Moving To And Living In Aberdeen: A Newcomer’s Guide

Moving to Aberdeen, Scotland, can be an exciting adventure for newcomers. Our guide provides essential info to get you started.

Moving to Aberdeen, Scotland, can be an exciting adventure for newcomers.

Known as the Granite City, Aberdeen boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, and a multinational population that gives the city an exceptionally positive and engaging vibe.

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To help you prepare for your move, our guide will provide essential information about the city and offer practical tips and advice for your new life in Aberdeen.

As you make your way through your relocation process, remember that although Aberdeen is not as expensive as London, it is still considered one of the UK’s priciest cities.

Ensure that the salary you expect to receive will keep up with the cost of living in Aberdeen.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the local weather, which can be grey and windy, even during summer.

Granite Homes of Aberdeen | Laurentiu Morariu  - Unsplash
Granite Homes of Aberdeen City | Laurentiu Morariu – Unsplash

Make sure to pack plenty of warm clothing, as the long cold winter months can start as early as October.

Once you’ve settled in, take advantage of the numerous activities, clubs, and organisations to help you make connections and establish your social circle.

Associations such as the American Women Of Aberdeen started as an organisation for Americans but now include members from various countries, offering a great opportunity to meet others and make friends from diverse backgrounds.

Moving to Aberdeen

As a newcomer to Aberdeen, Scotland’s thriving city on the northeast coast, there are several factors to consider before making the move.

This section will discuss the cost of living, housing and accommodation, and transportation options available in Aberdeen.

Cost of living

Generally speaking, you’ll find that the cost of living in Aberdeen is relatively affordable compared to the major cities in the UK.

It’s important to budget to meet your personal needs, such as groceries, utilities, childcare, entertainment, and dining out.

Remember that prices will vary depending on your preferences and lifestyle choices.

Some typical costs in Aberdeen include: (single person)

  • Groceries: £60 to £120 per week, depending on your shopping habits
  • Utilities (electricity, heating, water): £120 to £180 per month
  • Internet: £20 to £55 per month

Housing and accommodation

When it comes to housing and accommodation in Aberdeen, you have various options, ranging from small flats to spacious detached family homes.

Renting in the city centre tends to be more expensive, so you might want to explore your options in the suburbs or surrounding areas for better deals.

Average rental prices in Aberdeen are as follows:

  • One-bedroom flat in the city centre: £500 to £1000 per month
  • One-bedroom flat outside the city centre: £400 to £650 per month
  • Three-bedroom flat/house in the city centre: £900 to £1,950 per month
  • Three-bedroom flat/house outside the city centre: £750 to £1,600 per month


Aberdeen offers a well-developed public transport system, making commuting in and around the city straightforward.

Your travel options include trains, buses, and taxis. There are also numerous cycling and walking paths available for eco-friendly commuting.

Here are some typical transportation costs:

  • Single bus ticket: £2.40
  • Monthly bus pass: £60 to £70
  • Taxi: £3.00 initial charge, then around £1.50 per additional mile
  • Petrol: £1.45 to £1.60 per litre

It’s well worth considering purchasing a bicycle or walking if you live near your workplace, as it can save you money and help the environment while you enjoy the additional health benefits.

Working in Aberdeen

If you plan to find employment in Aberdeen, you will find that the city offers diverse career opportunities.

With its robust economy and reputation for innovation, Aberdeen has become a sought-after destination for both skilled professionals and those looking to start their careers in high-technology industries.

Career opportunities

The job market in Aberdeen is especially dynamic, with strong potential for growth across various sectors.

For expats and new residents, numerous opportunities can be found within the oil and gas industry, healthcare, education, and other sectors.

One of the major benefits of living in Aberdeen is the relatively high earning potential for professionals.

This is partly due to the economic impact of the North Sea oil and gas industry, the city’s strong links to prominent research institutions, and its well-developed social infrastructure.

Knowing the right industries with a high demand for skilled labour can help you find suitable job opportunities in the city.

Important industries

As mentioned, the oil and gas sector is a major driving force behind Aberdeen’s economy, attracting skilled expat professionals yearly.

This industry is responsible for roughly 10% of the city’s workforce, making it an important source of jobs for the local population.

