Once in a Lifetime: Aberdeen

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013

With its sandy coastlines, regal roots, glorious golf courses and easy accessibility to Aberdeenshire and the Grampians, Aberdeen’s Granite City is one of our favourite adventure spots. We select the Northeast’s finest.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club | Aberdeen

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Aberdeen © Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

With over 50 golf courses to choose from in the Aberdeen area, that’s almost one for every week of the year should we fancy a swing in golf’s spiritual home. The Royal Aberdeen is the sixth oldest golf course in the world, and a popular choice with pro golfers (and us!), for its Balgownie and Silverburn courses, complete with rich turf and tight rolling fairways. Links Road, Bridge of Don, +44 1224 702571,

Aberdeen Castle Trail

Dunnottar Castle | Aberdeen

Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeen © Dunnottar Castle

Along with the Scots, we love a good castle and Aberdeenshire, with its royal connections, is famed for being castle country with a great trail for visitors to follow. We usually start 10 miles outside Aberdeen at Drum Castle before heading for the ruined medieval fortress of Dunnottar Castle and the neo-gothic brilliance of Drumtochty Castle. A full castle trail map for the very keen can be downloaded at Start at Drum Castle, Drumoak.

The Tolbooth Prison Museum

The Tolbooth Prison Museum | Aberdeen

The Tolbooth Museum © The Tolbooth Museum (Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums)

Widely considered one of the most haunted places in Scotland, we’ve had our share of frights at the Tolbooth Prison, the site of an eerily preserved 17th century gaol, and once home to the infamous Fittie Witch. Staff sightings have helped fuel the legend with many ghost hunters visiting to see if the fact meets the fiction. Tours can be arranged if you’re brave enough. Castle Street, +44 1224 621167,, opening times vary throughout the year.

Aberdeen Snowsport Centre

Aberdeen Snowsport Centre | Aberdeen

Aberdeen Snowsport Centre, Aberdeen © Aberdeen Snowsport Centre

The French Alps it’s not but Aberdeenshire’s Glenshee Ski Centre and The Lecht are two of our favourite places to hit the Scottish slopes when the ski and snowboard bug bites. If you need to brush up, we highly recommend lessons at the Aberdeen Snowsport Centre, which offers special classes available depending on age and skill. And we are completely addicted to their tubing slope, complete with inflatable rings to slide around in, open to big and little kids alike. Garthdee Road, +44 1224 810215,

Dolphin Watching

Dolphin Watching | Aberdeen

Dolphin Watching in Aberdeen © Anna Millar

The Aberdeen area is renowned as one of the best spots in Europe for dolphin spotting, and as wildlife lovers, we follow the locals to look out for them in the summer months around Aberdeen Harbour, as well as in the isolated inlets around Cruden Bay beyond the city. Bottlenose dolphins are particularly prevalent in the area in winter and between April and May, with porpoises also regularly making an appearance around the harbour. Aberdeen Harbour and beach.


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places