Moving to Aberdeen
Are you moving to Aberdeen? Imposing grey granite that sparkles like silver on a sunny day sets the scene in Scotland’s economic titan; Europe’s Oil Capital is now the country’s bustling hub of commercial activity and has been identified as one of eight ‘super cities’ that are spearheading the UK economy.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Aberdeen report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Aberdeen on the Map
Scotland’s third largest city is as impressive in its architecture as in its location – on Aberdeenshire’s east coast, flanked by the golden sands of one of the UK’s most lovely beaches, it sits snug between two river estuaries. Steep cliffs rise up along the coast to the south and inland from the city the rolling coastal plain gradually rises up to the rugged peaks of the Cairngorms, Scotland’s summer and winter playground.
But for a town that’s so central to Europe’s energy industry, Aberdeen is geographically remote. The city is 400 miles from London and 125 miles from Edinburgh. Good transport links, however, make it seem a lot closer. Aberdeen Airport offers flights to over 40 European destinations and the city boasts the busiest commercial heliport in the world, serving all the North Sea oil rigs and platforms.
Rail services are frequent to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and other Scottish destinations, and Aberdeen is on the East Coast line out of Kings Cross – you can still get an overnight sleeper from London. Local commuters are served by trains to Huntly, Insch, Inverurie, Dyce, Portlethen, Stonehaven, Laurencekirk, Montrose, Arbroath and destinations further afield. The city is also covered by a network of local bus routes linking the West End, Ferryhill and Deeside. Ferries to Orkney and Shetland operate out of Aberdeen harbour.
For a city, 70 square miles may not seem so huge but if you’re trying to narrow down your search to the most desirable street to live on, it can seem like a pretty large area to cover. Luckily, help is at hand and we’ve got some suggestions as to where to cast your home-hunting net.
Aberdeen’s best residential areas lie mostly in the southern half of the city, with the exception perhaps of Bridge of Don which lies to the north on the other side of the River Don. Popular areas worthy of investigation include the West End of the city, Ferryhill, Cults, Bieldside, Milltimber and Peterculter, some of which are the wealthiest postcodes in the UK. For those who pine for a rural idyll, the villages of Banchory Devenick, Ardoe and Maryculter, lying south of the River Dee, may hit the spot.
City slickers will find a wealth of Victorian period detail in villas and townhouses in areas such as Queens Cross, Great Western Road and Kings Gate/Midstocket, with plenty of family-sized properties as well as flat conversions. This part of the city, along with Ferryhill to the south, is particularly popular with professionals and executives who need easy access to the centre of town.
More modest budgets are catered for a little further to the west in suburbs such as Mannofield, Airyhall and Craigiebuckler, where you will find plenty of good-sized mid-20th century family houses and good local amenities. Beyond here, prices rise again in Cults, Bieldside, Milltimber and Peterculter, where you can find village life an easy commute from the city centre offices – and a choice of traditional granite or modern family homes. The areas around the North Deeside Road running west out of the city are generally accepted as being the most sought after.
Who Lives and Works in Aberdeen
Over the years Aberdeen has had a number of illustrious residents – Lord Byron, Annie Lennox, Emeli Sandé, percussionist Evelyn Glennie and musician Billy Bremner. It’s also appeared in some classic fiction, including Ken Follet’s Eye of the Needle, Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue and an episode of Dr Who, while Star Trek’s chief engineer Scotty is a proud ‘Aberdeen pub crawler’, apparently.
So what does Aberdeen have to recommend it as a place to live? Well, for a start, the climate is not nearly as harsh as one might expect for a city that lies so far north. The reason for this is the temperate influence of being beside the sea. Winter’s short days and long nights are balanced out by the fabulously long summer evenings – at the June solstice, Aberdeen has virtually 18 hours of daylight. It doesn’t get particularly hot though, with summer temperatures generally in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. However, the windswept sandy beaches and endless skies do make for glorious walks in the fresh air and fantastic sea views.
