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Aberdeen

Aberdeen is northeast Scotland's powerhouse, fuelled by the North Sea petroleum industry. Oil money made the city as expensive as London, with prices charged to match the depth of oil-wealthy pockets, though regular downturns in the industry see prices fall. Fortunately, most cultural attractions, such as the Maritime Museum and Aberdeen Art Gallery, are free.

Known throughout Scotland as the granite city, much of the town was built using silvery-grey granite hewn from the now-abandoned Rubislaw Quarry, at one time the biggest artificial hole in the ground in Europe. On a sunny day the granite lends an attractive glitter to the city, but when low, grey rain clouds scud in off the North Sea it can be hard to tell where the buildings stop and the sky begins.

Royal Deeside is easily accessible to the west, Dunnottar Castle to the south, sandy beaches to the north and whisky country northwest.

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