Travel to Aberdeen
Located on Scotland's stunning northeastern coast, Aberdeen is an affluent, richly cosmopolitain city which has prospered from the flourishing North Sea oil industry. With its fascinating history and culture, the Granite City – so-called because many of its buildings are constructed from the heavy grey stone – is a favourite destination for city breaks, and the good news is that even if you're on a strict budget, there is still plenty you can see and do on the cheap in this elegant city.
Start your savings by tracking down a lift share to get to Aberdeen in the first place – this is also a great option for the many commuters from Montrose, Banchory, Dundee or even further afield who regularly travel into Aberdeen to work in the city's thriving industries. Then get set to explore...
A historic maritime city
Before the discovery of oil in the 1960s, Aberdeen's economy mostly revolved around fishing, trade and other seagoing pursuits. This rich heritage is reflected in the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, which eloquently illustrates the city's relationship with the sea in a handsome building overlooking the harbour (with free admission).
You can also get a sense of Aberdeen's past in its many evocative historic buildings, including Provost Skene's House
(the oldest residence in the city, dating to 1545) and the Tolbooth Museum
(with exhibits on crime and punishment set in a former jail) – also free.
It's worth strolling about to admire the impressive variety of granite architecture too – such as the striking gothic façade of Marischal College, the second largest granite building in the world – especially in the historic Merchant Quarter and Old Aberdeen neighbourhoods, and perhaps even embarking on a harbour cruise to get an overview of the city from the water.
Shopping, entertainment and outdoor pursuits
Culture vultures are spoilt for choice in Aberdeen, with one of Britain's finest art collections on display (for free) at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, and regular concerts and live theatre at venues such as His Majesty's Theatre, the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree.
Those keen on a bit of retail therapy are also in for a treat, with a number of shopping centres with great selections of high street brands right in the city centre, plus lots of quirky independent shops in areas such as the Merchant Quarter, Rosemount and around the Green – a great place to spend those pennies you saved through your car share!
Finally, when all the urban bustle becomes too much for you, retreat to the spacious Aberdeen Beach to admire the region's breath-taking coastal scenery, or take part in some exciting water sports. Don't forget your wetsuit – the North Sea is pretty chilly!