What to do on a rainy day in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Looking for indoor activity inspiration for a rainy day on your visit to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire? Here are just 30 ideas:


For culture vultures…

1. The return of an iconic venue

Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened on Saturday 2 November after multi-million pound renovations. Four years after the gallery closed its doors it’s back, bigger and better, with more galleries and more than triple the number of exhibits it had on display when it closed in 2015 (that’s over 1,000 pieces of artwork!). This free-entry gallery is a sanctuary not just for those looking to escape the rain but also those looking for a tranquil afternoon.


2. Stimulate your creativity

Peacock Visual Arts’ vision is to nurture a culture of creativity in the city of Aberdeen and beyond. This is a place where artists and public engage to share and explore ideas and to make art in an exciting, stimulating and challenging way.


3. Watch a movie

One of the city’s quirkiest venues is the independently owned Belmont Filmhouse. Built in 1896 as a trades hall the cinema is now well known in the cultural sector for not only showing the newest releases but classic favourites and international films too.


4. Go see a show

His Majesty’s Theatre, Music Hall, The Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen Arts Centre and The Lemon Tree and in Aberdeenshire the intimate and distinctive venues including The Barn and Salmon Bothy host events all year round. Grand or small scale, festivals or West End shows, check out our what’s on calendar to in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.


For nature lovers…

5. Visit the tropics

If the dreich (Scottish word for dreary) weather has got you wishing for something more tropical then head to the David Welch Winter Gardens in Duthie Park. From the moment you enter the giant greenhouse you will be welcomed inside by the warm temperature. It is one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens and the icing on the cake is that it’s completely free!


6. Discover what life is like under the sea

Meet fascinating sea creatures that live in the Moray Firth at Macduff Marine Aquarium. For the budding marine biologist don’t miss a special behind the scenes tour that will allow you to experience what it’s like to be an aquarist for a day.


For adventure seekers…

7. Go to the carnivals

Codona’s is packed with indoor fun perfect for hiding from the rain including ten-pin bowling, dodgems, mini golf, video games arcade, a two floor laser tag arena and a karaoke room.


8. Get a strike

Try bowling with a slightly quirkier twist at Lane7 complete with walnut lanes, American pool, retro arcade games, shuffleboard and ping pong all in a fun bar setting. Please note, under 18s must be accompanied by adults at all times and must leave the venue by 7pm. 


9. Take to the ice

Next door to the Beach Leisure Centre is the Linx Ice Arena. A spin on the ice is the perfect activity to escape to on a rainy day. For a different experience try your hand at curling at Curl Aberdeen.


10. Feel the adrenaline

Feel the adrenaline with a visit to Transition Extreme where you can try your hand at rock climbing or skateboarding.


11. Escape from reality

A fast-paced challenge solving puzzles using strategy, creativity and logic to escape before you run out of time. The Locked Door is Aberdeen’s #1 live escape game and currently has three Escape Games available including a Christmas themed game which is particularly great for families. You can also try Aberdeen’s newest Escape Games at Aberdeen Altens Hotel.


For history lovers…

12. Go castle bagging

Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s castle country and although some are now ruins, many of them still have roofs and are the perfect way to spend an afternoon hiding from the drizzly weather. There are plenty for you to choose from including Balmoral Castle, Braemar Castle, Castle Fraser, Corgarff Castle, Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle, Delgatie Castle, Drum Castle, Duff House, Fyvie Castle (pictured below), Haddo House and Leith Hall.


13. Visit Scotland’s oldest lighthouse on mainland

Speaking of castles… Have you ever heard of a full-size lighthouse built right through the middle of a 16th century castle? Seeing is believing at this truly unique castle. Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was the very first lighthouse to be built on mainland Scotland in 1787.  The museum tells the story of skill, courage, technical genius and brilliant organisation that saved lives.


14. Find your muse

In fact, there are plenty of museums to keep you occupied. You can spend hours learning about the history of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with a trip to one of the region’s many museums. From the  Maritime Museum to the Tolbooth Museum, The Gordon Highlands Museum to the Grampian Transport Museum andGrassic Gibbon Centre to the Braemar Highland Games Centre - the opportunities are endless.


