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10 BEST Hidden Gems to visit in Aberdeen, Scotland

Updated: Mar 14

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track locations scattered in Aberdeen, Scotland.

For those who haven't visited Aberdeen yet, it's a city filled with stunning landscapes, rich history as well as a vibrant culture.

Whilst it's grown in popularity due to its bustling city centre and granite architecture, you might be surprised to know it also hides numerous hidden gems which are waiting for you to explore.

Here are 10 of the best hidden gems located in Aberdeen, perfect for a short weekend trip in Scotland!

Image of Blackdog Beach in Aberdeen
Photo taken by @katieforman_photo via Instagram

1) Footdee (Fittie)

Footdee is a quaint fishing village located at the east end of Aberdeen, and is known for its charming cottages, narrow streets, and picturesque harbour. Although it pretty much sits in plain sight, you'll be surprised at how many people don't notice or realise it's here!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Footdee

1) What is Footdee?

Footdee, often referred to as Fittie by locals, is a charming and historic fishing village located at the east end of Aberdeen's harbor. It is renowned for its picturesque cottages, narrow lanes, and maritime heritage, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking a glimpse into Aberdeen's past.

2) What can I see and do in Footdee?

Visitors to Footdee can explore its quaint streets lined with colorful cottages, visit the local church and square, and admire views of Aberdeen's harbor and beachfront. The village offers opportunities for leisurely walks, photography, and soaking in its unique atmosphere steeped in history and maritime tradition.

3) Is there parking available in Footdee?

Parking options near Footdee may be limited due to its narrow streets and residential character. However, there are parking facilities available nearby, including pay-and-display parking areas and street parking. Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit accordingly and consider alternative transportation options when exploring Footdee.

Image of Footdee in Aberdeen
Photo by @sockswebb via Instagram

2) Brig o'Balgownie

The Brig o'Balgownie is believed to date back to the 13th century, and lies above the River Don. It offers a beautiful view as well as a cool viewpoint for photographers out there wanting to update their portfoilio.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Brig o'Balgownie

1) What is the Brig o'Balgownie?

The Brig o'Balgownie is a historic bridge located in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of the oldest bridges in the country, dating back to the 13th century, and is renowned for its picturesque arches and medieval architecture. The bridge spans the River Don and is a significant landmark in Aberdeen's rich history.

2) Can visitors walk or drive across the Brig o'Balgownie?

While the Brig o'Balgownie is no longer used for vehicular traffic, pedestrians can still cross the bridge and admire its architectural beauty. The bridge provides stunning views of the River Don and surrounding scenery, making it a popular spot for leisurely walks and photography.

3) Is there parking available near the Brig o'Balgownie?

Parking options near the Brig o'Balgownie may be limited due to its location in a residential area. However, visitors can find parking in nearby streets or public parking lots within walking distance of the bridge. It's advisable to check local parking regulations and plan accordingly when visiting the Brig o'Balgownie.

Image of Brig o'Balgownie in Aberdeen
Photo by @johnoakleyphotography via Instagram

3) Cruickshank Botanic Garden

Cruickshank Botanic Gardens is a really nice quiet place to visit for half an hour to an hour, whilst admiring the many flowers and trees. It's an underrated gem which not many people know about in Aberdeen, offering educational boards and places to explore, all for free!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Cruickshank Botanic Garden

1) What is the Cruickshank Botanic Garden?

The Cruickshank Botanic Garden is a beautiful botanical garden situated within the University of Aberdeen's King's College campus. It features a diverse collection of plants from around the world, including rare and exotic species.

Visitors can explore themed sections such as the rock and water gardens, arboretum, and alpine garden, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and botany lovers.

2) Is there an entrance fee to visit the Cruickshank Botanic Garden?

No, admission to the Cruickshank Botanic Garden is free for all visitors. The garden is open to the public throughout the year, offering a serene environment for relaxation, education, and appreciation of plant diversity. Donations are welcome to support the maintenance and development of the garden.

3) Are guided tours available at the Cruickshank Botanic Garden?

Yes, guided tours of the Cruickshank Botanic Garden are available upon request for groups and educational institutions. Knowledgeable guides lead visitors through the garden, providing insights into its history, plant collections, and conservation efforts. Private tours can be arranged by contacting the garden's administration office in advance.

Image of Cruickshank Botanic Garden
Photo by @cdusapnwregion via Instagram

4) Seaton Park

Located near Old Aberdeen, Seaton Park is a great place to take a stroll surrounded by gorgeous flowers in a peaceful environment. There is plenty of space for dogs to roam around and a nice playground for the kids to enjoy, so it suits everybody!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Seaton Park

1) What is Seaton Park?

