifies the heart of a town, an area where a town, city or village would be authorised the right to hold a regular market place or fairs which was granted by the monarch or bishop.

The Mercat Cross in Aberdeen City Centres can be found in the Castlegate area, at the east end of Union Street. It was originally placed just outside of The Tolbooth but was moved to its current location between 1837-1842. There is a wide debate locally on whether this is considered the top or bottom of Union Street!

Built by John Montgomery in the 17th century, the Aberdeen Mercat Cross is a hexagonal structural base which is highly decorated, through the centre is a shaft crowned with the royal unicorn (Scotlands national animal) and the cross features many panel illustrations relating to Scottish monarchs from James I to James VII along with two panels showing the Royal Arms. In 1995 a new column was commissioned by Aberdeen City Council for safety and preservation reasons, the original column is on display in The Tolbooth museum.

This is a nice part of town to visit and is a really interesting piece of architecture to view and admire although it is often overlooked by the public.

Our So Called Life Recommends this tour in Aberdeen

Shopping In Aberdeen

Although Aberdeen is one of the largest cities in Scotland, the majority of Aberdeen shops are relatively close together. Unlike many other cities, we do not have many varying districts or quarters when it comes to shopping.

I am unable to provide a full Aberdeen shopping guide due to the size of the city but I will list all of the shopping centres in Aberdeen below along with several shops and restaurants that you can expect to find in each centre.

Many of the clothes shops in Aberdeen are chains and you can often find multiples of these throughout the city, although they do usually hold different stock.
This can also be said of the restaurants in Aberdeen, many of the eateries in shopping centres are chains although I have listed some local and independent restaurant recommendations in the city for you to try elsewhere in this post.

Union Street

Union Street

Union Street is the main street that runs through the city centre of Aberdeen. It is approximately a mile long (also called The Granite Mile) and was once the hub of Aberdeen shopping.

Unfortunately, many stores on Union Street have now closed and it acts as more of a thoroughfare to the different shopping centres.

There are still plenty of Union Street shops to visit although I do not think it would be the main desired shopping location when visiting Aberdeen.

Some of the shops you will find on Union Street are main high street retailers like Lush, Primark and Sports Direct. If you are interested in visiting designer shops in Aberdeen then you may want to visit the furthest away end of Union Street from the shopping centres, where you will find shops like Cruise along with many boutiques.

Belmont Street

Belmont Street

Belmont Street is one of Aberdeens busiest streets for nightlife but during the day there are several restaurants and bars open for eating along with a couple of local shops such as Juniper which sells Scottish and UK produced jewellery, gifts and homeware.

Bon Accord Centre

Shops in the Bon Accord Centre – Next, New Look, Waterstones, Boots, EE, Vodafone, Hobbs, Yankee Candles.
Restaurants in the Bon Accord Centre – Costa, Pret, Di Maggios

Bon Accord/St Nicholas

Bon Accord Centre / St Nicholas Centre

Shops in Bon Accord Centre / St Nicholas Centre – Superdrug, Office, Holland & Barrett, WH Smith, Marks and Spencers

This is the smaller of the two Bon Accord Centres, it was previously referred to as the St Nicholas Centre as it lies next to St Nicholas church, in case I have confused you by providing two different names.

Marischal Square

Shops in Marischal Square – None
Restaurants in Marischal Square – All Bar One, Maggies Grill, Mackies 19.2, Tony Macaroni, Costa, Resident X.

Make sure to look for the Leopard Sculpture by Kelpies Artist Andy Scott.

