15 Best Things to Do in Dundee, Scotland

15 Best Things to Do in Dundee, Scotland

By will

The city of Dundee in Scotland is a place of adventure and discovery.

From its beautiful streets and stunning views to its fascinating culture and vibrant nightlife, it’s no wonder why Dundee has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or an extended stay, there are plenty of exciting things to do that will make your trip unforgettable.

Here are 15 of the best activities and attractions this wonderful city has to offer.

1. V & A Dundee

The V&A Museum, Dundee
Photo by M J Richardson

Visiting V & A Dundee is an absolute must for anyone exploring the city of Dundee, Scotland.

This world-class museum and gallery is a stunning architectural design that rests on the banks of the River Tay.

Enjoy breathtaking views of Scotland’s east coast while discovering inspiring exhibitions within the walls of this incredible building.

Inside, explore a range of art, design, and fashion across two floors.

With unique and interactive displays, you’ll be able to learn more about Scottish culture and history while taking in some truly remarkable pieces.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained here – from thought-provoking artwork to special events and activities.

And with free admission all year round, there’s never been a better time to experience V & A Dundee!

The McManus - Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum
Photo by JThomas

The McManus Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Dundee.

This 19th-century building, located in the city center, houses an amazing array of artworks and artifacts from Scotland’s past.

Among these include works by Scottish Colourists, important examples of furniture from the Victorian era through to the 20th century, and archaeological finds from around Scotland.

It’s sure to be a captivating experience!

Visitors can explore five floors of galleries at their own pace and are encouraged to take part in interactive displays and activities.

Guided tours are also available which offer insight into the stories behind many of the exhibits on display.

The museum also boasts some spectacular views over the River Tay and City Centre, which you won’t want to miss out on.

If you’re looking for an informative but fun day out, The McManus Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum should definitely be high up on your list!

3. Broughty Castle Museum

Broughty Castle
Photo by Euan Nelson

Dundee is home to many amazing attractions, but one of the best has to be Broughty Castle Museum.

Located on the stunning waterfront of the Firth of Tay, Broughty Castle is a great place for anyone looking for a unique and inspiring experience.

With its ancient towers, beautiful gardens, and sweeping views across the River Tay, this museum offers an insight into Dundee’s rich history and culture.

The museum houses a variety of exhibits showcasing Dundee’s past.

From displays of cannons used to defend the castle in 1548 to artifacts from the 19th-century shipbuilding industry, visitors will get a real sense of what Dundee was once like.

There are also interactive displays that tell stories about local people who lived in the area during different times in history, allowing guests to immerse themselves in Dundee’s past.

For those looking for something truly special, Broughty Castle also hosts events such as traditional music concerts and open-air theatre shows.

Enjoying these events while surrounded by such spectacular scenery makes them all the more memorable experiences.

Whether it’s taking a leisurely stroll around the grounds or exploring inside the castle itself, visiting Broughty Castle Museum is one of the most entertaining ways to experience Dundee’s history and culture.

4. Mills Observatory

Leaving Broughty Castle Museum, there is a unique opportunity to explore the night sky.

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Mills Observatory stands majestically atop Balgay Hill, overlooking Dundee and the River Tay.

Opened in 1935, it is the first full-time publicly funded observatory in Britain.

The observatory is open seven days a week, with free admission and guided tours available.

During these tours, visitors can get up close with all kinds of telescopes and learn about the history of astronomy from knowledgeable guides.

There is also regular public observing nights where the entire sky is explored from the observatory’s impressive domed roof.

On clear evenings, guests can view planets, galaxies, and stars through powerful telescopes for an unforgettable experience.

Mills Observatory offers a perfect opportunity to step into an awe-inspiring world of discovery and explore the vastness of space from Dundee’s very own backyard.

It is truly an inspirational experience that will stay with you long after your visit!

5. Dundee Science Centre

Dundee Science Centre is the place to be for science lovers visiting the city.

It’s a great spot for families, with hands-on activities, interactive shows, and inspiring exhibitions that will keep the kids entertained for hours.

The facility also offers workshops and special events like a spectacular laser show and an IMAX theatre experience.

There are plenty of engaging activities to explore in Dundee Science Centre, like the ‘Crazy Cogs’ exhibition where you can explore how machines work.

Alternatively, get your heart racing at the ‘Friction Zone’ where you can experiment with speed and momentum.

And make sure not to miss out on their Planetarium, where you can travel through time and space while learning about our solar system.

So if you’re looking for a fun and educational day out in Dundee, then Dundee Science Centre is definitely worth checking out!

With so many exciting things to do, it’ll leave you feeling inspired about science – without ever feeling bored or disconnected from nature.

6. Camperdown Wildlife Centre

The Camperdown Wildlife Centre is an absolute must if you’re visiting Dundee.