Seaton Park is a picturesque public park located in the heart of Aberdeen, Scotland. Spanning over 27 hectares along the banks of the River Don, it offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The park features lush green spaces, meandering paths, colorful flowerbeds, and mature trees, making it a popular destination for leisurely strolls, picnics, and outdoor activities.

2) What facilities are available at Seaton Park?

Seaton Park provides various amenities for visitors to enjoy, including picnic areas, children's playgrounds, sports fields, and tennis courts. Additionally, the park boasts a charming walled garden, a picturesque arboretum, and a historic ornamental bridge over the River Don.

Interpretive signage and seating areas are scattered throughout the park, enhancing the overall visitor experience.

3) Is there parking available at Seaton Park?

Yes, Seaton Park offers parking facilities for visitors arriving by car. There are designated parking areas located near the entrances to the park, providing convenient access to its attractions and amenities. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to parking regulations and respect the surrounding residential areas to ensure a pleasant experience for all park users.

Image of Seaton Park in Aberdeen
Photo taken by @ktaylornoe via Instagram

5) Johnston Gardens

Johnston Gardens is a beautiful quiet small park featuring benches, a duck pond as well as a big blue bridge. There are lots of lovely windy paths, shrubs, trees and flowers which visitors will enjoy all year round. If you're lucky, you may even see very small waterfalls, which you'd never expect to see in Aberdeen!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Seaton Park

1) What is Johnston Gardens?

Johnston Gardens is a charming public park located in the west end of Aberdeen, Scotland. Renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and stunning floral displays, the park features winding pathways, picturesque bridges, and a series of ornamental ponds. It is a popular destination for nature lovers, photographers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat within the city.

2) What can visitors expect to see at Johnston Gardens?

Visitors to Johnston Gardens can expect to see a diverse range of plant species, including colorful rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, such as ducks, swans, and squirrels, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

Additionally, the gardens boast a charming rockery, cascading waterfalls, and rustic wooden benches for visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery.

3) Is there parking available at Johnston Gardens?

While Johnston Gardens does not have designated parking facilities, street parking is available in the surrounding residential area. Visitors are advised to park considerately and adhere to any parking restrictions to avoid inconvenience to local residents. Alternatively, the park is easily accessible by public transportation, with bus stops located nearby.

Image of Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen
Photo taken by @fifebeachcombers via Instagram

6) St. Machar's Cathedral

St.Machar's Cathedral is a place of history as well as a place of worship, and gives a feel that takes you back to older times. Visitors can enjoy the glass painting, the ceiling, and the frames inside the cathedral. It's only a 20 minute drive from Aberdeen city, and is definitely one to visit if you're in the area.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting St. Machar's Cathedral

1) What is St. Machar's Cathedral?

St. Machar's Cathedral is a historic church located in Old Aberdeen, Scotland. Dating back to the 12th century, the cathedral is renowned for its stunning architecture, including a heraldic ceiling, medieval heraldic stalls, and intricately carved wooden furnishings.

It serves as the principal place of worship for the Scottish Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.

2) What are the notable features of St. Machar's Cathedral?

St. Machar's Cathedral is known for its distinctive crown spire, which dominates the skyline of Old Aberdeen. Inside, visitors can admire the cathedral's beautiful stained glass windows, including the heraldic glass depicting the coats of arms of Scottish kings and bishops.

The cathedral also houses the "Bishop Elphinstone's Tomb," a magnificent marble monument dedicated to the founder of the University of Aberdeen.

3) Is St. Machar's Cathedral open to visitors?

Yes, St. Machar's Cathedral is open to visitors throughout the year. Visitors are welcome to explore the cathedral's interior, attend services, and participate in guided tours to learn about its rich history and architectural significance.

Additionally, the cathedral hosts various events, concerts, and exhibitions, providing opportunities for cultural enrichment and spiritual reflection.

Image of St. Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen
Photo by @glen_047 via Instagram

7) Old Aberdeen

Visitors can explore the historic heart of the city in Old Aberdeen which is often overlooked by tourists who head to Aberdeen. You can discover cobbled streets, medieval buildings, and charming cafes which are perfect for a little weekend away. Also, don't miss the stunning King's College campus, with its iconic Crown Tower!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Old Aberdeen

1) What is Old Aberdeen?

Old Aberdeen is a historic district located to the north of Aberdeen city center in Scotland. It is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and significant cultural heritage. The area is home to several historic landmarks, including St. Machar's Cathedral, King's College, and the Old Town House.

2) What are the main attractions in Old Aberdeen?

Old Aberdeen boasts a wealth of attractions for visitors to explore. King's College, founded in 1495, is one of the oldest universities in Scotland and features a stunning chapel with intricate stone carvings.