The Academy

Shops in The Academy – Attic
Restaurants in The Academy – Revolución de Cuba, Nandos

Trinity Centre

Shops in The Trinity Shopping Centre – Flying Tiger, Card Factory, Poundland, HMV, Primark
Restaurants in The Trinity Shopping Centre – Greggs, Chopstix

Union Square

Union Square

Shops in Union Square – Zara, H&M, Hollister, The White Company, River Island, TK Maxx, Homesense, The North Face, Jack & Jones and Marks and Spencer Union Square Aberdeen
Restaurants in Union Square – TGI Fridays, BrewDog, Starbucks, ASK, Nandos, Wagamamas, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Thaikhun

Our So Called Life Recommends this tour in Aberdeen

Things To Do In Aberdeen At Night

His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen

HMT Aberdeen

HMT Aberdeen hosts a variety of Aberdeen events from musicals, ballets to pantos and childrens shows but there is always a show playing worth talking about. From Wicked to Dirty Dancing, Scottish ballets to operas and Shrek to sing-along Frozen.

His Majesty’s Theatre is the largest theatre in the North East of Scotland, seating over 1400 people over 4 floors. Make sure to book your HMT tickets early as this Aberdeen theatre books up quickly!

Make sure to look online for the latest HMT box office Aberdeen events. You can take a look at the HMT Aberdeen seating plan online before booking to ensure that you have the best seats possible.

Built entirely of granite and overlooking the cities Union Terrace Gardens, its interior is filled with details of gold and rich crimson velvet. Drinks can be purchased at the Dress Circle Bar, Stalls Bar and at Café: 1906 prior to shows starting and at intervals. These can also be pre-ordered for the interval if you do not want to stand in the queue. A selection of beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, teas and coffees are available.

If you are looking for a meal before your show there is the 1906 restaurant at HMT which is attached to the theatre and provides an in-theatre restaurant experience. You can book one of the pre-theatre meals in advance which is a 3-course meal but you can opt for a one or two-course meal for a lesser cost.

The 1906 restaurant is open to the public also and is available for lunches and afternoon teas.

His Majesty’s Aberdeen is not to be confused with Her Majestys Theatre Aberdeen which is now more commonly known as The Tivoli, another Aberdeen theatre located on Guild Street.

Breakneck Comedy Club

If you are looking for something a little bit different to do in Aberdeen city centre, why not try visiting an Aberdeen Comedy Club?

Breakneck Comedy Aberdeen is the first dedicated comedy club Aberdeen has had the pleasure of having. Open Thursdays to Sundays 8 pm till late, they host open mic comedy from local, national and international comedians.

As the largest comedy club in Scotland, Breakneck Comedy ensures to book a variety of comedians to suit different senses of humour.

If you are a new act and fancy your shot on the stage and trying your hand at open mic comedy Aberdeen, you can get in touch with the venue about performing but you must be over 16 and have your own jokes!

Currently located on King Street, I believe they are looking to move premises, Breakneck Comedy Club is a brilliant way to start a night out in the city.

Reset Aberdeen (Formerly known as Engage Gaming Aberdeen)

Reset Aberdeen is a gaming and internet cafe. Previously known as Engage Cafe Aberdeen, it was located on North Silver Street but has changed its name to Reset Aberdeen and relocated to John Street which is still in the city centre.

This gaming cafe is a centre for local friends and members of the public, of all ages, to meet in a safe environment and enjoy a variety of games. At Reset, you can take part in games such as console video games, board games, tabletop role-playing games and VR. Alternatively, you can book a PC for basic internet use should you require access.

All equipment can be booked from any time between 1 hour and a full day pass. Prices start at £6 per hour but there are significant discounts available when looking to book outwith peak hours. This venue can also be used for parties but booking in advance is essential.

Reset Aberdeen is open until 11 pm each night and open 7 days a week. Those of all ages can visit, however, children under the age of 11 must be accompanied by an adult and there is a slightly earlier leaving time for those between the ages of 12-15.

Food and drink are available while at Reset and this is mainly in the form of burgers, hot dogs, chips, pizzas and sandwiches. A wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available.

Aberdeen Pubs And Bars / Nightclubs In Aberdeen


Scotland is well known for its drinking culture so I couldn’t possibly write a guide to Aberdeen without mentioning some of the bars and nightlife Aberdeen has to offer.

Of course, I can’t mention everywhere and there are a wide variety of Aberdeen pubs and clubs to visit but I have chosen some of the most aesthetically pleasing and/or most popular haunts among locals looking for some afternoon drinks, live music events, craft beers, cocktail bars or a proper student night out.

