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Top 10 Free Things to Do in Aberdeen

I asked the members of Her Campus Aberdeen about their favourite free things to do in Aberdeen and here are the results!

1. The Art Gallery  

I would personally recommend the Aberdeen Art Gallery. Re-opening a few years ago, admission is free and as well as being able to wander through rooms of beautiful art, the views of the city you get from the rooftop are spectacular! 

2. The Beach  

Both Kate and Megan recommended spending time at the beach. Easily accessible from town, the beach extends for what seems like an eternity and has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, as well as a stunning view of the offshore wind farm currently in operation (yay to renewable energy!).  

If you fancy spending a little bit of money, there are a bunch of cafes and restaurants along the esplanade, where should you feel a little peckish (I would really recommend the Sand Dollar Cafe). 

3. Old Aberdeen  

Old Aberdeen is the historic town our University itself is within, where there is so much history in the buildings, that having a wander through and around campus is the perfect autumn afternoon activity – as long as you wrap up warm – and you can download lots of different walking tours of the area for free if you want to have a bit more structure to your walk. Kate first suggested Old Aberdeen as a place to visit in particular, for all the flowers and stunning red vines that grow up the older buildings, so if you manage to explore the area, be on the lookout for those.  

4. The Tolbooth Museum  

This museum is temporarily closed to the public right now, but I thought it was worth mentioning on this list having visited previously and loving every second of it. I can’t tell you how much fun I had exploring this museum, even if the topics it discusses were quite heavy at times. Located right next to the city’s Sheriff Court, this museum takes you back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries and explores local history and the evolution of crime and punishment in the city. I really hope this opens back up so we can all get to experience the museum as I did.  

5. Torry Battery  

Now firmly on my to-do list, Hannah suggested a visit to Torry Battery, an old defensive position that has views over the south harbour and out to the North Sea. Initially, the battery was armed with 200lb Armstrong guns, but now it is a popular tourist spot with stunning views. Hannah recommends taking a trip to not just to take in the views, but explore the rock pools in low tide and watch dolphins – how wonderful does that sound!  

6. Footdee (Fittie) 

As a small local fishing village, Footdee (known locally as Fittie) is another place ready to be explored. In all weathers, there is a certain charm to the village that makes it a popular destination for those looking for an Aberdeen history lesson, or a good photo opportunity. Abbie recommends visiting around Christmas time as the village is usually adorned with decorations and fairy lights that are lovely to look at.  

7. The Maritime Museum  

Located right beside the harbour, The Maritime museum once again throws us back in time, this time looking at how the close proximity to the North Sea has impacted life in Aberdeen. This history is told through a selection of collections that detail the rich history of ship making, fishing, oil and gas and the harbour itself. A definite go-to if you want to learn more about the city!  

8. Slains Castle  

A little distance away from the city centre (and only really accessible by car) is Slains castle. First constructed in 1527, this castle has been reconstructed a multitude of times by different Ealrs and landowners throughout history, making it a site of great historical interest. Perhaps most famously, the castle is supposedly the inspiration for Count Dracula’s castle in Bram Stoker’s famous ‘Count Dracula’ (1897) after he visited the castle himself. Even if history isn’t your thing, there are plenty of photo opportunities in and around the ruins.  

9. Newburgh Seals Beach 

If you journey out of the city centre once more, you will find the little village of Newburgh, and within it the little beach area from which you can see the protected beach area in which seals are able to look after their young without the disruption of humans and their companions (mainly dogs and other pets). This is another stunning location you can visit for free but be warned: the seals – especially the younger ones – do like to get quite close to you, so be careful and make sure to respect the animals by giving them lots of space.  

10. The Central Library  

Returning back to the city centre, I couldn’t possibly discuss free things to do in Aberdeen without mentioning the Central library. Open to the public, the library has both the traditional screens of books, as well as a media centre for internet use, It is an excellent place to hide out for a few hours, or to try and get some work done somewhere that isn’t your bedroom or university halls. 

The members of HC Aberdeen have also suggested the many parks we have around the city, where you can go there for a lovely walk with your friends, read a book or to view the stunning flowers! You can read Chelsea’s article on the top five parks to visit in Aberdeen to find out more! 

Do you have anywhere else that should be added to this list, let us know on our socials!  

Iona Hancock

Aberdeen '22

PGDE Primary 21/22 @ Aberdeen 1st Class Honours in Politics and IR @ Aberdeen
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