Aberdeen City and Shire

Aberdeen City and Shire

With its captivating blend of unspoilt countryside, dramatic coastline and a bustling, cosmopolitan city, Aberdeen City and Shire offers visitors everything from crumbling castles to pristine beaches, riveting Highland games, delectable food and drink, amazing wildlife and more set against some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery.


See why Queen Victoria fell in love with the region on a visit to Royal Deeside and uncover the region’s fascinating past in superb museums, historic buildings and on Scotland's only dedicated Castle Trail which brings together 17 of Aberdeenshire's most iconic castles.


A breath-taking fusion of rolling countryside, rugged coastline, misty mountains and lush forest, the natural environment of Aberdeenshire is home to a marvellous array of wildlife. Explore the remarkable landscape of the Cairngorms National Park, the largest National Park in Britain, uncover tranquil nature reserves, and get up close to fantastic birdlife and marine creatures.


Discover the impressive architecture and cultural delights of Aberdeen, Scotland's Granite City. Learn about its proud maritime history and thriving oil and gas industry, take in one of the finest art collections in the country and enjoy fantastic live music, dance and theatre at superb venues across the city. Take in the city’s splendid historic buildings and indulge in retail therapy at superb shopping centres and independent boutiques.


Explore the region's charming country towns and quaint fishing villages where you can sample a mouth-watering selection of food and drink including freshly caught seafood, and find quality arts and crafts created by talented locals in independent galleries and shops.


Pay a visit to some of the oldest whisky distilleries in the world and, and follow the Coastal Trail for miles of breath-taking cliff-tops, spectacular sunsets, secluded coves, beaches and historic lighthouses.


Experience a vibrant array of events and festivals throughout the year that celebrate everything from the region’s seafaring heritage and unique dialect to internationally regarded arts festivals and centuries-old customs including the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony and the Braemar Gathering.


Activities in Aberdeen City and Shire


Discover a fantastic range of activities across Aberdeen City and Shire. A region blessed with spectacular landscapes, you'll find activities to suit every terrain and every tastes. There are just so many ways available to enjoy the great outdoors in the north east.


Aberdeen City and Shire offers a variety of exciting and unusual sports to whet the appetite of even the most adventurous thrill seeker.


Try something with an edge at the Deeside Activity Park near Aboyne with high-octane quad biking, kart racing and paintballing on offer. Some of the more adrenalin fuelled activities you can try across the region include surfing, kite surfing and paragliding.


For the really brave at heart, you can scale rope bridges and ladders, Tarzan swings and zip wires 120 feet from the forest floor at Go Ape! near Banchory. Set in the grounds of beautiful Crathes Castle, Go Ape! also offers a unique tree-top perspective of this historical castle.


If you prefer a quieter pace of life, then cast you line in the rivers of Aberdeen City and Shire and experience some of the best salmon and trout fishing in the world. You can also enjoy a few rounds of golf as there are over 50 great courses to choose from including some of the oldest, best and most unusual golf courses in the world.


Strap on your boots and head for the mountains, forests and coastline. There are many walking routes to follow and they can be easily combined with a visit to one of the many castles, gardens and historic sites in the area. There are also a variety of riding and trekking operators that will take you exploring.


In winter you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Glenshee Ski Centre or the Lecht 2090 Ski & Multi Activity Centre. When spring arrives you can continue to hone your skills at the all-weather ski slope at the Aberdeen Snow sports Centre.


Whatever your preference, Aberdeen City and Shire offers plenty of opportunities to get active.


Arts and culture attractions in Aberdeen City and Shire


Plan a day spent visiting the arts and culture attractions of Aberdeen City and Shire. Spend the day visiting galleries and art shops and in the evening, head to the theatre for a wonderful performance.


Aberdeen City and Shire is home to some of Scotland’s most treasured artistic and cultural attractions. Spread across a diverse array of art galleries, visitor centres, performance venues and more, visitors can take in everything from world-renowned paintings to cutting-edge contemporary artworks, fantastic live entertainment and engrossing exhibitions that bring to life the region’s rich cultural heritage.


