Aberdeen Old Town Tour (Self Guided), Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen is characterized by well-preserved ancient dwellings, streets and some unique examples of architecture that present attractive point for all tourists visiting the city. Among the biggest draws of Aberdeen are King’s College, St. Machar’s Cathedral, and the Old Town House. Take this tour to discover the beauty of Aberdeen's Old Town.
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Aberdeen Old Town Tour Map

Guide Name: Aberdeen Old Town Tour
Guide Location: Scotland » Aberdeen (See other walking tours in Aberdeen)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: jenny
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Powis Gates
  • King's College Chapel
  • King's College
  • University of Aberdeen Museum
  • Old Town House
  • Cruickshank Botanic Gardens
  • Saint Machar's Cathedral
  • Wallace Tower
  • Seaton Park
  • Brig o' Balgownie
Powis Gates

1) Powis Gates

Just south of King's College and across High Street lie the Powis Gates, an impressive and imposing archway with a Near Eastern influence demonstrated in its 'minaret' towers. These were erected in 1834 by Hugh Fraser Leslie of Powis, the owner of an estate which formerly lay behind them. The Fraser Leslie Arms are visible on the obverse of the arch, with a shield on the reverse showing the bust of three black men - a link to the family's involvement in a grant of freedom made to their slaves in Jamaica. The entrance now leads to the University's Crombie-Johnston Halls of Residence.
Sight description based on wikipedia
King's College Chapel

2) King's College Chapel (must see)

King's College Chapel is the main chapel used by the University of Aberdeen. Forming the north side of the original quadrangle of King's College, construction of the chapel began in 1498 and ended with the consecration of the building in 1509. The most notable architectural feature of the Chapel is its Crown Tower, which has become an icon of the university as a whole. The chapel is dedicated to the Trinity and the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Nativity, yet also commemorates a number of Scottish and British monarchs, as well as the patrons and founders of the university. The name particularly recalls the College's main patron, King James IV of Scotland.

Particularly notable within the chapel are the choir stalls and rood screen, which date back to around 1509. These form the most complete medieval church interior in Scotland. Since 1928, the ante-chapel has been used as the university's war memorial: 524 students of the university are commemorated on its walls, having fallen in the First and Second World Wars. The design of the chapel, as well as its date of construction, were designed to evoke Solomon's Temple.
Sight description based on wikipedia
King's College

3) King's College

King's College is a formerly independent university founded in 1495 and an integral part of the University of Aberdeen. Its historic buildings are the centerpiece of the University of Aberdeen's Old Aberdeen campus, often known as the King's or King's College campus. The focal point of the college, as well as its oldest building, is the late 15th century King's College Chapel. A number of other historic buildings remain, with others subject to renovation and rebuilding in the 18th and 19th centuries. The original buildings and High Street form the heart of the modern campus and are still used for teaching, to house academic departments, and other university activities. In the later 20th century, the university expanded dramatically in size, dominating Old Aberdeen and expanding out from the High Street with a number of modern buildings. These buildings generally reflect the prevailing architecture of their period. The most recent building is the large University Library, completed in 2011.
Sight description based on wikipedia
University of Aberdeen Museum

4) University of Aberdeen Museum

University of Aberdeen holds a great number of exhibitions on different themes. There is an anatomy museum and a mineral museum. The first one has a collection of fluid-preserved specimens of human tissue, historical and modern models and works on paper, and a series of anatomical drawings by the known artist Alberto Morrocco. The mineral museum has a collection of minerals that the Geology Department collected through time.
Old Town House

5) Old Town House

The Old Town House was the original home of the Burgh's local government, completed in 1789. It was originally the centrepoint for trading in Old Aberdeen (still discernible in the widening of the street to accommodate trading booths), and the mercat cross (head late medieval, shaft more recent) stands outside it. The building is built of granite and is of restrained but elegant early Georgian design, with a fine cupola above the façade. It was acquired by the university in recent years, and was renovated in 2005.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cruickshank Botanic Gardens

6) Cruickshank Botanic Gardens (must see)

