Planning a trip to the historic and beautiful city colloquially known as the “Granite City”? This is the itinerary that you need to plan your 48 hours in Aberdeen. From ancient sights to colourful gardens, there are plenty of things to do in the city of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen is the starting point of the North East 250 Road Trip which takes in many of the stunning beaches and castles in this part of Scotland.

In this itinerary however, we will be taking you a tour around the brilliant city that is Aberdeen.

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Aberdeen is a great city to visit on the north east coast of Scotland. If it is a hot day, this city is also right beside the sea so perfect for a dip.  In this guide, we will discuss where to stay in Aberdeen as well as the following

  • Day 1 – Exploring the city centre
  • Day 2 – Exploring the outskirts
  • Preparing for your trip to Aberdeen

Where Should I Stay in Aberdeen?

Luxury – Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen is a luxury hotel in the city of Aberdeen. It is within 20 minutes walk of the beach front and has free wifi, a gym and laundry facilities on site. The best things about this hotel might just be that it was rated highly for the comfort of the beds!

Book your stay at Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen here.

Mid-range – The Jurys Inn Aberdeen is located a stones throw away from the city centre shops, bars and restaurants. All rooms have air conditioning, a TV, hairdryer and most importantly, a comfortable bed.

Book your stay at the Jurys Inn Aberdeen here.

Budget – The Station Hotel sits opposite the train station in Aberdeen and is a fantastic budget option for your trip to the city. Each room is equipped with a TV and tea/coffee making facilities as well as having it’s own private bathroom.

Book your stay at The Station Hotel here.

building in aberdeen city centre

The Complete 2-day Aberdeen Itinerary

Day 1 – City Centre

Your first day in Aberdeen will be exploring the city centre. We would recommend wearing comfortable clothes and shoes on both days as we found we did a lot of walking around the city.

Explore Union Street

If you are staying in the city centre of Aberdeen, then it is most likely you will be starting your day near this part of the city.

Union Street, also known as the granite mile, is where you will find some high street shopping in the city centre of Aberdeen. There are now shopping centres that have been built in the city, meaning that some of the shops have closed on union street, however you will still find some of the favourites here.

union street aberdeen

Admire the Street Art

As you walk between sights, keep your eyes peeled around the city for the street art. There are many incredible pieces of art all around the city within walking distance. If this interests you, why not join a free Nuart street art tour. This is a 90 minute tour around the street art in the city at 1pm and 6pm on Thursday’s and Sunday’s and the occasional Sunday between April and September. 

aberdeen street art

Enjoy the Union Terrace Garden

The Union Terrace Gardens is a public park in the city centre of Aberdeen. Opening to the public in 1879, there were discussions about a redevelopment that has caused huge controversy in 2010 and is still being discussed today. The park is sunken and surrounded by some of the best architecture in Aberdeen, a great place to rest your legs after shopping.

union terrace garden aberdeen

Discover the William Wallace Statue

The William Wallace statue was erected in 1888. The statue sits opposite from the Union Terrace Gardens in the city centre of Aberdeen. When we visited, there were so many seagulls that actually poor William Wallace’s head was covered in poo!

William Wallace statue aberdeen

Tour Provost Skene’s House

Provost Skene’s House was built in the 16th century, along with many other houses, however this is the only one that remains to show off early burgh architecture in Aberdeen. Provost Skene’s House has had multiple owners and been used for many different things over the years. Previously it has been used by Hanoverian troops as a billet during the Jacobite rebellion.

In 1953 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened Provost Skene’s House as a museum with completely refurbished interior. It is furnished in the styles of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Provost Skene’s House is currently closed for redevelopment and due to re- open in 2021.

provost skenes house

Visit the Marischal College

Marischal College is one of the most eye-pleasing buildings in the city of Aberdeen. The building was previously constructed for the University of Aberdeen, however it is now used by the Aberdeen City Council. Construction on this building began in 1837 and it was recently renovated in 2011. 

It is located on Broad Street in the city centre of Aberdeen.

marischal college aberdeen

Relax beneath Greyfriars Church

Greyfriars Church is situated on Broad Street and is the south-east corner of the Marischal College building.

It was built in 1903 and is now in the process of being turned into a new city centre bar.

greyfriars church aberdeen

Dine out on Belmont Street

Finish up your day of sightseeing with some good food on Belmont Street. Belmont Street is like the social hub of Aberdeen. Here you will find some of the best restaurants, bars and cafes in the city. It runs perpendicular to Union Street in the centre of the city. 

