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Things to do in
Aberdeen

Our most recommended things to do in Aberdeen

Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

1. Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

You travel straight from Aberdeen to one of Scotland’s archetypal structures, Dunnottar Castle. It’s a stunning fortress set on a cliff by the sea. It’s seen more battles than you’ve had cups of tea and is an essential Scottish destination. Your next stop is the Falls of Feugh. These cascading falls are mesmerising; and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a salmon jumping up the river. It’s now time for lunch in Braemar, a lovely little village in the Cairngorms National Park with royal connections and plenty of local delicacies to try. You then head to the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve and get the opportunity to go for a stroll. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, birds, and adders on this quintessential woodland walk. You leave the Cairngorms National Park and arrive in Aberdeen in the early evening.

Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

2. Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

After leaving Aberdeen, our first stop is in the village of Aberlour in the heart of Speyside. Surrounded by forests and hills you might catch the seductive smell of whisky or shortbread on the breeze, depending which way the wind blows. You continue through the heart of Speyside and arrive at Loch Ness for an optional boat trip*. Onboard the ship, you travel over the widest and deepest part of the loch and get a fine view of Urquhart Castle. Back on dry land, it’s time to travel deep into the past at Clava Cairns. This spot is situated in a gorgeous green grove and boasts well-preserved ancient burial tombs. They even say this spot was the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun. You then continue to Culloden Battlefield, the location of the final Jacobite Rising. It’s an eerie, flat, tragic landscape that can put the history of Scotland into perspective. You have a comfort break within the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park before you reach Aberdeen in the evening. This route may be reversed on some occasions. *The Loch Ness boat cruise is weather dependent and may be cancelled without notice. ** From 1st of April Jacobite Cruise on Loch Ness included in the tour price

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle Estate and Royal Deeside Tour

3. From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle Estate and Royal Deeside Tour

Balmoral Castle & Estate Balmoral is a treasured family home for the Royal family since 1850, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose this beautiful region to create their great escape. A landscape with stunning views of the hills and mountains, fields of heather and the majestic river Dee that flows through it. The estate was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat in Scotland and a beloved home. King Charles III has a great affection for the castle and grounds and often spends time walking through the estate. We highly recommend listening to the audio tour. The audio will share stories and guides you around the estate. (Pre-booked Balmoral entry tickets will receive the audio tour free!) The Ballroom is only room open to visitors within the Castle. The objects in the Ballroom are from within the Castle, and are all objects that belong to the Royal Family. Note: ***Balmoral Castle & Estate usually closes on the 11th of August 2024. This tour stop will be changed to the National Trust for Scotland's- Crathes Castle thereafter. Village of Ballater The Victorian village of Ballater sits in the heart of Royal Deeside, at the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park, making it one of Scotland’s most scenic visitor spots. A stroll around the village reveals an interesting range of specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. Be sure to visit the beautiful Victorian Railway Station and the tourist information centre which has more information about the village. Cambus O’May Suspension Bridge The Cambus O' May suspension bridge spans the river Dee and is a legacy from the estate of Alexander Gordon. Built in 1905, the footbridge is 50 m long and carries visitors to the other side. Footpaths from the bridge lead to Torphantrick wood and the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve, popular spots for visitors who enjoy woodland walks and wild swimming in the river. Tomnavarie Stone Circle Tomnaverie is a recumbent stone circle, a kind of monument found only in north-eastern Scotland. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Relatively little is known about why we have these structures, there are several theories which you’ll discover on your visit. Migvie Kirk and Pictish Carved Stone Migvie Kirk is a deconsecrated church on the Tillypronie Estate. In the centre of the kirk is group of stone chairs, carved with biblical texts, Pictish symbols and Ogham scripts. The three stained glass windows, illustrate the integration of Christianity into the Pictish practices. The combination of Pictish symbols and Christian ones illustrates a time when the two cultural traditions were melding together. The Queen’s View Just outside the village of Tarland is the Queen's View. 'The Queens View' gained its name from Queen Victoria who fell in love with the view of the lower valley of the Howe of Cromar which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar.