This wildlife sanctuary offers a unique experience to explore the diverse wildlife of Scotland and uncover the secrets of nature.

You can encounter some of the rarest and most majestic creatures in the world, such as red deer, Highland cows, reindeer, and otters.

The center is home to a wide range of habitats including woodland, wetlands, heathland, and wet meadows, where you can observe these animals in their natural environment.

There are also two outdoor play areas for children which provide an opportunity to learn about the wildlife onsite while they play.

Guided tours are available throughout the year so you can gain an insight into the life and behavior of these incredible creatures.

With its breathtaking scenery, fascinating wildlife, and educational activities, Camperdown Wildlife Centre is a great place to spend time with your family or friends.

Experience Scotland’s beauty up close as you discover its hidden gems – it’s sure to be a memorable day out!

7. City Square

Next up on our list of the best things to do in Dundee, Scotland is a visit to City Square.

This charming public plaza is located in the city center, offering visitors a beautiful and tranquil place to take in the sights.

The City Square is lined with trees and benches, making it the perfect spot for people watching or simply soaking up the atmosphere of Dundee.

It’s also a great place to enjoy some local music, as there are often different bands playing here throughout the summer months.

The City Square also hosts several events throughout the year, including food festivals and concerts.

No matter how you choose to spend your time here, City Square offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life or an exciting evening out, Dundee’s City Square has something special to offer.

With its beautiful architecture and picturesque surroundings, it’s easy to see why this vibrant public space is one of Dundee’s most popular attractions.

8. Discovery Point

Discovery Point is the perfect place to explore Dundee, Scotland.

From the famous RRS Discovery ship to the interactive exhibitions and activities, there’s something for everyone.

The RRS Discovery is a historic vessel that was originally built in Dundee, and it’s now been lovingly restored to its former glory.

You can take a guided tour around the ship and learn about its history and purpose as an Antarctic exploration vessel.

For those looking for a more interactive experience, there are plenty of hands-on activities such as the Virtual Reality Experience, which will transport you back in time to the original voyage of the Discovery.

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The Discovery Point also hosts several other attractions and events throughout the year.

You can take part in educational workshops for children or attend talks from experts in various fields.

There’s also a cafe onsite where you can enjoy light refreshments while taking in stunning views of the Dundee waterfront.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just want to soak up some culture, Discovery Point has something special to offer.

9. Verdant Works

Verdant Works is a must-see for visitors to Dundee.

It’s a museum and heritage center devoted to the city’s jute industry, which was once a booming part of the local economy.

Here, you can explore the history of jute manufacturing in Scotland as well as its impact on the local culture and people.

Step inside this beautifully preserved mill and explore the interactive exhibits, learning about how jute was made and transported around Scotland.

There are also plenty of activities for kids, such as hands-on workshops and special events like ‘Jute on Wheels’—an exciting scavenger hunt that takes you through the old mill.

You’ll love seeing how this important industry shaped Dundee into what it is today!

After your visit to Verdant Works, take some time to wander around its beautiful gardens or take a stroll along the riverbank nearby.

This area is full of charming spots that make it easy to while away an entire afternoon in peaceful contemplation.

10. Tay Rail Bridge

The iconic Tay Rail Bridge is an absolute must-see when visiting Dundee, Scotland.

Completed in 1887, it’s the longest bridge of its kind in the world and spans a total of two miles across the Firth of Forth.

You can take a walk across the bridge for sweeping views of the city and surrounding countryside.

It’s also possible to take a boat tour that travels alongside the bridge – perfect for admiring its spectacular engineering from below.

Dundee locals love to spend time at the Tay Rail Bridge; fishing, walking, and cycling are all popular activities here.

There are also several nearby trails with stunning views of the bridge itself, so you can admire it from different angles.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, there’s something for everyone at this iconic landmark!

11. Hms Unicorn

Next on the list of amazing things to do in Dundee, Scotland is to visit the historic HMS Unicorn.

Built-in 1824, this frigate-like vessel has been lovingly restored and is now a museum that visitors can explore.

As you step aboard, you’ll be instantly taken back in time and it’s not hard to imagine what life must have been like for the sailors who served on board.

The main deck of the vessel gives an insight into its history with lots of exhibits including original cannons, navigational tools, and other items used by sailors.

Take your time exploring the decks and enjoy hearing stories from knowledgeable guides about life onboard during the 19th century.

There are also lots of activities for children such as model-making workshops where they can learn how to build their own ship models!

If you’re looking to explore further then head up to the upper decks which offer stunning views over Dundee and beyond.

Here you’ll find a range of interactive displays that tell more about life at sea during this period as well as plenty of opportunities for taking photos and capturing your memories forever.

A trip around HMS Unicorn is sure to be one that will stay with you long after your visit.

12. Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle is a stunning and iconic structure located near the small village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland.

The castle has had a long and fascinating history, as it was once the home of King Malcolm II and is also said to be haunted by several ghosts.

