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Whatever the impression, it is a place that elicits a strong response. 01358-789513, run various day tours around the region, leaving from the tourist office. Opposite, at the corner of Union Street and King Street, in the Town House, is the Tolbooth which dates from the 14th century.Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the northeast's most famous writer, wrote: "One detests Aberdeen with the detestation of a thwarted lover. Not only did it serve as a collection point for tolls and taxes but it was also used as the Wardhouse, housing prisoners held on remand.

Most dramatically, down the stairwell hangs a model of an oil rig.Visitor guide to eating out in Aberdeen, in Aberdeenshire. Highly rated bistro serving imaginative Scottish/European menu, with a more formal restaurant upstairs. Here, at the end of Union Terrace, stand three buildings at right angles: the Central Library, His Majesty's Theatre and St Mark's Church, always known locally as 'Education, Damnation and Salvation'.Includes detailed info on restaurants ranging from the expensive to the cheap. They are obligingly pointed out by a huge statue of William Wallace, brandishing his sword.It was the biggest fish market in the country and still lands considerable catches. Popular bar-bistro serving good-value food, plenty of vegetarian choices, and just look at those cakes! Mostly takeaway and open till 0100 (0300 at weekends). Aberdeen is linked to Lerwick in Shetland and Stromness in Orkney by P&O ferries, Tel. There are regular sailings from the passenger terminal in the harbour, a short walk east of the train and bus stations. There are regular services from London, and major Scottish towns and cities. There are also buses to Stonehaven (Service No 103), Alford (Service No 220), Peterhead (No 263), Fraserburgh (Nos 267/268) and Ellon (Nos 290/291). Aberdeen was the seat of two universities, the Catholic King's College (see 'Old Aberdeen' below) and the Protestant Marischal College, founded in 1593 by the 5th Earl of Marischal.Then came the discovery of North Sea oil and gas and Aberdeen became Boom City, flaunting its new-found wealth with an almost unseemly fervour. The bus terminal is next to the train station, on Guild St. For more details pick up a free copy of the Aberdeenshire & Moray Public Transport Guide at the bus station or tourist office, or call the Public Transport Unit, Tel. Car Hire: Budget, Powis Terr, Great Northern Rd, T488770; also at the airport, Tel. The two colleges combined in 1860 to form Aberdeen University.

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