From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire Tour

4. From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire Tour

We will wander through the beautiful fishing villages and discover their maritime past and present. From working harbours to abandoned castles and tall cliffs, this tour will immerse you in the heritage of the northeast and its connection to the sea. Gardenstown & Crovie The first part of our journey, we drive through the Aberdeenshire countryside, to the villages of Gardenstown and Crovie. From the lovely harbour and beach, you can look out over the Moray Firth and perhaps catch a glimpse of the dolphins in the bay. On the quayside, you can see men preparing their lobster pots, as well as the Salmon House which contains the Heritage Centre. We encourage you to walk along the coastal path which take you to Crovie, dating from the 18th century. Crovie is the smallest and most remote of Buchan cliff-foot fishing villages, it comprises a single row of houses, most gable-end to the sea. Pennan The people of Pennan were dependent on the sea and most families had small boats. With a pebble stone beach and smart houses with colourful windows, there is a charm and peacefulness in the village that tempts you to linger and listen to the waves. Pennan became famous in the 1980s for being one of the main locations for the film Local Hero. Film enthusiasts have come from all over the world to make a phone call in the red telephone box which featured in the film. Fraserburgh The town name means, 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser Family who bought the lands of Philorth and built the family castle at Kinnaird Head. Fraserburgh is an active harbour town, and you have time to walk around the headland to see the lighthouse and foghorn while making your way past the busy harbour. Bullers of Buchan The name Bullers of Buchan refers both to a collapsed sea cave and the little hamlet nestled beside. The collapsed sea cave and the cliffs surrounding the Bullers provide nesting sites in spring for colonies of seabirds, including kittiwakes, puffins, along with herring gulls and great black-backed gulls. Cruden Bay & New Slains An iconic feature at Cruden Bay is New Slains Castle, perched on the edge of the cliffs. We will walk from the village, along the path visitors to the castle would have taken for centuries. The castle is a blend of several different architectural styles and periods. The castle fell in in ruin in the late 19th century, stripped of all contents and abandoned in the 1920s. Alternatively, you can take a more leisurely walk along the stunning beach. Cruden Bay beach is a vast expanse of soft, pale coloured sand. Why not try dipping your toes in the North Sea and feel the waves washing over your feet. Collieston Collieston provides the first safe harbour in over fifteen miles of beaches and dunes stretching north from Aberdeen. The numerous sea caves and small coves with shingle beaches provided ideal terrain for smugglers. Learn about notorious smuggler Phillip Kennedy and his exploits while trying to outrun the exciseman.

Aberdeen: Daily City Centre Walking Tour (2pm)

5. Aberdeen: Daily City Centre Walking Tour (2pm)

Discover Aberdeen through a local's eyes, discovering local history and culture on this 1.5 hour walking tour with your guide every day at 2pm. Discover Aberdeen's rich history from being a small fishing settlement to the centre of oil for Europe. Make your way through some of the oldest streets, explore tunnels and retrace the steps of some of Aberdeen's most important figures in our (sometimes very dark) history. You'll also discover the amazing street art that has overtaken Aberdeen and has become a huge part of the culture. From unassuming corners to major buildings, there’s art around every turn and your guide knows just where to find the best of the best. Key sights: Marischal College St Nicholas' Kirk Netherkirkgate Tunnels and Witch Trials Shiprow Union St Amazing Aberdeen Street Art And other hidden gems!

From Edinburgh: Glamis and Dunnottar Castles Tour in Spanish

6. From Edinburgh: Glamis and Dunnottar Castles Tour in Spanish

The tour will depart at 08:00 and return to Edinburgh at approximately 18:15. Leave Edinburgh at 08:00 and your first stop will be in North Queensferry, where you will be able to contemplate the famous bridge over the Forth River. Then arrive at Glamis Castle, where King Duncan was murdered by Macbeth. As you watch its amazing outline of towers and pinnacles, you will listen to its ghost and mysterious legends and stories. Continue to Stonehaven, where you will have time for lunch (not included) and enjoy the landscape offered by the county of Aberdeen, with its farming fields on one side and the coastal route on the other. Afterwards, you will arrive at Dunnottar Castle. It was a key place in the dark years of the Independence wars in the 14th century. Robert Bruce conquered it and it has been an inspiration for painters, writers and film directors, because of its dramatic position on the cliffs of the Scottish coast. Your last stop will be in Dundee, from where you will catch a glimpse of the RRS Discovery, the wooden three-masted ship that carried Captain Scott on his first, successful journey to the Antarctic. Before heading back to Edinburgh, at 18:15, pass through the Silicon Glen, the Scottish Silicon Valley, where the high tech companies are mingled with the barely fields and the lakes, in a region that is of vital importance for the economy of the country.

From Aberdeen: Castles, Whisky and Food Tasting Tour

7. From Aberdeen: Castles, Whisky and Food Tasting Tour

Visit Aberdeen, known as "The Silver City by the Golden Sands". Enjoy a tour of Glen Garioch Distillery with a whiskey tasting, discover Aberdeen's ancient history on a visit to the East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, make a stop at Castle Fraser, and enjoy a sampling of local food. Visit the Glen Garioch Distillery for a taste of Scotland's whisky. Enjoy the option to participate in a guided tour to learn more about creating a perfect single malt whisky. Take part in a guided tasting of Highland whisky at the end of your tour. Next up, learn about Scotland's ancient history. Visit one of Aberdeen's largest stone circles at East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, a recumbent stone circle – a type of circle only found in north-east Scotland. Finally, explore Castle Fraser, one of the many charming castles that dots the area. Discover the walled garden, wind your way down spiral staircases, and explore the rooms of the Fraser family who inhabited the castle for hundreds of years.

