I recently spent a lovely weekend in the sunny seaside port of Aberdeen. Well, maybe not that sunny (in fact I recommend a very wooly hat), but I still have a strong top 10 things to do there:
- The Maritime Museum
Far and away the best thing to do with your time in Aberdeen- and it’s free! And it’s open on a Sunday! The focus is largely on the oil industry (and when you’re wandering round Aberdeen you find yourself asking all sorts of questions about rigs and life aboard, which are all answered in the museum). As you wind your way up to the impressive viewing platform on the top floor, you’ll not only pass plenty of interesting displays on diving vessels, safety standards, drilling techniques and the various types of oil rig, but also have chance to get really involved in some of the techniques yourself, thanks to the interactive games. Just elbow the kids out of the way (I’m pretty sure these games are for adults too) and then have a go at manoeuvring a diving vessel through the murky water to locate an oil leak, or trying to guide a huge virtual ship into dock in Aberdeen harbour.
- The Ashvale Whale
Just out of the centre is a famed Fish N Chip restaurant, The Ashvale. Order an Ashvale Whale and take on the challenge to defeat the whale- by eating it. Winners are rewarded with the offer of a second, free Whale (really?) or a free desert, as well as a certificate testifying that you did, in fact, eat the said whale (actually a pretty huge bit of fish, for all of those who are worried!).
Local to Aberdeen is the ‘buttery’, or ‘butt’ as I heard it called, a very flat bread roll sold in most bakeries for around 30p a piece. Very salty and chewy, they were originally made as a food for fishermen- something that wouldn’t go stale at sea.
- Macaroni Cheese Pie
Whilst ordering your butts, add a cheeky macaroni cheese pie to your basket. More local to Scotland than specifically Aberdeen, the macaroni cheese pie is absolutely the best combination of two wonderful foods (macaroni cheese and pie!) in one handily pocket-sized snack
If you walk all the way around the town to the northern headland, through all the desolate rubble of the working harbour, you’ll quite suddenly find yourself in the little oasis of Footdee (Fittie to locals). This tiny fishing village, moved repeatedly as the harbour expanded, is a grid-work of incredibly well-kept cottages, all looking inwards on each other, with beautiful courtyards and pristine allotments
- Marischal College
Often referred to as the granite city, Aberdeen is full of imposing, giant buildings, and the main street is one very long testament to granite. Make sure you walk by Marischal College, the second biggest granite building in the world and the most stunning building in Aberdeen, with its intricately decorative granite spires.
- Some very varied and old pubs
There are, of course, plenty of pubs in Aberdeen- this is a student town and a working port. Ma Cameron’s, a rabbit-warren of a pub with a very cosy ‘snug’ bar tempting you in from the street, is highly recommended.
- Doric Scots
Aberdeenshire is famous for its own language, Doric Scots. Don’t be too alarmed if you’re addressed with the phrase ‘Fit like?’, (‘How are you?’) and proceed to be slightly baffled by the rest of the conversation. To learn some essential Scots phrases, get uTalk.
- Whisky tour
In Aberdeenshire, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to distilleries. Although you have to go a couple of miles out of the town to get to one, the region is scattered with distilleries both big and tiny, and it would be a shame to visit the town without making time for a tour and learning a little bit more about how the water of life is made.
10. Aberdeen harbour
The harbour at Aberdeen is endlessly fascinating and there is a fairly constant activity of large ships and pilot boats. To see the comings and goings of the ships, I recommend walking around to the southern peninsula, via Greyhope Road- a very relaxing afternoon stroll- where you’ll get a clear view over Fittie and the harbour mouth.
Have you ever been to Aberdeen and tried any of the local delicacies? We want to hear about your experience.