Read on for everything you didn't know about Dundee & Angus, and you'll soon have all your weekends booked up with day trips full of architecture, art, historic ships and breathtaking rolling hills.
These suggestions are not just for visitors - if you're lucky enough to call this region home, then these ideas are for you too!
Dundee Architectural Trail
Thought to be over 800 years old, Dundee has been a busy industrial town (only made a city in 1892) for fishing, textiles including jute, and confectionery including marmalade. Its buildings might not be quite that old, but it's got some interesting architecture examples - and they're all listed in a handy walking trail!
You might have admired the McManus, Caird Hall or new V&A but did you know in Dundee:
- There's an engraved bust of Shakespeare - find it in Castle Street above the former Theatre Royal.
- A hotel once stayed in by Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill - the Queen's Hotel in the Nethergate.
- A library that was built to look like an open book - the University of Abertay library on Bell Street.
Follow the Dundee Architecture Trail around 27 of the city's buildings.
Arbroath Heritage Trail
This traditional seaside town sits around an important harbour, as the fish caught out in its waters become the famous Arbroath Smokie. The town is home to some interesting history with Arbroath Abbey, Bell Rock Lighthouse and the harbour of course! The heritage trail is a 1.5 hour walk starting at the harbour around 21 key locations in the town.
Look out for new facts including:
- The town and harbour were once attacked by pirate Captain Fall in 1781, who targeted houses at "Danger Point" along the Old Shore Head.
- Newgate House, near the corner of Hill Road and West Newgate, was built in the early 1600s using stones from the abbey.
- Ponderlaw is named after the Abbey's "ponder" who looked after its woods and forests.
See all the details of the Arbroath Heritage Trail.
Dundee to Montrose coastal path
If you live near the Dundee to Montrose coastal path route, why not go out and explore its beautiful and natural surroundings? You can pick a stage to tackle instead of the full route, which begins at the waterfront of Dundee, and runs continuously along the coast through Broughty Ferry to Monifieth, inland a little to Carnoustie, back along the coast to Arbroath, then inland again right up to Montrose, past the basin, and out to St Cyrus. Phew! The path works for walking or cycling and runs for about 32 miles.
While you walk/cycle, look out for:
- Views of Broughty Ferry Castle and the occasional dolphin in the waters of the River Tay.
- A carved bench in the charming fishing village of East Haven, marking its status as one of the oldest known fishing settlements in Scotland.
The opening of the V&A Dundee was the talk of the town (or city) in 2018, so chances are high that you've heard of it. This remarkable piece of architecture, based on the patterns of the cliffs in Arbroath, is home to a permanent exhibition on Scottish design and a series of changing exhibitions.
But did you know:
- You can have your own personal tour of the V&A Dundee by the architect himself? Available from the welcome desk for just £4 is an interactive self-guided multimedia tour which lets you hear from Kengo Kuma and curators, designers and others behind the creation and set up of the museum.
- You can plan your visit following the beginner's guide, which tells you to look out for the 15th century book of illuminated manuscripts, a diamond-winged tiara inspired by a Wagner opera, and a dress of lips inspired by the love affair between the Duke of Westminster and Coco Chanel.
Plan your trip to the V&A Dundee now.
Arbroath Abbey is widely known for its association with the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's independence from England. It's a stunning structure in a picturesque spot.
Did you know?
- The Abbey Gatehouse on the Great West Door has an imposing appearance - the portcullis features on the town's coat of arms.
- Arbroath only exists thanks to the abbey - the monks were granted permission to establish a burgh with a port and a weekly market by King William I (the Lion) who also founded the abbey.
- The harbour was built in 1394 and known as the Abbot's Harbour, as it was maintained by funds from the abbey.
- The abbey's famous 'Round O' - the circular window in the south transept gable - was a landmark for mariners. It was rebuilt in 1809 by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of novelist Robert Louis.
2020 was the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and though events had to be cancelled earlier in the year, it's the perfect time to delve back into the history of Arbroath Abbey.
The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum
This magnificent Victorian Gothic building is a site to behold just from the outside, but head inside and you'll find displays travelling 400 million years across eight galleries. But it's also the perfect place to see how the landscapes of Scotland - much like the Angus Glens - have inspired painters for hundreds of years.
Explore the Landscapes and Lives exhibit, a traditional-style Victorian Art Gallery, Long Gallery of fine and decorate art and the 20th Century Gallery - so art for all tastes and ages!
But, did you know you'll find other galleries across the region including:
- Hospitalfield House - a significant early arts and crafts building, once a key place of study for early Scottish modern painters. It runs limited opening, normally through the summer.
- Meffan Museum and Art Gallery - works of past and contemporary artists, reflecting Angus' rich art heritage.
- Arbroath Art Gallery - from oils by Henry Raeburn and James Irvine to significant works by Peter Brueghel.
- Montrose Museum and Art Gallery - hosts changing exhibitions from the community and from Angus Council's collections of paintings and sculptures.
- Arbroath Signal Tower Museum - discover the fascinating story of the Bell Rock Lighthouse designed by the famous engineer, Robert Stevenson.
A beautiful, quiet landscape is always good for a bit of escape, but if you've been living a quiet life recently, it might be the perfect time for a new adventure. With rivers, forests and the coasts we already mentioned, Dundee & Angus is perfect for outdoor activities including:
- Wakeboarding, paddleboarding or the activity course at Wild Shore Dundee.
- Clay target shooting, falconry or archery at Auchterhouse Country Sports
- Explore Angus on two wheels on one of many scenic mountain bike or cycle paths
- Pack your golf clubs, you’ll find a great choice golf courses from links to parkland
With so many places to visit across Scotland, will you head to one of your favourites or try somewhere new?