15 Best Things to Do in Aberdeen, Scotland

15 Best Things to Do in Aberdeen, Scotland

By will

Are you ready for an unforgettable journey to Aberdeen, Scotland?

This vibrant city is a mix of modern and traditional attractions, from iconic sights to hidden gems.

With so much to explore, it’s hard to know where to start.

To help you plan the perfect trip, here are the 15 best things to do in Aberdeen!

1. St. Machar’s Cathedral

St Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen
Photo By Stephen Craven

St. Machar’s Cathedral is a stunning piece of history and architecture in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Built-in the 1500s, this impressive building stands as a reminder of the city’s storied past.

Boasting grand stained-glass windows, intricately carved columns, and an awe-inspiring nave, St. Machar’s is one of the most incredible cathedrals in all of Scotland.

Visitors can explore the cathedral grounds and take in its beauty from every angle.

The cathedral also hosts a variety of events throughout the year for those looking to experience something truly unique.

For those seeking a spiritual experience, St Machar’s offers various services including traditional Sunday worship and special services throughout the week.

Whether you’re looking to admire the gorgeous architecture or just want to escape reality for a while, St Machar’s Cathedral provides an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you leave Aberdeen.

2. University And King’s College Of Aberdeen

Archway to King's College quadrangle
Photo by Bill Harrison

Aberdeen is home to two of the best universities in Scotland: the University of Aberdeen and King’s College.

The former offers a range of courses, from medicine to science and engineering, while the latter is renowned for its research-oriented teaching.

Both universities offer a variety of activities, including sports, drama, and music.

The city also boasts one of the oldest libraries in Europe; King’s College Library dates back to 1593.

If you’re looking for something more offbeat, why not visit Aberdeen’s impressive Sculpture Trail?

It features a number of sculptures created by local artists, reflecting the city’s unique culture and heritage.

Whether you’re studying or just visiting, these institutions are sure to keep you entertained.

From exploring old libraries to admiring sculpture trails – there’s something for everyone in Aberdeen!

3. Cross Brig O’balgownie, Scotland’s Oldest Bridge

Walking onto the Brig O'Balgownie
Photo by Stephen Craven

Cross Brig o’Balgownie, Scotland’s oldest bridge, is an absolute must-see when visiting Aberdeen.

Located at the mouth of the River Don, this stunning structure dates back to 1445 and has been a key part of Aberdeen’s history ever since.

It’s a sight that can’t be missed!

The bridge spans a whopping 140 feet across and consists of two main archways with smaller arches connecting them.

Its design is simple yet elegant, making it a perfect spot for romantic strolls or photo ops.

Plus, it’s just a short walk away from other attractions such as St Machar’s Cathedral and Seaton Park.

At Cross Brig o’Balgownie, you’ll experience Scotland’s history firsthand while marveling at its beauty and grandeur.

Whether you’re captivated by its long history or just looking to enjoy a peaceful moment in nature, make sure to add this must-see attraction to your Aberdeen itinerary!

4. Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Aberdeen Maritime Museum is an absolute must-see for visitors to the city.

Located in Shiprow, in the heart of Aberdeen’s historic harbor area, it offers a unique insight into the region’s long maritime history.

Visitors can explore specialized exhibits like ‘Ships that Changed the World’, which explores how ships and sailing vessels have shaped human development and exploration throughout history.

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There’s also a fascinating display of artifacts from shipwrecks around Scotland, including those recovered from the famous ‘Titanic’ wreck site.

The museum also features interactive displays and activities designed to engage visitors of all ages, such as a chance to take control of a virtual tugboat or learn about life at sea through virtual reality experiences.

With panoramic views across Aberdeen Harbor, as well as outdoor events like boat trips and boatbuilding workshops, there’s plenty to do at Aberdeen Maritime Museum no matter what your interests are.

A visit here is sure to be both educational and entertaining – perfect for anyone who loves exploring the wonders of Scotland’s rich maritime heritage.

5. Provost Skene’s House

Continuing the exploration of Aberdeen, Scotland, Provost Skene’s House is a must-see.

Located on the corner of Guestrow and Schoolhill, it is an impressive example of a 16th-century Scottish townhouse.

This National Trust for Scotland property is renowned for its beautiful architecture and interior design.

The four-story house was built in 1545 by wealthy merchant George Skene, who served as Aberdeen’s provost or mayor.

The house boasts many original features such as ornate wall paintings, tapestries, furniture, and armorials.

Visitors can also explore the former coach house which has been transformed into an interactive learning space about 17th-century Aberdeen.

For those wanting to learn more about the city’s history, this place is sure to offer some fascinating insights.

There are plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy such as craft classes, music performances, and storytelling sessions.

Whatever your interests may be, Provost Skene’s House will surely provide something for everyone to experience.

