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A weekend in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with Loganair

Ad - This was a paid press trip with Visit Aberdeenshire and Loganair

When someone mentions Aberdeen what do you think of? Oil and gas will probably come to mind, or perhaps you picture grey buildings and not much colour. After all, Aberdeen is known as the 'glittering granite city'! I knew it was somewhere I would love to visit eventually but I didn't know if it was convenient to get to from Newcastle.

When Visit Aberdeenshire contacted me and asked if I would like to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for the weekend with Loganair I jumped at the chance. I was so excited to see what it was like as I didn’t know what to expect but I always love the chance to explore somewhere new.

Getting to Aberdeen from Newcastle with Loganair

Loganair launched a new direct flight route to Aberdeen this month, making it easier and more convenient than ever to visit Scotland's third largest city. The airline offers up to fifteen flights a week, with standard fares including a generous baggage allowance and complimentary drinks and snacks.

My journey with Loganair was so fast and efficient. It was one of those flights where you seem to be fastening your seat belt for landing about three seconds after you have taken off! Overall it was a very easy and relaxing flight, with us landing in Aberdeen within 50 minutes of taking off. The journey back was even more speedy, with the pilot announcing that flight time was expected to be 27 minutes! I loved the views from the plane, it felt like being in my own private helicopter.


With the added bonus of no baggage to wait for as I decided to just take hand luggage, I was through the terminal in less than 10 minutes. I was kindly picked up from the airport but there is a very convenient bus route. The 727 runs frequently from the airport and costs from as little as £3.70 to get to the city centre.

My Aberdeen Accommodation

I stayed in the beautiful Sandman Signature for the weekend, which is a 4* hotel ideally located in the city centre. I had a large corporate suite, which had a business feel with beautiful, minimalist decor. I loved having plenty of space to work on my blog when I finished my daily activities.

The bed was gigantic and so comfortable. There is something so luxurious about having a huge hotel bed to yourself! I was pleased with how quiet the hotel was at night which meant that I slept well.

The breakfast was a hot and cold buffet with plenty of choice. I definitely filled my boots and even had the obligatory helping of haggis one morning. When in Scotland!


I must mention how aesthetically pleasing the communal areas of the hotel are. I got tonnes of interior inspiration and absolutely loved this umbrella decoration in the lobby. It really was a lovely place to stay and I looked forward to getting back to my room each day.

Exploring Aberdeen's city centre

Marischal College

The first stop on my self-guided walking route, planned by the lovely folks at Visit Aberdeenshire, was Marischal College. This stunning building dates back to 1593 and was once Aberdeen's university. It is the second largest granite building in the world, the first is in Madrid.


The first thing I noticed about Aberdeen is how quiet the city centre was for a Saturday which was a huge bonus. I love being able to see popular sights and take photos without too many people around. Within five minutes I knew the rumours about the city being a sea of grey weren't true when I spotted these beautiful rainbow steps just near the college.

Nuart Street Art Walking Tour

As part of my trip to Aberdeen I was lucky enough to catch one of Nuart's free walking tours to appreciate the fabulous street art which has popped up around the city. It has been running since 2017 and features some of the most acclaimed and progressive street artists in the world. It celebrates art as being accessible to all and displayed for everyone to see, rather than being hidden away in a gallery. I could write a full blog post about this tour alone but here are some of my favourite pieces we saw and why I loved them so much.

This work is by Hush who is from my hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This was a huge wall and to get the outline of the design just right, projectors were used to project the image onto the wall at night when it could be seen more clearly.

This work was created to symbolise the fight for Scottish independence. I loved hearing the stories behind the artwork and there was a clear passion shown by the different artists.

This was definitely my favourite piece of art we visited. The artist painted this free-hand using spray cans, just looking at a reference photo! It is painted on Primark's wall. They donated this wall to the Nuart organisation, on the condition that the artist didn't paint the facial tattoos. He ignored this and painted them into the design, but it has never been questioned by Primark!

Exploring Old Aberdeen

I don't like choosing favourites, but I really did love the older part of Aberdeen and this sticks out for me as the nicest part of the city. You will know by now if you follow my blog and Instagram that I really love seeking out beautiful houses and the small, winding streets of Old Aberdeen were packed with them.

