This spirited Scottish city gives you the best of all worlds, offering a wealth of cultural, creative and culinary experiences for all.
Dundee is rapidly becoming a hub for culture and innovation with a huge redevelopment that has seen the likes of V&A Dundee finding a home there. It can offer the best of a city break and a weekend getaway to the great outdoors, all rolled into one!
*Image used: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam.
If you’re not stopping off in Dundee for very long, then head to The Waterfront overlooking the River Tay. This part of Dundee is currently undergoing a huge redevelopment project that has brought lots of new sights and activities to the city centre. Wander down the Black Watch Parade that runs alongside the River Tay to take in the views of both the river and the stunning architecture situated in this area.
The temporary hoardings surrounding some of the development sites are also worth a look around. The people of Dundee have made the most of these spaces, using them to display pieces by Scottish artists, from photography to paintings. You can also find other artwork in Slessor Gardens, Discovery Walk and Riverside Avenue, but locations are always changing as the redevelopment progresses so keep your eye out for new artwork as you explore the area!
If you’re looking for somewhere to stop and grab a bite, the Bird & Bear is just a 7 minute walk from Slessor Gardens. Providing everything from creative cocktails to traditional pub meals, including a filling brunch, it’s quirky interior includes bird cages, unusual pendant lights, and a jungle of plants set the scene for a meal that is sure to be well presented and fun.
Get your weekend off to an energetic start by experiencing one of the many water sports available on the River Tay. One of the closest to the city centre is on The Waterfront and offers paddle- boarding, ringo rides, and an aqua park. You can book your session with Foxlake Dundee o ensure you’re all set to go upon arrival! There are lots of other places along the river offering everything from kayaking to windsurfing as well, so it’s worth having a look around to find your perfect aquatic adventure.
If this is all sounding rather too vigorous for a weekend trip, then relax on a boat tour around the shoreline where you might be in with a chance of spotting bottlenose dolphins and seals as you go! If you’d prefer to stay on shore, then take a stroll along Black Watch Parade to take in the sights of the River Tay without having to adventure onto it.
The walk down Black Watch Parade connects Discovery Point and the City Quay, but can be extended along Riverside Walk which will take you to Riverside Nature Park. There are lots of stop off points along the way, including the Dundee Botanic Gardens, but it’s also a route on the National Cycle Network ,so why not hire a bike for the day and glide down the riverside and enjoy the views!
Take a look at our half a day itinerary to plan out your morning exploring the The Waterfront and all it has to offer. Whether you want to take a wander to look at all of the street artwork on display or head into the V&A Dundee, there’s a variety of indoor and outdoor activities to keep everyone amused.
Once you’ve finished strolling around The Waterfront, head into the city centre to discover all of the little places to eat tucked away in the streets of Dundee. As well as bars such as the Bird & Bear, you can find local food and drink producers, such as 71 Brewery on Bellfield Street. This brewery combines modern, innovative flavours with the classic combinations to put a spin on the traditional beers. You can take a tour around the brewery to see behind the scenes or you can also pick up some of their beautifully designed beers to take home to enjoy.
If you prefer a quick bite to eat, then keep an eye out for Dundee cake which is available in many bakeries, restaurants and other eateries around the city. This fruit cake is packed full of currants, sultanas, almonds and occasionally orange peel, to create a sweet treat that is loved by children and adults alike.
Start your week off by getting to know this busy city by taking one of the many tours on offer and explore Dundee based on your interests. Go on a dark history tour to discover the mysterious stories behind artefacts and buildings with Bright Dundee. For a more creative perspective, Dundee Photographers will take you to all of the best sights and spots to hone your photography skills. If you’d rather wander at your own free will, you can get audio tours from Scot Free tours and take your time looking around.
Dundee is home to the only other V&A outside of London in the world. The V&A offers its visitors an insight into artwork and artefacts created by local, national, and international artists, allowing you to experience a world of cutting edge designs all in one place.
Some of the permanent displays are free, but you can also visit some of the limited time exhibitions for a small fee, so there’s something for everyone, whatever your budget! It’s not just exhibitions on offer at the V&A - you can also get involved in a range of different activities throughout the year which are perfect for a range of ages so you can also have a fun family day out.
If you enjoy history, especially naval history, then Discovery Point is the place for you. Here you’ll find the docked RRS Discovery, the ship governed by Captain Scott on his first expedition to the Antarctic in 1900. Now you can experience the history behind it through audio visual shows, computer-based interactive experiences, and displays. About a 10 minute walk from Discovery Point is HMS Unicorn - launched in 1824, the HMS Unicorn is the oldest British-built ship still afloat and has been docked in Dundee since 1873. It’s now open to the public as both a tourist attraction and a private hire function venue.
Ideal as a family day out, the Dundee Science Centre has over 80 interactive displays and featured exhibitions throughout the year. Each dives into a different area of scientific discovery, sometimes venturing into other topics such as medieval mechanics. Located only 4 minutes from the main Dundee train station and with tickets costing no more than £10, it’s a quick, easy and exciting day out for anyone. If you happen to be in Dundee around October, then keep an eye out for the Dundee Science Festival which is held in conjunction with the science centre and offers a range of exciting activities to get involved with.
If you want to venture outside of the city centre, head to the little town of Broughty Ferry and experience the rural parts of Dundee. What used to be a little fishing and whaling village turned into an affluent area full of villas, but has now settled as a unique town full of diverse building types. Visit the local museum to find out more about the town’s unusual history, wander along the peaceful shoreline, then relax in one of the cosy local pubs with a hearty meal to re-energise.
Day six and seven
Wind down your week in Camperdown Country Park by lounging in the sunshine or exploring this 400 acre space. Wander through the park, following footpaths or woodland trails, taking you to adventure playgrounds and even a wildlife park. If you want to get sporty, there’s an 18 hole championship golf course, bike routes and a centre for watersports to keep you busy. For the nature lovers among you, the park is also home to over 190 species of tree and is part of the National Tree Collections of Scotland, so there’s plenty to explore.
The Camperdown Wildlife Centre put on a range of events throughout the year, including ‘Meet Santa’, and the park itself plays host to the Dundee Flower and Food Festival, bring people from around the country every September. With so much to do in the park alone, it’s the perfect way to bring your week to a close.