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Prime Location Aberdeen Area Guide

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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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

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