Aberdeen is one of the oldest cities in the UK, a huge urban centre in Scotland and a key piece of the UK’s national infrastructure, but a lot of people don’t realise how truly interesting and unique “The Silver City” really is.
Surrounded by a national park twice the size of the Lake District, with a sea bursting with life and a heart to the city that reaches forward, out of the past and into a bright future, this bustling urban hub of Scottish life has so much to offer every student who comes here.
It is an incredible place to spend your student years, if you’re considering living in our student accommodation in Aberdeen then here are a few facts that might help you make up your mind:
1. It’s One of the UK’s Luckiest Cities (So Maybe Buy A Lottery Ticket While You’re There)
First things first, how likely are you to win the lottery while there? The answer is “surprisingly likely” – Aberdeen has had more than 40 lottery millionaires, making it one of the luckiest cities in the entirety of the UK. If you’re a lottery player, you never know what life in Aberdeen might bring!
2. It’s Been Rated The Safest City In the UK
Aberdeen has repeatedly been rated the safest city in the UK by personal financial firm Provident, using a survey of UK residents which took the Granite City to the top of the polls for safety.
Other surveys and studies have consistently placed Aberdeen as the safest city in Scotland and among the top safest cities in the UK – so the safety-conscious student should definitely consider this gorgeous Scottish seaside city when looking at University places.
3. It’s Nicknamed “The Granite City” And Is One Of The UK’s Biggest Granite Suppliers
Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed two common nicknames for Aberdeen above – “The Silver City” and “The Granite City”. These nicknames both come from the stunning stone that the city is largely made up of – locally-quarried granite was used to build many of Aberdeen’s most famous buildings.
This local granite was also shipped all around the UK and Europe for use in construction and monumental work, and it’s particularly distinctive because of the shining silver flecks of mica throughout, that catch the sun and glitter on sunny days.
This local granite was so popular that the quarry outside the city is the largest man-made hole in the UK, and it’s now closed and full of water, creating a stunning artificial lake in tribute to some of the country’s most beautiful stonework.
4. Aberdeen Is Home To A Record Number of Whiskey Distilleries
Scottish whiskey is famous all over the world for its quality and history, and distilleries all over the country have been perfecting their craft for literally hundreds of years. These whiskey distilleries make whiskey for export all over the world, where it will be enjoyed in the traditional Scottish style – neat, over ice, or with a drop of water, depending on how the person drinking it likes it best!
There are 17 whiskey distilleries in Aberdeen, and most of them are open to the public, so if you’re looking for a great day out, a trip around one of those distilleries is sure to be a fascinating and entertaining way to learn more about the history of the city and its culture.
5. 10% Of All Britain’s Famous Ancient Stone Circles Are In Aberdeen
Stonehenge is just one of the ancient Celtic stone circles in the UK – the druids and their followers built many, many more on these islands, thousands of years ago. These beautiful, ancient and mysterious relics can be found in huge numbers all around Aberdeen, which seems to have been a centre of particular interest for them – one in every ten stone circles in the UK is in Aberdeen!
Why not go to see them when you’re there, and follow that thread back into the country’s ancient past? It’s easier than you think with so many in one place!
6. It’s An Incredible Spot For Spotting Dolphins And Basking Sharks
Aberdeen, based on the Northeast Coast of Scotland, is home to one of the biggest working docks in the country – but this doesn’t scare off the wildlife. From the incredible viewing spots all around the waterfront, bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins can be seen leaping, playing and scouting for fish. Sometimes huge pods of these beautiful and intelligent animals gather in the waters off Aberdeen’s coast, so don’t miss the chance to see them!
Another spectacular natural sight in the waters off Aberdeen are the basking sharks – gentle giants who sift plankton out of the water. These slow-moving grazers are the second-largest sharks in the world – they’re around the length of a school bus! On warm, sunny days, they can be seen cruising just below the surface of the sea, and they’re truly a sight to behold.
Keep your eyes on the water around Aberdeen – it’s teeming with life, and you never know what you might see!
7. It Has A National Park That’s Double The Size of the Lake District
Cairngorms National Park is a huge area of wildlife conservation and wildlands, open to anyone with a love of the outdoors – and it’s twice as big as the whole Lake District!
Cairngorms is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with the same sort of striking landscape that’s made Aberdeen so popular with golfers, unspoiled and wild, and free to walk in or cycle through.
