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20 Things to do in Aberdeen on a weekend break

20 things to do in Aberdeen on a Weekend Break

Aberdeen was a city that surprised me! In the north-east of Scotland, with an economy that’s entwined with the oil industry, it’s known as the Granite City, yet the colourful street art and painted doors brighten up the streets. There’s an ancient university quarter, a long sandy beach and plenty of trendy cafes and restaurants, making Aberdeen an ideal destination for a weekend city break.

20 things to do in Aberdeen on a weekend break

For my weekend in Aberdeen I flew from Bristol with Fly BMI and in under 2 hours I was off to discover some of the best known sights and the “hidden treasures” of the city, helped by tips from local bloggers and instagrammers. Read on to discover all the things to do in Aberdeen that I enjoyed and how you can win Flybmi flights in their #flybmihiddentreasures competition.

1. Streetart in Aberdeen – The Nuart Aberdeen Streetart Murals

Being from Bristol where streetart is a big thing, I’m always on the alert for other great street art destinations, so my streetart antenna were buzzing when I heard about Nuart Aberdeen. The first festival took place in 2017 with the walls of the city becoming a blank canvas for international artists to create murals and art installations, and a second festival taking place in April 2018.

Nuart Aberdeen streetart by Herakut - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Nuart Aberdeen streetart by Herakut

Locals and visitors can discover more of the street art in Aberdeen by joining the free Nuart Aberdeen streetart tour every Saturday (although now paused for the winter) to learn more about the murals and artworks and the stories of the artists that created them.

Nuart Aberdeen streetart - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Nuart Aberdeen streetart by Nimi & RH74

You can also make your own tour, which is what I did on my first morning, using the Nuart Aberdeen Streetart map to find the locations of major murals from the past two year’s festivals. I found several of the murals on Union Row close to my hotel including the interesting unicorn collage of recycled plastics by Bordallo II and other murals like the striking girl looking out from Aberdeen Market by Herakut.

More info: Nuart Aberdeen Website

Nuart Aberdeen streetart - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Nuart Aberdeen streetart by Ernest Zacharevic

Nuart Aberdeen streetart4 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Nuart Aberdeen streetart by Bordallo II

2. Painted Doors Aberdeen – streetart in the side streets

Even better, Aberdeen has another street art project adding colour to the streets with the Painted Doors Aberdeen artworks that I noticed as I walked from the bus station to my hotel. The project started in 2016 with Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art project when twelve artists were invited to paint doors in some of the city’s side streets with lots more being added since then.

Painted doors Aberdeen streetart2 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Painted doors Aberdeen streetart

As I walked around the city I enjoyed spotting and photographing the doors which added some life and colour to the granite of the buildings – it’s defintely one of the more unusual things to do in Aberdeen that I found. I used the Painted Doors Aberdeen Map to discover more locations and identify the artists for each piece too.

Aberdeen streetart - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

More info: Painted Doors Aberdeen |  Painted Doors Aberdeen Facebook | Painted Doors Aberdeen Instagram

3. Boutique hotels in Aberdeen – stay at Park Inn Hotel Aberdeen

For my weekend break in Aberdeen with Flybmi I was staying at the Park Inn Hotel in Aberdeen, which was well located just off Union Street, one of the main city thoroughfares. It’s a modern boutique hotel with 185 rooms and colourful and contemporary in style, making an excellent base for a short break while sightseeing in Aberdeen.

Park Inn Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Park Inn Aberdeen

My bedroom on the 6th floor had fantastic views over the city and I could understand why Aberdeen is often known as The Granite City or the Silver City, since many of the buildings both old and new are constructed of granite from local quarries. There was nothing grey about the hotel however, which was decorated in warm and welcoming shades, with reds and yellows in the bedroom.

In the public area it was pink and purple with a zing of colour from the artworks in the bar area just off the lobby. My bedroom was spacious and comfortable with modern furnishings and clean lines in the bathroom. There was open hanging space for my clothes but the only fault I could find was the lack of enclosed storage – it seemed the room was designed for those just passing through who don’t have much to unpack.