It was so nice to just wander aimlessly, choosing all the houses I would buy if I won the lottery. The weather was ideal; I worried it would be cold, but it was sunny and dry all weekend. To get to this part of the city I took a bus from near my hotel, but it is possible to walk in about 25 minutes.


Aberdeen University

I didn't know what to expect from the university but I didn't expect it to be quite so beautiful. I spent a long time photographing this building as I loved it so much and it made me really excited for autumn. It's really such a beautiful university, and with graduations being held at the stunning Marischal College I shared above, I can understand why students would choose to study here.


I happened to stumble across a Chinese event where I was invited inside for a tea ceremony which was lovely. It was nice to see the university making such an effort to be diverse and make their international students and visitors feel welcome.


St. Machar Cathedral

This fifteenth century cathedral is the oldest building actively used in the city. I wandered inside and spent a few moments listening to a singer and marvelling at the world-famous, beautiful ceiling. I stuck to outside photos as I don't know about you but I never feel quite right taking photos inside a church, especially when there is a service happening!


Seaton Park

My next stop was this huge green park in Old Aberdeen which isn't far from the cathedral. It is lovely and peaceful, with just a few dog walkers about when I visited. I didn't know Aberdeen had so much green space so it was really nice to see such a lovely park for locals to enjoy. It was Saturday afternoon by this point but I was still impressed at how quiet the streets around the Old Town were. It really is a great area to visit if you want to relax as part of your trip without fighting off hordes of tourists.


Aberdeen Food Discoveries

My main love in life has to be food, so I was very excited to see what the culinary scene of Aberdeen had to offer. This is just the selection of restaurants I tried, I saw some other lovely options which I would definitely like to come back and try. There are a great number of independent cafes I have my eye on as well when I have more time.

Moonfish Cafe

On my first evening in Aberdeen, I went straight to Moonfish Cafe from the airport. The chef was a runner up on Masterchef and this quality shines through in the dishes he serves. The dishes were all very colourful and tasty, with an emphasis on local produce and British cuisine with a twist.

I had a smoked haddock risotto which was delicious but absolutely huge! It isn't one of those fancy restaurants where you leave feeling as hungry as when you got there. I was already full before my main came but I really enjoyed it: halibut and pork belly with sides of minted green vegetables and potatoes.

What I loved most about this restaurant was the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. All too often when you get food of this standard the atmosphere can be stuffy and unwelcoming, but it wasn't at all like that. The chef came out to greet us and to check we enjoyed our food which was a nice touch, and all the staff were friendly and helpful.


Brewdog Castlegate

Lunch on my second day could only be at one place: Brewdog, with its headquarters in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and three venues in the city centre. I went to Castlegate where the staff were very welcoming. I had a plate of their buttermilk deep fried chicken wings and a beer flight with beers selected for me to wash my food down.

I really enjoyed sampling different flavours and would recommend the beer flight if you visit Brewdog. My favourite, on the right-hand end of the photo, had a hint of melon and was really nice and fruity to balance the spicy sauce on the chicken wings. It's called 'hazy' if you want to give it a try next time you are in Brewdog.


Vovem Meat & Liquor

My second evening meal was at Vovem which is a beautiful steak restaurant in the heart of Aberdeen. The basement houses 21 Crimes, a 1920's speakeasy which requires a passcode for entry. I didn't manage to make it down this time, but I always like an excuse to re-visit a city and I will definitely try out this bar when I return to Aberdeen. If you have been please let me know what it's like.

I opted for the sirloin steak and my server recommended sides of truffle mac'n'cheese and cabbage with pancetta. It was all delicious!

Somehow I managed to squeeze in a creme brulee for dessert which tasted nice and home made. I was so full after this epic feast that I had to go straight back to my hotel for a lie down! I was worried about eating alone at Vovem but once the waitress realised I wasn't waiting for anyone she went out of her way to chat to me and look after me, so I really appreciated that. It's clearly a restaurant which goes the extra mile and looks after its customers.


A day trip to Stonehaven

On my second day in Aberdeenshire, I got the train to nearby Stonehaven which took less than 20 minutes. The views were outstanding! I would take this journey again for the views alone.

When I arrived in Stonehaven, I made my way straight down to the beach where I spotted a number of metal sea-themed sculptures. The identity of the sculptor has never been revealed, which reminded me of the mysterious Banksy, and I got the impression that art is really important to Aberdeenshire.


