Aberdeen Travel Guide

Consulates

Work Out

Gyms and fitness facilities are very popular in Aberdeen (exercising outside is not always possible due to the weather!). Numerous private chains operate in the city (e.g. DW Fitness, David Lloyd, Bannatyne's, etc.) and are popular, but if you're visiting, try the suggestions below. If looking for a place to jog, try along the esplanade at the beach, or in one of the larger parks such as Duthie Park (entrances on Polmuir Road and Riverside Drive) or the city's largest park, Hazlehead Park in the western part of the city.

The popular PureGym (0845 189 4701) on the Shiprow in the city centre (next to the Hotel Ibis) offers a day pass for £6 (or 3 days for £13 or 7 days for £25) and is open 24-hours. It has a full range of cardio equipment, resistance machines and reasonably-large free weights area. The pass can be purchased from a machine at the entrance and gives you a PIN which you type into a keypad to gain access. From the morning till 8pm staff are in attendance, and after that an unstaffed service is provided. CCTV cameras flood the area and impenetrable metal turnstiles permit access only to those with a PIN from a day-pass or regular membership. However, in practice at least one member of staff is on the premises at all times, even through the night. As a result it is safe and not intimidating even late at night, with a surprising number (male and female) exercising there till the early hours. Bring a padlock for the locker or buy one from the vending machine. An NCP car park is next-door but the gym has a deal with other city-centre car parks too - ask for details.

Further from the city-centre, the two universities also operate high-quality sports and fitness facilities open to the public, including large indoor sports halls. Numerous athletes train at both facilities. Their websites have full details.

The University of Aberdeen's Aberdeen Sports Village (01224 438 900) on Linksfield Road (just off King Street, close to the main campus at Kings College) has a wide range of facilities including gyms, group exercise, and sports hall but no pool (an Aquatics Centre with 50m pool is under construction). Take bus route no.1 or 2 from city-centre. It is open M-F 6.30am-10.30pm, Sat 7.30am-7.30pm, Sun 7.30am-9.30pm.
RGU:SPORT (01224 263666) at the Robert Gordon University's campus at Garthdee has similar facilities plus a 25m pool and climbing wall. Take bus route no. 1 from city centre, and get off at the campus bus stop. This bus stop is located outside the Faculty of Health and Social Care building, and RGU Sport is the next building along (after this stop, the bus continues back to the city centre via suburbs). It is open M-F 6am-10pm S-S 9am-7pm.

Another option is provided by council-run services (branded as Sport Aberdeen), which include leisure centres, swimming pools and an ice-skating arena.

One of the most popular council-run centres is the Beach Leisure Centre (01224 655401) on the Beach Promenade. There is a gym/fitness studio there are also various other facilities for exercise and indoor sports, including climbing, table tennis, badminton and volleyball among others. There is a large swimming pool of the "water-park" style. It's not good for swimming laps, but offers a wide range of attractions including water slides, rapids and waves, and is great fun for the family. If looking for a pool you can do laps in, try the one at RGU:SPORT (see above) or one of the council-run pools in the suburbs.
Post Offices and Mailboxes

A main city post office is located at the western end of Union Street close to the junction with Holburn Street, and another in the basement of WH Smith in the St. Nicholas Centre. There is a smaller post office in the back of RS McColl on the Castlegate; it is run down but safe and provides the full range of postal services. Post offices are usually open 9am to 5pm on weekdays and Saturdays.

Mailboxes are dotted around the city centre and like all UK mailboxes take the form of a bright red cylinder. However, since summer 2012 a handful of golden postboxes have appeared across the UK, each specially painted to commemorate a British gold-medal winner at the London 2012 Olympic Games who is from or has a connection to that area. Aberdeen has at least two of these golden postboxes in honour of local gold-medal-winning Olympians - one on the Castlegate commemorates rower Katherine Grainger while another on Golden Square is in honour of Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie. The nearby town of Westhill also has one for sprint kayaker Tim Brabants. You can also find plain red post boxes at the corner of Union Street and Broad Street (next to the Town House), and on Union Street by the staircase that leads down to The Green. You can also post mail at Post Offices.

Banks

As with the rest of Scotland, bank branches in Aberdeen are dominated by the "big four" Scottish banks: the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank and the TSB. You'll find their branches dotted around the city centre and in many suburbs and they provide a full range of banking services (e.g. cashing travellers' cheques) and all have ATMs. Most banks in Aberdeen are open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, with some open Saturday mornings. Useful city centre branches are:

Bank of Scotland201 Union Street and also at 48 Upperkirkgate (at corner of entry to Bon Accord shopping centre). Both are open on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm
Royal Bank of Scotland78 Union Street (at corner with St. Nicholas Square)Open weekdays 9.15am to 6pm, Saturdays 9am to 1pm.
Clydesdale Bank62 Union Street (at corner with St. Nicholas Square)Open 9.15am to 4.45pm, Saturdays 9am to 1pm.
Lloyds TSB ScotlandCastlegate and also at 8 Holburn StreetOpen Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm, they close at 4pm on Mon-Wed. You can access Lloyds TSB accounts from other parts of the UK here too as they are part of the same bank.