Park Inn Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Park Inn Aberdeen

There were some luxuries like a Nespresso machine and some nice toiletries in the bathroom, but I was pleased to also find refillable soap and shower gel to reduce waste. The breakfast offered an excellent spread and the business lounge was a more private area on the ground floor with coffee, wine and snacks available throughout the day. Although the Park Inn Aberdeen is a large hotel, the colourful furnishings definitely gave more more of a ’boutique’ feel and I’d certainly recommend this as place to stay on your visit to Aberdeen.

More info: Park Inn Hotel Aberdeen Website | Check out all hotels in Aberdeen

4. A walk down Union street – Aberdeen’s Granite mile

One of the first things I love to do on a weekend break is to just go for a walk around the neighbourhood, to get a feel for the place and orientate myself to some of the major sites. At the start of my 2 days in Aberdeen I explored along Union Street, one of the main city streets that’s known as Aberdeen’s Granite Mile.

Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

View from Union Terrace Aberdeen

Although Union Street itself was full of mainstreams shops, it was the side streets and neighbourhoods leading off it that were most interesting and curious. Along Thistle Street were gift shops and clothing boutiques, with the indie coffee shop Food Story that I visited later. Close by on Union Row I found several of the best Nuart street art murals. As I reached Union Terrace with the statue of Edward VII,  I could see the views down to Union Terrace Gardens and across to the rooftops of Belmont Street, known for its bars, clubs and nightlife.

You may also enjoy: 3 things to do in Inverness for Culture lovers

Aberdeen Granite City - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Aberdeen Granite City

Steep steps led down to the Market area where I found more streetart and painted doors and where I later had dinner at Cafe 52. I walked through the kirkyard of St Nicholas church and along the alley of Correction Wynd, where I could feel the history of Aberdeen’s cobbled streets and narrow alleys now mixed among the modern shopping centres.

St Nicholas Kirkyard - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

St Nicholas Kirkyard in Aberdeen

5. Castlegate Aberdeen and the Mercat Cross

At the furthest end of Union Street I reached Castlegate with an open square at the centre of which is the Mercat Cross, one of the well known Aberdeen landmarks. The Mercat Cross of any Scottish town or city would traditionally mark the heart of the burgh and this one dated back to the 17th century, the sandstone carved with symbols of Scottish royalty and topped with a royal unicorn. In the same square there’s a splendid statue to the Gordon Highlanders who have the Gordon Highlander’s Museum in the west end of Aberdeen, and the Tolbooth Museum, formerly Aberdeen’s 17th century jail.

If you’re travelling around Scotland check out these ideas for more Scottish tours

Mercat Cross Castle Square Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Castle Square Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Castle Square Aberdeen

If you’d like to visit Aberdeen or another of FlyBMI’s destinations, you can win flights in the photo competition that’s running until December 2018. Just post a picture of a place that’s one of the destinations the airline flies to, that you consider special or lesser known – one of the #FlyBmiHiddenTreasures. Post your image on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag and the best will be chosen each month to win a pair of flights. More info: FlyBMI Hidden Treasures photo competition.

6. The Beach at Aberdeen

From Castlegate, my wanderings took me down Beach Boulevard to Aberdeen Beach, a nice surprise since I was unaware that Aberdeen had a beach at all, let alone such a nice one! The sun was shining although it was certainly a chilly autumn day to be wrapped up and I walked along the beach esplanade set slightly down from the road where I was a little more protected from the wind.

Beach at Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen2 with FlyBmi

Beach at Aberdeen

The beach was backed by patches of Marram grass with a line of breakwaters, their wooden posts standing above the water. Dog walkers and kite flyers were enjoying the beach, dodging the waves throwing up spray against the stretches of concrete breakwater. Along the road, the shops and cafes were backed by a funfair, and I saw plenty of ice cream parlours and stopped for lunch at The Pier.

