The McManus in Dundee
The McManus in Dundee

There’s more to Dundee than just the V&A

Dundee has been the most-talked about city in Scotland this month, with the opening of the new V&A Dundee.
Scotland’s new museum of design is located by the River Tay at Discover Point, but those planning a trip to the City of Discovery will find there’s so much more to see and do there.

Dundee is Scotland’s fourth-largest city and has transformed itself in recent years to become a lively, cosmopolitan centre. Ranging from art and transport museums, to wildlife centres and terrifying walking ghost tours, it has so much to offer in terms of activities.

The McManus in Dundee

1. The McManus

Now over 150 years old, the McManus stands as on one of Dundee’s most historic attractions. This stunning Victorian Gothic building hosts Dundee’s main collection and offers a unique look at Dundee through art, history and the environment.

Earlier this year, residents and visitors to Dundee were able to see the city mapped out in an enormous aerial drawing created by artist Carl Lavia – also known as Sketch.

Other events that took place at the historic venue are a ‘Behind the Scenes at the McManus Collections Unit’ and ‘BBC Civilisations: The Life and Death of a Pictish Man’. However bookings are essential so be sure to book yourself a place at these fascinating events. The venue’s packed calendar is sure to include something for everyone to enjoy.

2. Dundee Rep Theatre

The Rep Theatre building was built in 1939 and is a centre of creativity, a space for engagement with a range of different art forms, whilst playing a prominent role in arts education and engagement across Dundee and beyond. Having a permanent acting ensemble is rare, but this combined with a dance company, this makes the Dundee Rep Theatre something very special.

The venue boasts an extensive programme of theatre, dance, music, comedy and family centred productions. Now one of the most awarded theatres in Scotland and with more ensemble and Scottish Dance Theatre performances than ever before, Dundee Rep has established itself as a hub of entertainment suitable for a range of tastes.

It also has the distinction of being the birthplace of the Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith.

3. Dundee Museum of Transport

A relatively new attraction to the city, the Dundee Museum of Transport opened in April 2014 and continues to expand its range of vehicles from local and national collections. The museum explores the history and the stories of local transport pioneers and innovators, tram networks, railways and even dives into the archives of maritime history.

The Dundee Museum of Transport allows visitors to look around an ever changing selection of cars, commercial vehicles and buses. One of the museum’s highlights is the recreation of Dundee’s first flying machine.

In November, 2014, the museum announced that it had acquired the former Maryfield Tram Depot in Forfar Road – which will become the museum’s permanent premises after a great deal of restoration.

The Camperdown Wildlife Centre

4. Camperdown Wildlife Centre

Located within an eighteen-acre parkland, the Camperdown Wildlife Centre hosts a wide range of animals, some of which are extremely rare or highly endangered. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet European Brown Bears Comet and Star along with a range of other animals such as wolves, ring-tailed lemurs and resident Snowy Owl, Oz.
The centre often holds special events such as animal handling, bird watching, and other activities. Just fifteen minutes away from Dundee City Centre, Camperdown Wildlife Centre is a great venue to take the entire family for a fun-filled day out.

5. Dark Dundee Walking Tours

Think you know Dundee? You’ll be spooked at just how much you thought you knew after accompanying the Dark Dundee tourguides on one of their renowned walking historical ghost tours. Explore Dundee’s murky past with the ability to choose from a range of interesting and exciting tours such as Dark History, Dead Centre, Crimes of passion, Twisted in Time and Witch Hunt.
Walking tours are a great way for audiences to familiarise themselves with the city while gaining a gruesome knowledge of its history. Tours cost £10 per person which includes a tour booklet and last for 1hr 15mins.

6. University of Dundee Botanic Garden

Located near the banks of Scotland’s largest river, the Tay, the University of Dundee’s Botanic Garden offers picturesque southerly views and an astonishingly beautiful setting. The necessity for a botanical garden at the University of Dundee was identified in 1966 by the University’s botany staff.
Currently, the University aims to encourage more people to visit and enjoy the Garden so that they can further appreciate the greatly important role that plants play in their lives. The garden also hosts a popular exhibitions area where a wide range of events including photography, textiles, watercolours and other media take place.

The Discovery has been joined by the V&A Dundee

7. Discovery Point

The new V&A Dundee is located beside Discovery Point, a world class visitor attraction which centres round Captain Scott of the Antarctic’s Dundee built ship RRS Discovery.

Climb aboard and follow in the footsteps of Scott and his crew, see how they lived, what they ate and witness their hardships and their triumphs. It’s a fascinating tale of one of the most heroic voyages of exploration ever undertaken and a great day out for all the family.

RRS Discovery was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in Britain. Designed for Antarctic research, it was launched as a Royal Research Ship (RRS) in 1901. Its first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, carrying Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, successful journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition.

On 28 March 1986, Discovery left London aboard the cargo ship Happy Mariner to make her journey home to the city that built her. She arrived on the River Tay on 3 April and moved to a custom built dock in 1992.

8. Dundee Science Centre

Located in Greemarket at the entrance to the Seabraes area, the Dundee Science Centre’s main goal is to help families learn together in a fun and engaging environment that everyone can enjoy.

The centre hosts a wide spectrum of events which include Dino Discoveries, Storytime sessions and even hosts team bonding days which can be tailored to meet the needs of specific groups.

As well as this, construction of a new learning facility and educational suite – which will showcase an innovative new ‘Medical Marvels’ exhibition – is currently underway. Dundee Science Centre is an independent charity and is a valued community hub and educational resource.

9. Mills Observatory

Gaze in wonder at Britain’s first purpose built public observatory where through the awe-inspiring Victorian refracting telescope visitors can view the stars and planets.

The observatory opened in October, 1935 and since then has developed an impressive programme of functions such as astronomical displays and planetarium shows which have proven popular amongst audiences.

If you are interested in learning more about comets, meteors or the galaxy, the friendly staff at the Mills Observatory are on hand and happy to answer any questions.

10. Dundee Farmer’s Market

Dundee’s farmers markets take place in the third Saturday of the month from February to December. From local produce such as organic vegetables, fresh eggs, baked goods and bacon, to ceramic works, soap and handcrafted jewellery, the Dundee Farmer’s Markets has something to pique a wide range of appetites.