Aberdeen has been a human settlement for more than 8,000 years but the city’s character is hewn out of the same granite as its famous buildings. This hard volcanic rock has resulted in Aberdeen becoming known as the Silver City – the rock has a high mica content which sparkles in the sun. From the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries as the city became an important harbour, ship-building centre and textile industry hub, its prosperity was wrought in this durable local stone. A number of imposing public buildings were erected including the Marischal College on Broad Street, which is the second largest granite building in the world.
Today, the Silver City’s economy has changed radically; now, as well as being an important centre for the energy industry, Aberdeen excels high technology, electronic design and development and research into agriculture, fishing and the oil business. There are two universities, the Fisheries Research Services, a marine research lab, the James Hutton Institute for agriculture and soil research and the Rowett Research Institute for studies into food and nutrition. The result of this concentration of academic endeavour? Three Nobel laureates and a multitude of scientists.
The Best Bits
But what about the quality of life? Here are 10 good reasons for making Aberdeen your home city:
- In 2012 Mercer named Aberdeen the fourth most ‘liveable’ city in the UK.
- Aberdeen is one of Scotland’s most cosmopolitan cities, with a higher than the national average percentage of the population being born outside Scotland – check out George Street for a great choice of ethnic restaurants.
- When it comes to shopping in Aberdeen, you’ll be spoilt for choice – it’s Scotland’s third largest shopping destination, with a brand new shopping centre on Union Square and a number of large retail parks on the edge of the city.
- Aberdeen is a first-rate destination for families with a wide choice of both state-funded and independent schools. As well as the co-educational Robert Gordon’s College and Albyn School, there is the girls-only St Margarets, as well as a French School and the International School of Aberdeen. The latter offers a US curriculum and is popular with the children of American oil workers.
- Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom ‘Best City’ award 11 times and the Scotland in Bloom award 20 times! There is a multitude of parks and gardens with floral displays that feature more than two million roses and 11 million daffodils. The city also boasts Europe’s second largest indoor winter gardens.
- Not only is Aberdeen one of Scotland’s two initial Fair Trade Cities, it is also at the forefront of developing new energy sources through the Scottish Enterprise Energetica initiative.
- Inside the city, you’ll find a multitude of venues for playing and watching a wide range of sports including football, rugby union and league, golf, swimming, cricket, rowing and skating. And within easy reach, the Cairngorm Mountains offer climbing, hiking and skiing.
- Aberdeen Beach – long, golden sands, towering sand dunes and miles of beautiful coastline and links golf courses stretching north to Fraserburgh.
- Aberdeen has an extraordinarily rich cultural scene with some excellent museums, five theatres, a dedicated concert hall, the world’s largest International Youth Festival and other festivals including jazz, literature, contemporary dance and the famous annual Aberdeen Student Show.
- Bieldside, a suburb to the west of the city, is home to the highest number of millionaires in a postcode outside London – so the city must have something going for it!
Relocating to Aberdeen
For assignees moving to the UK for the first time, Aberdeen and indeed Scotland may be something of an unknown quantity. Your impression is probably that it’s cold, remote and dark through the winter but that idea of our northern-most metropolis couldn’t actually be further from the truth. Aberdeen is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan and charming city, with spectacular architecture, beautiful gardens and one the country’s best beaches. In summer, 18 hours of daylight and the sea stretching away to the horizon are enough to lift anyone’s mood; in the winter, Scotland’s ski resorts close by and the indoor delights of one of the UK’s most cultured cities offer plenty of distraction.
Outside London, nowhere in the UK boasts such a concentration of millionaires, so it’s not rocket science to guess that Aberdeen has a certain Celtic charm. Traditional Victorian villas were built to endure in the sparkling local granite; alternatively, you could go for a stunning modern development in the city centre. Or base yourself in a quiet country village, still with an easy commute to the city centre – there’s plenty of choice whatever your ideal home. However, for newcomers to Aberdeen, it’s not always obvious where to start looking, though the south and the western sectors of the city would be a good place to start. Even so finding the right house in the right location can be tricky. This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know UK property inside out and we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Aberdeen is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan and charming city. It has spectacular architecture, beautiful gardens and one of the country’s best beaches. It is a very popular location amongst expats in the UK.
Average Monthly Rents - Aberdeen