Pocket Britain
Britain > Scotland > Aberdeen

Scotland's third-largest city and nicknamed "The Granite City"

Listen to this article


Aberdeen, Scotland's third-largest city, is a little out of the way. Lately though, more and more people have started to realise what they've been missing.
Aberdeen is nicknamed "The Granite City", after the material used in many of its buildings. This may sound a little unappealing at first, but the stone is embedded with a mineral called Mica, which sparkles brightly in the sun. Don't think that the entire city is made from granite though, because on occasion, Aberdeen has also been referred to as the "flower city".
The displays of plant life within the settlement's borders include some eleven million daffodils, three million crocuses, and two million roses. It has won the Britain in Bloom competition so many times that at one point it was actually banned, to give somewhere else a chance. The jewel in Aberdeen's crown is undoubtedly Johnston Gardens, a small but beautifully formed place with streams, rockeries, and an old, extremely photogenic bridge.
The city is also known for its oil industry. The rigs out at sea are considerably less visually appealing than the gardens in town, but their impact on Aberdeen's economy has been incredible. After the discovery of the oil deposits in the 70s, the city soon found itself at the centre of Europe's petroleum industry. There are several offshore rigs, which are serviced by a large port, and the world's second-largest heliport.
The oil rigs, though, weren't the start of Aberdeen's relationship with the water. More of its nautical history can be discovered at the Maritime Museum, which is acknowledged by the Scottish tourist board as being one of the best in the country. It has plenty of interactive exhibitions, which help tell the stories of the city's previous life as a fishing and sailing port. There is also a gigantic model of an oil rig, which measures around 8.5 metres in length.
The museum is looked after by the local council, which is also true of the nearby art gallery. This is the largest in northern Scotland, featuring both historical and contemporary works.
In fact, the arts scene is doing particularly well in Aberdeen. It's helped along by the students, which make up over 10% of the population. The city hosts an international youth festival, which is the world's largest display of arts and culture by young persons. It features an extremely diverse line-up of music and dance, from all over the globe.
If you want to attend, you'll need to make a pretty long journey. By train, the city is seven hours from London. Even from Edinburgh, the journey takes around 150 minutes. The upside of this though, is the countryside. Aberdeen is surrounded by some of the greatest scenery in Scotland. The Grampian Mountains and Highlands are both close by. Cairngorms, the largest of Britain's national parks, has a large section in Aberdeenshire. There are endless opportunities for good walking, and good views.
One route that's especially well-known is the Whisky Trail. This journey takes in all the famous distilleries that are located nearby, of which there are many! Scotland is one of the world's premier producers of the drink, which is sometimes referred to as the "water of life". The journey remains the only Whisky Trail in the world.
Visitor Information
Aberdeen Maritime Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 12noon to 3pm (closed Mondays). Entry is FREE. Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow, Aberdeen, AB11 5BY. Tel: 01224 337700
Aberdeen Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 2pm to 5pm (closed Mondays). Entry is FREE. Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FQ. Tel: 01224 523700

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy