Aberdeen City is where we call home and even though we have lived here since we were little, this year has been the year where we have truly taken the time to appreciate it. It has after all been our base over lockdown and even though we have craved the opportunity to get out and explore, we have learned to discover the gems that have been right under our noses all this time and been given the chance to rediscover the places we have been before, but this time with a fresh perspective and whole new appreciation.
This year has also been the year where we have made an extra effort to shop local and support the businesses that give Aberdeen City its charm, without them we lack the creativity, the personal touches, the friendly chatter, and the experiences that you just don’t get anywhere else.
We are lucky to call Aberdeen City home, with its beaches, parks, streets & buildings filled with history, galleries, museums and independent shops, eateries and cafes. You could say, it has it all.
We are going to highlight some of our favourite places and discoveries with you, as well as sharing where you can go to eat, drink and shop along the way.
“The Silver City with the Golden Sands”
We are going to start off this guide with Aberdeen Beach, we are fortunate to live not too far away from here, and find that it is the perfect place to take a break. This place in particular became a favourite of ours over lockdown, it was always within our limit for visiting, so when it was needed, we would head down to the beach with our dog and take a walk along the sand. The fresh sea air hits you, leaving you feeling completely rejuvenated, it was like a reset button. We would often get a takeaway coffee or some food from one of the vendors that sit along the promenade and find a place to sit while watching the world go by and spotting the Oyster Catchers pecking away at the sand along the shore.
There is a great choice of local food vendors as well as cafes that sit along the beach boulevard, such as The Pier, Inversnecky, Sand Dollar Cafe and Roots Catering food truck. You will often see boats, surfers and swimmers taking a dip in the sea and you will most definitely see dog walkers, joggers and families having fun on the beach.
We are so lucky to have the beach so close to us, and it is just one of the locations that make Aberdeen City so unique.
Just at the very end of Aberdeen beach towards the harbour is where you will find a charming mid 19th-century village called Footdee or as we know it locally “Fittie”. This area used to be a fishing community, that was designed by John Smith, who was the architect responsible for Balmoral Castle. When visiting the area you instantly feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Footdee is such a cheerful place to visit, the little cottages and sheds that sit closely together in rows are full of personality and are decorated with various potted plants, gnomes, figurines, nautical decor such as ropes, nets & bhoys and lots of handmade decoration and signage. You will find an array of colourful doors and sheds along the walk and you will for sure spot something new each time you visit.
You will notice that all of the cottages face inwards in squares with their backs to the ocean which is to protect them and their inhabitants from the fierce storms and the wild crashing waves.
Even further along the coast lies Torry Battery, which is an ancient ruin which looks out to the sea. It was built in 1860 to defend the port, harbour, trade and the city of Aberdeen.
Nowadays it is the place to be in Aberdeen City if you fancy your chances at spotting dolphins. There is a car park that is raised on the hill, making it a good spot to park up with a cone of chips and get your binoculars out to see if you can spot some bottlenosed dolphins. If you would rather get a bit closer to the action then you can take a walk down to the sand towards South Breakwater lighthouse and see what you can find. You will also notice that there are some signs that direct you along some lovely coastal walking routes.
Some other points of interest nearby are Girdleness Lighthouse and the Kings Links Golf Course.
Donmouth Nature Reserve
Another of the cities beaches and a lesser-known one, is Donmouth Nature Reserve, which is just a ten-minute drive further north along the coast from the beach boulevard. From the car park, it's a short walk to the sandy beach. At this time of year we found it to be much quieter than Aberdeen beach, so if you fancy finding a quieter spot, this is the place to be. Its peaceful setting is made even better with the bobbing heads of seals in the ocean.
Just a short walk away from Donmouth Nature Reserve you will find yourself immersed in the streets of Old Aberdeen. A wander around this area is a delightful walk through time, where the quiet cobbled streets are lined with well-preserved historic buildings – The High Kirk of St Machar, King’s College, and the Old Town House, among others – that opens a window onto the city’s earliest origins. Here, some of the city’s most celebrated thinkers – scientists, philosophers, writers, and inventors – lived, studied, and taught; it’s impossible not to sense the power of learning as you wander through the narrow medieval streets, with the impressive architectural creations that surround you.
Brig O Balgownie
Balgownie Bridge is thought to be the oldest bridge in Scotland and was the main crossing on the Don leading to the north from Aberdeen. This was before the construction of the adjacent Bridge of Don in 1831. Balgownie is situated over a deep pool known as the Black Neuk. Today we appreciate admiring the gothic arch against the picturesque setting that surrounds it.
Another one of Aberdeen’s gems is Seaton Park, which is one of the largest green spaces in Aberdeen. Located within Old Aberdeen, Seaton Park is eternally popular with locals, as well as hosting training sessions for Aberdeen Football Club. With an enviable riverside location, the 27 hectares are a delightful mix of parkland, walled gardens, wildflowers, and grass, making it a pleasant oasis to spend time. It may come as a surprise to many, that the granite city is also home to many more parks and green spaces, all of which have their own features and charm.
It may come as a surprise to many, that the granite city is also home to many more parks and green spaces, all of which have their own features and charm.
Continued in the comments......