6. Peacock Visual Arts

The Peacock Visual Arts Centre in Aberdeen, Scotland is a must-see for any art enthusiast.

Located in the heart of the city, it’s easy to access from all corners of Aberdeenshire.

It houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, with works by some of the world’s most renowned artists including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and David Shrigley.

Visitors can explore a range of exhibitions showcasing local talent as well as national and international artists.

The center also hosts events such as film screenings, talks, and workshops throughout the year.

Admission is free, making it an ideal place to take in some culture without breaking the bank.

With its diverse range of artwork on display, Peacock Visual Arts are sure to captivate and inspire you – no matter what your artistic tastes are!

7. Aberdeen Science Centre

Aberdeen Science Centre is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore hands-on science in Scotland’s third-largest city.

With over 70 interactive exhibits, there’s something for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

From the virtual reality experience of the universe to exploring the wonders of robotics, it’s an educational experience that will stay with you.

The center also offers a range of workshops, lectures, and special events that allow visitors to get up close and personal with STEM topics.

For those who want to spend more time at the center, there is a café, gift shop, and two outdoor play areas.

The center even has its own mobile-friendly planetarium where visitors can view many galaxies from above!

Aberdeen Science Centre is not just about having fun; it’s about sparking curiosity and a passion for discovery in visitors young and old alike.

With its wide selection of activities, exhibitions, and attractions, Aberdeen Science Centre will take you on an unforgettable journey into science and beyond!

8. Codonas Amusement Park

Next on the list of must-visit Aberdeen attractions is Codonas Amusement Park.

Situated along the beach, this family-friendly destination offers something for everyone.

Thrill seekers can get their kicks on the range of rollercoasters, while those looking to take it easy can enjoy some of the gentler rides and attractions.

There’s also a whole host of interactive games and classic arcade machines to enjoy.

And when you’re done with all that excitement, why not take a wander around the miniature golf course or grab a bite to eat at one of the onsite restaurants?

For those who want to stay longer, Codonas Amusement Park also boasts its own hotel – perfect for taking in all that Aberdeen has to offer without having to rush from one place to another.

With plenty of activities and attractions both in and around the park, there’s no shortage of fun things to do here!

So whether you’re looking for a day out with friends or family, or want some quality time away from home, don’t miss out on a visit to Codonas Amusement Park – it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!

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9. Aberdeen Gin Distillery & Gin School

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Aberdeen, then you should definitely check out the Aberdeen Gin Distillery & Gin School.

Located in the heart of the city, this distillery offers some of the best gin tastings and classes in Scotland.

From their signature gin-tasting session to their “Gin School” class, where you can learn about the history and craft of making gin, this experience will leave you feeling enlightened and inspired.

The gin-tasting session allows you to explore a selection of gins from all around Scotland, as well as from further afield.

You’ll get to sample various types and styles of gin with expert guidance from the staff.

Meanwhile, the Gin School course offers a comprehensive overview of how gin is made, what makes it so special, and how to make your own at home.

With each class also comes a complimentary bottle of Aberdeen Gin – perfect for taking home with you!

10. Seaton Park

Seaton Park is a must-see spot in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Located right on the banks of the River Don, it’s home to some of the city’s most beautiful scenery and natural wildlife.

With its lush greenery and tranquil atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Seaton Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Take a walk along the park’s paths to explore its many attractions.

The park boasts a wide array of activities and amenities such as tennis courts, playgrounds, walking trails, and picnic areas.

You can also rent boats or kayaks if you’re looking for an adventure on the river.

There are plenty of benches to relax on too – perfect for admiring the views across the river to the city center skyline.

Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife – from ducks to swans – as you wander around this picturesque park.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an exciting activity, Seaton Park has something for everyone.

Enjoy exploring this hidden gem in Aberdeen!

11. Johnston Gardens

Johnston Gardens is a beautiful destination in the heart of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The landscape is comprised of stunningly manicured gardens and tranquil pathways.

It’s a sight to behold! Visitors can enjoy the stunning colors of the flowers and plants, as well as take part in activities like picnicking and bird-watching.

The atmosphere is one of serenity and peace, making it an ideal spot to escape from life’s worries.

The grounds are filled with interesting features such as historical monuments, sculptures, and fountains.

There are also plenty of benches for visitors to relax on while taking in the breathtaking views.

A visit to Johnston Gardens can provide a much-needed respite from everyday stressors.

Stroll through its lush gardens, take some time to appreciate nature’s beauty, or just sit back and take in the tranquility – whatever you choose to do here will be sure to leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

12. Old Aberdeen

Leaving Johnston Gardens, one can head to Old Aberdeen.

Famed for its ancient architecture, Old Aberdeen is a must-visit on any traveler’s list.

This quaint area has a rich history spanning back thousands of years, with roots in the Picts and Celts.

