This city on the Tay has reinvented and rebuilt itself
The NTS has dozens of properties within easy driving access of Dundee, including Falkland Palace in Fife. Check the link to find more of their interesting buildings, castles and natural attractions. You can also join the NTS here to get free entry to all their properties.What to See
What to do when you are in town
Scotland's 4th city had a long and prosperous industrial past, based on the processing of jute, railway engineering and shipbuilding (and jam). A slow decline and final extinction of those industries left the city depressed, until Dundee reinvented itself in recent years as a centre of excellence in software, banking and as a tourist destination.
This resurgence is obvious by looking at post-war guidebooks, which could only recommend the Old Steeple, The Old Town Cross, the Caird Hall, the Albert Institute and a walk up Dundee Law as Dundeeâ€™s main attractions. Today, it is very different, with the city of Dundee being a wonderful Scottish destination in its own right, and featuring a completely rebuilt waterfront with many unique attractions, as well as many museums, Botanic gardens and an observatory.
1. Discovery Point (entry fee)
Here you can visit and explore the wonderfully restored three-masted sailing ship which took Robert Falcon Scott on his first Antarctic expedition during 1901-1904. The ship was built for the expedition in 1900, and was strongly made to resist the ice. On board you can visit many parts of the ship including the crew quarters and the officersâ€™ wardroom, and there is a treasure/fact hunt for the kids. The price of admission allows you free return for 12 months. A visitor centre beside the ship has displays and videos and about Antarctic exploration, and a cafÃ© and gift shop. Dundee also has the frigate 'Unicorn', built in the early 19th century, which sits in the water at Victoria dock. You can also get on board and look round this ship, via a self-guided tour.
2. Verdant Works, Blackness (entry fee)
This first-rate industrial museum is focused on Dundeeâ€™s jute industry, and is located in a former jute mill. The building itself is A-listed, meaning it is of national importance. The museum tells the story of the textile industry, which once employed fully half of the working adult population in the town. You can follow a self-guided tour, but the museum has attentive and well-informed volunteer staff. Good for children as well as adults.
3. Dundee Law
Still a must-do feature for the visitor, this 174 metres / 571 feet hill which rises to the north of the city marks a great viewpoint for the city, the road and rail bridges over the Tay, and for Fife. If you are short of time you can drive up.
4. Desperate Dan
DC Thomson, the publishers of the Beano and Dandy comics (among many other publications), are based in Dundee and City Square in the middle of town has its larger than life bronze statue of one of the most famous comic creations, Desperate Dan, along with his dog (called Dawg) and another great character, Minnie the Minx.
5. V & A Museum
This unusual and very striking modern building on the waterfront houses part of Londonâ€™s V & A museum's art and design collection, covering Scottish designers and talented artists from other countries. Free entry. You can check the current exhibitions here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee
6. Dundee Museum of Transport, Market Mews, Market Street (entry fee)
All types of transport are covered in this volunteer-run museum, from cars and buses to trams, railways and ships, to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a Hillman Imp police car.
7. Camperdown Country Park (Kingsway West)
This is a large (400 acre) park on the north side of Dundee with a golf course, tennis courts, pitchâ€™nâ€™putt, and a nature trail as well as a wildlife centre (entry fee) with bears, porcupines, monkeys and wolves.
8. The Tay Road Bridge
You are likely to either arrive in Dundee or leave Dundee via this toll-free bridge, which is one of the longest in Europe (it is 2.2 km / 1.4 miles long) and links Dundee with Fife. There is a pedestrian walkway on the bridge, which you can use to walk or cycle or jog across (but this is closed if the wind is too strong). The bridge is one of the best places to get a view of the redeveloped Dundee waterfront and the V & A museum.
9. The McManus â€“ Dundee Art Gallery and Museum, Albert Square
Many visitors enjoy this traditional museum with free entry, set in its attractive Victorian building, more than the V & A. Has displays and artefacts covering the history of Dundee, as well as an art gallery with a focus on Scottish artists. To fully appreciate what the museum and gallery has to offer give yourself at least two hours, and then visit their cafÃ©. Check what latest exhibitions are here: https://www.mcmanus.co.uk/
10. Dundee Botanic Gardens, Riverside drive
Run by the University of Dundee, these popular gardens have good walks, tropical greenhouses and a cafÃ©. Its specimen tree collection is especially good. The gardens are located 3 miles / 5 kilometres west of the city centre.
11. Mills Observatory, Balgay Park, Glamis Rd
This public observatory has a computerised telescope and a planetarium, and has a regular programme of events. It is on the wooded summit of Balgay hill, which is 3 miles / 5 kilometres from the centre of Dundee.
Outside Dundee but close
12. Broughty Castle and Museum
Along the highway to the east, and no longer a ferry port since the opening of the Tay Road bridge, Broughty Ferry offers an interesting 15th century castle, with a museum covering the history and wildlife of the local area. Spiral staircases may be difficult for some. You can also walk on the sandy Broughty Ferry beach nearby.
13. Glamis castle (entry fee)
This spectacular baronial castle makes a good day trip from Dundee â€“ it is only 12 miles / 19 kilometres away. Guided tours take in all the castleâ€™s features and its many connections with royalty.
14. Crombie Country park (parking charge)
You can reach Crombie on the B961 going north east from Dundee (12miles / 19 kilometres). This peaceful park has great woodland walks with deer hides and a visitor centre with rangers, and you can walk around the reservoir. Good for children.