Explore Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire through surprising facts

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have a rich history, with unique attractions, landmarks and locations. While studying at RGU, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the city and the region. To help you start, here is a list of surprising facts that will inspire you to embark on your own Aberdeen adventure!

There are more castles per acre in Aberdeenshire than anywhere in the UK

Did you know that Aberdeenshire is home to 263 castles? The most famous one is of course Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the Royal Family, described by Queen Victoria as “my dear paradise in the Highlands”. But there are many more castles in Aberdeenshire that retrace Scotland’s rich history, and have even inspired famous storytellers.

You can download the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail to discover medieval fortresses, ancient clifftop ruins, mansions and more! You can also read our blog “My Favourite Castles in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire” to get an idea of what you can expect before you start exploring.

10% of all Britain’s famous ancient stone circles are in Aberdeen

The most famous of these historical rings of standing stones might be Stonehenge, in England, but you will find plenty more in Aberdeenshire! Home to 150 stone circles, the region even has its own unique style: the Recumbent Stone Circle. Dating back to the prehistoric era, no one knows for sure what their purpose was. But, considering the huge effort put into their construction, we can assume they played an important role.

With one in ten circles located in Aberdeenshire, it’s easy to organise a Stone Circles Trail. Majestic Aberdeenshire even has a top 10 list of the best Stone Circles in the region to plan your itinerary.

Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen is home to Scotland’s oldest maze

Hazlehead Park, on the outskirts of Aberdeen, is a popular destination for walks, sports games and picnics. It’s also one of the oldest properties in Aberdeen, gifted by King Robert the Bruce in 1319. It was a country estate until the Council bought back the land in 1920 and opened it to the public.

The Provost Alexander Maze in Hazlehead Park is the oldest planted maze in Scotland. It was opened by Lord Provost’s children in 1935. If you visit the park, why not try to find your way to the centre of the maze? You only have to walk 443 meters to reach the centre, but only if you follow the right path!

Aberdeen is home to Scotland’s largest permanent funfair

Opened in 1970, Codona’s Amusement Park is Scotland’s largest permanent funfair. Prior to the funfair’s opening, the Codona family ran a touring fairground with an array of actors, dancers and entertainers. They would travel across the UK and around popular sites in Aberdeen, including Provost Skene House and Seaton Park.

The modern-day funfair is situated next to Aberdeen Beach and offers a variety of activities for families. From rollercoasters, a swinging pirate ship and a Ferris wheel, to mini-golf courses, go-karts and arcade games, there are endless attractions to choose from.

Pittodrie was the first all-seated football stadium in Scotland and home of the first dugout

Pittodrie Stadium is the home of Aberdeen Football Club, founded in 1903. In 1931, a sunken shelter was installed at the stadium, which provided space for staff and team members to sit near the field. This marked the invention of dugouts, now installed in many stadiums across the world.

After a major blaze incident in 1971 that left the stadium badly damaged, it was rebuilt and became Scotland’s first all-seater stadium in 1978. This innovative change came a decade before most other clubs in the UK even started considering the idea. It might have brought the club some luck, as they went on to win the European Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983. To this day, they remain the only Scottish football team to have won 2 European trophies!

Aberdeen has won Britain in Bloom over 10 times

The Royal Horticulture Society Britain in Bloom is an annual gardening competition where towns, villages and cities fight for a winning title. They are assessed through the following criteria: horticultural excellence, environmental responsibility, and community participation. The competition is extremely popular, with over 1600 communities participating every year.

Despite the fierce competition, Aberdeen has managed to stand out from the crowd and has won the title over 10 times! The Granite City’s success even forced The Royal Horticultural Society to invent a rule that prevents winning communities to participate in the competition the following year. The wins are mostly credited to Johnston Gardens and David Welch Winter Gardens in Duthie Park, one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens and Scotland’s third most visited garden.

There are plenty of things to discover about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and learning more about the culture and history of the region will lead you to exciting adventures! To learn more about life in Aberdeen, head over to RGU’s website.

Aberdeen City Council also developed an app providing different trails to explore the Granite City. You can find out more on their website or download the GoABZ app on your phone.

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