Positions within the oil and gas sector can range from technical and engineering roles to management and support staff, providing ample opportunities for those with varying skill sets and qualifications.

Aside from the oil and gas sector, other important industries in Aberdeen include healthcare, higher education, and tourism, among others.

With a thriving job market that caters to different professional backgrounds, you will have plenty of options to consider when building or advancing your career in Aberdeen.

Education and schools

Moving to Aberdeen, you’ll find various educational options for your family or furthering your personal education.


When choosing a school for your children, you will have a range of options, including state-funded schools and independent private schools.

The city is well known for its high-performing schools, offering good opportunities to develop your child’s academic abilities.

For younger children, nursery schools and early learning centres are available to provide a solid foundation for their future education.

Keep in mind that school admissions work with catchment areas, which means the schools available to your child depend on your residential location.

It’s essential to research schools in your preferred area before moving to Aberdeen. For an overview of primary and secondary schools in Aberdeen, you can check the Aberdeen City Council’s website.

Higher education

For higher education opportunities, Aberdeen is home to two reputable universities: the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University.

The University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, is one of the oldest universities in the UK, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

The university is well-known for its research in life sciences, medicine, energy, and environment.

Robert Gordon University is known for its strong links with industry and emphasis on practical, applied learning.

The university delivers a variety of specialised degree programmes in areas such as art and design, engineering, business, and health sciences.

Aberdeen also hosts several colleges, including North East Scotland College, which offers vocational courses and further education programmes in various subjects.

Living and socialising in Aberdeen

As a newcomer to Aberdeen, you will experience a prosperous and pleasing environment largely influenced by the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The city offers a unique blend of Scottish hospitality, cultural attractions, and beautiful landscapes, making it a perfect place for expats, families, and those seeking an enjoyable lifestyle.


When you move to Aberdeen, selecting the right neighbourhood that aligns with your lifestyle needs and preferences is essential.

Some popular areas include the West End, Rosemount, and Bridge of Dee. These areas are known for their beautiful parks, gardens, and access to outstanding schools for children.

Leisure and recreation

You’ll never run out of things to do in Aberdeen. The city boasts fantastic artistic and cultural attractions, including performance venues and museums.

Sports enthusiasts can indulge in various sporting activities, such as golf, rugby, and football.

Aberdeen has beautiful parks and gardens you can explore for an escape to nature. These green spaces provide an ideal environment to relax, unwind, and enjoy outdoor activities with your family.

Aberdeen Beach
Aberdeen Beach | Martin Bennie – Unsplash


Aberdeen is a shoppers’ paradise. You can visit the Union Square Shopping Centre for a mix of high street and designer brands.

Head to the farmers’ market or independent boutiques for local produce and crafts.

Local events

Throughout the year, Aberdeen hosts numerous local events that truly showcase the city’s art, culture, and community spirit.

Some of these events include the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival, the Aberdeen Art Fair, and various themed-cuisine nights organised by multicultural communities.

Attending these events will help you develop connections with fellow expats and locals and form lasting friendships as you integrate into Aberdeen’s welcoming community.


Moving to Aberdeen, Scotland, it’s important to understand the healthcare options available to you. This section will discuss the National Health Service (NHS) and private hospitals in Aberdeen.

National Health Service

The NHS is the United Kingdom’s publicly funded healthcare system. If you are living in Aberdeen lawfully, you can access healthcare services through the NHS.

For example, if you’re a full-time student, you can get healthcare from the NHS from the day you arrive until one month after your course finishes.

Part-time students who are also working in Aberdeen may also be eligible for NHS healthcare services. Learn more about healthcare for overseas visitors here.

Children of residents living in Aberdeen will have access to the NHS for their healthcare needs.

The NHS provides a wide range of services, including general practitioner (GP) appointments, hospital treatments, and emergency care services.

Private hospitals

While the NHS offers comprehensive healthcare services, some individuals may choose to utilise private hospitals for faster access to care or specialised treatments.

Private healthcare in Aberdeen is provided by various facilities, ensuring that you have options when it comes to your healthcare needs.

Private healthcare usually requires insurance. Some expats find it beneficial to have insurance plans that grant access to world-class healthcare facilities and treatments both in Aberdeen and elsewhere.

