With art galleries, museums and some amazing annual events, Aberdeen’s art and culture scene is alive and kicking.
Culture in Aberdeen
Representing hundreds of artists, the Enid Hutt Gallery is a great place to explore and discover some amazing works. They also stock a wide selection of artwork spanning wall mirrors, metal sculptures and limited-edition prints. The store is located just off Union Street and is a fantastic place to browse while you’re shopping or sightseeing.
Located in the West End of Aberdeen, Gallery Heinzel has been promoting, exhibiting and selling contemporary Scottish art since 1990, with each guest exhibition rotating every two months or so.
A little further south of the city centre, Artists Gallery is a two-floor space dedicated to a wide range of art, including pop art, local prints, motorsport memorabilia, fine art and its own dedicated vintage and antique map room. The most alternative of all the galleries, it’s well worth the trip out for dedicated art fans.
For the full rundown of Aberdeen’s fascinating nautical history, head to our dedicated page on the Aberdeen Maritime Museum to find out more.
Not only is the Tolbooth Museum on Castle Street is one of the oldest buildings in Aberdeen – dating back to the 17th century – but, as a restored jail, it offers a fascinating insight into the life and crime through the ages. Step back in time to a 17th-century prison cell complete with original doors and barred windows; it’s every bit as grim as that sounds.
Described by Winston Churchill as the finest regiment in the world, The Highlanders’ 200-year history is brilliantly pieced together at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in the West End. Spanning battles in India, South Africa and both world wars, the Highlanders are brought back to life via a series of maps, life-size models, touch screens, uniforms, weapons, medals and more at this fascinating army-fuelled museum.
From tiny single-celled specimens to great whales, the University of Aberdeen Zoology Museum covers all animals great and small. Free to enter, the museum is located in the heart of old Aberdeen and is one of the earlier in Scotland, dating back to the 17th century.
For a more modern approach to history, the Science Centre is a family-friendly museum that is dedicated to telescopes, space and all things science. First opened in 1988, it has lots of kid-friendly displays and exhibits, live shows and workshops and has a central location on Constitution Street.
The leading entertainment hub in the north of Scotland, it’s no surprise that there’s lots going on in Aberdeen.
Starting with the most famous, the Aberdeen Highland Games attract around 15,000 guests each year, who all marvel at the fantastic feats of strength, the pipe band championships, the fun fair, kids’ activities, and food and drink tents. The event is held at Hazlehead Park to the west of the city centre – less than a 15-minute drive from our Westhill hotel – and takes place in June each year.
Now a 10-day affair held every March, the Aberdeen Jazz Festival takes over a range of venues across the city, including The Lemon Tree, The Tunnels and the Blue Lamp. It boasts a broad musical remit that covers jazz of all colours and hues, as well as soul, RnB, hip-hop, blues, world music and more.
Dark winter evenings are a regular fixture in Aberdeen, so the Spectra light festival brings some much needed light to the city centre. With this four-day festival, the city sparkles into life with a series of light and art installations covering some of the oldest buildings, while there are also several music and AV shows, pop-up events and more.
A two-day affair held every July, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival celebrates Scotland’s rich naval history with hundreds of boats taking part in displays and competitive racing. Held at Portsoy – 50 miles to the north of Aberdeen – the festival also has a large range of music, crafts, food and drink, with over 10,000 fans gathering to celebrate the region’s cultural heritage each year.
And finally, the Banchory Beer Festival is now into its sixth year and is a three-day celebration of beer and good times. Held in the picturesque Deeside town of Banchory every August, you can not only sup on dozens of beers and ciders, but there’s also plenty of live music, family activities, food and drink stands and more, making it a great day or weekend out. If you’re planning on discovering Banchory and all its beer-fuelled festival fun, our Aberdeen South (Portlethen) hotel is half an hour’s drive away.