Dundee is a coastal city located on the eastern side of Scotland.
It has a rich and varied history, and continues to embrace its maritime heritage.
The city boasts plenty to do from attractions such as the McManus Art Gallery, Discovery Point and Verdant Works telling tales of Dundee’s remarkable industrial past.
There are also plenty of outdoor activities available nearby where you can enjoy mountain walks or take part in some fishing adventures on the lochs.
With a great variety of bars, pubs and restaurants, and a thriving music scene, Dundee has plenty to do in the evening.
The city is the perfect destination for those that enjoy history, art, sightseeing and culture, with exciting family days out and a choice of indoor and outdoor attractions to suit everyone.
If you’re interested in seeing some the top things to do in Dundee, keep reading as I share my favourites!
Things To Do In Dundee
1. Discovery Point
Discover the incredible story of the RRS Discovery and its daring voyage to Antarctica at Discovery Point.
Located in Dundee, this five-star attraction tells the tale of Captain Scott’s heroic exploration over a century ago with multimedia displays, classic artefacts and interactive experiences.
Visit and explore the very ship that took part in this pioneering journey, which is now a museum exhibit that takes visitors on an awe-inspiring tour into history.
The museum features a unique insight into the incredible adventure of Captain Scott and his crew, who set out to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1901.
Here you’ll be immersed with the latest audio visual technology and computer-based multimedia displays as well as original items such as documents, maps and photographs from the expedition.
There are also various interactive activities such as dressing up as explorers or visiting replicas of cabins below deck on board the ship.
Address: Discovery Point, Discovery Quay, Dundee DD1 4XA
2. The McManus Art Gallery & Museum
The McManus Art Gallery & Museum is a historic and beautiful Gothic Revival-style building that has stood since 1867.
Commissioned as a memorial to Prince Albert, the building was funded by the inhabitants of Dundee and designed by the renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.
Upon its completion in 1867, The McManus housed a museum and art gallery with a collection of fine and decorative art alongside natural history displays.
After undergoing extensive refurbishment work in 2010, The McManus re-opened its doors once more as Dundee’s premier public collections centre.
This fascinating and stylish museum provides visitors with an ever-changing array of unique exhibits from both historical and contemporary contexts.
Address: McManus Art Gallery & Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee DD1 1DA
3. The Dundee Law
Dundee Law is an ancient landmark that stands at an impressive height of 150 metres above sea level and appears prominently on the local skyline and is topped with a large war memorial.
The Law has been a witness to many historic events throughout time and archaeological evidence suggests it may have been used by human settlers as far back as 3500 years ago.
Roman pottery has also been found from its summit which suggests that it may have been used by the Romans as a lookout post.
Thanks to its long history and unique geological formation, Dundee Law remains one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, with visitors coming from all around to admire its beauty and learn more about its past.
With stunning views overlooking Dundee city centre and beyond, it truly symbolises the city’s strength and resilience throughout time.
Address: Dundee Law, Dundee DD3 6PW
4. Verdant Works
Verdant Works, located north west of the city centre is the only dedicated jute museum in the United Kingdom.
This world class visitor’s attraction has been awarded several accolades for its cultural significance.
The museum tells the story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage, particularly jute and linen, through its remarkable collections of machinery patterns, small tools, technical drawings, plans and testing equipment.
Additionally, there are archival documents including photos and costumes illustrating how clothing was made during the 19th century.
This unusual museum welcomes visitors to explore the life of mill workers through interactive displays as well as browse artefacts from different eras.
Verdant Works offers an insightful journey into Dundee’s past with plenty to see and do for people from all walks of life.
Address: Verdant Works, W Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee DD1 5BT
5. V&A Dundee
V&A Dundee was the very first design museum in Scotland and the first Victoria and Albert museum outside London.
This grand museum is situated on the banks of River Tay in Dundee, an area steeped in history and natural beauty.
The building, designed by internationally renowned architect Kengo Kuma, was inspired by Scotland’s eastern cliff edges and stretches out into the River Tay.
Its contoured façade is made up of 1,000 pre-cast stone panels of varying sizes along with 200 tonnes of Scottish granite.
Visitors can explore fascinating displays within the permanent galleries highlighting Scotland’s influence on fashion, architecture, pop culture, and more.
There are also changing exhibitions throughout the year which will bring together historic and modern design from around the world that explore challenges we face today such as health, energy and sustainability.
Scotland’s design museum is open daily with entry to the permanent exhibitions free to visit, but there are some temporary exhibitions that do have a small charge.
