One of Scotland’s spectacular seven cities, Dundee is a dynamic and friendly place that boasts incredible attractions, sights, world-renowned creations and much more.
With so many new hotspots and old favourites dotted across the city, it’s no wonder Dundee has been named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 ‘Best in Europe 2018’, which has seen magnificent locations such as Zagreb, Croatia and Galicia, Spain awarded in previous years. The ever-growing cultural scene, the transformation and redevelopment of the city’s historic waterfront, the stunning V&A Dundee, and many other inspiring aspects, have all played a part in Dundee being awarded this well-deserved title. Not only is Dundee the only UK city to be highlighted in the 2018 accolades, it’s also the first time a Scottish destination has been featured since 2014!
Dundee has quickly grown to be a perfect city break location, with a diverse range of bars and restaurants, an eclectic choice of independent shopping, art and design galleries and a buzzing music and events scene. It’s a fascinating place and a must-visit when in Scotland.
Here are some top attractions across the city that are definitely worth a visit, but there are plenty more to experience too, so make sure you plan a trip soon to uncover them all!
New for 2018, one of the world’s most anticipated cultural attractions will open its doors to the public on 15 September. The magnificent V&A Dundee is Scotland’s first design museum and will be home to the country’s design heritage, fascinating exhibitions, as well as permanent galleries and exciting features that have yet to be announced. The opening exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, will include displays of objects never-before-seen in Europe, as well as exploring the history of these powerful steamships and what it would have been like on board one of these ‘great floating palaces’.
Take a boat trip out on the River Tay to experience a unique view of the V&A Dundee as well as the famous Tay Rail and Road Bridges. Make sure you keep an eye out for dolphins playing in the water – it’s a real sight to behold!
RRS Discovery and Verdant Works
Hop aboard the RRS Discovery at Discovery Point to experience what life was like in the Antarctic with Captain Scott and his crew, and witness for yourself some of the fascinating objects and artefacts that belonged to these brave men.
Head to Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works to relive the fascinating story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage and social history in the atmospheric setting of a refurbished jute mill. Enjoy a mixture of films, interactive hands-on activities, audio visual shows, as well as a café and gift shop on site.
HMS Frigate Unicorn
Explore one of the world’s most outstanding historic ships which, at nearly 200 years old, is perfectly preserved as a museum and visitor attraction in the heart of Dundee. Step aboard the HMS Frigate Unicorn and wander around the four decks on one of the six oldest ships in the world. Learn about what life was like at sea, the history of the Royal Navy, and the ‘Golden Age of Sail’.
Dundee Law and The Howff
Get the best views of the city and the flowing River Tay from the top of the historic extinct volcano of Dundee Law. This is a perfect location for the budding photographer or keen walker to explore. Venture around The Howff, a small, peaceful, urban cemetery that is known for its historic grave sites and elaborate stone details.
Why not explore the nooks and crannies of Dundee on a city walking tour? Choose from themed walks, including Dark Dundee and Discover Dundee, which take you through the exciting tales of the city’s fascinating history.
Arts & Culture
There are many galleries, museums, and theatres dotted across the city that art lovers and design enthusiasts can explore to uncover Dundee’s creative side. The McManus Art Gallery & Museum sits in the city centre and combines art, history and the surrounding environment to give a fascinating insight into Dundee. Home to unique, themed exhibitions, a world cinema, café-bar and print studio, make sure you pay a visit to the ever-popular Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre. Explore the home of Scotland’s only permanent ensemble company and Scottish Dance Theatre, featuring a year-round programme of exciting drama, dance, music and comedy productions at the Dundee Rep Theatre.
Dundee is full of quirky cafés, bakeries, restaurants, and cool bars that offer many delicious dishes, delicate pastries and famed goodies that will get your taste buds tingling. A local and traditional favourite, Dundee Cake, is a well-known rich Scottish fruit cake that originated in 19th century Scotland and can be found in bakeries across the city, including the popular Clark’s Bakery.
Explore the bars and pubs along Perth Road, a popular student night out location, for many stylish, new and unique stomping ground options.
It’s Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory where you can see breathtaking views of the stars and planets through the impressive Victorian refracting telescope. Learn about constellations, planets and other magnificent areas of the night sky in the planetarium with friendly staff on hand to answer your burning questions.
Dundee Science Centre
Calling all scientists! Experience over 60 hands-on exhibitions, science shows and demonstrations that the whole family can get involved in and enjoy. Head to the Dundee Science Centre and try out some fun science experiments, explore time and space in the planetarium, watch live science shows, move a ball with your mind and much more is all on offer.
UNESCO City of Design
Named as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design, Dundee is alive and buzzing with creative designs, festivals, architecture, attractions and more. Until 28 May, you can enjoy the creative events of Dundee Design Festival at various venues across the city. Experience the riot of colour that is Dundee’s first Design Parade or a number of quick-fire presentations at PechaKucha Night and much more!
A new addition to Dundee’s spectacular waterfront, Slessor Gardens is a new civic space that will host many large events and shows, but also features pocket gardens that are themed to reflect Dundee’s global connections. Explore the Discovery Walk which celebrates the many extraordinary people who have lived, worked and contributed to life in Dundee and beyond through science, society and the many other walks of life.
Dundee Women’s Trail
Learn about the stories of notable women from Dundee’s past along the Dundee Women’s Trail, a short self-guided walk around the city. Visit historic plaques that commemorate and celebrate the life and works of some amazing women who helped shape the city into the cultural gem that it is today, including Rebecca Strong, Jean Thomson, Mary Slessor, and Ethel Moorhead.
Compact in nature and easy to get around, Dundee is a splendid hub of things to see and do, lovely places to eat and drink, cultural attractions to visit, and centuries of history to uncover, so make sure you come along and get exploring! Discover Dundee and make sure you share your experiences using #ScotlandIsNow #Dundee2018 #SunnyDundee and #LP.