Visiting Dundee - What to See and Do
(Dundee Airport DND, Scotland)
About one in every seven residents of Dundee
, Scotland's fourth-largest city, is a student. No fewer than five institutes of higher learning lie within this 800-year-old city on the Firth of Tay's north bank in north-east Scotland
. Dundee is no more than a two-hour drive from Scotland's three largest cities, Edinburgh
The city's main tourism information centre can be found at Discovery Quay, where the famous wooden RRS Discovery tall ship is docked in Dundee's thriving harbour and remains a significant local attraction. Robert Falcon Scott sailed the RRS Discovery during his legendary 1901 Antarctic expedition, which is described in greater detail at the adjacent Discovery Point Museum.
Dundee's other main claims to fame are its marmalade jam, its Dandy and Beano comics, and its former jute factories, which have been converted from vegetable fibre processing plants to offices and apartment buildings. A Desperate Dan statue stands in the central city square as a reminder of its comic book heritage.
Ten things you must do in Dundee
- Tour the RRS Discovery tall ship now docked at the city's harbourfront Discovery Quay. The three masts of this iconic vessel, in which Robert Falcon Scott sailed to the Antarctic in 1901, can clearly be seen throughout Dundee. Visitors can learn more about Scott's arduous Antarctica journey at the Discovery Point Museum next to the Discovery Quay.
- Explore the HM Frigate Unicorn, the oldest Great Britain-made warship still sailing today. This 46-cannon vessel made its first voyage in 1824 and ranks among the world's oldest ships. Visitors will experience the cramped living conditions of the ship's former crew during self-guided tours of this vessel's four decks.
- Read the interesting inscriptions on the tombstones at the ancient Howff Cemetery, where countless generations of Dundee residents rest in peace beneath land that Mary Queen of Scots granted to the city. The oldest of these elaborately decorated gravestones date all the way back to 1603.
- Swim next to the sandy Broughty Ferry Beach on Dundee's eastern outskirts. This Blue Flag beach is surrounded by the Firth of Tay estuary and Esplanade promenade. Swimmers can float alongside dolphins and seals in the waters of this beach, while dry land attractions include a young children's play area and beach volleyball nets.
- Admire the imposing Broughty Castle, first built on its Firth of Tay estuary promontory in the year 1496. This castle and fortress managed to survive the 16th century War of the Rough Wooing, the 17th century Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and countless other battles throughout the centuries. Visitors can learn more about these dramatic conflicts at the Broughty Castle museum.
- Camp for the night or simply spend the day at the Camperdown Country Park, where visitors can spot wolves, lynx, brown bears and countless other animals at the park's wildlife centre or from the glass walls at the visitor centre's café. The park also contains a green haven, nature trail centre and a golf course, being just 5 km / 3 miles from the heart of Dundee. Visitors can even ice skate or enjoy a movie on rainy days.
- Stare at the stars and moon at the Mills Observatory, first built during the 1930s on the top of Balgay Hill. The dome on this one-of-a-kind observatory in Scotland was constructed entirely from papier maché.
- Look up at St. Mary's Church and Tower, constructed on the location of an older church dating from the late 15th century. The church's ancient stone clock tower is the city's only surviving medieval structure.
- Make the challenging climb up Dundee's highest point, the 174-metre / 571-foot Law Hill. The summit of this unusual hill formed from an ancient volcanic lava plug includes a war memorial, remnants of an old Pictish settlement, and stunning views of both the Tay Rail and Tay Road bridges. The view at the end is well worth this challenging uphill journey.
- Pay tribute to Dundee's own Scots Black Watch Battalion at the Black Watch Memorial attraction, where names of local fallen soldiers are inscribed on a plaque of a statue of a soldier overlooking the city below.