Need somewhere to stay? Check out all the hotels in Aberdeen

Beach at Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Beach at Aberdeen

I continued along the esplanade, heading towards the mouth of the River Dee where the big ships from the Port of Aberdeen enter the ocean. Before long I reached Foot Dee, better known locally as Fittie, another well known place to see in Aberdeen.

7. Foot Dee  or Fittie – the pretty cottages and sheds in Aberdeen

I’d been recommended by several people to visit Fittie, a small area of pretty fishermen’s cottages and houses that are built in blocks, facing inwards to protect them from the wind and weather coming from the sea. The cottage squares were laid out in the early 1800s to rehouse local fishing families and were later expanded so that there are now dwellings built around four squares.

Foot Dee Fittie in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Foot Dee Fittie in Aberdeen

In the communal squares are tarry sheds built for storage so that each house had its own shed. They were originally built of driftwood and timber but over the years have been expanded, rebuilt and embellished, until some are almost cottages in their own right. Each shed has its own colourful and quirky style with owners seeming to compete with their plant pots, garden gnomes and other decoration, making the area a charming place to photograph. Thanks to Scottish blogger Anastasia of Natbees.com and @Angelajtaylor on Instagram for the tip!

You may also enjoy: Weekend in FootDee – Natbees.com

Foot Dee or Fittie in Aberdeen2 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Foot Dee or Fittie in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Foot Dee or Fittie in Aberdeen

8. Cute Cafes in Aberdeen for breakfast, brunch or lunch

There are no shortage of cute cafes in Aberdeen for breakfast, brunch or lunch and I’ll just mention a couple that I tried that I especially enjoyed. FoodStory was a cafe that kept cropping up and it was a great place to meet Scottish blogger Anastasia of Natbees.com for breakfast. It’s a friendly, easy going place with a bare semi-industrial feel combined with warm salvaged wood and natural materials.

Need somewhere to stay? Check out all the hotels in Aberdeen

This place is about healthy food and great coffee. It’s veggie and vegan friendly while not ruling out meat entirely and the sort of place you could set up your laptop or chat with a friend over fluffy pancakes, with wholesome toppings, which is exactly what we did! Their shop area sells organic veg, their own baked breads and other organic products, while the upstairs space hosts events and workshops. More info: FoodStory Website

FoodStory in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

FoodStory in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

FoodStory in Aberdeen

For lunch by the beach I stopped at The Pier and enjoyed a baked potato with salad and cheesy topping, after I’d explore Union Street in the morning. It was a busy, friendly places serving breakfast and brunch, through to ice creams in the afternoon and burgers, nachos and sharing plates on some evenings. I was fascinated by the home-made Stovies offered on the specials board, which I discovered after a bit of Googling was a dish made from the leftover roast meat, minced up with onions and potatoes, and rather wished I’d ordered it. The other beachfront cafe I’d heard recommended was the Sanddollar Cafe and Bistro, but it was sadly closed when I passed by so I was unable to check it out.

You may also enjoy: Aberdeen Restaurants – where to eat in Aberdeen – Finding the Universe

The Pier in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

The Pier in Aberdeen

On my second afternoon in Aberdeen after I’d spent the afternoon in Stonehaven and Dunnottar castle, I returned to the city on a rainy afternoon. In the end gave up trying to photograph anything and retired to Mackies 19.2, an ice cream parlor that sells the local Mackies ice cream. The name of the parlour is due to it being 19.2 miles from the family farm where the Mackies ice cream started.

Mackies ice cream in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Mackies ice cream in Aberdeen

Mackies 19.2 is tucked away in the courtyard of a new Marischal Square development close to Marischal College and I enjoyed a scoop of Scottish Tablet flavour (a bit like butterscotch toffee) topped with caramel sauce which they told me was one of their most popular flavours. As you come out, look up to see the steel mesh leopard sculpture by Scottish Kelpies artist Andy Scott that glitters on a pillar 10 metres above the ground.

Other cafes that were recommended to me although I didn’t have time to visit were The Long Dog Cafe, Sand Dollar Cafe, Cafe Cognito and So… Aberdeen.

