City of Aberdeen

City of Aberdeen
2020-12-15

Dhara Shah

Although Aberdeen during the pandemic has seen incredible change to its entertainment venues, in comparison to previous years, the current “tier 2” regulations still allow people to enjoy social interactions at the city’s bars and restaurants, albeit limited to no more than 6 people from 2 households.

Like many other students adapting to this unique academic year, I have had to look to bars, restaurants and cafes to satisfy the craving for human interaction beyond the classroom and zoom calls. Luckily, Aberdeen has a plethora of venues for all budgets that you can visit for an opportunity to meet friends.

While the nightclubs have remained shut, the pubs and bars have had many offers to make meeting friends for a couple of drinks easier on the pocket; with the likes of Revolucion de Cuba and All Bar One having their happy days that offer half priced cocktails and meal deals. Looking to the more festive and seasonal side, there is the outdoor Christmas Market where you can enjoy a nice warm mulled wine with a friend.

Coffee shops have become even more of a staple, as they provide an alternative to the isolation of remaining at home or the library, making meeting a friend over a relaxed coffee possible, either for a catchup or for a “study date”. With both chain and independent/small coffee shops and cafes dotted all over the city catering to majority of dietary requirements, it is unlikely that you will run out of options. Some personal favourites include Cult of Coffee, Avo, Foodstory and, if you fancy a walk, there is Corner Tree Café. Some even provide online events and activities.

If bars and cafes aren’t for you, there is Codonas and Lane 7 where one can play table tennis, pool or even go bowling. Aberdeen also boasts 4 cinemas, one of which is an independent one that regularly screens indie films. There are also museums and an art gallery where you can learn more about maritime, oil production and fishing in Aberdeen, as well as the historical makeup of the city.

While the pandemic has created a completely different university experience, it is the small mercies such as being able to meet for a drink, coffee or meal that have characterised this academic semester’s social interaction. Luckily, Aberdeen has a good selection of bars and cafes that provide a decent middle ground for socialising and nightlife. The city also hosts variety of other fun activities outside the hospitality sector which are worth a visit.

Laurence Teillet

The city of Aberdeen is full of beautiful, lively and interesting places. The ‘Granite City’ sure has remarkable architecture, and the different social venues are really appealing, but what I love most about the city are the numerous and wonderful outdoor places.

Especially right now with the blended learning approach, we are spending a lot of time inside, most of the time in our apartment. Going out for a walk, or simply to study outside, is a nice change of scenery and will help you get this much-needed boost of vitamin D.

If you need some fresh air, I have five recommendations for outdoor places in Aberdeen. All these locations are within walking or cycling distance from the University.

1) Westburn Park and Victoria Park

Westburn Park and Victoria Park are situated next to each other, in the Rosemount area of Aberdeen. The two public parks offer a nice break from the city while still being very close to the centre. They are especially interesting if you like to study outside. Victoria Park has a lot of benches, in different little hidden places. Westburn Park even has some picnic tables, which is very useful if you want to study. If you come during the week and in the morning, the parks are very tranquil and quiet.

The two locations are stunning during Autumn: the smell from all the dry leaves, and the conifers of the upper part of Victoria Park are lovely and reinvigorating.

Westburn Park

2) Seaton Park

Seaton Park is also a public park. This time, it is located closer to the University, in the Old Aberdeen area. If you have some time to spare during two seminars, for instance, I would recommend you take a walk there.

Seaton Park is a vast park, and there are always new things to discover. My favourite thing to do there is to walk alongside the river and enjoy the beautiful scenery. However, if the river is not your thing, there are also lovely flowerbeds down the centre of one of the park’s main pathways, with a view of Saint Machar cathedral.

 Seaton Park

3) King’s College

As law students, we are very fortunate to have King’s College as our main study location. The campus is breath-taking: from the Chapel to Powis Gate, all the buildings are remarkable. Hanging around King’s College gives the impression of a journey through time.

It brings me so much joy to arrive on campus in the morning and watch the sunrise above the Chapel. Similarly, at night, with the lighting, King’s college looks very mysterious and mystical.

In Autumn, red leaves cover the buildings; in the Winter, Christmas trees are installed. Whatever the season, it is always pleasing to spend some time in the little park in front of Elphinstone hall.

If you are willing to go a little farther, I have two more recommendations: the beaches and Tollohill Wood.

 Kings

4) Aberdeen beach, Donmouth beach and the lighthouse 

Everyone knows Aberdeen’s beach, in front of the esplanade. It is a lovely place and definitely a must-see. However, if you have time, I would recommend going a little further north, especially on a sunny day, to Donmouth beach.

The environment is much more natural, as it is situated in a calm and residential area of Aberdeen. However, it does attract a lot of people! Spending some time at Donmouth beach is almost like a small holiday, and I can assure you that you will come home refreshed and reinvigorated.

If you are lucky, you can even spot dolphins and seals! And if a cold bath is not your thing, a trip to Donmouth beach is worth it if only for the beautiful walk it offers.

Down in the south of Aberdeen, there is also the lighthouse. It is a lovely walk along the coast, and it offers a beautiful view of the city. And I must say, it can get pretty impressive in stormy weather!

Beaches in Aberdeen

5) Tollohill Wood

My final recommendation is Tollohill Wood. It is not the most famous or popular place, but I think it is a hidden gem. It is situated up a hill and offers a beautiful view of the city.

The forest is beautiful, and it looks as if you are being transported to a fantasy movie: from the old trees with impressive roots to the fairy-tale ponds, this place will definitely boost your imagination and your inspiration.

There are numerous different walking paths, and it is nice to explore them all and, for a moment, to get lost in the woods. Tollohill is very calm and soothing. I would even say that, for me, it is the best place to visit if you need a break from the city.

Tollohill Woods

Published by School of Law, University of Aberdeen

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