Uncover the region’s superb artistic offerings at a wide range of galleries and museums. View one of the most important collections of artworks in the country at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, an elegant 19th century building that houses works by artists ranging from Raeburn and Ramsey to Monet and Damien Hirst.


Aberdeenshire’s striking and varied landscape – in particular its dramatic south coast – has attracted many great artists and craft makers over the years and you can uncover an innovative, original artworks and beautifully designed crafts by talented local artisans at a number of excellent galleries and shops scattered throughout the towns and villages.


Enjoy acclaimed theatre productions and fantastic live music at world-class venues including the His Majesty’s Theatre and the Music Hall, and discover more about the region’s cultural heritage and its leading cultural figures such as celebrated novelist Lewis Grassic Gibbon at fascinating visitor centres.




Aberdeen City and Shire has one of the most breath-taking landscapes in Scotland and is home to a fantastic array of wildlife. With everything from golden eagles soaring high above in the Cairngorms National Park to rutting red deer stags and dolphins frolicking off the Banffshire Coast, Aberdeenshire is a wildlife-lovers’ paradise.


One of the best places to look for wildlife is in the Cairngorms National Park. The largest in the UK, this outstandingly beautiful expanse of rugged moorland, lush forests of Scots Pine and majestic mountains is home to a myriad of rare creatures. The golden eagle, osprey, dotterel, Scottish crossbill, pine marten, red deer and badger are just a few of the species you can spot here.


The region is blessed with a number of beautiful nature reserves where other rare birds and animals thrive. At Glen Tanar, south west of Aboyne, you can explore one of the last remaining remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian pine forest. Black grouse, goshawk and the elusive capercaillie all breed here and red squirrels are a common sight on this National Nature Reserve.


A unique mosaic of wetland, birch woodland and heather-clad moor, the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve is a haven for wintering wildfowl including whooper swans, goldeneye, wigeon, and ospreys can sometimes be glimpsed fishing on the lochs.


The equally varied habitat of the Forvie National Nature Reserve with its windswept sand dunes also supports a diverse array of flora and fauna. Located by the Ythan estuary, here you’ll find grey seals and nesting eider ducks alongside diving terns, oystercatchers and delicate flowering plants.


Watch migrating salmon battle their way up stream at the cascading Falls of Feugh, one of the region’s best natural salmon leaps, and pay a visit to Scotland's only mainland gannet colony at Troup Head. These spectacular cliffs are also home to thousands of kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills, along with several other species, including puffins.


The region’s dramatic coastline, in particular the northerly stretch known as the Banffshire Coast, is a fantastic place to look for dolphins, seals, porpoises and even the occasional whale. You can get a closer look at these remarkable marine creatures by joining one of the many boat tours or wildlife cruises available.


Food and Drink


Aberdeen City and Shire is a region bursting with flavour and the unique tastes of the north-east can be found on restaurant menus from Stonehaven to Peterhead and beyond. Discover an excellent selection of world-class local produce including Aberdeen Angus beef and freshly caught seafood and purchase ingredients direct from the producers at farmers' markets, fish markets and country fairs.


With some of the finest seafood in the world caught just off the Aberdeenshire coast, as well as quality meats, dairy produce and seasonal vegetables, eating out across the area is always an experience, with a wonderful range of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from. You can also enjoy the beers, ales and whiskies unique to the region and find out more during a behind the scenes tour.


For a foodie experience with a difference, learn how to create the perfect meal at Nick Nairn's Cook School in the heart of Aberdeen and enjoy the fruits of your labour at the end.


Throughout the year there is a packed programme of foodie events including festivals and farmers' markets which perfectly showcase Aberdeen City and Shire's excellent food and drink. Whatever your taste, you are guaranteed to find one to suit you.


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