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"Welcome to Hidden Aberdeen Tours, Aberdeen's Premier Walking Tour Company" Uncovering the lost, forgotten, hidden and always bringing the past to life 

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Next Tours

WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2019:
SUFFRAGETTES & OTHER LOCAL QUINES

Beginning, ironically at the statue of a man who cheated on and mentally abused his wife, Jean Maxwell, aka Lady Gordon. She was made of sterner stuff and saw to her own pleasure and orchestrated profitable marriages for all her children, we continue with the stories of how Aberdeen’s suffragettes tried to disrupt Home Secretary Lloyd George at the Music Hall; the origins of opera diva, Mary Garden; how English artist, Joan Eardley adopted a cottage in Catterline as her home; how an English lady called Mary Webb wrote the iconic local song “The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen” for a home-sick Aberdonian quine. These and many more!

We include the mosaics of ceramic artist, Carrie Reichardt, who was one of the visitors for Nuart 2018, creating works on the theme of "Suffragette Spirit". They have included many more Aberdeen unsung heroines than were mentioned on last year's tour, so we've taken the opportunity to re-route and revise the tour to showcase them.

MEET: Duke of Gordon's Statue, Golden Square AB10 1RD (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: 2hr approx
ENDS: Outside Fierce Bar, Exchequer Row (MAP)
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.

Suitable content for all ages; Not wheelchair accessible or for those with mobility issues


SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019: MINI TOURS DAY (and Star Wars Day!)
DUTHIE PARK: SECRETS & STORIES MINI TOUR

A new mini-tour set in Ferryhill's pleasure park, which was given to the city by Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie in 1881. Duthie Park is full of artefacts, stories, and scenes. Including the intriguing tale of how the council acquired the lands of Arthurseat and the disappearance of its owner, Arthur Williamson in the Australian bush! 

MEET: Polmuir Road Gates, Duthie Park, Polmuir Road, Ferryhill, AB11 7TH (MAP)
STARTS: 11am
DURATION: 1hr
TICKETS: All tickets £5; Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow

ROSEMOUNT MINI RAMBLE

Developed from the full length Rosemount Ramble, focusing on the hidden gem of Mackie Place, the 18th century cul-de-sac owned by hide-skinner, Robert Mackie, who commissioned the distinctive ogee-shaped "White House" and the remaining tenement of no's 4-5, and Jack's Brae. Three hundred years of history in 60min! 

MEET: Outside Cult of Coffee, 28 Esslemont Avenue (arrive at least 10min before, get a takeaway! (MAP)
STARTS: 2pm
DURATION: 1hr
TICKETS: All tickets £5; Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow


NO TOURS 5 MAY - 15 MAY

no bookings accepted for private tours during this time - staff research work in progress


THURSDAY 16 MAY 2019:
HIDDEN ABERDON - TALES OF THE RIVER

Beginning outside the University Library, what was the heart of the Powis estate, we follow the watercourses of the medieval landscape through the Chanonry, into Seaton Park and walk along the River Don, uncovering lost and forgotten stories of the Auld Toun's main water source. Ending at Brig o' Balgownie where there is always wildlife to see by the bridge, we conclude this nature and history walk through one of our truly hidden spaces.

MEET: Outside Sir Duncan Rice University Library, Meston Walk, Old Aberdeen AB24 3AA (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: 2hrs approx
TICKETS: Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow


SATURDAY 18 MAY 2019:
FORGOTTEN FITTIE - FROM THE KIRKTOUN TO THE FISHER SQUARES 

Full-length run of this popular tour! Beginning at St Clement’s Kirk, the old Parish Church of Fittie, (Fittie, never Footdee, an over-correction of the old Celtic word for a sheepfold) we take a walk through the forgotten areas now dominated by the harbour precinct. Learn about the origins of Aberdeen’s most ancient fishing community, dating back to the 12th century when the fishers of Pockraw were the tenants of the Bishops of Old Aberdeen and looking into its rebirth as the city’s first Victorian council estate, and home to the city’s most famous shipyard, Hall Russell’s. And then on to the famous Fisher Squares, built 1807-09, designed by city architect, John Smith (aka Tudor Johnny).