From the city centres Union Street to Belmont Street, and The Tunnels to The Tippling House we have your guide for Aberdeen at night which I have added in my separate guide, Nightlife In Aberdeen: The Best Places To Go.

Day Trips From Aberdeen

I think we have covered a lot of things to do while in Aberdeen but maybe you would like to know what Aberdeen day trips are a possibility when visiting the city so here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular day tours to take.

Cairngorms National Park

If you are considering a visit to the Scottish Highlands from Aberdeen then you must take a trip to The Cairngorms National Park. This is the UK’s largest National Park and is filled with fun activities to suit the whole family. From distilleries, watersports, snowsports, cycle and walking routes to museums, castles and wildlife watching, golf courses and fishing. There is something for all ages and abilities.

Royal Deeside

Royal Deeside is an area that captivated Queen Victoria and has since captivated many tourists. With brooding mountains and rugged waters with vast moors and forests, it’s a really beautiful area of the country and an area that still holds a dear place in the heart of the Royal Family today.

In Royal Deeside, you will find a wonderful charm in the towns of Ballater and Braemar. These are favoured destinations for tourists in the summer months while the Queen also visits the nearby Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family, Balmoral Castle. If visiting, you can opt to book one of the Balmoral tours which will last approximately one and a half hours.

One notable event is The Braemar Gathering, which takes place on the first Saturday of September each year. These are the most famous highland games in the world, watched by the Royal Family and where you can witness pipe bands, highland dancing and some caber tossing.

Whisky Tour

Why not book one of the private tours to Speyside from Aberdeen and take part in the Speyside Whisky Trail. At a distance of just over 50 miles from Aberdeen, Speyside is a great place to visit whether you are a whisky connoisseur or a keen learner.

There are seven working distilleries and one cooperage in Speyside and with plenty of private day tours available for small groups, it’s a great opportunity to have a dram of Scottish whisky and spend some time in a distillery while learning more about history and landscape of this area.


You can catch a train or a bus directly from Aberdeen to Stonehaven. At only 20-30 minutes of travel distance from Aberdeen city centre, it is a very popular town with a pretty harbour, open-air swimming pool and some lovely restaurants along with some great places to grab some fish and chips or ice cream. Stonehaven is a well-loved destination to visit for those local to Aberdeen. Make sure to read our post of Things To Do In Stonehaven to find out more.

Castle Tour

Dunnottar Castle

A short distance from Stonehaven, we have one of the most notable castles in the northeast, Dunnottar Castle. Dunnottar Castle is recognised worldwide as it perches on the rugged cliffside and it has been a big part of history as well as influence in many films.

Aberdeen has been home to 263 castles so you can imagine the variety and grandeur of possibilities to visit!

Some other castles that you definitely need to visit are Craigievar Castle, the pink castle which is said to have been one of the castles to inspire Walt Disneys Cinderellas Castle and Slains Castle, whose ruins were the inspiration behind Bram Stokers Dracula.

Where To Stay In Aberdeen

Looking for an Aberdeen city centre hotel, serviced apartments or guest house for your stay?

Booking accommodation can be a daunting decision but there are plenty of options available in the Granite City for all budgets whether you are looking for a central location or somewhere just outside such as the Aberdeen beach or closer to Aberdeen Airport.

We’ve also put together a handy post of the best accessible hotels in Aberdeen or if you fancy something a bit more rustic, then why not consider Glamping in Aberdeenshire? With many just a short drive from the city centre.

Most Aberdeen hotels do offer free wifi and many have free parking but do check availability now to ensure that you get the best price possible!

If you fancy staying somewhere a little more off grid then check out our round up of the best hot tub lodges in Scotland.

Best Tours in Aberdeen


    1. Hi HK, Your best bet if you don’t drive is to catch a bus from Aberdeen bus station out to Ballater. It’ll be a Stagecoach bus number 201. That’ll give you a good start and has plenty of walking routes from the town.

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