9. Restaurants in Aberdeen – Seafood & local dishes

After my walk along the beach and around Fittie I noticed a restaurant, The Silver Darling just by the channel where the ships come and go from Aberdeen port. I’d seen recommendations for their seafood and local dishes and on the off chance I decided to go in for an early supper. It was a lovely place with the restaurant on the first floor of the old Customs House, giving a great view of the ships passing in the channel or out to sea.

Silver Darling in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

The menu here is mainly seafood and I ordered a couple of starters to try; a dish of Cullen Skink which is a creamy soup made with smoked haddock, followed by a plate of Shetland scallops with celeriac puree and a glass of white wine. It was all delicious and I enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant, which was relaxed but something a little bit special, with striking views at sunset.

Silver Darling in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Silver Darling in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Silver Darling in Aberdeen

On my second night I took a local’s recommendation from Instagram (thanks! @thelucyhyde ) for Cafe 52, a friendly brasserie style restaurant with a menu heavily based on seasonal and local produce. I ordered butter fried coley with Holburn apple and fennel salad with crayfish which was delicious, the thick piece of fish cooked to perfection resting on the pretty vegetables with garlic and kale dressing.

Cafe 52 in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

The puddings are created by Mrs B, the owner’s mother using lots of fruits from her garden. I was so intrigued by the wine soaked pear with a Roquefort and pickled walnut ice cream on the menu that I had to order it. The desert came together better than expected in an early taste of Christmas, but although the Roquefort was creamy and sweet somehow the cheese flavour didn’t quite work for me, although I had to admire the inventiveness.

I enjoyed the artwork on the walls of the restaurant and the very kind young waitress who welcomed me in from the rain with all the concern of a mother even though she was half my age!

Cafe 52 in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Cafe 52 in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Because I was travelling on my own, I didn’t fancy hanging out in bars and clubs in the evening and was too tired anyway after covering most of the city on foot. However I wanted to suggest a couple of places that you might enjoy if you are out of an evening. I passed by The Stag just off Union Street and thought that it was exactly the kind of slightly polished-up but traditional style boozer where one might retire for a pint or G&T.

Need somewhere to stay? Check out all the hotels in Aberdeen

The Stag in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

The Stag in Aberdeen

If you enjoy the craft beer scene, look no further than Brewdog, which has two bars in the city. There’s a bar in Bristol as well, which is how I know of it, but the company actually started in Aberdeen at their Castlegate bar near Marischal Square. There’s always a great atmosphere there and although I can’t say I’m a huge beer drinker, I have been known to down a bottle of Punk IPA.

If you want to explore the cocktail and bar scene, look out for the local gins such as Porters, Esker and Teasmith and I was recommended Orchid cocktail bar which was close to my hotel by Christie of Dinner Stories. Read her useful article about her favourite Aberdeen Cocktail bars.

Brewdog in Aberdeen - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Brewdog in Aberdeen

10. A trip on the train to Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire

On the second day of my trip to Aberdeen with Flybmi I’d already covered quite a bit of the city and was looking for some other things to do near Aberdeen.  The countryside of Aberdeenshire is beautiful and one of the easiest day trips from Aberdeen is to take the train to Stonehaven, where there’s a small town, pretty fishing harbour and coastal walks. It’s only 30 minutes by train with at least 2 trains per hour and from the station I walked down to the town centre and then along the promenade by the stony beach. I admired the interesting metal sculptures of ships and a lighthouse on the shore, although I couldn’t find any information about the artist.

If you’re travelling around Scotland check out these ideas for more Scottish tours

Sculptures at Stonehaven Aberdeenshire - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Sculptures at Stonehaven Aberdeenshire

The tide was out as I walked around the pretty fishing harbour, with small sailing craft resting on the muddy bottom and that pungent seaside smell of seaweed and ozone in the air. The sky was grey and the wind chilly but the painted boats and colourful buoys brightened up the scene. In summer there’s an open air swimming pool along the seafront and you might try the award winning Bay Fish & Chips or stop at the attractive traditional bar of the Marine Hotel for a wee dram. Look out for the 17th century Tollbooth on the harbour which was a courthouse and prison in the past but now open as a local museum. Check here for the Aberdeen to Stonehaven train times.