MEET: Outside East St Clement's Church, Church Street, Footdee AB11 7FU (MAP)
STARTS: 1pm
DURATION: 2hrs approx
TICKETS: Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow


SUNDAY 19 MAY 2019:
KIRK OF ST. NICHOLAS - GRAVEYARD TOUR

Revival of an old tour, looking at our city's famous dead.  The Kirk of St Nicholas, affectionately known as 'the Mither Kirk', being the earliest known church in the city, hosts the graves of many famous sons and daughters of Aberdeen, including architects, academics, showmen, medics, ministers, philanthropists and body-snatchers to mention but a few! We hope to create more graveyard tours soon, Trinity, St Machar, St Fitticks, Nigg, are all on my list!

MEET: Schoolhill Lodge, Kirk of St Nicholas, Schoolhill, AB10 1HF (MAP)
STARTS: 2pm
DURATION: 2hrs approx
TICKETS: Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow


MONDAY 20 MAY 2019: 
ABERDEEN'S INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE

Beginning in Rosemount, we drop down to the lost artisan street of Hardweird at the foot of Jack's Brae where several different mill workings were based. Then, we pass the iconic art deco Rosemount Square, once the site of a jam factory which has links with a London-based football team! Down into Gilcomston, there are many sites to investigate including Broadfords and the various mills, distillery and brewery which made use of the streams which originally fed the old loch of Aberdeen.  

We then focus on Hutcheon Street and the Gallowgate, which include the Combworks, the Porthill Factory, 'Soapy' Ogstons and the McKinnon Ironworks of Spring Garden. We round off with one of the most weel-kent sites, "Soapy" Ogston's or Ogston & Tennant Soap & Candle manufacturers. A must for industrial history fans! A fairly strenuous walk, wear sensible shoes!

MEET: Outside Bon-Accord Free Church, Rosemount Viaduct, AB25 1NS (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: 2hr approx
ENDS: The Soap Factory, 111 Gallowgate, Aberdeen AB25 1BU  (MAP)
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


THURSDAY 23 MAY 2019:
LOST CINEMAS OF ABERDEEN 

Div ye mind gaun tae the picters? Paying with jam jars? Saturday morning specials? Then this tour is bound to appeal! Meeting outside the old Odeon, Justice Mill Lane, which started life as one of Aberdeen's many silver screens from the age of cinema, this tour takes you on a journey into cinematic history, recalling the early days to the high point of the 40s and 50s to the sad decline of our picture palaces to leave us with only four functioning cinemas out of a previous total of around 35. We can't promise to cover them all, but the selection on the walk represents the Union St cluster of the city's picture houses, 'flechy' or otherwise!

Cinemas include: ODEON/ REGENT, WEST END/ PLAYHOUSE, CAPITOL/ ELECTRIC, LA SCALA/ MAJESTIC, SAVOY, MUSIC HALL, PICTUREDROME/ CINEMA HOUSE, NEWS CINEMA/ CURZON/ COSMO2, GAUMONT/ PICTURE HOUSE, BELMONT/ NEW KINEMA/ COLLISEUM
Suitable for all ages

MEET: Old Odeon, Justice Mill Lane (Now Nuffield Health Club) (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm

END: Belmont Filmhouse, Belmont St
DURATION: 2 hrs approx
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


SATURDAY 25 MAY 2019: MINI TOURS DAY 
OLD ABERDEEN - HISTORICAL SECRETS 11AM

A zip through Old Aberdeen's history comparing the 20th century and medieval quadrangles, hearing the stories of Elphinstone Hall, New Kings and 16th century Kings College; visit the hidden remains of the 15th century Snow Kirk and the tales attached to the post-Reformation Powis estate represented today by the impressive gates which replicated the former towers in the old quad.  

Suitable for all ages.  Dogs welcome,

MEET: Outside Elphinstone Hall, Regent Walk (MAP)
STARTS: 11am END: Kings College Quad
DURATION: 1hr approx
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.