It was also used as the setting for Shakespeare’s famous play ‘Macbeth’.

Today, visitors can explore the castle’s interior and exterior and learn more about its history.

The castle itself is an architectural masterpiece, with its 16th-century towers rising from the ancient stone walls.

Inside, visitors can wander through the many grand rooms, such as the Great Hall which contains portraits of former kings and queens.

There’s also a chapel, library, and kitchen to explore. Outside, there are gardens filled with vibrant flowers, trees, and shrubs; making it an ideal place for a peaceful stroll.

Visitors to Glamis Castle will definitely want to take some time to marvel at this impressive building while learning about its fascinating past.

As well as taking in the beauty of the castle itself, they can also explore its grounds; making it an unforgettable experience.

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13. The Vaults

The Vaults of Dundee, Scotland is a unique experience that should not be missed!

From the moment you enter the ancient brick building, you can feel the history and charm of this amazing city.

Located in one of Dundee’s oldest streets, The Vaults are home to an amazing array of bars, restaurants, and shops.

The atmosphere inside is always vibrant and buzzing with activity.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by locals enjoying a pint or two at the bar while others are tucking into some delicious food in the restaurants.

The Vaults also offer up some fantastic live music.

There are regular gigs hosted here so you can always find something to keep you entertained throughout your stay in Dundee.

If shopping is more your thing then there are plenty of great independent and vintage stores to explore as well as some incredible art galleries showcasing local talent.

With its unique mix of culture and entertainment, The Vaults really does have something for everyone!

14. Dundee Botanic Garden

Leaving the vaults, you will be transported to another world.

Dundee’s Botanic Garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city.

This lush, leafy paradise is the perfect place to relax and take in the beauty of nature.

The garden is a verdant wonderland of exotic plants, colorful flowers, and serene ponds cascading down terraced steps.

You can explore winding pathways that lead through cedar trees, shrubs, and grassy banks before emerging into open meadows and wildflower displays.

As you walk around, you’re enveloped by a peaceful atmosphere as birdsong fills the air and butterflies flit between blooms.

The garden also has several features to make your visit even more enjoyable.

These include a café serving light snacks and drinks in a peaceful courtyard setting; an art gallery full of local talent; an education center with interactive exhibits aimed at children; and daily events such as guided walks, talks from experts, and family activities.

Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or something fun for all ages, this destination has something for everyone.

15. St Pauls Episcopal Cathedral

One of the best things to do in Dundee, Scotland visits St Pauls’s Episcopal Cathedral.

This magnificent building has been an integral part of the city since 1844; its architecture and design have been admired by many.

The impressive Gothic Revival-style cathedral was built from locally quarried sandstone and is topped with a steeple that towers over the city.

Inside, visitors will find a stunning interior, complete with stained glass windows, intricately carved woodwork, and ornate stone walls.

The grounds of St Pauls are also worth exploring; they feature a tranquil garden area with benches where visitors can relax and take in the beautiful views.

There are also regular services at St Pauls, usually on Sunday mornings, where locals gather to celebrate their faith in an atmosphere of peace and quietude.

For those interested in history or architecture, St Pauls offers guided tours that provide a detailed look at the cathedral’s rich heritage.

Whatever your reason for visiting Dundee, make sure you don’t miss out on experiencing this remarkable piece of Scottish history!

Best Things to Do in Dundee – Final Thoughts

I had a great time exploring Dundee, Scotland, and all of the amazing things it had to offer.

From the V & A Dundee to the McManus Art Gallery & Museum and Broughty Castle Museum, I was able to take in all of the history and culture that this beautiful city has to offer.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also enjoyed visiting Mills Observatory, Dundee Science Centre, Glamis Castle, The Vaults and Dundee Botanic Garden.

All of these places gave me a better understanding of Dundee and its rich history.

My visit to St Pauls’s Episcopal Cathedral was one of my favorite experiences during my trip.

The stunning architecture with its intricately designed stained glass windows made me feel truly in awe.

It was such a unique experience that I’ll never forget.

Overall, my trip to Dundee was an incredible experience; one that I will never forget!

From exploring the many museums and attractions on offer to admiring the stunning architecture of St Pauls’s Episcopal Cathedral, there’s something for everyone in this historic city.

So if you’re ever looking for a great destination for your next holiday or weekend getaway, look no further than Dundee!

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Dundee with kids?

The best things to do in Dundee with kids are visiting The Camperdown Wildlife Centre, The McManus, and Verdant Works.

What to do during the day in Dundee?

The best things to do during the day in Dundee are visiting Broughty Castle Museum, HMS Unicorn, and Mills Observatory.

Is Dundee worth visiting?

Yes, Dundee is worth visiting because it is regarded as one of the most desirable city break destinations in the UK with a wide selection of establishments.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.