Accommodation suggestions in Stonehaven: Marine Hotel | TwentyfourShorehead |

Stonehaven Aberdeenshire - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Stonehaven Aberdeenshire - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Stonehaven Aberdeenshire 3 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Stonehaven Aberdeenshire 2 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Stonehaven Aberdeenshire

11. A walk along the coast to Dunnottar castle

From the harbour at Stonehaven, I followed the signpost pointing between the cottages and up the hill towards Dunnottar castle. This makes a great extension to a visit to Stonehaven, and even if you don’t walk all the way to the castle I recommend you take the path up onto the headland for views over the harbour and perhaps a walk a little further to the War Memorial that sits on top of the hill. I learned from the information plaque that Scots accounted for 20% of the UK’s war dead in the First World War, a disproportionate number compared to their population.

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire3 - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire

It was a beautiful walk on the clifftop path to Dunnottar which took around 30 minutes, the castle ruins making a romantic sight on the headland overlooking the beach, with water on three sides. The castle was the home of the Earls Marischal and a fortress has stood on this spot since the 3rd Century and the towerhouse was completed in the 14th Century.

You may also enjoy: 3 impressive castles in Scotland to visit

I didn’t have time to visit inside the castle itself, which is accessed along a path that leads down the slope almost to beach level and then up some steep steps. Instead I admired from a distance and then retraced my steps back to Stonehaven to take the train back to Aberdeen in the afternoon. Thanks also to @beccarowland88 for the tip to visit Slains Castle at Cruden Bay which is said to be the place that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

More info: Dunnottar Castle website

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire - things to do in Aberdeen with FlyBmi

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire

12. Around the Granite City of Aberdeen – Provost Kene’s House and other historic buildings

The following day I spend my time exploring more of the Granite City of Aberdeen including the Old Aberdeen area around the University. There are lots of historic buildings around the city and one that I especially admired as it seemed to be a bit of a time capsule surround by more modern architecture was the Provost Skene’s House.

Provost Skene House - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Provost Skene House - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Provost Skene House

It’s close to Marischal College but now almost enclosed by the Marischal Square development with the medieval stone walls and turrets in contrast with the glass modern office buildings nearby. The house was built in the 16th century and owned by George Skene who was Provost of Aberdeen, the city leader between 1676 and 1685. It was restored and is now a city museum, furnished in the historic style of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, although at the time of my visit was closed during the development of Marischal Square.

You may also enjoy: 3 hidden gems in Edinburgh

13. Marischal College in Aberdeen

A few minutes away is Marischal College, another notable historic building and Aberdeen landmark. The College was founded as a University by the 5th Earl of Marischal in 1593 and the two separate colleges of Kings College and Marischal College were merged together to form Aberdeen University in 1860. The granite spires and turrets are not as old as you might think, since the present building was constructed in the 1840s on the site of older buildings that were demolished.

Marischal College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Marischal College Aberdeen

Since most of the Aberdeen University is based around Kings College, the Marischal College building was leased by the university to become the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council. You can walk through the main entrance and through the glass doors to admire the inner courtyard beyond which is open to public visits during working hours. The Marischal Museum within the building is not currently open with exhibits being on show at the Kings Museum instead.

Marischal College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Marischal College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Marischal College Aberdeen

14. Visiting the Museums in Aberdeen

I have to admit that although I normally enjoy visiting local museums to discover more about a place, I didn’t manage to visit a single one on my trip to Aberdeen. The weather was mostly sunny so I was enjoying wandering the city, absorbing the atmosphere and taking that walk along the beach and to Dunnottar castle. But just for completeness, I’ll tell you about a few of the Aberdeen museums that you might enjoy if you visit – always good to know for a rainy day!

Aberdeen Maritime museum - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Aberdeen Maritime museum

Aberdeen Maritime Museum – Close to the port this covers Aberdeen’s relationship with the sea, including the longstanding shipbuilding industry and the more recent arrival of the North Sea gas and oil industry that underpins Aberdeen’s economy.