If looking for banks which are prominent in England and Wales, these generally have only a single branch in the city (other than Santander which has at least three).

NatWest Bank262 Union Street (in the western part of the street)Hours: 9am to 4.30pm (7pm on Thursday), closed Saturday
HSBC95 Union StreetThis large branch opened in May 2012 and covers five floors.
Barclays Bank163 Union Street (at corner with Bridge Street)
Nationwide Building Society250 Union Street (in western end of the street)
Santander171 Union Street (close to junction with Bridge Street and Union Terrace) or 99 George Street (just outside George St. entrance to the Bon Accord shopping centre)
HalifaxThere are no branches of the Halifax in Aberdeen now - but you can access your account from any Bank of Scotland branch as Halifax is now part of the Bank of Scotland.
Northern Rock/Virgin Money395 Union Street (at western end of the street)
Places of Worship

As you walk through the city, you'll notice many churches in the city centre, some of which have now been converted to other uses (e.g. the Maritime Museum on Shiprow and numerous bars on Belmont Street and Union Street are partly housed in converted churches). However, there are still many places of worship for all major faiths. As throughout Scotland, the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) has the largest number of churches and adherents, followed by the Roman Catholic Church, and then the Scottish Episcopal Church (part of the Anglican Communion).

Aberdeen has three cathedrals representing each of these: St. Machar's Cathedral in Old Aberdeen (not a cathedral as it is now Presbyterian but usually termed as such), St. Mary's Cathedral on Huntly Street (Roman Catholic) and St. Andrew's Cathedral on King Street (Episcopalian). Cathedral decor and memorials at St. Andrew's commemorate the fact that the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Samuel Seabury, was consecrated in Aberdeen in 1784 by bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church a short distance from where the cathedral now stands.

Evangelical churches have been growing in the city in recent years and there are now quite a few of these, often housed in church buildings redundant from other denominations. The cathedrals and most city-centre churches are also open for private prayer and contemplation during the day. You may see the old Scottish word "kirk" used to refer to a church. Islam has also been growing recently in the city: the main mosque is located in Old Aberdeen and now struggles to cope with the growing number of Muslims worshipping there.

Christianity
Presbyterian (Church of Scotland): Has many churches throughout the city. In the city centre, the Kirk of St. Nicholas Uniting is the city's central church, in a shared congregation with the United Reformed Church. It's located in the churchyard just off Union Street (Sunday worship at 11am, daily prayers at 1.05pm), or try St. Mark's Church on Rosemount Viaduct between His Majesty's Theatre and the Central Library (services Sundays 11am)
Roman Catholic: Numerous city churches, including St. Mary's Cathedral on Huntly Street (main Sunday Mass at 11.15am, other Sunday Masses also at 8am and 6pm and at 3pm in Polish). Or try St. Peter's Church, in a little alley just off the Castlegate (Sunday Mass at 11.15am).
Anglican/Episcopalian (Scottish Episcopal Church): For broad church worship with formal choir, try St. Andrew's Cathedral on King Street (main Sunday service is Holy Eucharist at 10.45am, Evensong at 6.30pm). For high church worship, try St. Margaret of Scotland on the Gallowgate (Mass at 10.30am on Sundays).
Evangelical/Charismatic: Try the City Church on Gilcomston Park, a street just off South Mount Street in the Rosemount area (Sunday services at 10am and 7pm).
Baptist: Try Crown Terrace Baptist Church on Crown Terrace in the city centre (Sunday worship at 11am), or Gerrard Street Baptist Church which is on Gerrard Street just off George Street (Sunday worship at 10.30am with monthly communion).
Salvation Army: You can't miss the Citadel on the Castlegate, with its distinctive Scottish Baronial-style tower that can be seen from all along Union Street (morning worship at 10.15am on Sundays).
Latter Day Saints: Aberdeen's Mormon meetinghouse is located on North Anderson Drive, with the main worship service at 10am on Sundays.
Islam
Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre is located at 146 Spital, in Old Aberdeen, just up the street from the University of Aberdeen's Kings College campus. The mosque's website gives details of prayer times and religious activities at the Islamic Centre.

source: Wikivoyage

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