There are so many things to think about when planning the perfect city break, especially when you’re visiting a destination for the very first time. Do you go with a fixed itinerary that covers all the bases, or a loose schedule that cherry-picks the main highlights? Do you rely on the local transport infrastructure or hire a car to get around? Will you visit for a long weekend or maybe a seven-day adventure? Or maybe more?
The glorious city of Dundee has become an increasingly popular destination in recent years, and given the exciting buzz about the place this is surely a trend that will continue to grow. The attractions are there for all to see, of course: it’s Scotland’s sunniest city, getting from A to B is easy, the city centre itself is compact and easy to negotiate, there’s an intriguing mix of modern and historic and the huge investment in Dundee’s regeneration is reaping rewards for everyone.
So how do you make the best of your visit? The last thing you want is to go home at the end of the adventure and realise that you missed out on things that you would have loved, so the best thing to do is listen to the locals, and that’s where we come in. Here are a few tips that can turn a good city break into an incredible one, one that will show Dundee in all its finery.
First and foremost, you need to understand that there’s a ton of things to do here, so you should make sure you plan a trip that’s geared towards the enjoyment of you and your travelling companions. If you like adventures, there are outdoor activities, water sports and white knuckle excitement to be had in the city, on the water and in the countryside.
The same applies to shopping, exploring history, dining, drinking, watching sport, hiking, cycling, the theatre and so much more. This is as diverse a city as you’ll find anywhere in the world, so a little forward planning will help you truly make the most of it. Be sure to check out our listings to find the inspiration you need ahead of your arrival.
Getting around while you’re here is easy, so you won’t necessarily want to have a car with you. Dundee’s railway station is right in the heart of the city, close to Discovery Point and within reach of most of the major landmarks. There’s also a very good – and very affordable – bus network here, as well as plenty of taxis to be found across the city. If you do bring your own car, you’ll have a number of public car parks to choose from.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to remember that many of Dundee’s more popular attractions are free of charge. It’s pleasing to know that you won’t have to pay a single penny to enjoy the likes of the McManus Art Gallery & Museum, the city’s Contemporary Arts Centre, the V&A Dundee and Camperdown Country Park. And with so many accommodation options to choose from, it’s easy to find one that matches the limits of your pocket.
The usual landmarks and attractions, such as the V&A, the RRS Discovery and the McManus will be must-see highlights for most visitors, but it’s a good idea to look for a few things that are a little more unusual, such as seeing Dundee from the river on a boat trip. There are art trails to be enjoyed here, and quirky little independent stores, and uber-cool cocktail bars, and mind-blowing walking tours and… we could go on. Suffice to say, Dundee is NOT your usual city.
Finally, be prepared to explore the surrounding countryside, villages and towns if you have time. While you’re in this part of the world, it makes sense to head out to St Andrews, Arbroath and Carnoustie, as well as the rural Scottish idylls that make the region such a delight. And of course, when you return to Dundee at the end of your day, a fabulous, fun, friendly and fascinating city will be ready and waiting to welcome you.