Hotels in Aberdeen, United Kingdom
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Aberdeen – The City of Black Gold and Shimmering Granite
Aberdeen is a city that knows how to make money. Throughout the centuries, it has taken advantage of its natural resources to create thriving fishing, granite, textile and shipbuilding industries. In recent decades, the oil industry has become dominant, employing thousands of people and attracting many to visit on business. But there’s much more to the city than just oil: surrounding natural beauty, lovely boutique hotels, a vibrant food and drink scene, and several excellent museums make Aberdeen a great place to explore Scottish culture.
The Granite City
Whether arriving by air via Aberdeen Airport (located six miles from the city centre), by car or by rail, it will soon become apparent why Aberdeen is known as the Granite City. During the 18th and 19th-centuries, grey granite mined from nearby sources such as Rubislaw Quarry was used in the construction of many of the city’s landmark buildings. This stone contains high levels of the mineral mica which glitters in the light, adding a shimmering quality to the city’s character. In the city centre, fine examples of granite buildings include Music Hall on Union Street, a performing arts centre, and Marischal College on Broad Street, owned by Aberdeen University and current home to Aberdeen City Council. Many of the city’s popular hotels can be found here too and Union Square shopping centre is the place to head for a wide range of high streets shops and restaurants.
The Harbour, Old Aberdeen and Two Rivers
Aberdeen itself grew up around two rivers, the Don to the north and the Dee to the South. Just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre hotels, at the mouth of the Dee, is the harbour area. From here it’s possible to catch a short cruise tour with the possibility of glimpsing dolphins and porpoises. Further up the Dee, Aberdeen’s second seat of learning, Robert Gordon University, can be found. To get a feel of a bygone era, take a trip to Old Aberdeen located near the Don. It’s an area which has retained much of its character with traditional architecture, narrow lanes and cobbled streets. Originally a separate village, it became part of the city in 1891 and remains the site of Aberdeen University’s main campus. Popular attractions here include St. Machar’s Cathedral, with its beautiful stained glass windows, and the William Elphinstone Monument, a founding father of the University. Brig o' Balgownie over the Don is said by some to be Scotland’s oldest surviving bridge.
A Hub of Food and Drink
Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan city with a wide range of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. Madame Mews Thai Café on Market Street is very popular for its authentic taste of Thailand and Monsoona on Bridge Street is a top-notch Indian restaurant. In keeping with its fishing heritage, Aberdeen also has a number of excellent seafood restaurants with Moon Fish Café just off Union Street highly recommended. Aberdeen Country Fair, held on the last Saturday of each month on Belmont Street, is the place to buy delicious local produce such as Aberdeen Angus beef, seafood, cheese and vegetables. Fans of Scottish whisky can make the 90-minute drive to the River Spey in the Highlands where over 50 distilleries are located! Some such as Balvenie in Dufftown also offer tours. So, enjoy a tipple or two, book a hotel near the Speyside area overnight and then head back to the airport or Aberdeen the next day.
Enjoying Outdoor Activities and the Stunning Scottish Scenery
There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during a trip to Aberdeen. In between the Dee and the Don and beyond are miles of sandy beaches, great for a walk or swim when the weather is warm. Further along the coast, Balmedie Beach is famous for its large sand dunes and great views. There are also several golf courses in the area including the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club and Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie. Outside Aberdeen, cycling, hiking and hill walking opportunities are easily accessible. Less than three miles away, Tyrebagger Woods features Douglas firs, Scottish pine trees and red squirrels and, in the same area, Kirkhill Forest is popular with mountain bikers. To really experience the stunning Scottish scenery and maybe even to bag a few Munros (mountains), the huge Cairngorms National Park is the place to go. It’s 40 miles away and offers several excellent hotels and guest houses in beautiful locations.
Fascinating Museums Explaining Aberdeen’s History
Aberdeen is blessed with a number of fascinating museums that explore the city’s military and maritime excellence and its local art and culture. A short walk from Chester Hotel on Queen’s Road, one of Aberdeen’s best boutique hotels, Gordon Highlanders Museum is a must-see. It celebrates the 200-year history of Scotland’s most famous British Army Regiment and offers guided tours and a café. The Maritime Museum is another popular attraction, located on Shiprow, a cobbled road near the harbour. Through the use of fun, interactive exhibits, it explains the city’s rich maritime history and subsequent journey to becoming a significant player in the oil and gas industry. Nearby on Castle Street, Tolbooth Museum is a 17th-century gaol where visitors can see prison cells and a guillotine. Art fans will also want to visit Aberdeen Art Gallery on Schoolhill when it reopens after two years of major refurbishment.