History and Architecture

An impressive array of ancient castles, historic towns and villages, fascinating museums and the beautiful Royal Deeside - a place where the Royal Family have holidayed since Victorian era - are all testaments to the fascinating history of Aberdeen and its environs. 

The city's imposing and beautifully preserved historic granite buildings - such as the 16th century Provost Skene's House and the former 17th century jail The Tolbooth - offer a window into the past. The University of Aberdeen is home to another of the city's oldest and most striking features - King's College - a stunning fusion of Medieval and Renaissance craftsmanship. The nearby St Machar's Cathedral is the oldest granite cathedral in the world. This striking array of architecture has earned Aberdeen the nickname Granite City.

Almost 2,000 years ago the region was inhabited by a Celtic tribe known as the Picts. All that survives of this mysterious ancient civilisation are stone circles and elaborately carved Pictish stones found scattered throughout the area. These include the ornate Kinord near Aboyne and Sunhoney and the stone circle which stands on a hill near Echt.

The award-winning Aberdeen Maritime Museum depicts the region's seafaring heritage through a range of exhibits and displays cataloguing the local fishing and North Sea oil and gas industries.

The towns and villages of Aberdeenshire have plenty of historic treasures ranging from crumbling castles to fascinating museums including the Arbuthnott Museum in Peterhead (one of the oldest in Aberdeenshire) and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh. Aberdeenshire is home to 300 castles, more per acre than anywhere else in the UK and boasts Scotland's only Castle Trail which takes in seventeen of these monuments including the haunting cliff-top fortress ruins of Dunnottar Castle, the fairytale-like Crathes Castle and the royal residence at Balmoral.

A trip in a steam train along a mile-long stretch of the Royal Deeside Line, which once transported the Royal Family on its way to Balmoral. A replica of the Royal carriage used by Queen Victoria in 1869 can be seen at the Old Royal Station at Ballater.


Last update: 6 February 2014