10 things you’ve got to do when you visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Did you know that Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city? And this sparkling city is surrounded by 165 miles of “one of the world’s top-rated coastlines” (National Geographic) as well as majestic countryside loved by the Royal Family. Here are just 10 things you’ve got to do when you visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire:  

1. Venture into the great outdoors

Fresh crisp air with views for miles; are you ready to venture into our great outdoors? Bag Munros in the Cairngorms National Park, hike through mountain passes, cycle the open road, surf North Sea waves and fish on snow-fed rivers.


2. Find your own fairy-tale

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Why go to Disney World when you have the real Disney Castle in Scotland? For real though, Craigievar Castle is supposedly the castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. In June 1879 even Queen Victoria couldn’t resist coming for a visit, she described the castle as a strange and curious place. She was spot on. I turned up to the castle to be met with a sign saying ‘closed’, I saw a man and his family turn around, but I thought I would drive up there anyway. My car was the only car in the car park, there wasn’t a person to be seen, even the toilets were closed. The result? I got the entire castle to myself. . The downside I guess was that I could go inside, it was all locked up. I also got the creeps a bit as the castle is surrounded by a mountainous landscape and I convinced myself I was going to be eaten by a bear 🐻 (I know there are no bears in Scotland but when the fear takes you, it takes you!). . According to Queen Victoria’s diary, she too turned up when no one was home. She was a bit more daring than me, she went into the castle regardless and took a look around on her own accord. What she found was a truly unspoilt castle. Dating back to the 1500s, Craigievar began its life as a traditional L plan tower house. This was purchased by William Forbes in 1610, he was very rich due to his trading between Aberdeen and the Baltic States. It was he who developed into the castle we see today 🏰 . The castle is now looked after by the Scottish National Trust, however there remain a few residents, ghostly ones that is 👻 One of these ghosts is said to haunt the Blue Room, supposedly being the spirit of a man from the rival clan Gordon who was pushed from the window by John Forbes. Some visitors have also reported getting a tingle down their spine in the kitchen, where a musician drowned in the well 😱 . If you are interested in castles, Aberdeenshire is home to the Castle Trail, a driving route that will take you through some of the most beautiful castles in the country 🥰 There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the U.K., boasting over 300 of them! . . . #visitABDN #ScotlandIsNow #BeautifulABDN

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 Once home to 263 castles, Aberdeenshire is now home to Scotland’s Castle Trail. Chose from fairy-tales castles (this pink one inspired Disney himself), castles with Royal importance, ancient ruins and impressive manor houses.


3. Go to a quirky fishing village

Discover a string of picture-perfect historic fishing villages along the Aberdeenshire coast including Portsoy (where scenes for Whisky Galore were filmed), Crovie (no shops, no phone signal and incredibly – no roads!) and Pennan (made famous by Local Hero – look out for that red phone box).


4. Visit film famous locations

Find out more about film famous locations as our magical castles, immense mountainous landscapes and quaint fishing villages have inspired world-famous story tellers and film makers – most recently, Strathdon featured in Mary Queen of Scots!


5. Go city sightseeing

Aberdeen is known as the sparkling Granite City and it’s easy to see why when you visit – it’s even home to the world’s largest grey granite building, Marischal College. And close to the working harbour – where ships park up next to the high street - you might even spot the dolphins that play here!


6. Explore old towns

Whilst you’re exploring the city make sure to visit Aberdeen’s oldest settlement, Old Aberdeen, with it’s cobbled roads and 14th century St Machar's Cathedral and impressive Kings College. Fittie, at the end of Aberdeen beach, is a quirky fishing quarter perfect for that Instagram post!


7. Attend famous Highland Games

Arguably the most famous event in Aberdeenshire is the Braemar Gathering attended each year by the Royal Family (usually the Queen herself). Find out what’s on all year round at www.visitabdn.com/whats-on.


8. Discover Royal connections

And it’s not just Highland Games, in fact Royal Deeside is synonymous with the Royal Family – after all the summer holiday home, Balmoral Castle, is here in Aberdeenshire. Queen Victoria said of Royal Deeside “all seemed to breathe freedom and peace” and Balmoral is where the current Queen is said to be at her happiest.


9. Taste local food

Sample world-famous seafood fresh from our shores (our Bay Fish & Chip Shop was ranked no.31 in Lonely Planet’s top 500 food experiences in 2018) and of course, try Aberdeen Angus Beef in our restaurants too! Dessert’s covered too at Mackie’s very first ice cream parlour in Aberdeen city centre!


10. Try traditions, or revolutions

And wash it all down with one of our finest local spirits or crafts. Enjoy a wee dram at one of our eight whisky distilleries (fans say you can taste the sea in Glenglassaugh) or try revolutionary craft beer, BrewDog at its home in Aberdeenshire.

For more information about what to do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire go to www.visitabdn.com/what-to-do/. And getting to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire easy with daily direct flights from 42 world-wide destinations. Find out more about our flight connections and airlines at www.aberdeenairport.com/flight-information/destinations-and-airlines.   

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