The Cruickshank Botanic Gardens were built on land bequested by Miss Anne Cruickshank to commemorate her brother Dr. Alexander Cruickshank. The Cruickshank Botanic Gardens are partly owned and financed by the University of Aberdeen and the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens Trust. The Friends of the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens actively promote and support it. Although open to the public, the gardens are extensively used for both teaching and research purposes. The Natural History Centre regularly guides school parties round the Gardens, and the Plant & Soil Science Department holds a reception for graduates and their guests here each July.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Machar's Cathedral

7) Saint Machar's Cathedral (must see)

Saint Machar's Cathedral is located to the north of the city centre, in the former burgh of Old Aberdeen. Technically, St Machar's is no longer a cathedral but rather a high kirk, as it has not been the seat of a bishop since the Reformation. The minister from 2004–2011 was the Reverend Dr Alan D. Falconer, who previously worked with the Secretariat of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. In 2011 the Reverend Jane Barron became the first female minister of St Machar's Cathedral.

The church is under the care of Historic Scotland, and contains an important group of late medieval bishops' tombs, protected from the weather by modern canopies. The Cathedral is chiefly built of outlayer granite. On the unique flat panelled ceiling of the nave (first half of the 16th Century) are the heraldic shields of the contemporary kings of Europe, and the chief earls and bishops of Scotland. The Cathedral is a fine example of a fortified kirk, with twin towers built in the fashion of fourteenth-century tower houses.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Wallace Tower

8) Wallace Tower

The Wallace Tower (Benholm's Tower) is located beside the River Don in the surroundings of Tillydrone. The castle was erected by Sir Robert Keith of Benholm around 1600. It has a unique Z-plan shape. Aberdonians have been referring to the site as the Wallace Tower, which is however not in reference to the Scottish National Hero, but a local pronunciation of the name Well-house (Wall-hoose).
Seaton Park

9) Seaton Park (must see)

Seaton Park is one of the city's biggest parks. It was bought by the city for use as a public park in 1947 from Major Hay. The River Don passes along the edge of the park. There is a beautiful flower bed area that is maintained to a high standard with new flowers planted every year, and also a secluded set of walled gardens next to a small (private) housing mews called Seaton Stables. The park is often used as a cut-through by the University of Aberdeen students to get from campus (via The Chanonry, alongside St Machar's Cathedral) to Hillhead Halls of Residence, in spite of warnings from University authorities to be cautious due to the lack of street lighting. Aberdeen Football Club often trains on the grass pitches in the park.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Brig o' Balgownie

10) Brig o' Balgownie

The Brig o' Balgownie (originally Bridge of Don) is a thirteenth century bridge spanning the River Don in Old Aberdeen. Construction of the bridge was begun in the late 13th century by Richard Cementarius, although its completion was not until 1320 at the time of the Scottish War of Independence. After falling into disrepair in the mid-sixteenth century it was extensively renovated in 1605. The bridge is constructed of granite and sandstone. Its single Gothic arch has a span of over 12 meters and at low tide the apex of the arch lies over 17 meters above the water-line. Today it is open to foot and bicycle traffic only. The bridge ceased to be a major route in 1830 when the new Bridge of Don was built five hundred yards downstream.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Aberdeen, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Aberdeen

Create Your Own Walk in Aberdeen

Creating your own self-guided walk in Aberdeen is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Aberdeen Introduction Walking Tour

Aberdeen Introduction Walking Tour

Aberdeen is also known by the nickname the Granite City because almost all historically-important buildings were built from this material, which makes Aberdeen such a beautiful place. Most of the important landmarks are located on Union Street. Take this tour to discover some of Aberdeen's most popular and beautiful landmarks.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Aberdeen's Historical Churches Tour

Aberdeen's Historical Churches Tour

Aberdeen has architecturally-intriguing beautiful churches and cathedrals that make this city enjoyable for tourists. Some of them are located in the old part of the city, dating back to its beginnings. If Aberdeen's history and architecture interest you, this tour is the perfect way to explore them through the city's churches and cathedrals.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Museums and Galleries Tour

Museums and Galleries Tour

Aberdeen has many museums in its center that specialize in local history. Galleries give visitors the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the works of local artists and to learn about the city's cultural richness. Take this tour to discover the offerings of Aberdeen's museums and galleries.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles