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Aberdeen History

One of the oldest cities in the UK, Aberdeen started life more than 8,000 years ago and was made up of two settlements: Old Aberdeen close to the mouth of the River Don and New Aberdeen, where a stream met the River Dee. Thanks to its waterside location, it swiftly became a key trading port, exporting wool, hides and other goods to England and beyond.

England was a source of much strife in years to come, not least during the reign of Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots, whose armies ruled the city. Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle in 1308 and retook the city. But by 1336, the English were back, and the city was burned by Edward III before being rebuilt and fortified.

Despite the ravages of the Black Death, the subsequent centuries and union with England brought peace and the opportunity to trade. Much of its prosperity came from fishing and transporting goods but during the 18th and 19th centuries, agriculture, granite quarrying and manufacturing brought yet more wealth to fill the city's coffers.

The dawn of the 20th century found Aberdeen prospering, but like the rest of the UK, it would suffer grievously during WWI and the Great Depression that followed. During WWII, the city was heavily bombed with one Luftwaffe raid seeing no fewer than 129 bombs dropped on the centre.

Post-war Aberdeen was heavily bomb-damaged, with a decline in manufacturing adding to the city's malaise. But the discovery of oil in the North Sea was to change its fortunes once more, with Aberdeen now a hub of UK oil production.

Today, aside from its architecture, the city is famed for its 45 parks and gardens and its plethora of flowers. Millions of roses, crocuses and daffodils have been planted across the city, helping Aberdeen to win the annual Scotland in Bloom competition no less than 20 times.

Did you know?
• Established in 1136, Aberdeen Harbour Board is Britain's oldest business.
• The first photograph of a comet was taken in Aberdeen in 1882.
• The Thermopylae, the fastest sailing ship ever built, was made in the city in 1868.

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Roselea Hotel

The Roselea is housed in a listed Aberdonian granite house built in the mid 19th century. This is a friendly, family-run guesthouse situated close to bus and rail links and the ferry terminal for Orkney and Shetland Islands ferries. Every bedroom has a TV and tea/coffee-making facilities.

Craighaar Hotel

An award-winning hotel located just off the A96 provides easy links to the City centre and Aberdeen Airport. Enjoy a luxurious experience at an affordable price.

Skene House Suites

Skene House Suites are serviced apartments that offer an affordable alternative, particularly for groups. Prices are per suite, per night, so the larger suites become great value for money if shared by a few people. The suites are all located in the centre of Aberdeen and are all well appointed and individually designed.

Chester Hotel

Perhaps the smartest hotel address in town is this handsome 19th-century granite villa on Queens Road. Their Classic and Grand guest rooms have muted colours and intelligent en-suites, while two lavish Clubrooms occupy the entire top floor. Facilities include sumptuous dining, a bar with booths, and over 60 treatments in its IX Beauty Centre.

Park Inn by Radisson

This reliable Radisson hotel in the city centre uses modern architecture to blend in wonderfully with the Granite City surroundings. With 185 rooms to choose from, plus all mod cons and that Radisson stamp of quality, the Park Inn is the best mid-range chain option in Aberdeen.

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel

Ardoe House is a luxurious modern hotel housed in an impressive 19th-century mansion house overlooking Royal Deeside and located just 5km (3 miles) from the city centre. It has 109 individually designed bedrooms with great views of the surrounding estate, a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, tennis courts, gym, beauty salons and two restaurants and two bars.