The Harbour is still the heart of Aberdeen. The Fish Market is now only a fraction of its original size, but it is still an essential tourist sight. The time to visit it is in the early morning. Beyond the Harbour lies Footdee, a picturesque old fishing village. From the Harbour a 2 mile long beach of superb sand stretches all the way to the estuary of the River Don and between the beach and the city lies an eighteen-hole golf course.
In Aberdeen, even public buildings look like castles and the Salvation Army Citadel in Castlegate, closed Friday, which dominates the view down Union Street, the city's main thoroughfare, is a mini-Balmoral. Mercat Cross, Castlegate is the finest burgh cross surviving in Scotland, erected in 1688. Marischal College, Broad Street, Aberdeen, is the second biggest granite building in the world, built in 2012. It is not open to the public, but the enormous stained glass window of its Mitchell Hall can be seen when visiting the fascinating Anthropological Museum (Open All Year).
Provost Skene's House, named after seventeenth century merchant Sir George Skene and developed from a late medieval tower house, is in the courtyard of St Nicholas House. The attic is a museum of local history. Closed Sunday.
Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Provost Ross's House, Shiprow, Open All Year. A new museum in a sixteenth century house, tracing the city's seafaring connections, from early trading and fishing to North Sea oil and gas. To a background of sea shanties the visitor can study very beautiful models and fascinating documents. The highlight of the oil section is a huge model of Murchison oil platform, whose main deck, we are told, is as big as Pittodrie football pitch, where Aberdeen Football Club play.
Also worth a visit are James Dun's House, Schoolhill, Open All Year, closed Sundays; St Nicholas Church, half way up Union Street, Aberdeen's original parish church; Wallace Tower, Tillydrone, originally built in 1616; St Andrews Cathedral, King Street, which has a memorial to Bishop of Seabury, the first bishop of the United States who was consecrated in Aberdeen; His Majesty's Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct, magnificently restored to make it one of the most beautiful theatres in the country; Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Open All Year, with an excellent collection of Impressionist paintings, sculpture, Scottish silver and glass; and the Gordon Highlanders' Museum in Viewfield Road, open Sundays and Wednesdays only.
In Old Aberdeen, a mile or so north of Aberdeen city centre lies Kings College with its glorious sixteenth-century Crown Tower and Chapel (open Monday to Friday), the sole surviving buildings of the original university; High Street, Chanonry, Don Street, all contain many interesting houses, some with crow-stepped gables and set irregularly on the street, some facing it and others gableend-on. Single-storey houses stand beside taller ones, and the roofs of many are of red pantiles. It is a typical ancient Scottish East Coast township, well preserved, and always with something interesting to see; the Town House, High Street, is a delightful Georgian building standing sentinel in the middle of the street; St Machar's Cathedral, Chanonry, a fourteenth-century granite fortified cathedral with twin spires. On the wall inside a large-faced eighteenth-century clock ticks away the hours and in Don Street is the historic Brig 0' Balgownie built about 1286.
In a city devoted to flowers all the public parks are worth a visit, especially Haziehead Park, Groats Road/Hazlehead Avenue, open May to September, which has a Maze; Duthie Park, Polmuir Road/Riverside Drive, with a hill of roses and gorgeous Winter Garden; Victoria Park, Westburn Road, which contains a scented garden for the blind, and Seaton Park, Don Street for its roses.
Aberdeen is an excellent shopping centre, Union Street and its surrounding area including nationally known names and with the permanent Aberdeen Market, Market Street. Landaus and a stagecoach - the old Matlock to Sheffield coach - take visitors for pleasure rides in summer.
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