The hottest spot in Britain to visit in 2018 is Dundee

Dundee is officially one of hottest city in Europe when it comes to British tourism.

Lonely Planet, the respected travel authority, has today revealed that Scotland’s fourth largest city, has been picked as one of its top European destination for 2018, the only UK city to make the list.

Praised for its ‘growing cultural scene and the exciting transformation of the city’s historic waterfront’, the Lonely Planet accolade follows similar recommendations from prestigious outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg and the Guardian.

The opening of V&A Dundee in September, combined with a number of other high-profile redevelopments, is set to propel the East of Scotland into the global spotlight.

Tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘This is a deserved accolade for Dundee, and further evidence of the city’s growing reputation as a top tourist destination. The Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the opening of the V&A – which is backed by Scottish Government funding – make 2018 a big year for tourism in Dundee and the wider Angus area.

‘I know that everyone associated with the local tourism industry is working hard to make the most of these opportunities, and to make sure all visitors from around the world get a typically warm Dundee welcome.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, agreed: ‘It’s great that through its Best in Europe list Lonely Planet is highlighting exciting destinations that visitors may not have thought to explore.

‘With the arrival of V&A Dundee, the city is fast becoming the star of the Scottish travel scene and thanks to accolades like this one, more and more people will discover what we have known for some time, that Dundee is a must-visit destination.

‘We need to create world class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing visitor demands. The city represents the very best of modern Scotland.

The Discovery, Captain Scott’s ship on his expeditions to Antarctica, is berthed in Dundee

‘It is home to welcoming people, a thriving creative scene, exciting new businesses and a diverse range of fascinating attractions. This is an exciting new chapter for tourism in Dundee, the excitement is palpable and the tourism industry is working hard to capitalise on this unmissable opportunity. Now is Dundee’s time to shine. Now is the time for the world to discover Dundee.’

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council said: ‘Being on Lonely Planet’s definitive list of 10 places in Europe that people should visit in the next 12 months is a tremendous badge of honour and is fitting recognition of the work that so many people have put in over so many years to get us to where we are now.

‘Partnerships between public, private and third sector agencies and joint working in teams combining art, science and balance sheets has been a hallmark of putting Dundee well and truly on the destination map.

‘We are just over half way through a 30 year masterplan to completely transform the waterfront and re-connect the Tay with the heart of the city. Development land is already being earmarked for hotels, residential, retail and leisure uses by some of the world’s top brands including AC by Marriott.

‘We’re a thriving cruise ship destination, a hub for creative industries, media and life sciences and a UNESCO City of Design that is committed to fairness and social justice. Dundee is determined to succeed and our ambitions for the city and its people are sky-high.’

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: ‘Everyone working on V&A Dundee is absolutely delighted that our city has been featured in Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe list, alongside such other remarkable travel locations. It’s great recognition of what we’ve known for years – Dundee is a fast-changing, vibrant and exciting city for people to visit.

Dundee is Scotland’s fourth-largest city

‘Dundee has so much to offer visitors, even before V&A Dundee opens on Saturday 15 September, and the city is at the heart of a very beautiful region.

‘We look forward to welcoming visitors to V&A Dundee from all other the world when we open this September.’
Famed for its continual reinvention, particularly after the decline of traditional industries such as whaling, shipbuilding and jute manufacturing, Dundee has transformed into a capital of cool – home to some of the country’s most exciting examples of design, innovation and culture.

So here are just some of the gems that are helping propel Scotland’s sunniest city on to everyone’s travel wish lists.

V&A Dundee.

Dundee cultural credentials increased when the city was named as the home of the only other V&A museum in the world outside of London. Set to open on the 15 September, the Kengo Kuma-designed attraction will be the jewel in the crown of the city’s tourism offering and provide an introduction to over 500 years of brilliance, ingenuity and achievement in Scottish creativity and the best examples of design from around the world. The permanent Scottish Design Galleries will contain objects from Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Tea Room to an evening dress designed by Scots fashion designer Holly Fulton to a spectacular diamond-winged tiara commissioned from Cartier by Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburghe. The opening exhibition will be Ocean Liners: Speed & Style.

