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Aberdeen Area Guide

Aberdeen Castlegate Image courtesy of Flickr user DavidSloan

Scotland's third most populous city, Aberdeen is sometimes called the Granite City or the Silver City with the Golden Sands. This refers to the fact that many of the city's buildings are made of granite with flecks of mica, causing the city to sparkle in the sunshine. It is on average the coldest city in the UK, but it is nonetheless much milder than other places in the world on a similar latitude. Despite the cold, it has won Britain in Bloom an unprecedented 10 times.

The oil and fishing industries are traditionally important to the city's economy, though this is changing - the oil companies are beginning to shift focus to alternative energy sources, and the fishing industry is moving from regular fishing to deep sea fishing. Instead of relying solely on these traditional industries, however, the city is also drawing in companies that focus on electronics design and agriculture and fishing research and developments.

Demographics

Aberdeen is home to about 220,420 people, and it is a young, relatively economically well off city. Just under 16% of the population are children, and about 17% are of pension age. In Scotland as a whole, over 17% of the population are children, almost 20% are of pension age. Over 67% if the population of Aberdeen is of working age, compared to almost 63% in Scotland.

In economic terms, Aberdeen has better rates of employment than Scotland. Only 3% of the Aberdeen population aged 16 to 24 claims Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), whereas in Scotland as a whole, 7.1% of the population of the same age are claiming JSA. Of those aged between 25 and 49, 2.5% claim JSA in Aberdeen, and 4% claim it in Scotland. Of those aged between 50 and the pension age, 1.5% in Aberdeen and 2.4% in Scotland as a whole are claiming JSA.

Education

Aberdeen city council runs 54 primary schools and 12 secondary schools. The council-run primary schools include Cornhill Primary School, which is the largest in the city, and Skene Square Primary School. Gilcomstoun Primary School is one of Aberdeen Grammar School's feeder schools.

Aberdeen Grammar School, Harlaw Academy, Cults Academy, and Oldmachar Academy are consistently amongst the secondary schools with the best reputations and highest numbers of enrolment.

In terms of further education, Aberdeen has two universities and a college. Aberdeen College has several campuses across the city. The University of Aberdeen was founded in 1495, and The Robert Gordon University was granted university status in 1992.

Transport

Aberdeen is served by five major roads. The A90 runs south through Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth and north to towns like Ellon and Fraserburgh. The A96 connects the city with Elgin and Inverness, and the A93 heads to Perth via the Cairngorms. The city is linked to Newmachar and Turriff by the A947, and the A944 goes to Westhill and Alford before ending into the A96 at Huntly.

The city is well catered for by bus routes, most of which are run privately by First Aberdeen. Most of First Aberdeen's 22 routes start in one suburb or area on the outskirts of the city, run through Aberdeen city centre, and then continue to a suburb or area on the other side of the city, creating a spoke-and-wheel network. Stagecoach Bluebird has one cross-city service and has bus services into the surrounding countryside.

Aberdeen rail station is the only rail station in the city, though the nearby town of Dyce also has a railway station, too. Aberdeen station is connected to the other five Scottish cities via the Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line, the Glasgow to Aberdeen Line and the Aberdeen to Inverness Line. The Caledonian Sleeper is a sleeper train that runs from London Euston to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. The East Coast Main Line links up with the Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line and continues through Newcastle, Leeds and London King's Cross. Aberdeen is also served by a CrossCountry train line, stopping in Nottingham, Leicester, Stansted Airport, Birmingham and Cardiff along its many branches.

Aberdeen Airport is in Dyce, and it has the busiest heliport - a helicopter terminal - in the world, as it has regular flights to and from the offshore oil instillations.

Amenities and Shopping

Aberdeen is the major city in the north east of Scotland, so much of the area's amenities are concentrated in the city.

Museums and galleries

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum explores the city's rich history amongst the waves of the North Sea. The Tolbooth Museum is a converted 17th century gaol, now home to exhibitions on local history and the evolution of crime and its punishments. The Aberdeen Art Gallery is particularly renowned for its 19th, 20th and 21st century artworks.

Theatres and venues

His Majesty's Theatre is the largest theatre in north east Scotland, and it is where most of Aberdeen's stage spectaculars are put on. The Aberdeen Arts Centre has musical and dramatic events and is the location for many of Aberdeen's amateur dramatic productions. The Lemon Tree largely hosts touring productions in its auditorium and its intimate studio theatre.

Music Hall hosts a varied programme of comedians, classical music, pop concerts and dances. The Beach Ballroom is famous throughout Scotland for its dance floor. It is supported by steel springs, which gives the floor a characteristic bounce. The Elphinston Hall is the concert hall for the University of Aberdeen.

Festivals

Aberdeen has many festivals for music lovers. The Aberdeen International Youth Festival is a world-renowned celebration of the achievements of young people in the performing arts. It features concerts, plays, dance performances and more. Aberdeen Music Festival is a music competition that awards for instrumentalists, vocalists and Scottish country dancers. Aberdeen Jazz Festival draws musicians from around the world, and Sound is a festival dedicated to making new music more accessible to the public.

There are also some more unusual festivals in the city. Aberdeen's Winter Festival keeps the party going, as festivities run from Bonfire Night on 5th November to Burns Night on 25th January. The Denis Law Soccer Tournament is a city-wide celebration of football, and the 50+ Festival is designed for those aged 50 and over. The Granite Festival highlights Aberdeen's links with the rock with talks, tours and events.

Sport

Aberdeen Football Club is the largest football club in the city and plays in the Scottish Premier League. The City of Aberdeen Swim Team, or COAST, is a highly successful swimming team that has seen success on all levels of competition. There are three boxing clubs in the city: St Mary's Boxing Club, Kincorth Boxing Club and Kingswell Boxing Club.

The city also boasts several public golf courses, including the famous Hazlehead Park course. Amongst the many private golf clubs is the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, which claims to be the sixth oldest golf club in the world.

Shopping

There are several shopping centres located in the city centre. At the rail station, Union Square has more than 50 shops like the Apple Store, Cath Kidston and Pandora. The Academy Shopping Centre houses boutiques selling brands like True Religion, Fred Perry and Supertrash, as well as jewellery and homewares. Trinity Centre has Debenhams, Argos and Primark amongst its 20-odd shops. Bon Accord & St Nicholas has 65 shops including John Lewis, Jo Malone and Karen Millen.

The West End is home to high-end boutiques selling designer fashion and works of art. Rosemount Village is home to independent, artisan food shops. The Cultural Quarter, around Belmont Street, Back Wynd and Schoolhill, has curio shops, secondhand book shops and gift shops.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.