The Tolbooth Museum – Located in the former 17th century city jail, the Tolbooth Museum covers crime and punishment in Scotland and you can see the old 17th and 18th century jail cells.

Kings Museum – Part of the University of Aberdeen campus in Old Aberdeen, this small museum houses the University’s collection with changing exhibitions.

Gordon Highlander’s Museum – In the West End of Aberdeen, the museum covers the 200 year old history of Scotland’s Gordon Highlanders Regiment, from the Napoleonic Wars, India, Afghanistan and South Africa, through to both World Wars and the Cold War.

Kings Museum Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Kings Museum Aberdeen

15. A wander around Old Aberdeen

The area of Old Aberdeen surrounds the campus of Aberdeen University which is centred around Kings College. I was pleased to have a wander around on my final morning with local Scottish Blogger Anastasia from Natbees.com, who had studied for her PhD at Aberdeen University and was able to show me her old haunts.

Old Aberdeen was originally a separate Burgh set a little way out of the city centre, so you may like to take the bus as it is otherwise a 30-40 minute walk to get there. There are lots of historic houses and narrow cobbled streets and lanes to explore, that bustle with students. I recommend that you wander around for a bit just to soak up the atmosphere and explore some of the hidden corners of this area, before homing in on the major sites.

Old Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Old Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Old Aberdeen

16. Kings College – the ancient heart of Aberdeen University

One of the key things to do in Old Aberdeen is visit Kings College, which is the heart of Aberdeen University. When it was founded in the 15th century, Kings College was the university and you can walk through the quad with the college chapel on one side. The chapel tower is notable for being topped by a closed crown, a symbol of imperial rule that supported Scotland’s claim for universal dominion, not being in any way reliant on the English crown.

Kings College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Kings College Aberdeen

When I was there, the creepers on the side of the buildings were in full autumn colour and attracting lots of photographs. You can also visit the Kings College chapel Mon-Fri 10am – 3.30pm although I think I was too distracted by taking pretty photos of the autumn leaves and forgot to take a look!

Kings College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi
Kings College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Kings College Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Kings College Aberdeen

17. Aberdeen University library and that view!

Always looking out for some “Hidden Treasures”  to highlight as part of the #FlyBmiHiddenTreasures campaign I was pleased to get a tip from Scottish blogger Anastasia of Natbees.com to visit the Aberdeen University library, for the views from the top floor.

The Sir Duncan Rice library which opened in 2012 is striking outside and inside, with the student study areas arranged around a central atrium, enabling you to look up or down through the building.

Remember to bring your photo ID so that you can register for a visitor pass at the ground floor desk and take the lift to the top floor for views towards the sea from the glass sided rooms.

View from Aberdeen University Library - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Aberdeen Library - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Aberdeen University Sir Duncan Rice Library

18. Cruickshank Botanic garden in Old Aberdeen

We continued our walk across the busy A978 main road by the Kings Museum into the area known as The Chanonry where you can get a tuktuk tour in summer with ASC Tuk Tuk – check them out on Facebook and Instagram. Tucked behind the university science labs is the Cruickshank Botanic garden, a peaceful 11 acre garden that is open to the public, open daily 9am-4.30pm in winter and 9am-7pm in summer. I recommend it for a stroll through the ornamental trees and herbaceous borders or a quiet spot to sit on a bench in the sun.

Cruickshank Botanic Garden Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Cruickshank Botanic Garden Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

Cruickshank Botanic Garden Aberdeen

19. St Machar cathedral Aberdeen and the Chanonry

Further down The Chanonry we found St Machar Cathedral, a beautiful 14th century church that’s not actually a cathedral since it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690.  The church was originally larger and if you go outside the building, you can see the walls enclosing where the chancel would have extended.

