What To See And To Do in Aberdeen

King’s College Chapel

I visited Aberdeen quite a few times but never got much further than the football stadium and some local pubs. Well, not when I was a kid, of course, they would not let me in then…

So I decided we would have a real bit of sightseeing today. I was woken early by my wife and son preparing for breakfast at the B&B. Very nice and all but I need my beauty sleep far more than my breakfast. By 10 am we were all done and ready to head out. Since the reason for our presence here was the university, we decided to start there. My daughter did not do this part of the day; she made her own arrangements the previous night.

Old Aberdeen High Street

From our accommodation, it is a straight walk down Bedford Road to the new university library. It is a modern building of seven storeys still not quite finished and preparing for the official opening later this month (September 2012) by the Queen. Visitors are allowed, and you get a pass when you present some photo ID. We went in and took the elevator to the top for a view. Back downstairs we took a look at a small exhibition on old medicine.

Then we headed to the main campus, which I find the nicest part of town. I noticed a strange thing – the area is signposted as Old Aberdeen, and not Old Town, the standard you can find nearly everywhere else.

Heraldic Ceiling In St. Machar’s

You need to look into that one. King’s College was established in 1495, and I wandered round the quadrangle. One of the sides is formed by the chapel, and we could hear organ music being played. We thought there was a service of some sort going on but a security person that came out told us it was alright to go in. It was really nice inside.

We walked up the High Street, which is narrow and cobbled. The street still has shops and a bank, probably the quaintest one I have ever seen. Further up, you come to the Old Town House, which was adorned but not open to the public. We crossed the main road and headed up to The Chanonry, which looks more like a lane and is the way to St Machar’s Cathedral. On the left, you got to see the Botanic Gardens. We went in but weren’t impressed, so we went further up.

Aberdeen Beach

The road may well look like a lane, but tour buses weren’t afraid to come up. Got to St Machar’s and went in for a look around. I will do a separate review on that one since I also have a leaflet. One of the church elders was there to welcome visitors and answer all the questions we may have, and he did that very well. The cathedral has two features that caught my attention: the very obvious heraldic ceiling and something that looked like balconies on both sides of the kirk.

We came out at the top and went into Seaton Park, which was quite colorful even in September. We turned off towards the high flats on the main road to head to Brig o’Don (a bridge). That bridge wasn’t impressive, but we could see five seals swimming in the river that meets the sea a few hundred meters away.

Skull At The Fun Beach

We headed down to the beach and walked through the sand for a while. Then we took the promenade. Aberdeen had a good long beach and a decent walk as well. We passed Aberdeen Football Club’s Pittodrie Stadium (‘pittodrie is Gaelic and means Hill of Dung; it’s true, I swear) and went back to the main part of town. Once we were back at the Fun Beach, we took a break for some tea and ice cream at one of the seafront cafes. We contacted our daughter since part of today’s plan was to find her a bike for getting around here and up and down to the uni.

Although it wasn’t open, we went into Fun Beach. I decided it was a bit like taking my son on a Scooby Doo like tour. Instead, we took him to the old spooky traditional graveyard at St Machar’s. Then we split up, my wife was getting our daughter, and me and my boy went into the center of town to take some pictures in the daylight.

Marischal College

There is not a lot to Aberdeen city center but it never is SO grey. It is called the Granite City since everything is built of granite, the most common rock around. We went along the side of the port back to Union Square, up Bridge Street and down Union Street. I took some pictures of Marischal College (pronounced Marshall) and came back down to Castlegate. I encountered my first Golden Postbox, a tribute of the Royal Mail to the British Olympic team members who won a gold medal. A postbox in their hometown would be painted gold, and this one here was for rower Katherine Grainger

Done with the sightseeing for now, time to catch up with the others. We found them in Kittybrewster Retail Park.

Love that name, Kittybrewster sounds like a character of Beatrix Potter. We got the bike sorted, to be picked up at some point later. We went back to the B&B and took a cup of tea. My wife probably had her walking done for the day because she announced to drive tonight. It was still early to get something to eat so we drove along to the far end of the beach to a place called Footdee (local pronounce that like Fittie).

Aberdeen lies between two rivers, the Don and the Dee which is where Fittie is. There are lots of tiny fishing cottages, now overshadowed by big fuel storage tanks as the place is a busy port for supply ships, North Sea Oil and still some fishing boats as well.

Footdee Cottage

There is no harbor control here but a fully operated Marine Operations Centre. Wow! We headed back to the car and went for food somewhere. Just after 9 pm we dropped our daughter off and said our goodbyes as we would leave early the next day and there is no sense in her getting up so early as well. My wife held it together until we got back to our B&B and she had stopped the car. Then she cried for twenty minutes.

Watched some TV, chucked some stuff in the bag, and called it a night.

Staying in Aberdeen

With all your activities during the day in Aberdeen, you probably like to sleep in a good hotel with all the facilities. But you do not want to spend your whole budget on that hotel. That’s why we recommend you stay in the Moxy Aberdeen budget hotel. It’s near the airport, which is convenient when you come in by air. It also has great facilities and a design interior, and all that for a budget price.

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