Your Aberdeen City Guide
12 January 2018
Aberdeen is a small cosmopolitan city on Scotland’s beautiful west coast. It’s known for its historic old quarter and signature grey architecture, which has earned it the affectionate nickname of The Granite City. Choose to study in Aberdeen, and you can look forward to history and culture in abundance, as well as the usual amenities you’d expect from one of the UK’s foremost university cities – from shopping and nightlife, to first-rate sport and leisure facilities.
Aberdeen’s two universities, including the prestigious University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University, are centrally located, for easy and convenient access from most areas of the city. The city centre is also where you’ll find The Combworks, a state-of-the-art student accommodation complex offering the privacy of independent living within easy reach of Aberdeen’s bustling university community.
Our Aberdeen destination guide is here to help students get the most from their experience of living and studying in the city, providing everything from tips and places of interest, to information on getting around the city.
Use the links below to navigate around the guide.
Area Guide | The Combworks
Student Life in Aberdeen
Area Guide | The Combworks
The Combworks is a brand-new student complex, offering the privacy of independent living with the security of 24/7 help and support from the experienced Aparto team. The building is located on George Street, and offers convenient access to the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University, as well as Aberdeen’s historic city centre, with all its student-friendly amenities.
George Street is one of Aberdeen’s major retail and nightlife thoroughfares, running from Kittybrewster in the north to the city centre in the south. It hosts a growing number of shops, bars and restaurants, and is a major transport link into the city centre, with regular bus stops and dedicated cycle lanes.
The Combworks building is located close to the junction between George Street and Hutcheon Street, offering good access to the newly-constructed Aberdeen ring road, which links the city to the airport. Below, we’ve listed how to get from the apartment building to the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, and the city centre, via public transport, on foot or by bike.
Directions and Getting Around
University of Aberdeen
By Bus | 12 Minutes
The main University of Aberdeen campus is 12 minutes from The Combworks by bus. Simply board the Platinum 19 bus (which departs every 12 minutes) on a northbound direction from George Street, and alight at the Meston Walk stop on Beston Road, which is directly outside the university campus.
By Bike | 6 Minutes
Beginning at George Street, head east on Hutcheon Street and follow the road until you reach the roundabout. Take the second exit and continue on Mounthooly Street, before taking a left turn on to King’s Crescent. Follow the road north onto College Bounds, then turn right on to University Rd. The campus will be on your left.
Walking | 20 Minutes
Follow the directions listed above to walk to the university.
Robert Gordon University
By Bus | 40 Minutes
Reaching the Robert Gordon University is a 40-minute bus journey, requiring the use of two different services (alternatively, you can make the short walk into town and board the bus there). Start by walking on to Powis Pl, a 5-minute walk from The Combworks via Fraser Pl. Board the southbound number 9 bus and alight at St Nicholas Kirk (Stop F7). Then, board the 1A service to Garthdee, alighting at the Robert Gordon University campus stop on Garthdee Rd.
By Bike | 30 Minutes
The fastest way to reach the Robert Gordon University campus is by bike, with the journey taking between 25-30 minutes. Cycle southward towards the city centre, before taking a right on to St Andrew St. Follow the road until you reach the Schoolhill T-junction, turn right and then take the next left on to Union Terrace. Take a right on to Union Street, and follow the road until you reach the dedicated cycleway. Follow this all the way to Garthdee, and turn off when you see signs for the university campus.
By Bus | 4 Minutes
To reach the city centre by bus, simply board the Platinum 19 bus in a southbound direction from George Street, alighting at the Bon Accord Centre stop in the centre of town. Buses are one of the fastest ways to reach the city, with services running every 8 minutes from George Street stops.
By Bike | 3 Minutes
Cycling is a fast and safe way to reach the city centre, with dedicated cycle lanes and limited access for cars. Ride south down George Street until you reach the pedestrianised city zone, and you’re there.
Walking | 7 Minutes
The Combworks is a convenient base for walking into town, with the pedestrian city zone just 7 minutes on foot from the apartment building.
Minutes from town and the university, The Combworks is conveniently placed for getting around Aberdeen. But what can students expect to find in the immediate vicinity in terms of local amenities such as shops, restaurants and bars?
George Street is home to a wealth of convenience stores, bars, restaurants, cafés and takeaways, and these appear more regularly the closer you get to the city centre. Directly opposite the residence is a local Co-operative Food store, which is ideal for those daily essentials, as well as an Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative – perfect for those who regularly commute by bike.
