Aberdeen is called the ‘Granite City’, aptly named after all the buildings built from grey granite, which glisten in the Scottish sunshine. Aberdeen has been transformed by offshore oil wealth in the past half-century to become a prosperous and sophisticated enclave on the North Sea. Scotland’s third largest city is also teeming with historical relics telling stirring tales from the centuries before it became a modern mini-metropolis.

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Aberdeen's Top Attractions

When it comes to historical things to do in Aberdeen, St Machar’s Cathedral looms – literally – over an impressive collection worth experiencing. Its twin towers signal the 15th century structure’s rare status as a fortified place of worship. Inside, its heraldic ceiling – a kaleidoscope of noble shields fixed to the rafters – makes for one of the most striking things to see in Aberdeen.

Marischal College was built in the 16th century but has a later addition that makes it one of the most beautiful attractions in Aberdeen. Its vast, 20th century Gothic facade, austere but elegant in light grey granite, is the world’s second largest structure made from the stone. Nearby, King’s College Chapel, with its unmistakable spire, is another of the most compelling things to see in Aberdeen. Inside, soaring stained-glass windows bathe a tranquil interior hardly changed since the 16th century in colour.

Aberdeen is more than a thousand years old, but it has attractions beyond its historical allure. If you’re wondering what to do in Aberdeen with the kids, head to the family-friendly Science Centre, with 50 exhibitions, including a planetarium and live demos. Popular with surfers, Aberdeen Beach is also a beautiful family-friendly spot, where walkers and ice cream fans enjoy a crescent of golden sand stretching from harbour to river mouth.

Along the beach boulevard, Codona’s Amusement Park offers another essential ingredient of a British beach holiday. Scoring high among fun things to do in Aberdeen for kids, the hedonistic zone has a 4D motion theatre and live shows, plus crowd-pleasing roller coasters and other stomach-flipping rides.

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