Tips from 35,000 Feet: Aberdeen

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013

We think there’s something special about the Aberdeen skyline as you come into land. The Granite City nickname conjures up images of dark grey buildings and sullen faces, but Scotland’s third largest city is far from it, offering us loads of possibilities, whether we fancy some drinks and food in the city centre or a walk along the beach front past Codona’s Amusement Park, Scotland’s largest permanent fun fair.

Aberdeen Coastline Pebble Beach - photo- Steve Buckley .jpgAberdeen Coastline Pebble Beach – Image © Steve Buckley, 2013. Used under license from

Peruse the main shopping thoroughfare around Union Square on our way to Peacock Visual Arts. Something of an institution in the “˜Deen, the Peacock can generally be relied upon for some great contemporary, as well as a good programme of films, gigs, workshops and talks – on a good day it pretty much has something for everyone. If we fancy something a little more raucous, you can generally find us at the Lemon Tree, depending on who is playing that week. As a venue it does a great job of creating a sense of occasion while still being an intimate space.

Old Blackfriars | Aberdeen

Old Blackfriars, Aberdeen – Image © Old Blackfriars

For drinks, if it’s a nice night, Ma Cameron’s Inn on Little Belmont Street has a lovely little roof terrace, but for the most part you will find us in the equally old worldy surrounds of Old Blackfriars on Castle Street, so named after the order of monks who owned land nearby. It’s a lovely walk through the historic Castlegate to get there and once inside they have traditional ales, decent wine and live Scottish music nights once a week.

Castlegate, Aberdeen - photo - Collpicto .jpgCastlegate, Aberdeen – Image © Collpicto 2013, Used under license from

For eating out in Aberdeen, Cafe 52 has yet to disappoint, its seasonal menu packed with Scottish produce and a handy tapas menu on offer should you fancy dropping in for a mid-afternoon snack.

The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa | AberdeenThe Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen © The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa

For resting our heads, The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa just 8 miles from Aberdeen Airport is something a bit special. Set just on the outskirts of town amidst 11 acres of wooded grounds, and on the north side of the River Dee, the Marcliffe manages to do high end without feeling pompous. The rooms are tailor-made for comfort first, while the 400 strong wine menu and 150 malts encourage you to settle in and enjoy the views.


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

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