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The local area guide to living in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is often known as the Silver City with the Golden Sands, because of its granite buildings with specks of mica, which give it a sparkling look on sunny days. It’s the third most populous city in Scotland, and the coldest in the UK – although it is still milder than many other similarly positioned cities. Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom award an impressive 10 times.
The city’s economy has historically been supported by the fishing and oil industries, although the move towards alternative energy sources has put new industries into the lead, such as electronics and agriculture. There’s also been a shift to fishing research and development, as deep-sea fishing has become more popular.
Information about the local residents
Aberdeen has a fairly young population, with around 67% of residents at working age – compared with the national average of 63%. A little under 16% of the population are under 19, and approximately 17% are pensioners lower than the Scottish national average of 20%.
With just 3% of 16 to 24 year olds in Aberdeen claiming Job Seekers Allowance, compared with an average of 7.1% in Scotland, the city is economically strong. Approximately 2.5% of 25 to 49 year olds claim Job Seekers Allowance, and 1.5% of over 50 year olds – compared to 4% and 1.5% respectively in Scotland.
There’s a wide range of primary schools to choose from in Aberdeen, with 54 schools run by the local primary. The largest of these is Cornhill Primary School, while other options include Skene Square Primary School. There’s also a feeder school for the secondary grammar school – Gilcomstoun Primary School.
There are 12 council-run secondary schools in the area, including a number of academies such as Harlaw, Oldmachar and Cults. These are among some of the best-ranked schools in the area, along with Aberdeen Grammar School.
For higher education, students have the option of Aberdeen College, which has a number of campuses spread around the city, or one of two universities. The University of Aberdeen dates all the way back to 1495, while The Robert Gordon University was granted its status in 1992.
Aberdeen is an easy city to reach by car, with five direct roads linking it to the rest of the country. In the South, motorists can travel to Dundee, Edinburgh or Perth via the A90, while the A96 connects to the major city of Inverness. Other options include the A947 to Newmachar, the A944 to Westhill and the A96 to Huntly.
When travelling by public transport, one of the quickest and most convenient ways to reach Aberdeen is by train. There is a railway station in the city centre, as well as one in the close-by town of Dyce. Aberdeen Station connects to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, as well as running a sleeper train all the way to London Euston. From Edinburgh or London, you can continue travel to other major cities in England, such as Newcastle and Leeds, or you can catch a direct train from Aberdeen to Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff or Leicester thanks to the East Coast Main Line routes.
There are also regular buses running throughout the city and its surrounding areas. There are 22 routes in Aberdeen itself, traversing the city centre, outskirt areas and suburbs. There are cross-country options operated by Stagecoach Bluebird. For international travel, you can fly from Aberdeen Airport, which is based in Dyce town. This is also the site of the world’s busiest heliport, which runs regular flights to offshore oil sites.
There are a number of shopping centres in the city, such as the famous Union Square, which has more than 50 shops. The Academy Shopping Centre is famed for its brands and boutiques, while the Trinity Centre has around 20 shops, including many high-street favourites. For high-end shopping, visit the West End, home to designer clothes and artwork, or Rosemount Village, where you’ll find artisanal foods. For quirky gifts, second-hand books and other knick-knacks, The Cultural Quarter is a popular haunt.
As Northeast Scotland’s central city, Aberdeen has no end of entertainment available. It’s well known for its festival scene, with the Aberdeen International Youth Festival renowned worldwide for its performances. There’s also a music competition, a jazz festival and the Sound Festival, which aims to bring new music to the masses. Other favoured pastimes include visits to His Majesty’s Theatre – the largest of its kind in northeast Scotland – and the Aberdeen Arts Centre, as well as the Music Hall. You can also visit the Beach Ballroom for its famous dance-floor, or the famous Aberdeen Art Gallery for its renowned 19th to 21st century masterpieces.
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