FITTIE: ABERDEEN'S PLANNED FISHER VILLAGE 2PM

A brand-new addition to our mini-tours series; beginning on Pocra Quay near the site of the original Block House, a stone fort first erected in the 15th century to protect the city from "English invaders", we follow the fall and rise of the fisher residents of the Kirktoun of Futty, who forced the council into providing them a new home when harbour development threatened to obliterate the old village of Pockraw in the late 18th century. Featuring the picturesque Fisher Squares, designed by city architect, John Smith aka "Tudor Johnny", who also designed the new St Clements' Kirk in 1828. 

MEET: Footdee War Memorial, Pocra Quay, AB11 5DQ (MAP)
STARTS: 11am
END: Kings College Quad
DURATION: 1hr approx
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


WEDNESDAY 29 MAY 2019:
THE OLD KING'S HIGHWAY

Trying a new twist on an old tour! Meeting at the start of the "Old Kings Highway", that is, the ancient route from the city's medieval border at Windmill Brae, we head for the Lang Stane and Justice Mill Lane, sites of battles past, head down onto the old Hardgate, the one-time main drove road into Aberdeen from the south. Following the route of the Howburn (transmuted to Holburn St), we cross into the lost suburb of Pitmuxton, see the old Holburn St station site, and head past Outseats House, the home of the Blaikie family, which included two provosts, lawyers, a doctor and the city's first master plumber, John Blaikie, then we join Riverside Drive, architect, John Forbes Beattie's vision for a grand carriageway, over the Packhorse Brig and finishing at the Brig o Dee, which has stood for over 5 centuries as the southern entrance to the burgh of Aberdeen.  Full details HERE

A ramblers' special, our longest walk at 3.16 miles - therefore fairly strenuous and not suitable for those with mobility problems.

MEET: Outside To-Go Pizza & Kebab Takeway, 6 Bath Street, Windmill Brae AB11 6HY (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: approx 2.25hr
END: Brig of Dee/ Riverside Drive
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


THURSDAY 30 MAY 2019:
TALES OF OLD TOUR (FULL LENGTH TOUR)

We begin at the foot of Sinclair Road, near the heart of the old fisher village, once an independent royal burgh, now a forgotten suburb, come and learn the stories and history of the former Kincardineshire settlement, which finally became part of Aberdeen City in 1891. Including, Torry's early times as property of the Abbot of Arbroath, the lost fisher village, which suffered demolition twice, once in 1872 as a result of the Dee's reroute, and once in 1971, when the oil industry swept all before it. There's the sad story of the sinking of the Oscar, the superstitions of the fisherfolk who defied the kirk to carry out old rituals, and the development of Victoria Road following the herring boom. Full details HERE

MEET: Junction of Baxter Street and Sinclair Road (Outside former Torry Bar) (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: Approx 2.25hr
END: Victoria Bridge
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


MONDAY 3 JUNE 2019:
THE UNION STREET TOUR - ABERDEEN'S MODERN HEART

Union Street represented the break with and indeed the destruction of the medieval city as it cut through the old, crowded streets and lead the way to a new development at the far side of the Denburn Valley which had once been the border of the burgh.  This tour aims to show a little of what was there before, including a look at the vaults, the piers which hold up our main street, as well as explaining the fight the business community had to persuade the council to go ahead with this new development. Full details HERE.

MEET: Outside Town House (Union St Entrance), AB10 1AR (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: approx 2hr
END: Holburn Junction
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


WEDNESDAY 5 JUNE 2019:
GALLOWGATE: ABERDEEN'S BORDERLANDS (THE NORTH)

N.B. Turning the tour route on its head, we start at Marischal College this time, and END at Gerard St!!