Address: V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ
6. HMS Unicorn
HMS Unicorn is an impressive sight to behold, a living relic of the Age of Sail that was built for the Royal Navy.
This historic royal navy warship was constructed in 1824 at Chatham Dockyard in Kent, now a museum ship, it still stands tall today as part of the National Historic Fleet.
This formidable sailing warship never saw combat, but its impressive frame serves as a reminder of the power and prestige of the British Navy during this era.
Unique for its time, HMS Unicorn was built with diagonal riders made from iron straps and iron “knees”, which greatly strengthened the ship’s hull.
It was also incredibly advanced for a sailing vessel of its time, featuring state-of-the-art masts and sails plus copper sheathing on the hull to prevent marine growth.
Fittingly, only ever went to sea once in its lifetime; it undertook a journey from Chatham to Dundee, during which it was under tow by another vessel.
For 140 years following this voyage, HMS Unicorn served as a hulk and depot ship, with superstructure added over the main deck for habitation.
The vessel remained relatively untouched until the 1960s when steps were taken to convert it into a museum ship; today it is open to visitors in Dundee.
Address: HMS Unicorn, S Victoria Dock Rd, Dundee DD1 3BP
7. Mills Observatory
Mills Observatory is a unique and historic building located in the city of Dundee.
It is the first purpose-built public astronomical observatory in the UK and was opened to the public in 1935.
The observatory is a classically styled sandstone building and has a distinctive 7m dome which houses a variety of instruments for observing the night sky.
Visitors to the observatory can admire its planetarium based around a Viewlex Apollo projector as well as its Planet Trail on Balgay Hill which represents the Solar System in miniature form.
Visiting the Mills Observatory provides an exciting learning experience for those interested in astronomy or are just curious about the night sky.
The Observatory is free to visit and also has a gift Shop offering unique gifts for space and astronomy fans, including stargazing guides, space exploration books and fun items for little astronauts.
Address: Mills Observatory, Balgay Park, Glamis Rd, Dundee DD2 2UB
8. Dundee Science Centre
Dundee Science Centre is an incredible interactive science museum in Dundee.
It is part of the Scottish Science Centre Network and was opened in July 2000 as part of the Millennium Commission Projects.
The main aim of the centre is to increase public understanding and appreciation of science and technology, while encouraging people to explore and discover fun facts about the scientific world.
With exciting exhibits and activities for all ages, visitors can learn through life sciences, sensory experiences and robotics interactions.
These amazing interactive exhibits focus on hands-on activities to show how things work on a deeper level.
Address: Dundee Science Centre, 14 Greenmarket, Dundee DD1 4QB
9. Dundee Botanic Garden
The Dundee Botanic Garden is a stunning 9.5-hectare oasis located on the Dundee waterfront.
Its south-facing slope provides a beautiful surrounding and ideal conditions for an impressive array of conifers, broad-leaved trees and shrubs, tropical and temperate glasshouses, water gardens and herb gardens.
The garden was designed to provide students with an environment in which to develop their knowledge of botanical science by first-hand observation of plant growth and development.
The collection has expanded to include many diverse habitats from around the globe, so there is always something interesting to discover.
Visitors can explore the garden’s winding pathways lined with vibrant displays of colour, enjoy its countless hidden treasures tucked away in alcoves along the way and learn about the unique ecology it contains.
Open daily, the Botanic Garden also has a popular cafe, gift shop, and a plant nursery.
Address: Dundee Botanic Garden, University of Dundee, Riverside Dr, Dundee DD2 1QH
10. Camperdown Wildlife Centre
Camperdown Wildlife Centre is a fascinating animal park and wildlife centre located 3 miles from the city centre.
It sits within the wider Camperdown Country Park, which covers over 400 acres of land.
The Wildlife Centre is home to over 300 animals from 50 species and provides an educational and enjoyable experience for visitors.
Great for a family day out, visitors can find European brown bears, wallabies, storks, otters and lemurs, and many more.
Camperdown Wildlife Centre is open year round for visitors and with the abundance of wildlife making it a perfect spot for budding wildlife photographers!
Address: Camperdown Country Park, Coupar Angus Rd, Dundee DD2 4TF
11. Tay Rail Bridge
The River Tay Rail Bridge is an iconic structure located in Scotland, connecting the city of Dundee to Wormit.
Spanning a length of 2.75 miles, this double-track bridge is one of the longest bridges in the United Kingdom and a feat of engineering.
Construction on the original, single-track lattice bridge began in 1878, but tragically it collapsed during a severe storm just over a year later.
