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11 historic statues and monuments to visit in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

There are many statues and monuments around Aberdeenshire that commemorate famous Scottish events and figures.

The Robert The Bruce Statue can be found on Aberdeen's Broad Street outside Marischal College.
Picture by Darrell Benns
The Robert The Bruce Statue can be found on Aberdeen's Broad Street outside Marischal College. Picture by Darrell Benns

With brighter days approaching, there are many statues and monuments to discover on a spring walk in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The region has a past full of historic events and public figures who have been recognised and remembered with statues and monuments dedicated to them.

Why not spend your next day off visiting some of these famous statues?

Robert the Bruce

The Robert the Bruce statue stands proudly outside the former Marischal College and University buildings that are now used as the Aberdeen City Council headquarters on Broad Street.

After four years of construction, it was finally unveiled on 9 May 2011. The inscription on the front of the granite plinth reads Robert the Bruce King of Scots 1306 – 1329.

He was popularly known for leading Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England and fought successfully during his reign to restore Scotland as an independent kingdom.

William Wallace

You can also find the William Wallace monument opposite His Majesty’s Theatre and across from Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen.

William Grant Stevenson designed the statue which was revealed to the public in 1888 to commemorate the life of the brave Scottish landowner and freedom fighter.

It celebrates the part he played in the defeat of the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297.

The William Wallace statue at Union Terrace Gardens. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Balmoral Cairns

If you fancy a nice walk while exploring some historic monuments then a visit to Balmoral Cairns would be the perfect day out for you.

On the property, there are 11 cairns — the Gaelic term for pyramid-like structures — which were built to remember the marriages of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s nine children and other key events for the Royal family.

In 1852, Prince Albert bought the Balmoral Estate as a present for his wife who adored the Scottish countryside.

Balmoral Cairns, Deeside, Scotland. Image: Gayle Ritchie

Fisher Jessie

On Marischal Street in Peterhead, you will come across the Fisher Jessie statue.

The bronze figure is a basket and creel-carrying fish-wife and a little girl, designed by Peter James Buchan who dedicated it to his great-great-grandmother, Jessie Buchan.

It’s also a thoughtful tribute to the fishing heritage and tiring life of the traditional fisher girls who wandered around the area either selling or exchanging their catch every day.

Fisher Jessie in Peterhead. Supplied by Aberdeenshire Council

Robert Burns

The life-size Robert Burns statue is positioned on a pedestal of white Kemnay granite and has stood at Union Terrace in Aberdeen since 1892.

The daisy, held by the famous poet in his left hand, symbolises his poem ‘To a Mountain Daisy’.

The inspiration came to him while plowing a field in April 1786 — he connected with the crushed daisy’s fate while reflecting on his circumstances at the time.

The Robert Burns statue on Union Terrace. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

The Turra Coo

If you’re from the Turriff area, you’ll be no stranger to the famous Turra Coo.

She was a white Ayrshire-Shorthorn cross dairy cow that became well-known following a controversy between her owner and the government over taxes and compulsory national insurance raised in 1910.

The farmer was fined and the cow was sold, however, Turriff locals repurchased it for him and they were reunited — appointing her the town’s mascot for years to come.

The Turra Coo can be found on Turriff’s High Street. Image: Jim Irvine

Mother Earth

Visit the Mother Earth sculpture in Grandholm Village, Aberdeen, created by Andy Scott.

Andy and his assistant, George Potter, spent 6 months constructing before the figure was installed in 2005.

The theme chosen was a female figure to represent ‘Mother Earth’. She is draped in a steel fabric to represent the cloth weave of the Crombie Textile Mills.

The leopards are based on those incorporated in the city of Aberdeen’s coat of arms.

Mother Earth statue at Grandholm Village, Aberdeen, sculpted by Andy Scott. Image: Kenny Elrick

Temple of Venus

Take a windy climb up Macduff’s Hill of Doune for a chance to explore the Temple of Venus when you reach the top.

Architect William Adam designed the dome in 1737 for the Earl of Fife which over-looked Duff House to improve the skyline.

It once housed a statue of the godness of Venus which was unfortunately removed.

Temple of Venus, Macduff. Supplied by DC Thomson

Rob Roy on the rock

Since around 1850, a statue of the kilted Scottish hero Rob Roy has stood on the bank of Culter Burn, in the village of Peterculter.

However, due to Scotland’s weather, the previous model had been removed in July 2016.

The Rob Roy Preservation Trust created a new replacement which had been cast in a composite material that is less susceptible to harsh environmental conditions — it was unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

The brand new and improved statue of Rob Roy at Rob Roy Bridge, Culter. Image: Kenny Elrick

Inverurie War Memorial

You can find the war memorial in Inverurie Square which commemorates the fallen from both the First and Second world wars.

The stone sculpture is of a life-size Scottish soldier who holds a rifle on top of a granite plinth that is marked with a crossed rifle and sword at the head.

It was revealed on 20 September 1921 with names and inscriptions marked on each side of the stone plaques.

War Memorial, Market Place, Inverurie. Image: Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Denis Law

Manchester United football legend, Denis Law, has been celebrated with a five-metre statue in Aberdeen.

The sculpture captures the moment that the striker scored for the Scottish national team and stands beside Provost Skene’s House.

He returned to his hometown alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and Lord Provost Barney Crockett for the unveiling in 2021.

Denis Law statue at MSQ, Aberdeen. Image: Scott Baxter