Aberdeen Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > United Kingdom > Aberdeen > History

Aberdeen is a modern and prosperous coastal city in the North East of Scotland, with a population of about 200,000. Set on the Rivers Dee & Don, Aberdeen is flanked on one side by the North Sea, and on the others by craggy heather-covered moorland, lush valleys and rugged mountains, making it a popular holiday destination for those who appreciate the great outdoors.

Old Aberdeen
North-east of the city centre, this district is characterised by narrow, winding, cobbled streets and lanes, historic buildings (in granite of course), and bohemian atmosphere, no doubt influenced by the strong student presence. From 1489-1891, Old Aberdeen was actually an independent burgh, and maintained its own Town House which is still standing today. Other interesting sights include King's College and St. Machar's Cathedral, which was founded in 580AD, although the building which can be visited now is relatively new, dating from the 12th Century. Architecture in this district pre-dates the grand-scale 19th Century town-planning which is responsible for most of the city centre.

City Centre
The main street in central Aberdeen is Union Street, which stretches about 1 mile from the West End towards the Harbour in the east. Most of the city's major museums, civic buildings and attractions can be found on or near Union Street, often housed in what were once genteel granite residences.

West End
While this area has less to offer in the way of historic attractions, you will find a wealth of restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels on these vibrant streets. Most of the buildings here are beautiful designs by Archibald Simpson and John Smith, but sadly many have been neglected and now possess a slightly dilapidated charm.

Aberdeen Harbour
This is a modern well-maintained harbour with three large docks, from which you can catch a ferry to Orkney, Shetland, the Faroe Islands, or even Norway or Iceland. It's a fascinating place, even if you're not planning a trip. Get there early enough on a weekday morning and you'll see (and hear, and smell!) the Fish Market, where the fresh catches are auctioned off. At any other time, it's pleasant to wander around looking at the various fishing trawlers, clippers, and oil-supply vessels docked here, while you appreciate that bracing North Sea air.

The region which surrounds the River Dee is best known for Balmoral Castle, the Scottish seat of the Royal family. This was a favourite holiday destination for Queen Victoria, although many of her guests were less enthusiastic. Often known as 'Royal' Deeside, this area to the west of Aberdeen is also popular with less illustrious holidaymakers, particularly those who enjoy the great outdoors, as the beautiful craggy countryside provides excellent natural fishing and hiking opportunities. For restaurants and hotels, try towns such as Banchory, Ballater, Balmoral, and Braemar.

The River Don flows towards Aberdeen from the north west, reaching the North Sea at Bridge of Don, just north of the city. Once past the city boundaries, the surrounding area is less populated than Deeside. The chief tourist attractions here are the heather-covered moorlands and many ruined castles, Pictish sites and curious stone circles. Towns worth a visit include Inverurie and Alford.

North of the Don Valley, the Buchan region encloses coastal towns, villages, and a lot of uninhabited moorland, towards the eastern border of Morayshire. Good places to use as a base when touring this area include Fraserburgh and Peterhead.


  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 42° 42° 46° 50° 55° 61° 64° 63° 59° 54° 46° 43°
Avg. Low 31° 31° 34° 36° 41° 46° 49° 49° 46° 41° 35° 33°
Mean 37° 37° 40° 43° 48° 54° 57° 57° 53° 48° 41° 38°
Avg. Precip. 3.2 in 2.0 in 2.3 in 2.1 in 2.3 in 2.1 in 2.4 in 3.0 in 2.7 in 3.0 in 3.0 in 2.9 in

Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.