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The pretty little UK seaside city where you might be the only tourist there

NewsThe pretty little UK seaside city where you might be the only tourist there

If the thought of jostling for space with thousands of squealing Americans on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, or clambering through hundreds of zonked out Brits in Amsterdam doesn’t appeal to you, then this quieter alternative might be your saviour. 

Pinned against the North Sea and not far from one of the UK’s most spectacular national parks, there are plenty of activities to do in and around this beautiful city. 

Aberdeen might be Scotland’s third most populous city after Glasgow and Edinburgh, but it is certainly not a tourist hotspot.

A notable feature of the city is its sparkling buildings trail.

Many of the older buildings from the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries were built with locally quarried grey granite, which sometimes sparkles in the right light due to its high mica content.  

The city itself boasts a maritime museum which explains the contribution of the fishing and shipbuilding industries in turning Aberdeen into one of the ‘supercities’ of the UK economy.

There is also an art gallery and various parks and gardens. 

Dolphins are also not a rare sight. Locals love to jump on a boat out to sea and commonly spot bottlenose dolphins, risso dolphins and even minke whales.

There Torry Battery is a great viewing spot where plenty of animals feed in the mouth of the River Dee. 

The town is also home to European football – Sir Alex Ferguson’s beloved Aberdeen FC lost last night to Frankfurt, but welcome Helsinki in a couple of weeks. 

Balmoral Castle is not long up the road too. The stunning royal residence is nestled in the extraordinary Cairngorms National Park. Known as Queen Elizabeth’s favourite pad, she made sure it was her final one too – and beginning this year, visitors will be allowed into the castle on certain dates from September to December. 

The craggy Cairngorms, meanwhile, are home to five of the six biggest mountains in Scotland and are one of the UK’s best for outdoor lovers – although they might want to avoid Balmoral for that reason.

Aberdeen is known as the offshore European capital of oil because of the vast amounts of untapped resources in the North Sea. It remains to be seen whether the oil money will still flow, but one thing is for sure – it is definitely worth visiting.

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