First in a series of four, covering "Aberdeen's Borderlands". The Gallowgate represented the way to the city's Northern border, Mounthooly, as Aberdon was a separate burgh until 1891. From its earliest origins as the first site of civic executions to the home of the city's earliest thread mill, Porthill, the Gallowgate has changed rapidly through time. Gallowgate hides many secrets, we will attempt to reveal some on this tour.  Full details HERE

MEET: Outside Marischal College Main Doors, Broad Street, AB10 1AB (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: approx 2hr
END: Gerrard Street, near Mounthooly
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


FRIDAY 7 JUNE 2019:
OLD ABERDEEN'S ARCHITECTURAL SECRETS (FULL LENGTH TOUR)

Learn about the 'Aultoun' and its buildings, from the medieval Snow Kirk and Kings College to the artisan housing of the 18th and 19th century, and the hidden secrets of the university campus, including the secret Snow Kirk, the Macrobert Memorial Garden, and the delightful 18th century buildings of the Chanonry. Bishop Elphinstone was the founder of Kings College, little did he know at the end of the 15th century that many centuries of building of both sacred and secular kinds would rise up around his new university, and that the Protestant troops of General Monck would destroy St Machar Cathedral with their scavenging for stones to build up their hastily-planned fort on Castlehill in the New Town. For anyone who ever wondered 'if walls could talk...'!

MEET: Outside Kings College, Entry Path, High Street, Old Aberdeen (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: approx 2hr
END: Seaton Park
TICKETS: Adults £10/ Concessions £8; Click HERE to book online or in person at Visit Scotland, Shiprow.


SUNDAY 9 JUNE 2019:
KIRK OF ST. NICHOLAS - GRAVEYARD TOUR

Revival of an old tour, looking at our city's famous dead.  The Kirk of St Nicholas, affectionately known as 'the Mither Kirk', being the earliest known church in the city, hosts the graves of many famous sons and daughters of Aberdeen, including architects, academics, showmen, medics, ministers, philanthropists and body-snatchers to mention but a few! We hope to create more graveyard tours soon, Trinity, St Machar, St Fitticks, Nigg, are all on my list!

MEET: Schoolhill Lodge, Kirk of St Nicholas, Schoolhill, AB10 1HF (MAP)
STARTS: 2pm
DURATION: 2hrs approx
TICKETS: Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow


MONDAY 10 JUNE 2019: NEW TOUR LAUNCH 
KING STREET CHRONICLES: ABERDEEN'S BORDERLANDS 2

Second in our series of "Borderlands" tours; looking at King Street, laid out 1808-10, opening up the new-look Georgian town and studded with silvery granite edifices designed by the city's two top architects, John Smith and Archibald Simpson. But nearby were all the reminders of the burgh's gritty past; Shuttle Lane, home of thieves and hoors; the Modeller, home to vagrants and alcoholics; and the fears of what went on behind closed doors at the Medico-Chirurgical Hall. There were innovations to follow, Tudor Johnny's own home was later used as the city's very first eye clinic before it moved to Woolmanhill; the North Kirk transformed into the Arts Centre, and the city's doyen of children's drama, Catherine Hollingworth began the Children's Theatre in an old Victorian mansion, now connected to both the Arts Centre and Archie Simpson House. Packed with other wee gems of forgotten history, this walk will bring back the lost landscape of the 1800s and early 1900s when King St was a proud showpiece of its north-eastern border.

MEET: Gordon Highlanders' Statue, Castlegate, AB11 5BQ (MAP)
STARTS: 7.30pm
DURATION: 2hrs approx
END: TBC

TICKETS: £10/8. Click HERE to book online or book in person at the Visit Scotland hub on Shiprow 


 

 

 

 

 

 

New dates will be added very soon!

Please note, if dates are not shown it means there are no tours planned yet for those dates or they are free for private bookings.  

News

Reminiscence Talks - Aberdeen Lang Syne at Mark Bush CourtMark Bush Court, Sheltered Housing, Kincorth

We are going to be delivering the full series of our reminscence talks starting in November at local council sheltered housing complex, Mark Bush Court in Kincorth.  The residents have a very busy social calendar and are always on the look out for interesting visitors.  Dr Fiona-Jane Brown, our director will be presenting the talks including "Lost Shops", "Lost Cinemas", "The Blitz", "A Virtual Pub Crawl of Aberdeen", "Dancehalls and Ballrooms", "Trams, Buses and Trains", and "Sneezes, Wheezes and Diseases", the potted history of our local medical services.  

Residents pay a small fee to cover their entertainments, but anyone willing to sponsor these sessions to allow them to build up their event kitty would be most welcome! 

