Visitors to Aberdeen may have images of a city scape in their mind, but the Granite City is a blooming marvellous destination. It’s won the renowned gardening competition ‘Britain in Bloom’ city category over a dozen times since 1965. As well as being the oil capital of Europe, the city takes great pride in its green spaces – so whilst visitors can enjoy city living, they’re never far from large open vistas, and tucked away gardening gems in picturesque nooks of the city. At Skene House we want our guests to make the most of the city, so discover our inside recommendations for the great outdoors here.
A stand out destination is Duthie Park. The 44 acre site was donated to the city by Miss Elizabeth Duthie in 1880 and opened as a park in 1883. We’re talking vast grassland, ponds, rich planting, a band stand and three play parks. But the park’s Winter Gardens are the jewel in the crown, the legacy of master gardener David Welch who helped transform Aberdeen into the blooming celebration it is. Welch went on to become Head of the Royal Parks in London, working for the Royal Family no less. Today a stroll around the Winter Garden includes a Temperate House, Japanese Garden, Tropical House and impressive Arid House which has one of the largest collections of cacti in the country.
-Duthie Park – a half hour walk or 6 minute drive from Skene House Holburn, 8 mins drive from Skene House Rosemount, and 10 mins drive from Skene House Whitehall.
Another expansive park with a lot to offer is Hazlehead. The recently reopened Animal Park is a hit with little ones, with an indoor reptile and amphibian house, and lots of animals outside to educate and entertain, including meerkats, turkeys, pigs and donkeys. The park also offers a playground, crazy golf, and its maze can literally get you lost for a good hour. Allow time to wander around the Queen Mother Rose Garden, admire the mix of sculptures dotted around the park, take a woodland walk, and discover the poignant Piper Alpha Memorial, commemorating the oil disaster of 1988 revealing the city’s close, emotive ties with the oil industry.
-Hazlehead Park – just over a 10 minute drive from the Skene House properties.
UNION TERRACE GARDENS
In the city centre, just off Union Street, are the Union Terrace Gardens. The flower arrangements create messages and images representing the city, such as the formally planted floral crest of the city’s coat of arms.
-Union Terrace Gardens – 8 mins walk from Skene House Rosemount, just over 10 minutes from Skene House Whitehall and 15 mins from Skene House Holburn.
VICTORIA PARK & WESTBURN PARK
For a beautifully calming walk head to Victoria Park. Weaving paths unfurl through lush trees and bushes, and in the spring the grass is a carpet of crocuses and snowdrops. Literally across the road is Westburn Park, which is a hive of activity. Mainly consisting of open grassland, it’s ideal for exercise and popular with dog walkers. Two large ponds are punctuated by a series of little bridges, under which the Gilcomston Burn flows. Ideal for children, there’s a cycle track featuring mini roads and road signs, a skateboard ramp and a popular children’s playground. The Westburn tennis centre is another attraction for sports lovers.
-Victoria Park & Westburn Park – 15 mins from Skene House Whitehall, 18 mins walk from Skene House Rosemount and 25 mins from Skene House Holburn.
A final little known gem are the Johnston Gardens. Popular as a backdrop for wedding photographs, these picturesque gardens are a tranquil spot, with streams, waterfalls, ponds, rockeries and a charming rustic bridge. Children usually enjoy spotting the many ducks in the ponds, including aylesbury, mallard and muscovy.
-Johnston Gardens – Around a 10 minute drive from the Skene House properties.
SEATON PARK & CRUICKSHANK BOTANIC GARDENS
Head north of the city centre to discover Old Aberdeen. Home to Scotland’s third university, founded in 1495, it’s also generous when it comes to greenery. Seaton Park’s floral Cathedral Walk leads to St Machar Cathedral. Take in views of the powerful River Don on a scenic riverside walk, and let wee ones run off steam at the recently renovated playground. Nearby, the smaller Cruickshank Botanic Gardens were established in 1898 for the ‘teaching and study of Botany as pure science’. Today the botanical gardens include over 2500 plant varieties, so ideal for any keen gardeners seeking inspiration.
-Seaton Park/Cruickshank Botanic Gardens – Around a 15 minute drive from the Skene House properties.
At Skene House we understand the importance of green spaces and fresh air. Our staff will happily direct you to the nearest celebrated park or garden, but guests don’t necessarily need to venture far to chill out in the garden. Our Whitehall property offers a green enclave in the heart of the city. This haven, complete with sun loungers, outdoor table and chairs, and green lawns, offers up opportunities to make the most of your stay in Aberdeen.
All travellers miss the comforts of home, so the addition of a garden makes Skene a tempting home from home. On sunny days the garden is an ideal spot for picnics, or grab a complimentary drink from the guest lounge and read a book on a sun-lounger, or help yourself to a chilled white wine from the Honour Bar and enjoy a pre-dinner drink as the sun goes down, perhaps bring the laptop outside and work in the great outdoors.
As each Skene House apartment has its own fully furnished kitchen, it’s easy to stock up on a range of chilled or frozen products to make a day trip to the park enjoyable, on budget, and suited to your dietary requirements. Keep perishable goods in the fridge, then pull together a fresh picnic as required. Whatever the weather, Aberdeen’s parks and gardens are among the most recognised and awarded green spaces in the UK, with a range of indoor and outdoor attractions. Time to get out there!
At Skene House you’re the one in control. Your own place. Your own kitchen. Your own bathroom. Your own bedrooms. Your own front door. Your own apartment. Skene House offers the Suite Life in Scotland. For more information browse skene-house.co.uk, get in touch at +44 1224 659 392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on our partner restaurants click here. Featured image courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire.