Aberdeen travel guide
If you wondered why Aberdeen is widely known as the Granite City, allow our Aberdeen travel to enlighten you as well as providing you with the travel and tourism information you will need if you are planning to visit the oil capital of the north. The granite tag comes from the fact that many of Aberdeen's buildings are constructed from the locally quarried grey granite, flecked with sparkling mica, which causes it to glitter like silver in sunlight. You may also be interested to know that the name Aberdeen literally translates as 'between the Don and the Dee', which are the two rivers skirting the city.
There are numerous castles and grand country houses in Aberdeenshire, not least of which is Balmoral, the favourite residence of both Queen Victoria and the present queen. Originally built in the 15th century, Queen Victoria had it re-designed in the 1850s and this magnificent royal residence is open to the public between April and July. But for the rest of the year there is no shortage of castles and stately homes on which to gaze in awe and wonder. One that should be visited is the grand and imposing Castle Fraser, a Z-plan mediaeval stronghold with a distinctly French influence.
You will not have to wander far from the city to see some amazing buildings. His Majesty's Theatre on Rosemount Viaduct, recently refurbished at a cost of £7.8 million, hosts nightly shows to entertain and delight. In the town's centre is the 16th century Provost Skene's House; the town's oldest building and now a furniture museum (with free entry). The Scottish Lighthouse Museum is an interesting and informative way to while away an afternoon and children are encouraged to interact and even dress up as lighthouse keepers before touring the lighthouse.
Visit the grim cells where supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie were imprisoned at Tolbooth Prison. Tours of this 17th century gaol are free, but not for the faint-hearted, as the atmospheric cells are shadowy and contain realistic waxworks, and recordings of moaning prisoners send shivers down most spines.
For children there are seaside fairs, parks, Alford Valley model railway and also just outside Aberdeen is Storybook Glen, where the little ones can get up close and personal to their favourite storybook characters, sit in Noddy's car or Postman Pat's van etc. For the grown-ups though, perhaps a tour of Oldmeldrum's Glen Garioch Distillery might be of interest. This is a working distillery where you can watch the whisky being made and sample and buy a fine aged malt to put a spring in your step for the many more pleasures Aberdeen has to offer. And as this takes in the largest national park in Scotland and some of the most rugged and dramatic coastline in the UK, a wee dram might be just what the doctor ordered.