Travelling southward on George Street, students will find a local pub, The Butcher’s Arms, as well as a gents barbers, ladies’ salon and Chinese takeaway. Northward, towards the university, there’s a European supermarket, pizza takeaway and a bakery serving hot and cold sandwiches – great for those wintry mornings when you’re in need of a coffee and breakfast sandwich on your way to a lecture.
Student Life in Aberdeen
Easy to get around and effortlessly cosmopolitan, Aberdeen provides a great balance of modern living, historic beauty and superb amenities, making it one of Scotland’s premier destinations. But what, aside from stunning heritage architecture, can students look forward to during their stint in The Granite City?
Here, we look at the student highlights of Aberdeen, focusing on four main categories, including sport, food, culture and nightlife.
Sport, Leisure and Fitness
If keeping fit and active is important to you, Aberdeen offers everything from miles of jogger-friendly coastal paths, renowned sporting venues, and easy access to Scotland’s most popular hiking hot spot, the Cairngorms. Choose from a range of quality gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres, including the Aberdeen Sports Village, which is conveniently located next door to the university campus, or else take in the action at the historic Pittodrie Stadium, the home of Aberdeen F.C. Aberdeen is also one of western Scotland’s best surfing spots, and there are a number of surf schools available if you fancy giving it a go.
Owing to its multicultural population, Aberdeen offers a fantastic range of eateries, showcasing cuisines from across the globe. For a light bite amid scholarly surroundings, try Books and Beans, or if it’s the city’s legendary seafood you’re after, give the French-themed Silver Darling Restaurant a go – perfect for when parents come visiting. Alternatively, steak fans will love McGinty’s Meal an’ Ale, which serves choice cuts of Aberdeen Angus steak and burgers, while Shri Bheema’s is regularly voted the best Indian cuisine in the city. With so many incredible eateries across the city, best start tucking in.
Culture comes easy amid the historic streets of The Granite City. When you’ve spare time away from your studies, start your cultural exploration of Aberdeen at King’s Museum, which houses 80,000 artefacts detailing the history of the Highlands. Another historic highlight is The Tolbooth, a former 17th-century jail now converted into an interactive visitor centre. Contemporary art fans will be in their element at Gallery Heinzel and Peacock Visual Arts, while lovers of live music can enjoy the thriving gig scene of Belmont Street, home to the beloved Café Drummond.
Students hoping to paint the town red will be well serviced in Aberdeen. The city is home to a plethora of student-friendly bars and pubs, not least the RGU Union, which is located near-enough in the centre of town, just off Belmont Street. Another popular student drinking den is The Bobbin, whose proximity to the King’s College campus, as well as its sizeable discounts, make it a winner at any time of the day. For those up for staying out into the wee small hours, Illicit Still offers 40% off drinks on selected nights of the week, as well as 2 for 1 cocktails, while The Athenaeum offers a great mix of live music and DJs.
Money Saving Tips
We all know how important money management is as a student, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on getting out and enjoying the city. With our money-saving tips, you can still enjoy the things you love in Aberdeen, without worrying about the overheads.
Invest in an Annual Student Bus Pass
Buses are by far the easiest way to get around Aberdeen, and most students will find themselves using public transport a lot – especially when the Scottish winter sets in. For that reason, we’d recommend investing in an annual bus pass, so you can hop on and off without worrying about spare change. A pass with major operator First Bus will set you back £325 for the year, which may sound a lot, but it works out much cheaper than buying individual tickets. Plus, their buses offer free Wi-Fi, which you can take advantage of when you’re riding around the city.
Drink in Stonegate Pubs
If you’re partial to a post-lecture pint, we’d recommend doing your drinking in one of Aberdeen’s Stonegate pubs (which includes the aforementioned, The Bobbin). Formerly known as Scream, this bar franchise offers great discounts to students who can display a Stonegate membership card, and regularly hosts nights where you’ll pay anything up to £1 for a pint. You heard right.
Visit Footdee for an Enjoyable (and Affordable) Day Out
If you’ve exhausted all of Aberdeen’s art galleries and museums (all of which offer free admission) and are wondering where next for an affordable weekend day out, pay a visit to the charming heritage fishing village of Footdee (curiously pronounced ‘Fittie’). The village is located next to Aberdeen Harbour, but remains relatively unknown to day-trippers. It dates back to medieval times, and boasts a warren of tiny fishing cottages and historic pubs, making for a fascinating free day out or the perfect place for a quiet pub crawl.