If you fancy a hike, or you want a little solitude and to escape the city for a while, there is no better spot than Cairngorms – just make sure to pack a flask and some sandwiches, since you might not want to stop walking out there once you get started!
Go for a dog walk, picnic there, birdwatch, cycle, hike, jog or just stroll and enjoy the scenery – there really is nowhere like Cairngorms National Park, and it won’t cost you a penny to enjoy it for yourself.
8. Aberdeen Was Once The Oil Capital of Europe
One of the reasons for Aberdeen’s growth and prosperity over the years has been North Sea oil – Scotland’s oil and natural gas refineries were a boom industry just off the coast by Aberdeen for decades, and they’re still in full swing today.
Extracting one of the most valuable resources of the 20th– and 21st-centuries made Aberdeen the place to be in UK energy for many years, and it was once called “The Energy Capital of Europe”. The city grew to accommodate the extra income and the influx of businesses and workers, and became the vibrant, exciting Aberdeen you see today!
9. Aberdeen’s Scots Dialect is Called Doric, and It’s So Distinctive That Some People Think It’s A Language All On Its Own
Scotland – like many nations with close family and tribal ties throughout the centuries – developed distinctive dialects across its various regions, but the one which developed around Aberdeen was especially unique. Called “Doric”, this offshoot of Scots is so unusual and distinctive from other Scots Gaelic dialects that some academics argue that it’s a language all of its own, and should be classed as a separate tongue altogether!
10. It’s Home To Scotland’s Oldest Bridge
Brig O’Balgownie, which you might cross if you’re around Seaton Park, is the oldest bridge in Scotland – begun in the late 13th-century, it was finished in 1320, making it 700 years old this year! It’s still standing strong and in operation today, and many students cross it on their way to and from town, probably not even realising that they’re walking on one of the oldest bridges in the UK!
11. Aberdeen Is A Paradise For Golfers
Believe it or not, there are more than SEVENTY golf courses within an hour’s travel of Aberdeen Airport. The environment is perfect for them, with incredible views and stunning natural scenery, so if you’re interested in golf (or if you’re doing a degree in travel and tourism) be sure to check them out!
Aberdeen’s golf courses have drawn interest from American and International golf giants, and the city has blossomed into an active and thriving social and sporting scene for golfers.
12. It’s Got Very Low Levels of Unemployment
One of the main worries for students is about employment once they graduate, but those of you who decide to stay in Aberdeen don’t have anything to worry about – it’s got one of the lowest unemployment rates in the UK!
With years of fossil-fuel prosperity bringing growth and money into the city thanks to the offshore oil rigs, unemployment in Aberdeen Donside is around 1.8%. This is one of the reasons why it’s not just a great city to look for a job in – it could be a great city to start a business in, too!
13. Aberdeen Is The Home of The UK’s Oldest Printed Newspaper
Aberdeen is home to The Press and Journal, a print newspaper serving Northern and Highland Scotland, which was first started in 1747 and has been running ever since! That’s the sort of unbroken line into the past that you can only get in a city like Aberdeen, and it’s incredible that the paper is still in print. Originally called “The Aberdeen Journal”, its editors have included the famous Scottish poet, William Forsyth.
It’s just another example of Aberdeen’s deep and storied connection to the history of Scotland, a history that carries on unbroken for hundreds of years. Why not pick up a copy of The Press and Journal while you’re there, and keep your own little bit of Scottish history with you?
14. Aberdeen Is The Third-Largest City In Scotland
Aberdeen is a major urban centre in Scotland – it’s the third-largest city, with a population of more than 200,000 people. One look at the city and it’s obvious that it’s a bustling urban hub, with a vibrant nightlife, an incredible high street and hundreds of gorgeous independent shops and cafes where students can spend their time, explore, and find exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re looking to have your student experience in a city that combines the beauty of wild Scotland with a buzzing, lively city, a city with thousands of years of history that still looks to the bright future, then Aberdeen is the perfect place for you!
15. There Are More Than 30 Places Called “Aberdeen” In The World!
“Aberdeen” is a surprisingly common name for towns and cities across the world – there are Aberdeens in the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and even Hong Kong!
It seems that anywhere touched by Scottish settlers or Scots looking for a new life has an Aberdeen all of its own – although we couldn’t guarantee that those Aberdeens have the beauty, history and unique charm of the original in Scotland!