VisitAberdeenshire Logo 4 2

Our newly updated listing with VISIT ABERDEENSHIRE is now live.  Our friends at this local tourism promotion agency have been snowed under with updates to their business pages, so if you've recently visited it and found obsolete information, it's now been fixed! Click HERE to view and let us know if you spot any errors in future! 

 

Current Projects

As well as tours and storytelling sessions, Hidden Aberdeen is also works with various local businesses, charities and third sector organisations:

 

Our Publications

Dr Fiona-Jane Brown, director of Hidden Aberdeen Tours has published three books on local history in the city and shire.  

Original Hidden Abdn Cover

 

BACK IN PRINT AFTER AN 18 MONTH ABSENCE!! 

Publishers, Black & White of Edinburgh have finally been able to bring back this very popular original local history book which was inspired by the walking tours and Dr Fiona-Jane Brown's blog which was hosted by STV Aberdeen way back in 2012! Due back in bookshops by mid-June 2017!

Aberdeen is rich in history, much of it hidden. Now, in Hidden Aberdeen, Dr Fiona-Jane Brown explores the city through new eyes, revealing new stories from the past and bringing the modern city to life. There's the last resting place of Robert Hitchens, who was at the wheel of the Titanic when it struck an iceberg; Royal connections including the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart's visit to local ship owner, Skipper Scott, when he discovered from his commander, the Earl of Mar, that all was not well with the Jacobite Army; the brutal murder of a monk by so-called reformers and the strange nineteenth-century animal cruelty case against the city's Jewish community. There's also the city's intriguing connection with Millwall FC and the place where medieval criminals were hanged. This fascinating book will open your eyes to the hidden, the forgotten and the abandoned which lie under your feet as you walk round the city today.

Hidden Aberdeen: History on your Doorstep and Under Your Feet is the first local history publication from Dr Fiona-Jane Brown, founder of Hidden Aberdeen Tours.

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Hidden Aberdeenshire the Coast

Following on from the bestselling Hidden Aberdeen, Fiona-Jane Brown now presents a brand new volume, Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Coast, exploring the rich history and the most fascinating, quirky stories from the windswept lands beside the North Sea.

There's the story of James Keith, brother of the 10th Earl or Marischal, whose statue stands in Peterhead - but few know why; Captain Gray's House, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took up a post as ship's surgeon on a whaler owned by one of the most successful whaling captains of the nineteenth century; the tale of the Frasers, the family who lost their castle and generations later reclaimed it; the mystery of the university that never was; plus many more.

Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Coast is a fascinating and entertaining collection of forgotten history and anecdotes from Scotland's North-East, pieced together by historian Dr Fiona-Jane Brown.

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Hidden Aberdeenshire the Land

Following on from Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Coast, this new volume moves inland to tell the stories of the countryside, from the fertile farmland of Buchan to the high peaks of the Cairngorm Mountains.

Visit Macbeth's reputed grave at Lumphanan, where he was supposedly buried by his supporters after being killed by Malcolm Canmore, later Malcolm III of Scotland; meet the Maiden Stone's forgotten companion, the larger-than-life Persephone sculpture, near the foot of Bennachie and learn the significance of the Kintore Arms Public House to a terrible murder back in 1863.

Come and visit the two most fascinating burials in Braemar cemetery, of poor crofter, Peter Grant who fought at Culloden and outlived Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the Black Colonel, John Farquharson of lnverey, who made his "bed" in the rocks above his castle, but did not lie peaceful in his grave after death.

Learn about Trooper Smart of Kintore who died in South Africa as a result of a lion attack; the hidden stone circle discovered in Methlick Wood by a local dowser and Wormy Hillock, an early site of Pagan worship near Rhynie.

Join historian and guide Dr Fiona-Jane Brown for these and many more quirky, forgotten and hidden tales, this time from Aberdeenshire's landward districts.

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Impressum

Hidden Aberdeen Tours (founded 2011) is wholly owned by Dr Fiona-Jane Brown as a sole-trading operation which occasionally works with contractors.


Contact Hidden Aberdeen

Contact details

Phone: 07572 582198
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