A feast for foodies.

Sample some of the city’s tasty delights thanks to a diverse range of trendy bars, boutique restaurants and unusual eateries. Draffens is a unique speak easy bar, renowned for its inventive cocktails, tucked away in a hidden location within the city centre. Or raise a glass to Verdant Spirits, the first distillery in Dundee for 200 years and Scottish Gin of the Year in 2017. Inspired by the growing popularity of ‘Mother’s Ruin’, plans are now underway to open a gin school and visitor centre. Of course, no trip to Dundee is complete without trying an authentic Dundee pie or ‘peh’ at a local butchers such as Scott Brothers or why not have a slice of the iconic Dundee cake? This bakery favourite is still lovingly created at bakers like Clarks’ Bakery or Goodfellow & Stevens.

A new take on some old favourites.

With so much to see you’ll be spoiled for choice so how about sightseeing with a difference? Dark Dundee offers entertaining and informative walking tours around the city, partnering with venues such as Verdant Works, HM Frigate Unicorn, and The Howff, a 16th century graveyard in the city centre, to tell spine-chilling tales of the city’s sometimes gruesome past. If you prefer sightseeing on the go try Run the Sights, which combines a run with a guided exploration of some of the city’s most interesting and beautiful locations. Finally, see the city from the glorious River Tay with Pirate Boats, an exhilarating one-hour boat trip packed with anecdotes and local lore to bring the scenery to life.

Dundee is the home of the Beano and Dandy, with Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx immortalised in statue form

The Comic Capital.

Dundee is the birthplace of the Beano – Britain’s longest running children’s comic published by DC Thomson. Every week, children and adults across the world can follow the antics of legendary characters like Dennis the Menace. Read an issue of The Beano comic on the newly named Bash Street or check out the city’s best-loved comic characters, like Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx in statue form. This year from June to October, to celebrate the Beano’s 80th birthday, the McManus will become The McMenace as The Bash Street Kids take over the museum.

Exciting new additions.

Dundee is chock-full of exciting experiences but here are some new additions to the city’s travel offering. OpenClose is an exciting street art project, showcasing the best in local talent. The city-centre art trail aims to brighten up unexplored nooks and crannies with 18 individually painted doors by 18 local artists. This year, OpenClose has extended into the Stobswell area of the city with 20 more new street-art locations to explore. For thrill-seekers a visit to the new 5-star Foxlake is a must. Dundee’s new wakeboarding centre at City Quay has premises opposite the APEX Hotel and within sight of the HM Unicorn. Finally, Slessor Gardens, Dundee’s new public space, has been warmly embraced by the citizens and now with the advent of massive outdoor gigs, visitors can experience the waterfront for themselves. The inaugural concerts happened in 2017 and this year Steps, Rita Ora, Simple Minds, The Pretenders, and KT Tunstall will be hitting the right notes with music fans in the city.

A city built on design.

Dundee was in competition with 50 other global cities to join the City of Design network in 2014. It was named the UK’s first City of Design by the United Nations for the diverse design innovations. Dundee’s contributions to the world, include aspirin, biomedical research which has led to hundreds of new cancer drugs, comics including the Beano and Dandy, orange marmalade, and video games including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto. Today the city’s vibrant population of young people continues to create and contribute to the city’s design reputation, including fashion and lifestyle designers Hayley Scanlan, Isolated Heroes, Abandon Ship Apparel and globally recognised luggage designers Lat56. Dundee’s young people are currently co-designing the opening event for V&A Dundee in September and the city’s first ever Dundee Design Parade is set to take place on Saturday 26 May as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People celebrations.


A warm welcome for all.

From legendary ships to the stunning shorelines of Broughty Ferry, Dundee is perfect for an accessible adventure. Handily Access Review website Euan’s Guide has created an informative guide to the city, packed full of highlights and advice to help visitors with access needs get the most from their trip. From wheelchair access on the Gun Deck of the only wooden warship in Scotland, HMS Unicorn to the induction loop system that film lovers can enjoy in the cinemas at Dundee Contemporary Arts.

For more information about Dundee’s tourism offering click HERE.