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Top Rated Attractions in Aberdeen

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Dunottar Castle

An astounding canopy of medieval might, this castle is an impressive ruined fortress perched on a rocky clifftop flanked by the shimmering waters of the sea. An iconic edifice steeped in history, the castle was first used by Franco Zeffirelli as the setting for his film version of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Dunnottar was once the stronghold of the Keith family, and has been fortified since prehistoric times. The site of a chapel consecrated to St. Ninian, the castle was captured by William Wallace from an English garrison in 1276, and it was under siege by Cromwell's Roundheads in 1650. Made unassailable after the 1715 rebellion, the castle fell into disrepair. Although having succumbed to the ravages of history, the castle was given a substantial facelift, having been restored to its original medieval glory, representing a wide variety of successive architectural styles. Gracefully residing in synchronization with the sea, the strategic Dunnottar Castle not only chronicles the legacy of the Keith family, but it also played an integral part in framing the course of Scotland's history.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum

For anybody interested in the history of one of Scotland's most famous regiments, this museum provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the brave men, who fought for their country and its future. Reopened in 1997, it contains a number of exhibitions looking at the regiment's service from the Napoleonic era, through two world wars and into the 21st century. Among the many exhibits are original uniforms, medals, weapons, hands-on interactive displays and original documentation, allowing you to truly peek into soldiers' lives of long ago. There are regular changes of temporary exhibits too. A tea-room and gift shop are on site and a beautiful garden sits behind the museum, dedicated to the memory of all those Highlanders who died in combat — a fitting tribute. The museum's opening hours vary according to season.

St Machar's Cathedral

This cathedral dates from 1131 and was rebuilt in 1532. It has been the home of various faiths, having started as Celtic, then Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and now Presbyterian. There are some fine ceilings and carved panels which accentuate the beauty of the interior, and the cathedral features a striking facade which is admired by all those who venture here.

Duthie Park and Winter Garden

Scenic gardens, a reindeer park, Japanese water garden, and a cactus house make up these spectacular environs. The gardens were opened by Princess Beatrice in 1883 and house plants from all over the world. There's a fine Victorian bandstand at the center and numerous monuments and sundials.

Brig 'o' Balgownie

Fashioned out of both sandstone and granite, this was the original Bridge of Don until the modern bridge assumed the name in the 19th Century. The structure was finished in 1320, thanks to the input of Robert the Bruce who required an open route of communication with the North Eastern communities. Approximately 18 feet (5.48 meters) high and 12 meters (39 feet) long, the bridge was renovated in 1605 by the burgh and remains a symbol of Scotland.

Footdee (Fittie)

Along the beach esplanade, at the harbor mouth, visitors can get a vivid picture of times past in Footdee (known as "Fittie"), a perfectly preserved 19th-century fishing village. The distinctive low houses with their windowless backs facing the sea, were essentially built as Aberdeen's first planned council scheme. The neat squares have retained their sense of community, and are given character by the colorful tarry huts and scattered artifacts (lifebelts, shells and model ships) which decorate homes and gardens.

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