5 things to do within 30 minutes of Aberdeen

Living and studying in Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city, is an exciting prospect because there is so much to see and do here. As an RGU student, you can enjoy a gorgeous golden beach on your doorstep, a diverse foodie offering, a vibrant nightlife scene and plenty of activities to keep you busy after your studies.

And it’s not just our sparkling city that will keep you entertained. Thanks to our proximity to the vast Aberdeenshire coast and countryside, there is plenty you can discover nearby! Here are just five things you can do within 30 minutes of Aberdeen city centre:

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1. Enjoy incredible views

Head to Scolty Hill, just 30 minutes from Aberdeen city centre. The short walk up to the top of the hill gives you spectacular views across the majestic Royal Deeside. There’s also the option to head 25 minutes north of the city to Balmedie Beach. Its imposing sand dunes are a must-see and you can even sledge down them! From this wide sandy beach you can also see Aberdeen Beach in the distance.

2. Explore our history

Did you know that Aberdeenshire is called ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’? Head just 25 minutes south of Aberdeen city centre, to the much-loved seaside town of Stonehaven to visit one of Scotland’s most iconic castles. Dunnottar Castle is an epic cliffside ruin and is even known for its famous film connections.

You can also pay a visit to the 16th century Crathes Castle in Banchory. Inside, you will go on a trip to the past through family portraits, antique furniture and painted ceilings. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful walled gardens whilst you’re there. Its eight sections let you admire a variety of greenery, from a sculpted topiary to modern exotic blooms.

3. Experience live festivals and events

There’s every chance to really experience our rich culture whilst living in Aberdeen. In summer there are the Highland Games, as well as foodie and music festivals to enjoy. You can also catch live events at The Barn in Banchory and less than 20 minutes from the city centre, you’ll be at P&J Live – Aberdeen’s new state-of-the-art events complex! Catch a year-round line-up of your favourite bands, musicians, comedians and exhibitions.

Check out what’s on in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

4. Take on the challenge of the great outdoors

If you are a fan of outdoor adventure, you are in the right place. From Munro-bagging to skiing and mountain biking to surfing and kayaking, there’s plenty to give you that thrill. Just 25 minutes from the city centre you can get out on the North Sea waters as you try Paddleboarding in Stonehaven. Perfect your technique in Stonehaven Harbour and when you are ready, you can go on a castle and coves tour.

5. Sample our famous food and drink 

This part of Scotland is known for its local produce, so here are 5 foodie experiences you can experience close to Aberdeen city centre:

  • Visit the home of BrewDog in Ellon, and check out the Beer School, beer museum and even play a game of shuffle-board.
  • Add The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven to your foodie bucket list. In 2018, Lonely Planet included it in its global Ultimate Eatlist.
  • Try a deliciously homemade gelato at Forest Farm Dairy and even enjoy your scoop under the stars in a heated dome.
  • Have lunch in a castle at Drum Castle, one of Scotland’s oldest Tower Houses (Tearoom opening September 2022).
  • See our ‘water of life’/whisky being lovingly made at Glen Garioch Distillery in Old Meldrum. Please note that this is just a little further, at 37 minutes from Aberdeen city centre.

Travelling outside of Aberdeen is easy as most places are accessible via public transport. As a student, you can even get discounted bus travel! For more information about what you can see and do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, or to plan your itinerary, just head over to the Majestic Aberdeenshire website.

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