Insider’s Guide To Dundee

It’s no coincidence that Dundee is known as Scotland’s City of Discovery. This modern and vibrant place, which enjoys an enviable position at the mouth of the River Tay, undoubtedly has loads to discover for all types of visitors.

With its stunning coastal location and fascinating history as a major trading port, specialising in jute, jam, and journalism, Dundee has consistently looked outward and forged ahead as an innovator.

Indeed, it continues to evolve as a thriving commercial centre while its visitor experience is now among the very best in Scotland thanks to some major developments choosing to call the city home.

Inspired by the example of the Antarctic expeditions of the RSS Discovery – now a floating museum which can be found anchored at the city’s quayside – the city’s spirit of adventure remains firmly at its heart with a wide variety of things to do in Dundee.

Brett Davidge, General Manager at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa offers his guide on what to do in Dundee.

Waterfront regeneration

Set to open in 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum – the V&A to you and me – has provided a focal point of the city’s extensive £1 billion waterfront regeneration. With its galleries set to display designs from Scotland’s past, present and future, many other attractions will no doubt follow close behind.

The museum is close to our quayside hotel, and just a short walk from the city centre. Perfect for everything from family staycations to short business trips, and with the added benefit of award-winning spa facilities, the hotel is a fantastic and relaxing base for discovering the best of Dundee.

Arts and culture in abundance

There’s plenty of arts and culture available to sample throughout the city, for all ages. And it’s all complemented by fantastic dining and entertainment options, including Caird Hall where some of the world’s biggest musical acts regularly drop by.

It may be one of the city’s most popular attractions – so no great secret – but it’s a firm favourite. Glamis Castle has been dubbed the most beautiful building of its kind in Scotland. The childhood home of the Queen Mother and the setting for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, a tour of this 600-year-old home to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne is an absolute must.

Walk on the wilder side

For those looking to take a walk on the wilder side of the city, Dark Dundee walking tours offer a ghoulish and highly entertaining taste of the city’s macabre past several days a week. If you like your history on the more spine-chilling side, then this is for you.

Likewise, Broughty Ferry-based Pirate Boats Ltd provides a swashbuckling experience on the Tay Estuary with private and commercial boat trips taking in local sights and wildlife including the local bottlenose dolphin population.

Dundee’s coolest suburb

In fact, Broughty Ferry itself comes highly recommended and is just a short distance from the city. Labelled ‘Dundee’s coolest suburb’, it offers everything from charming shops and ice cream parlours, to a traditional walk along its famously pristine beach. You can also visit the 16th century Broughty Ferry Castle and take in some incredible views of the Tay Estuary.

If all that fresh air just isn’t enough for you, take a stroll through Dundee’s Balgay Park, and more particularly visit the free-to-enter Mills Observatory where high-powered telescopes give you an astronaut’s eye view of the constellations. It’s open seven days a week and staff are delighted to guide you round the cosmos.

Close rivals

For sports fans, it’s interesting to note that the city has two rival football teams – Dundee and Dundee United – whose grounds are just 100 metres apart, the shortest distance between stadia in the UK. The rivalry is close, but arguably the stadia are closer.

Dundee is constantly reinventing itself – so why not reinvent your own notions of a break in this amazing city? We’d love to welcome you.