You can compare international health insurance costs tailored to expats and their specific needs.

Choosing between the NHS and private hospitals ultimately depends on your personal preferences, needs, and financial situation.

Be sure to research both options to determine what best suits your lifestyle while living in Aberdeen.

Climate and weather

When you move to Aberdeen, one of the essential aspects to consider is the climate and weather. Aberdeen experiences a maritime climate that typically entails cool summers and mild winters.

This section will provide you with a better understanding of Aberdeen’s weather so that you can adequately prepare for living there.

Temperature and humidity

Temperatures in Aberdeen generally range from cold to mild throughout the year. Summers are moderate, with average temperatures around 17°C, while winters might see temperatures around 1°C.

Due to its coastal location, Aberdeen experiences a typically high level of humidity throughout the year, which can sometimes make the colder months feel more chilly than they actually are.

Rain and snow

In Aberdeen, you can expect a fair bit of rainfall annually. It is essential to be prepared for wet weather, even during the summer months, when the weather can be quite unpredictable.

Snowfall in Aberdeen is not uncommon, though it is typically more sporadic.

To help manage the rainy and snowy conditions in Aberdeen, make sure you have the following items:

  • Waterproof jackets and shoes
  • Umbrella
  • Warm clothing and accessories

Aberdeen is known to have one of Scotland’s sunnier cities, with an average of around 1,400 sunshine hours a year.

Despite the city’s relatively high amount of rainfall, these sunshine hours provide a delightful contrast to the wetter days, offering more opportunities for outdoor activities.

Transport links to other cities

Moving to and living in Aberdeen, Scotland, offers various transport options for travelling to the other major cities of the UK. This guide covers the main aspects of rail, air, and road travel.

Rail travel

The train station in Aberdeen provides a fairly reliable and frequent rail service to key cities in Scotland, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, and Perth.

Travelling by train is an excellent way to enjoy Scotland’s scenic landscapes, including the nearby Cairngorms National Park.

Air Travel

Aberdeen is relatively well connected to the rest of the UK and Europe via air travel. Frequent flights connect Aberdeen to London, Manchester, and other European hubs, while seasonal flights cater to popular holiday destinations.

Road Travel

Aberdeen’s road network connects it seamlessly to other cities in Scotland and on into England, making driving a popular and accessible transport option.

The primary route, A90, links Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Perth. Inverness can also be reached from Aberdeen by driving through the Cairngorms National Park, offering an unforgettable scenic route.

Cairngorms National Park Scotland
Cairngorms National Park Scotland | Benjamin Blyth Unsplash

Maintaining a car, although convenient, can be costly with high fuel prices.

Alternatively, you can rely on the intercity bus services that provide a more cost-effective means of transport. With frequent buses available, they serve as a popular choice for people travelling to nearby cities and towns.

Final thoughts on living in Aberdeen

As you settle into life in Aberdeen, you’ll find that it’s a city brimming with possibilities and a strong sense of community. Its prosperous economy, driven by high technology and electronics, makes it an attractive destination for expats.

Moreover, the local architecture and cosmopolitan population truly add to the charm of this Scottish city.

Though Aberdeen’s cost of living is fairly high compared to other Scottish cities, its quality of life is worth it.

You’ll have access to some of the best healthcare and education in the country, with the National Health Service (NHS) and government-funded schools accessible to all legal residents.

By immersing yourself in the city’s rich culture and visiting its various events and attractions, you’ll quickly adapt to life in Aberdeen.

Give yourself the time to thoroughly research the best locations for your new home and carefully plan your budget to ensure a smooth transition into your new life in this exciting city.

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Andy Williamson
Andy Williamson

Andy Williamson is the founder of Expatra, one of the most popular online research publications for expats. He's been a digital nomad since 2004, before it was even a thing!

Andy loves to play electric guitars at high volumes and is the official voice of the family dog. When he's not travelling or rocking out, he enjoys spending time with his very patient wife and daughter.

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  1. Sorry the shopping is dreadful, the best shop, John Lewis closed down some time back, Union Street is just one wide long street with no weather protection. One of the worst places in the UK when considering it’s is/was one of the most prosperous towns in the UK.