It is believed that the city of Old Aberdeen was founded in 1136 by King David I of Scotland and it has been the site of many battles over the centuries.

Old Aberdeen’s streets are lined with buildings of all shapes and sizes.

From grand Gothic churches to small cottages, there’s something for everyone here.

Visitors can explore the cobbled streets and take in the atmosphere of this historic area.

Take a stroll along The Green, which has been home to some of Scotland’s most illustrious citizens throughout history.

Be sure to check out St Machar’s Cathedral, an impressive medieval church constructed from red sandstone and granite.

For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of activities available in Old Aberdeen too.

Try your hand at kayaking or sailing on the River Don, or take a hike through nearby Seaton Park – with stunning views across the countryside you won’t be disappointed!

For those looking for something more low-key, why not spend some time admiring nature in one of the many parks around town?

With its unique mix of history and modern attractions, there’s something for every type of traveler in Old Aberdeen!

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13. The Gordon Highlanders Museum

A visit to the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen is a must for anyone seeking to gain insight into Scotland’s rich history.

The museum is housed in the original 19th-century home of the Gordon Highlanders regiment and offers an immersive experience of what life was like for these brave soldiers.

Upon entering, visitors are welcomed by a museum guide who helps them explore the many artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of this famous regiment.

The displays cover topics ranging from military campaigns to everyday life as a soldier.

You can learn about their training routines, battle tactics, and even how they celebrated victories or commemorated losses.

There are also interactive exhibits such as an infantry simulator and a simulated trench where you can experience what it was like to be part of this elite group of fighters.

The museum also has a café where you can take a break and enjoy some refreshments while taking in the incredible sights and sounds of this remarkable place.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum provides an engaging look into Scotland’s past and is sure to leave visitors with an appreciation for the courage and dedication of these brave men.

It’s a great way to get a glimpse into Scotland’s past so be sure to add this amazing destination to your list when visiting Aberdeen!

14. The Tolbooth Museum

The Tolbooth Museum in Aberdeen, Scotland is a must-see for any traveler.

Located in the heart of the city, this museum celebrates the culture and history of Aberdeen.

Inside, visitors can explore ancient artifacts, relics from bygone days, and even a jail cell from the 17th century.

It’s an incredible way to not only experience history but also gain insight into how people lived in the past.

The museum has plenty of interactive displays that make it fun for all ages.

Kids will love getting hands-on with activities like dressing up as a soldier or exploring an old jail cell.

Adults can browse through collections of artifacts or take part in guided tours to learn more about Aberdeen’s past.

And no matter your age, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of this historic building and its many interesting stories.

The Tolbooth Museum is sure to provide an unforgettable experience – one that will long be remembered!

15. Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is a must-see destination in Aberdeen.

It’s a stunning natural paradise, full of adventure and beauty.

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or just some peace and quiet, this national park has it all.

From the highest mountain peaks to the riverside trails, there’s something for everyone.

The Cairngorms offer fabulous walking, hiking, and biking opportunities, as well as a variety of wildlife viewing spots.

Birdwatchers will be delighted by the array of birds that can be found here – from endangered species like golden eagles to more common birds like red grouse and ptarmigan.

The area is also home to wildcats, red deer, pine martens, and other mammals.

The park also offers plenty of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing in winter months; kayaking and canoeing on lochs; rock climbing; horseback riding; golfing; fishing; cycling; mountain biking and so much more!

With its breathtaking landscapes, a wide range of activities, abundance of wildlife, and friendly people, the Cairngorms National Park is an unforgettable experience that will make your trip to Aberdeen truly special.

Best Things to Do in Aberdeen – Final Thoughts

I’ve had an amazing time exploring the best things to do in Aberdeen, Scotland.

From the incredible St. Machar’s Cathedral to Cairngorms National Park, the city has so much to offer.

I especially enjoyed visiting Provost Skene’s House and The Tolbooth Museum; both were incredibly impressive and full of fascinating history.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum was also a great experience.

It gave me a deeper understanding of Scotland’s rich military past, which I found really interesting.

Visiting Cross Brig o’Balgownie was another highlight for me as it was Scotland’s oldest bridge, built in 1320!

Aberdeen is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for something special.

There’s so much here to explore and discover – from its history and culture to its stunning parks and museums.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip full of fun activities, then make sure to add Aberdeen to your must-see list!


What are the best things to do in Aberdeen with kids?

The best things to do in Aberdeen with kids are visiting Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen Science Centre, and The Gordon Highlanders Museum.

What to do during the day in Aberdeen?

The best things to do during the day in Aberdeen are visiting St Machar’s Cathedral, Old Aberdeen, and Aberdeen Beach.

Is Aberdeen worth visiting?

Yes, Aberdeen is worth visiting because it is home to some of the most incredible architecture and stunning natures in the UK.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.