Located in northeast Scotland, Aberdeen is Scotland's third biggest city after Glasgow and Edinburgh. Aberdeen is nicknamed "the Granite City" because many of the city's most spectacular buildings are made from granite extracted from the ground in the surrounding area. More than 50 percent of the city's granite is estimated to have come from Rubislaw Quarry, located in the west end of Aberdeen.
Today, Aberdeen attracts around 1.3 million tourists annually, who come to enjoy the city's historical landmarks and the beautiful coastline. However, if historical marvels and beautiful beaches don't appeal to you, you might be more interested in the area's local Victorian-era distillery, GlenDronach. So whether you're a whisky lover, a history enthusiast or a beach lover, you'll find something exciting to do in Aberdeenshire.
If you're looking for a variety of filming locations, Aberdeen is the ideal place. You'll find a range of locations to suit your filming requirements, including medieval castles, modern venues and rural green spaces.
Filming Options in Aberdeen
To make sure your shoot goes as smoothly as possible, you are likely to need assistance from several local businesses, including film studios, equipment hire, and catering companies. Thankfully, Aberdeenshire is home to several highly recommended companies to help you make your shoot a resounding success.
- Film Studios
Your crew will likely need to spend some time in a film studio so you can shoot scenes in a controlled environment, free from interruptions. Most film studios contain filming spaces, makeup and costume rooms, green rooms and production offices, giving your cast and crew plenty of space to work their creative magic.
No matter the size of your production, you're going to have a very busy crew that will quickly turn into a very hungry grew. Hiring an experienced film set caterer can take the hassle out of feeding everyone on set.
- Equipment Hire
If you'd like to hire filming equipment, Aberdeen and the surrounding area are home to various equipment hire businesses that provide high-quality cameras, lenses, lighting, tripods and other essential pieces of gear.
Filming Companies in Aberdeen
- Wardpark Film and Television Studios
Located just outside of bustling Edinburgh, Wardpark Film and Television Studios is the only elite film and television studio in Scotland at present. The impressive site has around 200,000 square feet of studio space, comprising five sound stages, production offices, workshops and green areas. Wardpark Studios is probably best known as the home of the successful television series Outlander, starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. So if you're searching for a film studio with all the facilities you'll ever need, Wardpark Studios is ideal.
- Bespoke Catering and Events
Bespoke Catering and Events' film catering department, known as Bespoke on Location, have provided food for prestigious film and TV productions including Jurassic World, Outlander and Outlaw King. The caterer offers high-quality, professional food made with fresh, local ingredients. The company is inclusive of all the dietary requirements of your cast and crew, providing vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options, meaning everyone is provided for.
- Atmosphere Lighting and Sound
Located in Aberdeen, Atmosphere Lighting and Sound provide extensive sound and lighting equipment, enabling you to light your set correctly. Equipment is made by reputable companies such as Pioneer, Numark, Bose and Bosch.
Pros and Cons of Filming in Aberdeen
- Proximity to the Coast
Aberdeen Beach is only a short walk from the city centre. The beautiful stretch of beach won the Resort Seaside Award in 2013 and is recognised for its popular recreational and sporting activities, including the leisure centre, ice rink and a selection of restaurants and cafes.
There is no shortage of historical places in and around Aberdeen. The city is home to the Maritime Museum, the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Craigievar Castle, the Tolbooth Museum, Torry Battery and The Grampian Transport Museum.
If you're a seafood lover, make sure to enjoy dinner at one of Aberdeen's many seafood restaurants. Top tip: you'll find the best fish restaurants in Aberdeen Harbour, including but not limited to The Silver Darling, Bistro Verde and the Michelin-recommended Moonfish Cafe.
Aberdeen can feel isolated due to its location. The nearest major city is Edinburgh, which is 92 miles away. However, Aberdeen has an airport and a rail network connecting the city to the UK.
Like much of Scotland, Aberdeen does not experience the best weather conditions. Summers are typically short, cool and cloudy, whereas winters are long, bitterly cold and windy. This probably goes without saying, but don't forget your coat and umbrella when visiting this area of the UK!
Famous Locations in Aberdeen
- Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Located close to the city's busy harbour, Aberdeen Maritime Museum tells the intriguing story of the city's relationship with the sea. Collections explore Aberdeen's early history of fishing, trading and shipbuilding, as well as the more recent history of the North Sea's oil and gas reserves. Climb to the top floor of the museum, and you'll be met with a spectacular view of Aberdeen's thriving harbour.
- Duthie Park Winter Gardens
Opened to the public in 1883 after it was gifted to the city by Lady Elizabeth Crombie Duthie. Today, the 44-acre park, which sits on the bank of the River Dee, is a popular recreational spot for locals and tourists. The David Welch Winter Gardens are located within Duthie Park, one of Europe's largest indoor gardens. Inside, you'll find an array of exotic plants from all over the world.
- Slains Castle
Located in Cruden Bay, Slains Castle dates back to the late 16th-century. The crumbling but remarkable castle is thought to have inspired Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, as the author used to visit the site regularly during the late 19th century. What is left of the imposing castle, which sits at the top of jagged cliffs, is built in the gothic architecture style, making it a great place to photograph. Most recently, Slains Castle and Cruden Bay appeared in the popular television series The Crown.