Great value weekend breaks in Aberdeen

By | Category: Travel destinations

Aberdeen, called the London of the North

Situated on the north-east coast of Scotland, the city of Aberdeen is unlike any other city in the UK. Not just because it is one of the few UK cities with a stunning beach and coastline, but because it is a fantastic city for budget getaways.

Known as the oil capital of Europe, Aberdeen hotels are fully booked with business clients during the week and quieter at weekends, promising greatly reduced rates on hotel breaks. As every other UK city hotel bumps up the rates for weekend escapes, Aberdeen can offer a quality bargain.

The Malmaison boutique hotel is situated in the chic west end of Aberdeen and offers a range of individually designed rooms to suit all budgets. During the week, standard rooms start at £229 per night. For weekend visitors, Malmaison offer a wide range of packages for guests starting at just £99. For example, enjoy a spa treatment, two course evening meal with cocktails, overnight stay and a sumptuous breakfast all for just £99 per person when using The Malmaison Spa package.

Right in the heart of Aberdeen city centre sits the Thistle Caledonian. An ideal hotel location for a city break, the four star hotel looks onto the picturesque Union Terrace gardens. During the week, corporate guests can expect to pay at least £172 per room. For weekends, knock off £110 for room rates start at just £62. At these prices, a weekend break to Aberdeen need not be a guilty pleasure.

the Christmas lights in Union Street

And the budget breaks don’t stop at the hotels. Aberdeen is a cultural hub full of free activities for all the family. Everywhere in Aberdeen city centre can be reached on foot and with the beach just one mile away, it’s a very accessible location. The beach itself is a long curved haven between the harbour and the River Don’s mouth and is popular with walkers, surfers and windsurfers. Kite-boarders are also a frequent sight at the beach, taking advantage of the strong North-sea winds. And its just been given a Seaside Award for 2013 – an award it has won every year since 2007.

Another attractive, and free, option are the city’s parks and gardens. A short walk from the city centre is Duthie Park. Within the Victorian park grounds are the popular winter gardens which house the largest collection of cacti in Britain. First opened in 1883, the park has just undergone a £5 million refurbishment to be restored to its former Victorian glory.

For a taste of culture, Aberdeen Art Gallery is free for all and showcases national exhibitions as well as local talent, including graduates from the Robert Gordon University Gray’s School of Art. The gallery is lucky enough to have one of the most important art collections in the country. You’ll find Raeburns, Hogarths, Ramseys, Stanley Spencers and Francis Bacons there as well as Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bonnard, Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas.

Dolphin watching off Aberdeen

For those who want to discover more about Aberdeen’s marine life there are also value for money options. Announced in May 2013, RSPB Scotland will be running a free dolphin watching scheme to help show people, from the city and across the UK, the best views of dolphins. Run by WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) the programme has trained RSPB staff and volunteers to carry out regular 10-minute watches from the Torry Battery Shorewatch site. A wide variety of dolphins can be seen playing and feeding at the harbour entrance as well as other local residents including minke whales, risso dolphins, basking sharks, porpoises, puffins and countless other marine wildlife.
With the option to step back to mediaeval times with Old Aberdeen, the city is steeped in history and culture. From the notoriously haunted His Majesties Theatre and the soon to be reopened, Tivoli theatre, to the state of the art Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), Aberdeen has a well-established arts and music scene.

Aberdeen also boasts an extensive selection of exclusive restaurants including the recent addition of Jamie Oliver’s Italian and soon to be opened Carluccio’s, the city is also home to the North-east’s only five star hotel, spa and restaurant, The Marcliffe. The city and Aberdeenshire around it offer visitors a host of indoor and outdoor activities to suit all tastes, from tree top assault courses and world class golfing to festivals and castles.

yes, there is a beach

If you are looking for affordable cruises, Clyde Cruise tours depart from Aberdeen Harbour between May and October, offering the chance to spot fascinating wildlife. Those on board will also be able to view the city skyline from a whole new perspective and get up close and personal to the various oil industry ships docked in the harbour.

Alternatively, for a taste of culture, take a trip to The Lemon Tree which takes its inspiration from the underground jazz bars of New York City. A lively and vibrant spot, the venue is tucked away with an alternative entertainment repertoire. Throughout the calendar year there is a wealth of entertainment listings so visitors can catch their favourite bands live on stage or share a joke with the funniest comedians, all for reasonable ticket prices. For a more intimate setting, the upstairs Studio is the ideal setting for theatre productions, dance and children’s shows.

CEO of VisitAberdeen, Steve Harris, says, “Aberdeen is such a thriving city with so much to offer in terms of activities and attractions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. As one of the few cities in the UK with a beach, water sports are always a favourite and the funfair provides the perfect family day out. What makes the city and the surrounding area so wonderful for weekend visitors is the range of activities to suit all budgets, ensuring tourists are able to live the cosmopolitan lifestyle but at a fraction of the cost.”

VisitAberdeen is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and the industry, the board is chaired by Colin Crosby and includes representatives from Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association, Aberdeen City Council and independent members. For further information about activities and attractions in and around Aberdeen click here.

Images © Visit Aberdeen

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