Things to do near the Aberdeen Ferry Terminal

Many customers travel from far and wide to our Ferry Terminal in Aberdeen to sail to Orkney or Shetland and start their island adventures. However, you may find yourself arriving in Aberdeen with plenty of time to spare before your sailing.

There are lots of things to do and see near the NorthLink Ferries’ Terminal in Aberdeen, including 3 shopping centres and 2 cinemas!

We have compiled a quick list of things for you to do within a 15-minute walk of the Aberdeen Ferry Terminal to help you pass the time before you set sail.

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum exterior
The Aberdeen Maritime Museum exterior photo © Copyright Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam

Dive into Aberdeen’s history with the sea at Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 10-minute walk

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich maritime history of the city. The museum is housed in the historic Provost Ross’s House that dates back to 1593, and showcases an extensive collection of artifacts and interactive displays, giving visitors an immersive experience into the world of seafaring.

Spotting the NorthLink Ferries' ship from the Maritime Museum
Spotting the NorthLink Ferries’ ship from the Maritime Museum photo © Copyright Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam

There is also a lovely café here which serves teas and coffees, sweet treats, and even light bites for lunch. The views from the top floor of the museum are impressive and overlook the busy harbour – see if you can spot one of the NorthLink Ferries’ ships!

We have previously enjoyed a visit to Aberdeen Maritime Museum. You can find out more about our experience here:

Challenge your mental skills at the Break Out Games

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 12-minute walk

If you are looking for an exciting activity to try before your sailing, we recommend having a go at the Break Out Games; an interactive escape room experience located just a short walk past Union Square. They offer a range of themed rooms, each with its own unique storyline and set of puzzles to solve within a set time limit.

The Break Out Games are suitable for those aged 8 and over and they can accommodate teams as small as 2 people and as large as 30 people, making this a great option for couples, friends and families!
Pre-booking is recommended. To find out more about the challenges on offer and available times, please visit:

Provost Skene House exterior
Provost Skene’s House exterior photo © Copyright Amy Leith

Learn about the pioneering people of Aberdeen at Provost Skene’s House

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 13-minute walk

Provost Skene’s House is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the people and culture of Aberdeen. Situated within the oldest surviving town house in the city, this museum features the stories of more than 100 remarkable individuals who were born, lived, or worked in Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland.

'World Firsts' room inside the museum
‘World Firsts’ room inside the museum photo © Copyright Amy Leith

Ranging from innovators and scientists, to sporting champions and music stars, there is an impressive variety of people showcased here through interesting and interactive displays that both children (and adults!) will enjoy. Another great thing about this museum is that admission is free for all to enter, and they are open every day!

We have previously enjoyed a visit to Provost Skene’s House and couldn’t recommend it enough. You can find out more about our experience here:

Pathways leading down into Union Terrace Gardens
Pathways leading down into Union Terrace Gardens photo © Copyright Bill Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Stretch your legs in Union Terrace Gardens

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 15-minute walk

Just beside Aberdeen’s popular Union Street, Union Terrace Gardens offers a peaceful escape from the busy city. The gardens provide the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll and to stretch your legs before boarding the ferry.

The park has recently undergone a £28.3 million refurbishment which has modernised the park, and improved its amenities and wheelchair accessibility. There are many interesting sculptures and monuments to see around the park, some of which pay tribute to important historic figures such as William Wallace.

The Aberdeen Art Gallery exterior
The Aberdeen Art Gallery exterior photo © Copyright Visit Scotland / Damien Shields

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 15-minute walk

Our next suggestion is to view the impressive art collections at the Aberdeen Art Gallery. With collections that date back over 700 years, the Aberdeen Art Gallery includes works created by locally, nationally, and internationally celebrated artists.

This museum is a must-see for both locals and visitors to Aberdeen and it is open 7 days a week. Even better, there is no admission fee meaning everyone is welcome to come along and appreciate the culture and artwork showcased here. The building is fully accessible and even has a new rooftop café with fantastic views over the city centre.

Catch one of the latest films at the Cinema

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 10-minute walk

Our next suggestion is for those who have a few hours to spare before boarding – why not catch one of the latest films at the cinema? Aberdeen has two cinemas located within a 10-minute walk from the Ferry Terminal and both offer a wide range of movie choices to suit all ages.

There is a Cineworld cinema located on the second floor in Union Square and the often-quieter Vue cinema is located on Shiprow – just along from the Maritime Museum. However, if film times don’t quite work in your favour, you can always enjoy some of the latest releases when you set sail in our onboard cinema!

Find out more about what’s on and running times here:

Outside of the Bon Accord Shopping Centre
Outside of the Bon Accord Shopping Centre photo © Copyright Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam

Indulge in some retail therapy at one of Aberdeen’s shopping centres

Distance from Ferry Terminal: 8-15-minute walk

When thinking about how to spend your spare time before boarding the ferry to Orkney or Shetland, a visit to Union Square Shopping Centre is an obvious and excellent choice. Union Square is a busy shopping complex located conveniently across the main road from the ferry terminal. Take the opportunity to pick up some last-minute bits for your travels or simply browse through some of your favourite high-street stores including Zara, Mountain Warehouse or The Perfume Shop.

However, Aberdeen has not only one shopping centre – but three, and all within a 15-minute walk from the Ferry Terminal! The Trinity Centre and the Bon Accord Centre are also great places to find everything from trendy clothing to unique gifts.

Amy LeithBy Amy Leith
A recent university graduate with an admiration for Orkney and Shetland, loves to travel and visit new places, enjoys cooking, always listening to music, spends a little too much time on TikTok.

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Header image: Overlooking Aberdeen City from the Harbour photo © Copyright Stephen Mercer Productions