You might know Aberdeen for its granite, nicknamed ‘The Silver City’ and ‘The Granite City’, or perhaps you know that Aberdeen is the Oil Capital of Europe. Whilst these things are true, there is also a huge amount of culture in Aberdeen – and some amazing places to visit and explore.
As RGU students, we’re lucky to have so many interesting and unique spots to discover nearby. There’s no better way to relax after a busy week than by grabbing some friends and hitting some of these hidden gems!
I’m Gaby, a final-year Events Management student with a passion for discovering Aberdeen! I completed a placement at VisitAberdeenshire, promoting our wonderful region, and I want to share some of my favourite locations with you.
1. Duthie Park, Aberdeen
A short walk from both the city centre and RGU campus, Duthie Park is described as one of Aberdeen’s crown jewels. With boating ponds and beautiful fountains, it is a great place to head if you want to escape your tutorial readings!
Located within the park is the David Welch Winter Gardens, one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens! The Winter Gardens are a home for many exotic plants, including the world’s only talking cactus! I know, right?
2. Balmedie Beach, Aberdeenshire
The great thing about studying in Aberdeen is you’re never too far away from wide-open spaces – with a wealth of outdoor activities to be enjoyed in the area. Balmedie Beach is the perfect place to visit on a sunny day – yes, we do get them in Aberdeen!
Balmedie Beach is located just a half an hour bus journey from Aberdeen. You could spend all day here, exploring and enjoying the scenery. You can even book barbeque fire stands to complete your beach experience!
3. Aberdeen Art Gallery
Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened in late 2019 and has been one of the most instagrammable spots ever since! The gallery is home to one of the finest art collections in the UK, with a wide range of art forms and media used.
This is one you need to see for yourself to truly appreciate!
4. Dolphin Spotting at Aberdeen Harbour
Did you know that Aberdeen Harbour is one of the best places in Scotland to see dolphins? You can spot them from the shore or playing in the harbour mouth.
Although I haven’t seen any for myself yet, various types of dolphins have been sighted, and even minke whales.
5. Aberdeen Mural Trail (Nuart Aberdeen)
Nuart Aberdeen is one of the UK’s leading street art festivals and the only one in Scotland. During the festival, blank spaces around the city centre are completely transformed by artists from across the globe. The best part is the mural trail is free to enjoy all year round – not just during the festival.
My favourite Nuart street art includes Conzo & Glöbel’s ‘Super Scurry’ piece (Map Pin 16). You’ll become very familiar with this one if you get the bus from RGU campus into the city centre! Smug’s 2019 piece (Map Pin 21) at The Green is another firm favourite – receiving its fair share of deserved media coverage!
6. Hackley Bay & Forvie Nature Reserve, Aberdeenshire
I might have saved the best until last, but you need to visit Forvie Nature Reserve for yourself to truly appreciate the beauty. Dubbed as a national treasure, Forvie Nature Reserve covers almost 1000 hectares of dunes and has often been compared to the Sahara Desert. Perhaps without the heat!
Hackley Bay is a true hidden gem. Located at the centre of Forvie Nature Reserve, this beach is sheltered by cliffs and high dunes. This is a great spot to bring a picnic on a nice day, or just take a walk to enjoy the scenery. There’s no better feeling than that fresh coastal breeze!
I could continue about everything there is to do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – but I’ll let you discover some treasure spots for yourself! I hope this has given you some inspiration to get out and explore our local area.
Do you know any local must-see spots? Or maybe you’ve visited some of my suggestions? Comment below and share!
Please refer to the Scottish Government COVID-19 restrictions for the latest advice on travelling restrictions.