St. Machar's Cathedral, dating back to the 12th century, is a magnificent example of medieval architecture and is known for its crown spire and heraldic ceiling.

3) Is Old Aberdeen open to visitors?

Yes, Old Aberdeen is open to visitors who wish to explore its historic streets and landmarks. Visitors can take guided walking tours to discover the area's rich history, architecture, and cultural significance. Additionally, the district is home to charming cafes, shops, and gardens, making it a delightful destination for leisurely strolls and exploration.

Image of Old Aberdeen in Aberdeen
Photo by @oliverbock via Instagram

8) Nuart Aberdeen

If you're a fan of street art, Nuart Aberdeen is a must-visit for those visiting the city. This annual festival (usually occurs on the first weekend of June) brings international artists to the city to create large-scale murals and installations, adding a vibrant touch to Aberdeen's streets!

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Nuart Aberdeen

1) What is Nuart Aberdeen?

Nuart Aberdeen is an internationally renowned street art festival held annually in Aberdeen, Scotland. It showcases the work of local and international artists, transforming the city's walls and buildings into an open-air gallery. The festival aims to celebrate creativity, cultural diversity, and urban regeneration through public art.

2) When does Nuart Aberdeen take place?

Nuart Aberdeen typically takes place over several days in spring or summer, though the exact dates may vary each year. During the festival, visitors can enjoy guided tours, artist talks, workshops, and live mural painting sessions. The event culminates in the unveiling of new street art pieces across the city.

3) Is Nuart Aberdeen free to attend?

Yes, Nuart Aberdeen is free for the public to attend. Visitors can explore the city's streets and discover the vibrant murals and installations created by talented artists from around the world. The festival offers a unique opportunity to experience contemporary art in unexpected urban settings, fostering creativity and community engagement.

Image of Nuart Aberdeen in Aberdeen
Photo by @hannah_judah via Instagram

9) Torry Battery

The Torry Battery was built in the 1800s and was used in both World Wars to defend Aberdeen Harbour and was decommissioned in the 1950s. This is a very good place to view Aberdeen Harbour and also good for spotting dolphins in the harbour entrance.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Torry Battery

1) What is Torry Battery?

Torry Battery is a historic site located in Aberdeen, Scotland, overlooking the North Sea. Originally built in the 1860s as part of Aberdeen's coastal defense system, the battery served as a coastal artillery fortification during various periods of conflict. Today, it stands as a popular tourist attraction and offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

2) Is Torry Battery open to the public?

Yes, Torry Battery is open to the public year-round, and admission is free. Visitors can explore the site's historic gun emplacements, enjoy panoramic views of the North Sea and Aberdeen Harbor, and learn about the battery's military history through informative plaques and displays.

3) What amenities are available at Torry Battery?

While Torry Battery itself does not offer extensive amenities, visitors will find nearby parking facilities and public access pathways leading to the site. Additionally, the battery is located within walking distance of Torry Battery Beach, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or picnic while taking in the picturesque coastal scenery.

Image of Torry Battery in Aberdeen
Photo by @minko_yuliyanov via Instagram

10) Blackdog Beach

Blackdog Beach is a gorgeous beach offering visitors with fantastic views along the bay. It's worth noting parking is quite limited so we recommend getting there early during weekends. Access to the beach isn't the easiest, so we wouldn't recommend this beach to those with walking difficulties.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Blackdog Beach

1) Where is Blackdog Beach located?

Blackdog Beach is situated along the Aberdeenshire coast, approximately 8 miles north of Aberdeen city center. It can be accessed via Blackdog village or from nearby areas such as Bridge of Don. The beach offers a tranquil escape with stunning views of the North Sea and surrounding cliffs.

2) What facilities are available at Blackdog Beach?

Blackdog Beach provides visitors with basic amenities, including parking facilities and public toilets nearby. While there are no lifeguards stationed at the beach, it is a popular spot for walking, picnicking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the coastline. It's advisable to bring along any necessary supplies such as food, water, and sunscreen.

3) Is Blackdog Beach dog-friendly?

Yes, Blackdog Beach is dog-friendly, making it a popular destination for dog walkers and pet owners. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach, but owners are reminded to clean up after their pets and ensure they are under control at all times.

The expansive sandy shoreline provides ample space for dogs to run and play, making it an enjoyable outing for both humans and their furry companions.

Image of Blackdog Beach in Aberdeen
Photo by @katieforman_photo via Instagram

There you have it! These are 10 of our favourite hidden gems located in Aberdeen, perfect for your next Scotland adventure! Whether you plan to do a road trip in and around Aberdeen or are visiting for the summer, you should definitely check out some of these hidden gems.

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