What you need to know about Aberdeen
Aberdeen may seem like an unlikely metropolis, perched on the wild and windy north east coast of Scotland in the shadow of the Grampian mountains, but over the past 40 years the North Sea oil industry has transformed it into a leading cultural and business hub, and one of the key cities driving the UK's economy.
Aberdeen is known in Scotland as the Granite City, built from local grey granite which sparkles like silver in the sunshine, and pretty much disappears when the grey rain clouds roll in off the North Sea.
The city is home to two universities, The University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University, some excellent museums and galleries, and some of the finest beaches in the UK. Due to money from the oil industry, it’s also home to the busiest commercial heliport in the world, not to mention plenty of high end clubs, bars and restaurants.
Food and drink
If you love steak and seafood, you’ll be right at home in Aberdeen. The region is bursting with flavour - juicy beef comes courtesy of the herds of Aberdeen Angus cattle reared locally, whilst some of the finest seafood in the world is caught just off the coast.
Add in the wonderful local dairy produce, seasonal vegetables and local specialities like Aberdeen Sausage and you’ll dine like an oil baron in any one of Aberdeen’s many restaurants, cafes and gastropubs.
If you prefer to cook for yourself, you’ll find plenty of farmers’ markets and fish markets across the city where you can buy fabulous ingredients for cooking up a storm in your serviced apartment. And of course, you can choose from a huge range of local whiskies for that all-important nightcap.
Aberdeen is full of surprises, and the quality of the shopping is definitely one of them. You’ll find a fantastic mix of high street names and designer labels here, as well as plenty of vintage and craft markets plus international food markets that make Aberdeen a delightful place to browse. One of the great advantages is how compact the city centre is, with most of the shopping malls and plazas within easy walking distance of each other - perfect for a weekend break.
The popular Trinity Centre looks out onto Union Street, Aberdeen’s main shopping street, and the Bon Accord Shopping Centre and St Nicholas Centre are directly opposite each other.
If you’re looking for something unique, the Merchant Quarter in the West End is home to some outstanding independent retailers selling everything from gifts and clothing to local arts and crafts.
Aberdeen is one of the most prosperous cities in Scotland, mostly in the energy sector due to massive investment in North Sea oil over the past 40 years.
The city is home to oil and gas companies like Abbot Group, Britoil, Dana Petroleum, KCA DEUTAG, Enterprise Oil and Wood Group. Aberdeen is also home to supermarket chain Farmfoods.
The best way to get to Aberdeen is to fly to the local airport, or get a train – it’s 7 hours from London Euston, or you can take the Caledonian Sleeper and wake up refreshed after an overnight trip. Local trains have good connections to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.
The Grampian region is a beautiful part of Scotland, so it’s well worth hiring a car and exploring the region in your own time – you can even take a car ferry to the Shetland Islands from here.
If you prefer two wheels the city is easy to explore by bike, and there are plenty of bike hire places in the city. Buses in Aberdeen are plentiful, and you can buy tickets for unlimited daily travel across the local network.