Dundee has built a memorable reputation over the years for being a hub of innovation and creativity, so it is no wonder that in 2014 the city was officially recognised by the United Nations as a UNESCO City of Design – the first in the UK to be awarded the honour.
The city has certainly made its mark on the world with contributions to a diverse range of fields; from medical research, including the development of aspirin in 1876, to the computer gaming industry, popular comics and more. It is also in the company of the likes of Berlin, Beijing, Buenos Aires and Montreal with this UNESCO accolade.
In recognition of this prestigious title, we’ve come up with some must-see attractions and things to do in this marvellous City of Design… but there’s plenty more to discover.
The new V&A Dundee opened on 15 September 2018 and is a sparkling addition to the city’s new waterfront. Scotland’s first deign museum and is the only V&A museum in the world outside of London, dedicated specifically to Scotland’s outstanding design heritage. Walk through the doors into an enchanting atmosphere of fascinating exhibition, incredible artworks, creative designs and more.
The McManus Art Gallery and Museum
The McManus Art Gallery and Museum, or ‘McMenace’ as it is known at present to celebrate 80 years of The Beano, needs no excuse to visit. Housed within a splendid Gothic revival-style building in the very heart of the city, the museum boasts eight galleries crammed full of exhibits about the history of Dundee, as well as fine art and world cultures.
The Dundee Women’s Trail
The women of Dundee deserve credit more than most for their contribution to the city’s heritage. The Dundee Women’s Trail celebrates them in true style with plaques honouring their work on or near places of interest connected with their lives. You’ll discover the likes of Margaret Fairlie, who first pioneered the use of radium to treat cancer, and Janet Keiller, the 18th century creator of the first chip marmalade, alongside many more.
The Beano and The Dandy
The loveable rogues of some of the world’s most recognisable comic strips were born and raised in Dundee and yes, they are now 80 years old! Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan and the Bash Street Kids first came to life on the pages of DC Thomson comic books. Head to City Square and the newly-renamed Bash Street – a laneway off Dundee’s West Marketgait – to take a selfie with larger-than-life characters from The Beano and The Dandy.
As well as design and innovation, Dundee has a tradition of discovery and exploration. The RRS Discovery, the vessel that took explorer Captain Scott on his first polar expedition to Antarctica, was designed and built in the city’s shipyards. In another first for Dundee, the ship was the first built specifically for scientific research – take a tour of the vessel, including all the quarters below deck, to find out more about Scott’s ground-breaking expedition.
High above the city on Balgay Hill, the Mill’s Observatory remains the only one built in the UK with the sole aim of encouraging public interest in science. Free to visit, the observatory has regular planetarium shows, astronomical displays and more, letting you explore space at your leisure.
Alongside all these fantastic attractions, there are plenty of workshops, events and more things to see and do that you can join in with. Experience first hand some of Dundee’s inspirational creatives and check out Creative Dundee’s great insider tips of what to do and when in the city – all 99 ideas are selected by locals!
For inspiration on things to see and do in Dundee & Angus, visit our website for more inspiration. Or why not check out Scotland’s new UNESCO Trail, bringing together 13 of the country’s designated sites, including Dundee?