In the past, the street was home to several churches, however today only one remains, The Triple Kirks, which today is the Triple Kirks Pub.

people walking down belmont street aberdeen

Day 2 – Explore the Quirky Sights in Aberdeen

The second day in Aberdeen will be spent seeing some of our favourite sights on the outskirts of the city centre.

The Powis Gates

Start the day off with a walk to outwith the hustle and bustle of the city centre of Aberdeen. The walk is around half an hour and pleasant. The Powis gates are located in the northern part of Aberdeen and are a historical landmark dating back to 1833. They can be found on the grounds of the University of Aberdeen’s Kings College Campus. The Powis Gates used to serve as an entrance into Powis House, however in 2007 the University of Aberdeen had them restored. This is a really unique sight to see in Aberdeen and well worth a visit.

powis gates

St Machar’s Cathedral

Continuing north, St Machar’s Cathedral is a Church of Scotland church located in Old Aberdeen in the north of the city. It hasn’t had a bishop since 1609, therefore it is only a cathedral by name and more of a high kirk. It is free to enter the cathedral and lovely to have a look around the very impressive architecture.

st machars cathedral
st machars cathedral

Seaton Park

A little further north is Seaton Park, a beautiful place for a walk in the north of Aberdeen. There are also grassy areas, perfect for a picnic and a garden area with stunning plants, especially in the summer months. There is also a children’s play area, public toilets and parking available.

seaton park

The Village of Footdee

It is up to you whether you would rather walk or get public transport, the next stop on today’s itinerary is further south of the city centre and around a 50 minute walk. However, whilst you are in Aberdeen you must visit the small harbour village of Footdee. 

This old fishing village is lined with quaint houses. It is tucked away at the end of the esplanade and if you weren’t looking for it, it is unlikely you would find it.

It was built in the mid-19th century with the intention of re-homing the cities fisherman, however today it is a vibrant little village with quirky houses and decorations. Lovely for a wee walk around.

footdee
footdee

Walk Along the Esplanade

Finish the day off with something to eat and drink overlooking the water at the Aberdeen Esplanade. This is just beside Footdee and will be on your walk back to the city centre.

The Esplanade is lined with cafes and ice cream jobs, perfect for a cool down on a hot summers day. It is located around a 30 minute walk from Aberdeen city centre and the esplanade itself is around 6km and very popular for walking or running along. You can also hire surfboards from Scot surf who have a navy blue van parked up on the beachfront.

aberdeen esplanade

Before You Leave for Aberdeen

Before you head off on your trip around the to Aberdeen, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip.

These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book. If you are travelling around the NE250, we have also included this in this section as well.

 

How Do I Get Around the NE250?

Given the reasonably remote location of the NE250 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.

As for public transport, this isn’t completely impossible, it is just a lot more difficult.

If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip around the NE250, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.

Browse the full range of vehicles on offer at Bunk Campers over here.

aberdeen square

What Should I Pack for the NE250?

When it comes to packing for a trip along the NE250 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NE250 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.

Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C

Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C

Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C

Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C

As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

Photography Equipment

Main Photography Camera – Sony A7iii Mirrorless Camera

Main Lens – Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM 

Zoom Lens – Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8

Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm

Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8 Black

Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2

Camera Bag – Lowepro Flipside 300 AW

 

Where Should I Stay in Aberdeen?

LuxuryResidence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen is a luxury hotel in the city of Aberdeen. It is within 20 minutes walk of the beach front and has free wifi, a gym and laundry facilities on site. The best things about this hotel might just be that it was rated highly for the comfort of the beds!

Book your stay at Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen here.

Mid-range – The Jurys Inn Aberdeen is located a stones throw away from the city centre shops, bars and restaurants. All rooms have air conditioning, a TV, hairdryer and most importantly, a comfortable bed.

Book your stay at the Jurys Inn Aberdeen here.

BudgetThe Station Hotel sits opposite the train station in Aberdeen and is a fantastic budget option for your trip to the city. Each room is equipped with a TV and tea/coffee making facilities as well as having it’s own private bathroom.

Book your stay at The Station Hotel here.

building in aberdeen city centre

What is the Best Travel Insurance?

No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.

Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.

Get covered for your next trip and get a quote from World Nomad’s right here.

So there you have it,your 2 day itinerary to Aberdeen. If you have visited the Aberdeen recently, let us know what you thought of the sights listed above, or if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below.

As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own Aberdeenshire adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.

When you set off on your own adventure, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and we will share them with the rest of our community. In the meantime, why not follow us over there to see what we are currently up to and keep up with us on our Instagram Stories.

 

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