Stonehaven Harbour

After following the coastline for a while I ended up walking up to Stonehaven Harbour, which is everything you could want from a picture-perfect seaside location. I spent a while admiring the various restaurants and B&Bs lining the edge of the harbour, and made friends with a couple of lovely cats.


Coastal Walk

From the harbour I made my way up to the coastal walking route which takes you all the way around the Stonehaven coastline to the castle. It is approximately a 50-minute walk and not too tricky but you do need good mobility as some areas are slightly rocky and you need to walk through dunes. 

It was a very relaxing walk with the lovely sea breeze but I can imagine it being quite chilly in winter! There was an abundance of wide-open space to my right and waves crashing to my left which made for absolutely stunning views.

I loved the aerial view of the harbour on my way into the castle. It was an ideal resting point about half way along the route.


Dunnottar Castle

At the end of the walk I reached this stunning castle. The rock on which the castle now stands is 440 million years old! In 1925 it was purchased by the Pearson family who lovingly restored it and opened it to the public. 


Dunnottar Castle is now a popular visitor attraction. It took me about 30 minutes to explore but I could have spent longer relaxing there and taking in the sea views if I had more time. There is a handy car park which means you can visit without the bumper walk that I did, although I would recommend that for a full day out.


The Bay Fish and Chips

I ended my weekend in Aberdeenshire as all good weekends should end, with a good old portion of fish and chips! I visited the award-winning fish and chip shop, The Bay, which has been ranked as one of the top food experiences in the entire world by Lonely Planet.

I had a standard portion of haddock, chips and mushy peas which was plentiful but not too filling. I am quite fussy about my peas but The Bay got them spot on, and the fish was lovely and light without that greasy feeling you often get. The chips were light and fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside. It was lovely eating them down on the beach!

Just like that my short but sweet time in Aberdeenshire came to an end with a quick and easy Loganair flight back to Newcastle. I had the loveliest weekend exploring the area and I can't wait to go back to see more of it. 

I would definitely recommend Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a weekend break from Newcastle and it was a pleasure seeing everything the city had to offer. This was yet another reminder that we do not need to travel far to see amazing sights, try fantastic food and soak up culture! I am already looking forward to my next visit.

For more information and to book your trip to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, just visit NewcastleToAberdeen.com/Loganair


10 comments

  1. I've never been to Aberdeen, I've only been to Edinburgh and Eyemouth in Scotland. Living in Newcastle, I'm surprised I haven't visited more of Scotland. It looks like such a lovely city. Sandman Signature are amazing hotels, I stayed in the one opposite St James Park recently it was so nice.


    https://shellyspassport.blogspot.com/

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    1. I've genuinely loved everywhere I've been in Scotland and would love to see more! Aberdeenshire was a great area and I feel like I barely touched the surface. Yes I was so impressed with the hotel and wondered if ours was as nice. Thanks for reading, Melis :)

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  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time exploring Aberdeen, I have always fancied visiting as I love exploring Scotland but it always seemed such a treck to get there. How handy you can fly there from Newcastle in such a short amount of time, I will keep this in mind next time we plan a night away without the kids as we always head to Edinburgh but I fancy a change x

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    1. It was so easy, I'd definitely recommend looking out for deals (as I will be) as the flight times were great for a weekend away! I am definitely going to re-visit. Melis x

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  3. What a gorgeous area! I love that there's a direct route from Newcastle now. I went to Uni with a girl from Aberdeen and loved her accent - RANDOM FACT! haha.

    All of the street art really reminds me of Bristol which I did not expect!

    Looks like you had a lush time x

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    1. Haha love the fact! It's somewhere I thought I'd love to see but it felt like miles away, so now we can get there so easily I would definitely pop up again as I loved the flight times. I really did thank you! X

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  4. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of Aberdeen but I really want to see more of Aberdeenshire! There are so many beautiful castles, and Stonehaven looks lovely! Also that guy who painted the man and the dog is the same artist who's done all the incredible murals in Glasgow, which is some of my favourite street art in the world. I didn't realise he'd done one in Aberdeen so I'll have to check that out next time I'm there!

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    1. There is so much to be explored in the region, I loved it! Is it really, I loved his work and that's great to know. Must re-visit Glasgow and check it out, thanks! Melis

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  5. It all looks amazing! Your review has made me want to visit Aberdeen/shire now.

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