In response to the tragedy, engineers began planning for its replacement: a stronger and more resilient iron and steel bridge that could withstand even harsher weather conditions.
The new bridge featured two tracks allowing trains to pass from both directions simultaneously – greatly increasing transportation efficiency and passenger safety.
Today it’s a great sight to behold from Dundee and is amazing for photos.
Address: Tay Rail Bridge, Dundee
12. Broughty Castle Museum
Broughty Castle Museum is a historic site located on the banks of the River Tay about 10 minutes drive from Dundee city centre.
It is believed to have been built around 1490, and has faced many battles and sieges.
The castle served as a military facility until 1928 when it became home to Dundee Burgh Police.
During World War II it was used as an anti-aircraft battery and many of its features remain such as long-range guns.
Today the Castle houses a Museum that is open to the public and free to enter.
Visitors can explore its fascinating interior filled with interactive exhibits and artefacts that tell stories about the area’s past, its people, the environment and the wildlife.
Open year round it also has refreshments and a gift shop.
Address: Broughty Castle Museum, Castle Approach, Ferry, Dundee DD5 2TF
13. Dundee Museum Of Transport
Dundee Museum of Transport is dedicated to telling the story and historical development of Dundee’s trams, trains, ships and transport systems over the years.
Visitors can learn about Dundee’s tram network, railway and maritime history through exciting and packed exhibition galleries.
The permanent collection is regularly updated with new acquisitions from private collections or donations from local enthusiasts and businesses.
In addition to the regular collection there are temporary exhibitions each year that focus on a particular topic with the museum also hosting amazing transport related events.
From buses, trams, motorbikes, pushbikes, cars, ships and trains there is something for everyone to enjoy, there’s also a cafe and shop onsite.
Address: Dundee Museum of Transport, 10, Market Mews, Market St, Dundee DD1 3LA
14. Dundee Treasure Trail
The Dundee Treasure Trail is a fun activity for anyone visiting Dundee.
The trail takes visitors on a 1.5 mile circular walking route taking in some of the best sights in Dundee.
By following the directions and searching for the answers to clues, the trail takes you on a scenic tour of Dundee with the answers being found on signs, buildings, statues and in interesting places.
The Trail starts in a city centre car park and passes through the old medieval city of Dundee within the confines of the old city walls.
With many highlights including Albert Square and City Square as well as the Howff Cemetery, the trail is great fun for all ages.
There is also a text service for answers to the clues if you get stuck, ensuring that no mystery goes unsolved.
The trail can be purchased online, and sent by post or downloaded.
Address: treasuretrails.co.uk Dundee Treasure Trail, Dundee, DD1 4BJ
15. Dundee Contemporary Arts
Dundee Contemporary Arts is a brilliant centre for contemporary art containing two contemporary art galleries, two cinema screens, and a print studio.
Housing some of the best art exhibitions in Dundee, including local and national collections, the DCA is open daily and is free to visit.
One of the most interesting art museums, the Dundee Contemporary Arts also offers an award-winning learning programme with workshops, classes and activities aimed at all ages and abilities.
Located in the heart of the city, the five floors also houses a café that becomes a bar in the evening and a shop that sells a unique selection of jewellery and crafts.
Address: Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4EA
16. Baxter Park
Baxter Park is a peaceful grassy park set within 38 acres of mature parkland and is reached through grand entrance gates.
This lovely park sits in the east of Dundee and retains much of its original tree planting and flowerbed areas.
There is a small amphitheatre that is located near the rear of the Park that is used for band concerts in the summer.
A family-friendly park, it also has a very good children’s playground and some nice walking paths.
Address: Arbroath Rd, Dundee DD4 6NL
Is Dundee a walkable city?
There are many walks and trails available in the city with many tourists choosing an informative walking tour focusing on Dundee’s rich history.
The town centre is easily walkable with a range of cultural and local history attractions within easy reach.
The city’s waterfront also has many walks taking in the quayside.
Is there a climbing centre in Dundee?
Avertical World is an incredible indoor climbing centre in Dundee.
The climbing centre offers lots of indoor climbing activities with top roping, lead climbing, auto belays, bouldering and traversing.
How do you spend a day in Dundee?
Dundee is a dynamic city that has so many tourist attractions.
Great for all ages, Dundee’s visitor attraction list includes Dundee Science Centre, Mcmanus Art Gallery, Ancrum outdoor centre, Dundee Museum of Transport and Discovery Point.
When is it best to visit Dundee?
The best months for good weather in Dundee are July, August and September.