St Machar Cathedral Aberdeen3 - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

St Machar Cathedral Aberdeen

This is where part of the body of Sir William Wallace is said to be buried following his execution in 1305, when he was hung, drawn and quartered and parts of his body sent throughout Scotland. The church is famous for the beautiful wooden ceiling, covered with heraldic shields and the volunteer guide was able to tell us the hidden stories behind the shields that tell a tale of the Scottish crown asserting its independence from the English throne. If you have time, you might like to walk through Seaton Park which is next to the church.

St Machar Cathedral Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

St Machar Cathedral Aberdeen - weekend in Aberdeen with Flybmi

St Machar Cathedral Aberdeen

20. The views from the Torry Battery in Aberdeen

One place that I ran out of time to visit was the Torry Battery across the harbour channel from Fittie. It’s a defensive artillery battery that was last used in World War II and from here you can get a great view back on the Aberdeen harbour and watch the dolphins that sometimes come to play at the mouth of the harbour channel. Thanks to @sk8stevieuk on Instagram for that tip!

Torry Battery Aberdeen Photo Treeferris Flickr

Torry Battery Aberdeen Photo Credit Treeferris Flickr

I had lots of fun on my 3 day weekend break to Aberdeen, and I hope I’ve showed you some of the cool things to do in Aberdeen; the popular highlights but some of the more local “Hidden Treasures” too.
Aberdeen Flickr

If you’d like to visit Aberdeen or another of FlyBMI’s destinations, you can win flights in the photo competition that’s running until December 2018. Just post a picture of a place that’s one of the destinations the airline flies to, that you consider special or lesser known – one of the #FlyBmiHiddenTreasures. Post your image on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag and the best will be chosen each month to win a pair of flights. More info: FlyBMI Hidden Treasures photo competition.

More information for planning your trip to Aberdeen

DK Eyewitness Guide ScotlandHeather flew from Bristol to Aberdeen with FlyBMI. Check out Fly BMI for flights into Aberdeen – 5 times a week from Bristol and routes to many other European destinations.

Looking for a hotel in Aberdeen? Check prices here

If you need airport parking, check out the best deals at award winning airport parking company APH

Visit the Aberdeen Airport website for all the information you need when travelling to and from this airport. It’s easy to get to and from Aberdeen Airport on the Stagecoach Jet 727 bus service £3.70 one way or if you prefer a door to door service take a look at this Aberdeen private taxi airport transfer service.

Check out the Visit Aberdeenshire website for more information to help plan your visit to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Check out the Visit Scotland website if you are planning to visit other parts of Scotland.

Need a guidebook for Scotland? We recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Scotland

Photo Credit: Torry Battery by Tristan Ferris on Flickr

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20 things to do in Aberdeen on a Weekend Break

Disclosure: I received complimentary flights, hotel stay and activities from Fly BMI and Park Inn Aberdeen as part of a sponsored visit to Aberdeen to highlight the Hidden Treasures of Aberdeen.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Iza Salamon
    October 22, 2018 at 9:01 am

    I will spend the next weekend there ! I love this place!

  • Reply
    Anastasia
    October 22, 2018 at 9:24 am

    You could have not written a better guide of Aberdeen city!
    Excellent tips too.

    xo
    Anastasia
    http://www.natbees.com/
    Anastasia´s last blog post ..The Friday Edit

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 22, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      @Anastasia Thanks! it was great having you as my guide!

  • Reply
    Josh
    October 22, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Wow what a great in-depth blog! Glad you got to see some of the sights and enjoy the local cuisine and hospitality!

  • Reply
    Ian Grant
    October 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Cheers Heather, I live in Aberdeen and have missed quite a few of these. Must get my walking shoes on!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 22, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      @Ian – I’m the same with things in Bristol, always overlook things on my doorstep!

  • Reply
    Anna Makridi
    October 22, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Wow, such a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Susan John
    October 25, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for the details. I have been here for my business visit and would love to try few of the place to visit. I had no idea about the stay and the places. thanks for the eye-opener.i also used to share the best place to visit and invest. I would suggest you should visit Dubai and check out the luxurious places.
    Susan John´s last blog post ..Golf Suites in Dubai Hills – Ideal Golf Community by Emaar

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