We’ve pulled together the perfect itinerary for when you’re visiting Aberdeen; explore the granite city like a local.
City breaks can be overwhelming at the best of times – you want to make the most of your time there but you also want to be able to relax after a busy day of sightseeing, shopping and eating out!
For anyone visiting Aberdeen for the first time, or for anyone else for that matter who wants to know about the best places recommended by locals, here’s our suggested 24 hour itinerary so you can really get know how to spend a day in Aberdeen, getting the absolute most out of your stay, which should without a doubt be at The Doric Apartment. It has the most comfortable beds, modern, stylish interior and private parking for you to enjoy.
Breakfast – One of the first things to do in Aberdeen!
For the most important meal of the day, you need a strong start. We suggest Bio Cafe, who specialise in free from food, guilt free food. This super cool cafe is a 10 minute drive or a 20 minute bus ride from The Doric, and like these guys say themselves, you don’t have to be a vegetarian, vegan, or follow raw or gluten free diets to fall in love with this menu! In more detail, the new sharing breakfast board is our number one choice. Wow, is all we have to say about that. You’ll be delving into a feast of yogurt and granola, fresh fruit, waffles and sandwiches, with the option for one or two people.
Next up, we would recommend a trip to Aberdeen Art Gallery (a 5 minute walk from Bio Cafe). Back in 2019 the Art Gallery relaunched after a 4 year redevelopment supported by Aberdeen City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, led by Hoskins Architects. With more treasures on display and vastly improved visitor facilities Aberdeen Art Gallery, which includes the Cowdray Hall concert venue and the Remembrance Hall, is a must-see on any visit to the city.
After taking in all that culture and storytelling, it’ll obvioulsy be time for a coffee stop. Try the award winning Jojo’s Coffee Shop. It’s right across the road from Aberdeen Art Gallery on Belmont Street (where there’s also a popular Farmer’s Market held on the last Saturday of every month). Whilst all the classic coffee options are there, we just wanted to mention that also on the menu you will find monthly specials – listen to this… drumroll: milk and white Belgian hot chocolate infused with hazelnut topped with marshmallows, cream and crushed Kinder Bueno pieces! Let us know what you choose when you visit.
Your fuel stop is over and you’ll be feeling revived and ready for more sightseeing, so how about a treasure hunt to find the murals that were part of the Nuart Aberdeen Festival back in June 2022? For a self guided walking tour map, click here. Street artists from across the world came together in Aberdeen, to create 10 astounding murals. Our favourites are…
The Punishment’ by Slim Safont – was voted the most popular mural of the festival. It explores what the adult version of the tedious punishment from his school years would be.
Slim said: “When I was thinking about this concept, I thought about reconnecting with something when I was a kid and I remembered my time in school and the punishment we got when we were kids.
I tried to reconnect punishment from the young age to a punishment from adult life – paying taxes.”
Also nearby is ‘Welcome’ by Pejac, and right at the door of the Citizen Advice Bureau on Union Street (a 5 minute walk from Jojo’s). This is impressive – it’s called ‘Welcome’, and he has created a crowd dispersing with lots of little people initially forming the word, except the people disperse so each letter becomes less prominent.
Hungry? Lunch at Foodstory is up next (4 minute walk from ‘The Punishment and 14 minute walk from ‘Welcome’ murals). The founders created this dream spot in 2013. They wanted to launch a space where anyone of any age or walk of life could – not just visit and eat great food – but come together and feel part of a community through art and music. The shelves are a bit wonky, the chairs are odd but it only adds to the charm and the food – well, we’re all about the classic soup and a sandwich combo but choose from hot pots wraps and salads galore.
After a good feed, have a daunder around some small independent shops such as Cloudy Blue – (9 minute walk from Foodstory) – owned by local illustrator Amy Singer. You’ll find beautiful unique gifts, homeware and cards that Amy’s carefully curated for all age groups and occasions, not to mention the cards and prints that can be personalised while you wait if she’s around when you’re in town.
You must also stop into Rosemount Market – another stylish independent store, and just along the street from Cloudy Blue. Here, you’ll be able to stock up on fresh local products from Scottish craft alcohol to cards, candles and accessories. Rosemount is one of the only real high streets in Aberdeen where locals can shop in one area and have a full and diverse range of amazing local businesses all on the doorstep. There’s a gift shop, a cheese shop, a sweetie shop, a butcher, cafes, hairdressers and a plant shop! Talk about the ideal shopping experience.
Time for a tipple? We think so too. Head on to Grape & Grain (a 12 minute walk from Rosemount Market), a luxurious wine bar located in the West End of Aberdeen. If you fancy the grain over the grape, you’ll find a selection of some of the finest craft beers brewed in Scotland, as well as lots of Scottish spirits. The story behind Grape & Grain really highlights how the owner Jeanette Forbes OBE (awarded for Services to Business, Technology and Charity – wow!) has been so thoroughly involved throughout the creation of this gem, as well as how much it symbolises what her home city means to her personally. The curved ribs of the ceiling resemble the waves of the North Sea, the mirrored wall and ceiling reflects the River Dee and River Don, the black granite bar with threads of gold and silver represent the black gold of Aberdeen’s oil industry. We love this – admire and take it all in over a delicious, fresh glass of Spanish Rioja.
Dinner is Served
It’s been a while since your lunch date at Foodstory, so now it’s dinner at The Albyn as a proper treat (4 minute walk from Grape & Grain). We would push you to try the lobster mac and cheese; DELICIOUS. This is a family run restaurant that prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients – a traditional Scottish menu with an upbeat twist!
Then it’s back to The Doric to put your feet up, reminisce about the day and get all your photographs uploaded to the Gram! When you book a weekend stay before the end of the year, you’ll even get a complimentary bottle of fizz to celebrate such a successful, fun and downright enjoyable Scottish city break!
Stay at ‘The Doric’, Aberdeen for the weekend and enjoy a complimentary bottle of fizz!
Set on the first floor of a immaculately-maintained modern block, this apartment has everything you need for your stay in Aberdeen.
There’s ample off-street parking and attractively landscaped gardens. Inside are two double bedrooms, each tastefully and individually styled. The comfortable lounge adjoins a dining area with seating for 4, making entertaining easy. The bathroom is ultra-modern with an oversized walk-in shower and heated towel rail.
The kitchen is fully equipped including an essential coffee machine.
It really is the ideal base for exploring this fun, culture driven, easy going city.