From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

8. From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

Falls of Feugh Where the tributary joins the river Dee, the waters rush over a jumble of boulders and rock steps to form an attractive set of cascading rapids with an old stone road bridge over the top. These are the Falls of Feugh, and while not particularly high, they’re a popular beauty spot. The falls have a reputation for being an ideal spot to watch salmon running upstream. Cairn O’Mount Cairn o' Mount is the name of a prehistoric round cairn in Aberdeenshire. The scenic and winding road takes us through National Forestry Woodlands to heath land and heather covered hillsides. The route passes along Clachnaben and its granite Tor, to the top of the hill we you are treated to spectacular views over the Aberdeenshire countryside. We like to call it our highlands in miniature as it offers similar landscapes and views only on a smaller scale. Fettercairn Distillery Sir Alexander Ramsay, the founder of the distillery, was one of the Scottish landowners who campaigned to license Scotch Whisky distillation and in 1824, he was one of the first to apply for a license. Fettercairn lies in the heart of rich farming land and is in a beautiful rural setting which has always attracted visitors. This distillery has a unique still shape, which creates their iconic character, and it works closely with local barley producers and using their own spring water. This visit will include a tour of the distillery as well as a tasting of two of their whiskies in their visitor centre. Stonehaven Stonehaven was originally a fishing village south of Aberdeen but has evolved into a Victorian resort town in the 1800s. You will be taken on a short, guided walking tour of the harbour area and old town before having free time to explore the village and enjoy a delicious lunch. Be sure to walk along the boardwalk and Stonehaven beach and admire the sculptures created by artisan Jim Malcolm, who for years, was dubbed the Stonehaven Banksy for the maritime themed structures he created anonymously. Dunnottar Castle Easily one of Aberdeenshire's most iconic castles, Dunnottar is an impressive site. For over 1000 years Dunnottar Castle played a crucial role in Scottish history. The Castle played host to several of the nation's historical figures including William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots and for its role in saving the Honours of Scotland from Oliver Cromwell's army. The castle ruins are extensive with many rooms and buildings to explore. Most of what you see are buildings dating from the 16th & 17th century, but earlier structures can be found. Imagine what life would have been like as you walk through the settlement, part military barracks and part stately home for the Earls of Marischal. There are a lot of steps/stairs up to the castle, so this is not suitable for people who have mobility issues. There are some wonderful photo opportunities along the coastal path and a great walk over to the war memorial on Black Hill above Stonehaven.

UK/Europe: eSim Mobile Data Plan

9. UK/Europe: eSim Mobile Data Plan

Stay connected with an eSIM mobile data plan for use in the UK and Ireland. Get a plan for 43 European countries if you like. Choose from different data volumes to suit your needs. Use hotspot sharing if needed. Benefit from high speed data with technical support if needed. Check that your device is eSIM compatible and lock-free, then buy it and download the QR code. Print the code, or display it on another device, then scan it to activate. Make sure you have WiFi or internet access before you activate the plan. Connect to the internet and stay in touch with friends. Follow the troubleshooting guide in your voucher if you cannot connect to the internet. Use the technical support if needed, and make sure you have data roaming turned on. If you need more data, you can purchase another plan to top up so you can continue using it. Network coverage for 43 European regions: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Vatican City.

Aberdeen: Dark history Self-Guided Smartphone Walking Tour

10. Aberdeen: Dark history Self-Guided Smartphone Walking Tour

Take a walk through the dark side of Aberdeen's history on this trip back through the centuries where we'll discover the murkier corners of Aberdeen's past. Starting at the old market centre of town, the Mercat Cross, we journey towards the harbour to find out about Aberdeen's maritime associations and how it was once the powerhouse port of Scotland. Learn about the city's connection with the oil industry, have a look at some of its oldest buildings and hear tales of slavery, piracy and the seedier characters of Aberdeen's colourful and often troublesome past. Hit the cobblestones with me and let's unearth some of the stories hidden in the granite city.

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Frequently asked questions about Aberdeen

What top attractions are a must-see in Aberdeen?

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Aberdeen?

The best day trips and excursions from Aberdeen are:

Balmoral Castle

Other Sightseeing Options in Aberdeen

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What people are saying about Aberdeen

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 223 reviews

Fun trip, good guide. Learned a lot. Weather didn’t cooperate and we didn’t get to go inside Donnatar because of the wind, but it’s Scotland. Lunch stop was closer to 2, so if you’re a hangry type, maybe bring a snack. Glad I went and highly recommend for anyone looking for easy-going small group trip.

Such a great day out with Jim from the very start to the very end ! So welcoming, so much information, so friendly , so organised....so very enjoyable! Highly recommend Rabbies tours to anyone and plan to use again Thank you very much indeed !

I couldn’t asked for a more magical experience then visiting this stunning castle and as a lucky extra, we. Snow. I have used this company for a few tours and they are great. Small tours with great guides.

Awesome day trip guided by Jim. Loved all the info he shared and places he took us.

Great tour! Malcom was a good tour guide. He was very accommodating.