15. Visit Scotland’s own Alcatraz

The former Victorian H.M. Convict Prison in Peterhead, now a museum, highlights the work of the brave personnel that served in it. Experience what real prison life was like and learn about the infamous siege which saw the only time the SAS were used to end a domestic siege in Britain.


16. Explore the oldest building in Aberdeen

The fifteenth century cathedral with its massive twin spires, world-famous heraldic ceiling and glorious stained glass is one of Scotland’s ‘must see’ treasures. It is the oldest building in active use in Aberdeen and legend has it that William Wallace’s left arm is interred in the cathedral wall!


For food lovers…

17. (B)ready steady cook

What is it about cold and wet days that make us crave stodgy foods so much? The smell of warm bread fresh out of the oven is enough to make your mouth water before you even taste it. Satisfy your craving with a bread making course at The Bread Maker in Aberdeen or Crannach Bread Maker in Ballater.


18. Become a chocolatier

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Try your hand at becoming a master chocolatier at The Chocolate Bar or Cocoa Ooze. I can’t guarantee that any of that chocolate will make it home though and you’ll be able to resist eating it as you go along…


19. Refuel at a restaurant

Take the time to refuel with a pit-stop to one of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s restaurants. Sample world-famous quality local food and drink including Aberdeen Angus Beef, locally caught seafood, a traditional Cullen Skink, a local Aberdonian delicacy known as a buttery or rowie, or even a deep-fried mars bar.



For adults...

20. Walk the dog

Aberdeenshire is home of BrewDog - where the global craft beer producer’s story started. The DogWalk brewery tour not only takes in the original brew-house but also includes the brew-house and Lone Wolf Distillery. Afterwards enjoy lunch atDogTap - make sure to check out the quirky beer chandelier.


21. Learn how to brew

Find out how Peterhead based microbrewery, Brew Toon, produces its small batches of Craft Beer using the best quality local products. You’ll be taught how to make quality, hand-crafter beer and given the opportunity to sample some of Brew Toon’s headliner craft beers and compare tasting notes.


22. Find the lost loch

Located on the shore of Loch Auchlossan, Lost Loch Spirits is home to a number of award-winning brands including Scotland’s first absinthe Murmichan, eeNoo gin and Haroosh (a whisky-based liqueur). For those looking for an introduction to the distillery check out the micro tour/tasting experience or for the connoisseurs sign up for the Spirits School experience to get hands-on experience on what it takes to make a botanical spirit from scratch.


23. Visit one of the UK’s most innovative micro-distilleries

With a passion for creating better drinks, Porter’s Gin is created in the basement of Orchid Bar (winner of Scotland’s Best Cocktail Bar 2017) in one of the UK’s most innovative micro-distilleries. Join a tour to learn about what it takes to make Porter's Gin.


24. Taste Scotland’s ‘water of life’

Get into the spirit of Scotland’s ancient art of whisky production and delve a little deeper into the Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire. There are seven local whisky distilleries in Aberdeenshire to choose from, find out more here.


For youngsters...

25. Unleash your inner scientist

Let out your inner scientist at Aberdeen’s Science Centre, Scotland’s oldest science and discovery centre. The centre is full of hands on exhibits, activities and family challenges as well as live science shows perfect for keeping your little ones entertained.


26. Go for a swim

Escape the rain outside at the Beach Leisure Centre. A leisure pool with flumes, wave machine, fountain and rapids. Sure, you’ll still get wet this way, but it will be way more fun.


27. Enter a storybook

The Den at The Den and The Glen is a purpose built indoor facility for endless active play with a climbing wall tower, four giant slides, a sports area and soft play area. If the weather changes don’t miss a trip to The Glen for a magical world where you can meet your favourite enchanted characters.


28. Get a little dizzy

Dizzy Rascals is designed divided into specialist ability zones with activities selected to enhance and develop children’s motor and cognitive skills in a fun and playful environment. Children won’t know where to start with games, activities, obstacles, slides and ball pits


29. Lose track of time

Tick Tock Play is the biggest baby play area in Aberdeenshire. The soft play centre is open for children 0 – 10 years old with separate areas for each age group.


30. Experience the thrill

From toddlers to 16+, Wheelie World offers indoor go karting. On sunny days you can also try your hand at outdoor activities including axe/knife throwing, archery and segway challenges.


For more inspiration about what to do on a rainy day in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire go to www.visitabdn.com/what-to-do.

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