by Stevie Brown
Aberdeen is an economic powerhouse and continues to be the top performing city in Scotland. And with £9 billion being invested in the North-east infrastructure, it is future-proofing itself not only as a great place to work and study, but more importantly, live.
Research by PwC revealed that Aberdeen ranked in the top 10 in The Good Growth for Cities Index. It measures the performance of 42 of the UK's largest towns and cities with an objective of demonstrating that there is more to life, work and general wellbeing than simply measuring GDP.
The upper east side of Scotland is a thriving cosmopolitan corner of the country with a diverse array of rich cultural experiences available. It can at times be difficult to know where to start; so here is a run down of the top five things to see and do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Feast On The Finest Food
The Aberdeen region is quickly establishing itself as Scotland's foodie destination of choice thanks to a winning recipe of quality produce and world class talent. From farmers and fishermen to producers and chefs, the appeal of Scottish food can be felt around the globe.
Last year travel guide experts, Lonely Planet, named Stonehaven's The Bay as the best fish and chip shop in the world, it's seaside location undoubtedly helps to create a memorable foodie experience where it's a common sight to see people sitting along the Stonehaven beachfront tucking into the fresh catch of the day.
The North-east is home to nine eateries listed in the Michelin Guide, including Moonfish Café, home of head chef Brian McLeish, a runner up on BBC's Master Chef the Professionals.
One of the sumptuous dishes at the Moonfish Cafe
Drink In The Spirit Of Scotland
In recent years the North-east has become something of a brewing and distilling hot-spot, adding craft beer, gin and even tequila to the iconic whisky product line-up. One of the biggest producers to emerge from Aberdeenshire is the phenomenal success story of BrewDog. Once brewed in a garage, the controversial Aberdeenshire brand now has over 50 bars world-wide, and plans to build a new hotel complete with beer taps in rooms. The Dog Walk tour of the Ellon brewery is a popular visitor attraction, and the evolution of one of Scotland's newest and most successful drinks brands shows no sign of slowing, and now also produce whisky, vodka and gin.
Taking The Brewdog Tour
Full On Festivals
You could say the testament of a good festival or event is its ability to transport you from the normal hustle of everyday life, to a place where you forget about your daily worries. Here in North-east of Scotland our thriving festival and events calendar translates into a thousand languages and has the ability to create a memorable immersive experience for locals and visitors alike.
The popularity of the growing events calendar is attracting creative minds and athletic prowess from throughout the world to display their work and compete at our unique city latitude. Where else would you find a giant plastic unicorn affixed to the side of a building in stark contrast to a cityscape of historic silver granite buildings?
Explore Natural Wonders
The Cairngorm National Park, the largest of its kind in the UK, presents visitors with a stunning backdrop of panoramic mountain views which reflect on the mirror like lochs that lie beneath them. Rugged beautiful landscapes are home to majestic stags that roam the hills and moors, while golden eagles soar high above the tree tops. It's a place that, like the many people before, will leave you feeling awe inspired. It is little surprise that in a list of 20 of the most relaxing holiday destinations in the world by travel publication Rough Guides, the Cairngorm National Park ranks as one of the best.
Just over 40 miles East of Balmoral lies one of the greatest coastlines in the world. A 165-mile-long strip which includes golden sandy beaches, hidden caves and rugged cliffs. Described by National Geographic as 'one of the world's outstanding coastlines' thanks to its areas of natural beauty, featuring puffins, seals and dolphins, set against an unblemished backdrop of big skies and deep blue seas. Small traditional fishing villages punctuate the coastline, built between the sea and cliffs. Take a step back in time at Crovie village located on the Banffshire Coast area of Aberdeenshire. Often regarded as the best-preserved traditional fishing village in Europe, Crovie is perched between the base of a cliff and the sea, where there are no shops or roads in the village which consists of a single row of houses.
Buchan Ness Lighthouse
A Place Fit For A King Or Queen
The British Royal family has been visiting Aberdeenshire for over 100 years as their summer holiday destination of choice. It's a place that remains close to Prince Charles's heart, and in 2015 when storms damaged Ballater, a local village located just six miles from Balmoral Castle, the Prince wanted to support the local community and opened a new restaurant and luxury gift shop to help rejuvenate the community. The result is a restaurant which in just a few years has been recognised as the North East of Scotland Restaurant of the Year, and gained entry into the Michelin Guide.
To plan what you're going to do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire click on visitabdn.com for more great experiences.
*Photos courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire