The ‘Granite City’, Aberdeen is famous for its grand architecture, busy port and ancient university.
Get the train to Aberdeen and arrive in the heart of Scotland’s third largest city. Explore its maritime history, try the seafood fresh from the North Sea, or go for a round of golf on the seafront. And with links to Orkney and Shetland by ferry – Aberdeen is the start of a great adventure by sea.
Arriving by train gives you a taste of Aberdeenshire too. The views of the east coast are spectacular as you travel up from Glasgow or Edinburgh. And from Inverness, you’ll leave the picturesque Moray Firth behind as you travel through the heart of Speyside whisky country. Even better, you can take advantage of some brilliant offers when you arrive, including 2FOR1 entry to some of the city’s best attractions.
Getting to and from Aberdeen by train
- Edinburgh to Aberdeen – approx 2 hours 20 minutes
- Glasgow to Aberdeen – approx 3 hours 10 minutes
- Inverness to Aberdeen – approx 2 hours 10 minutes
Need to get to and from Aberdeen airport? Get the bus or a taxi from the city centre, which takes about half an hour.
One to two days in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan hub, with plenty to fill a weekend trip. Head for the city’s many shops, restaurants, and clubs for the full cosmopolitan experience. Then there’s the beach, seven parks, the harbour, and a pod of dolphins to watch at the harbour mouth in spring and summer.
Dive into Aberdeen’s old connections to the sea at the excellent Maritime Museum. Don’t miss the old fishing village, Footdee, at the east end of the harbour: it’s a beautiful example of the city’s long history as a fishing port.
There’s no shortage of culture either – try the intimate Lemon Tree for live music, or the larger Music Hall or His Majesty’s Theatre for concerts, opera, plays and dance. And the city hosts no less than ten festivals a year.
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Days out from Aberdeen
Further afield you’ll find Europe’s largest castle trail, where you can discover 19 of Scotland’s most famous castles. And for the most famous castle of all, visit Balmoral – the Scottish home of the Royal family – and the picturesque valley of Royal Deeside.
Along the coast there are plenty of fine beaches and dramatic coastal walks – or head inland for the Cairngorms National Park for some serious hiking and outdoor adventure. Book a trip in spring and summer, and you might catch one of the local Highland Games: with epic feats of strength and agility. Check VisitScotland for more information.
If golf’s your thing, you could easily fill a few days on the courses around Aberdeen – there are over 50 to choose from, with some of the best links in Scotland. Then, of course, there’s Speyside Scotch Whisky: take the train up to Elgin to arrive right at the centre of it all.
Take the train south along the east coast to visit Dundee (approx. 1h 15m). The waterfront city has transformed in recent years: discover life in the Arctic with Captain Scott on the RRS Discovery, or delve into the city’s industrial and cultural history at the McManus Museum.
Travelling on from Aberdeen?
Aberdeen is the gateway to the northern isles. Take NorthLink Ferries overnight to Orkney and Shetland – the harbour is just five minutes walk from the train station.
Heading south? Get the train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh for coastal views, two historic rail bridges, and arrive at the centre of everything at Edinburgh Waverley.
Ways to save...
- Spirit of Scotland Travel pass: 1-2 weeks of train, ferry and coach travel covering the whole country
- Rail & Sail: combine train and ferry travel into one ticket for more convenience and better value
- Kids Go Free: travel off-peak and up to two children aged 5-15 can travel free with each adult
- Railcards: see if you could save with a national or regional Railcard