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Aberdeen and hopping off the train

Hello-
I was wondering if it's worth taking the train via Aberdeen from Inverness to Edinburgh in order to hop off for a few hours and explore?
Anyone have an idea if this is worth it or a waste of time?
Thank You!
Jodi

Posted by
2092 posts

It's not, because your Edinburgh to Inverness train won't pass through Aberdeen, but will take a shorter, inland route. Aberdeen itself does not warrant taking a longer route and stopping off.

Posted by
63 posts

I knew it would be a longer route, so that answers whether it's worth it or not!
Our other option is to stay longer in Inverness area that day and explore.
Thanks!

Posted by
2092 posts

Where are you going after Inverness? Inverness itself isn't that exciting either hence my question.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Jodi,

Unfortunately, the train station in Aberdeen is in the least attractive part of the city. (Sorry, Aberdonians, but you know it's true!) The harbour, which is next to the train station, is a fenced in mess of huge oil tankers and container ships, and the occasional Northlink ferry. There are attractive parts of the city (beach, Hazlehead Park, Duthie Park, Old Aberdeen, King's College, Marischal College, Brig o' Balgownie, etc.), but most of the attractions lie outside the city limits. You'd really need to spend an overnight (or more) if you really wanted to have time to explore.

The main shopping street, Union Street, is uphill from the train station. However, Union Street is a shadow of its former glory. Lots of closed down shops, charity shops, and "Poundland" type shops. A few years ago. Annie Lennox (born in Aberdeen) said that she was "...saddened and shocked to see how much decline had taken place." It hasn't gotten any better since.

Having said that, there is a relatively new shopping centre next to the train station. Union Square is as modern as shopping centres get in Scotland, but it's way overpriced.

But you wouldn't be there to shop - just to explore. You can shop just as easily in Edinburgh or Inverness. If you decided to route your travels via Aberdeen, and had only a short time to spend there, my best advice would be to visit Duthie Park, which is actually walking distance (albeit an unattractive walk) from the train station. Duthie Park has one of the most attractive gardens in Scotland, with a gorgeous Winter Garden featuring one of the largest displays of cacti in Britain.

Good luck in your travels!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks all! I think we've scotched (see what I did there) the idea of Aberdeen.
We're in Inverness for two days and after seeing the local sites on day one we will spend day two driving north for some scenic sightseeing. We have 2 full days in Edinburgh after, so I was just thinking "is it worth it to take a longer train ride to see more of the country" and Aberdeen seemed to be the big stop along the way, if doing that.
I think we'll just take the shorter route.

Posted by
5546 posts

Yes, there are some things to see in Inverness. :) You have Culloden Battlefield, then there is Fort George which is quite interesting.. Of course, the Clava Cairns are near the Battlefield. Then there is Cawdor Castle. You can also take a boat on the Firth of Forth looking for dolphins. Then you hear some music at Hootananny. And if you are a jewelry lover, check out Hazel Passmore's. studio. And if you want to buy a beautiful sweater visit the Judith Glue shop right on Bridge Street.

And I haven't even mentioned a day trip to Loch Ness. :)

Posted by
5546 posts

Mike, there is great shopping in Inverness, but it's the small shops that one needs to visit. I find that the sweaters that you find in Edinburgh are nowhere near as interesting as those up north. And you can get Shiela Fleet jewelry in Edinburgh but finding the local designers up north is even better. It's also interesting to at least walk through the Victorian Market.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Pamela,

You're right about Inverness. There are some great little shops along Church Street. There used to be a really good music (CD) shop in the Victorian Market, but sadly it was gone last year when we were there. However, there are at least 15 charity shops in central Inverness. Most of them good; some not so much. We've found several excellent items in them. Haunting the charity shops is one of the joys in visiting Scotland.

Happy shopping!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
5546 posts

I was looking for that CD shop. Bummed that it is gone.

Posted by
9621 posts

Take the train to Dundee instead. Interesting college town and a branch of the V & A museum.

Posted by
200 posts

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for the telling of the Victorian Market. I visited there this past June, but just read about it's history from your comments. My friend and I are planning to visit Scotland again next June (2020) and no0w I really want to go back to the market again!! I am in the process of planning another trip to Scotland and want to visit the area around Aberdeen (castles and such). You and Auchterless Mike) have given me lots of advice and tips this past year. THANK YOU!!!!

Katsinca (Kathy)