Where and What to Hire
Aberdeen has a good range of car hire options including big international car rental companies such as Avis, Europecar, Enterprise, Herzt and Arnold Clark. All of these companies offer car hire at Aberdeen Airport but many also offer the option to hire within the city centre. Arnold Clark, Northgate Vehicle Hire and Aberdeen 4x4 Self-Drive are all available near the Altens Industrial Estate in the east of the city while Enterprise car hire is located in the city centre area of Rosemount. Sixt and Indigo car hire are available close to Aberdeen train station. All types of cars can be hired, from small two-door vehicles, ideal for travelling around the city, to larger four-door family cars, luxury vehicles including limousines for a special trip and even 4x4’s.
Aberdeen is a relatively small city and easy to drive around. That said, there is still a high volume of traffic in the city centre during rush hours which are from approximately 7.30am to 9am and 4.30pm to 6pm. There are some cobbled narrow streets to watch out for in the old University quarter of the city and part of the city centre is one-way. Drivers should note that Aberdeen has seen an increase in the number of cyclists on the roads and with limited bicycle lanes, cyclists will be sharing the road with cars.
Aberdeen has at least ten free car parks located on the periphery of the city centre. For those driving and wanting to park in the city centre, there are multi-storey and pay and display car parks and on street parking to choose from. Car parks offer long and short stay parking are the cheaper alternative to on-street parking with charges from £1 per hour to £14 for the whole day. On-street parking is regulated and can be expensive. Drivers must pay for parking from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday. The cost is from £1 for 20 minutes with a maximum one hour stay. The ‘outer central’ and ‘peripheral’ zone tariffs vary but are a little cheaper.
Where to Go and What to See
It is well worth hiring a car in Aberdeen in order to get out and see the breath-taking natural landscapes that are located just a few miles outside the city. Just 15 miles away is the lovely little seaside town of Stonehaven. The drive to get there, along the coastal road, is also particularly beautiful. There is a quaint harbour with cosy cafes, an Art-Deco open-air pool open in the summer and a wonderful Fireball Festival held in the winter months. Kids will love playing on the beach or exploring the nearby, rather spooky-but-stunning ruins of Dunottar Castle that haunt the landscape from their hilltop perch. Visitors partial to a castle will find many more in the surrounding area including Crathes Castle in Banchory, just 15 miles from Aberdeen, Caraigievar Castle near Alfrod, around 26 miles west of Aberdeen and Drum Castle in Drumoak, just 10 miles west of Aberdeen. Incidentally, at Crathes Castle there is a ‘Go Ape’ outdoor centre with zip lines and tree walks making for a great family day out. Golfers can experience some of the best courses in the country from The Royal Aberdeen (the sixth oldest in the world) just a few minutes from the city centre or the Royal Deeside which is 5 miles from the city. Alternatively, head south to the world famous St Andrews Old Course. Just 30 miles from Aberdeen, in Fraserburgh, there is a lighthouse museum and the Willows Animal Sanctuary making this another great family destination. A drive along the Banffshire coast is a trip in itself with so many charming cliff-side villages and old market towns dotted along the route. Everyone loves a beach and in Aberdeenshire there are plenty to choose from. Beautiful Balmedie just 7 miles from the city centre is remote and sandy and safe for children while iconic Lunan Bay, 38 miles from Aberdeen, in Angus, is just beautiful and a fabulous spot for bird watching, horse riding, surfing and walking – on a grey or sunny day. A little further, 60 miles from Aberdeen, are the Cairngorm Mountains – the place for serious walkers, nature enthusiasts, mountain bikers and skiers complete with its own mountain railway to make the most of the breath-taking scenery.