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Top 10 Things to Do and See in Dundee
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Top 10 Things to Do and See in Dundee

Picture of Madeleine Bazil
Updated: 9 February 2017
Scotland’s fourth-largest city is often overlooked by tourists, but it is full of hidden gems. From its historic origins, to the beautiful waterfront, to the city’s traditions of science, discovery, and the arts, Dundee is well worth a visit. Here are the top 10 must-dos in the eclectic city of Dundee.
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Get aboard the RRS Discovery

The RRS Discovery, the last British ship built in the traditional three-masted wooden style, was constructed in Dundee and served as the vessel for the British National Antarctic Expedition: Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s successful inaugural voyage to the Antarctic. Today, she is docked at Discovery Point, where visitors can tour a museum to learn more whilst enjoying the atmosphere of Dundee’s scenic waterfront.

RRS Discovery, Discovery Quay, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 309060

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Immerse yourself in history at Scotland’s Jute Museum at Verdant Works

Dundee historically was the provider of much of Britain’s jute, and this museum provides an immersive peek into the history of the city’s working class, featuring interactive activities, a film show, and multimedia computer displays. Bring the family along for this fascinating museum, which is engaging for all ages.

Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works, West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 309060

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See fine art at the McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum

This stunning Gothic Revival building houses Dundee’s primary art collection: eight light-filled open-plan galleries, containing artworks spanning 400 million years of human history. When you’ve had your fill of the art and artifacts, stop by the shop of the McManus for jewelry, books, and artifact reproductions, and then sit down and enjoy the ambiance at the café’s outdoor terrace.

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 307200

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Catch a show at the Dundee Repertory Theatre

Dundee’s West End is known to be the cultural hub of the city, and the Dundee Rep is a cornerstone of it. A theatre and arts company, it puts on its own productions as well as hosts visiting companies from across the UK, including dance, comedy, opera, drama, and musical theatre. Celebrities such as David Tennant, Alan Cumming, and Joanna Lumley have all performed here, meaning that you never know who or what you’ll see at a Dundee Rep performance.

Dundee Repertory Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 223530

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Listen to world-class music at Caird Hall

Built in the early 20th century and named after its benefactor, a jute baron called James Key Caird, the hall serves as Dundee’s main concert auditorium, hosts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra frequently, and is used for graduation and welcome ceremonies by the University of Dundee and the University of Abertay. Come for a concert, or just scope out the exterior, which is famous for its appearance in the 1983 film An Englishman Abroad.

Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 434451

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See the stars at Mills Observatory

Head over to Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory, built in 1935, for a planetarium, displays about space exploration, talks and workshops, solar viewing, and a Victorian refracting telescope fitted with high-level technology. Admission to the Mills Observatory and displays is free, with a small charge for shows at the planetarium.

Mills Observatory, Balgay Park, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 435967

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Take a tour of Gate Church International, Dundee

Built as St Mark’s Church in the mid-1800s in Gothic style by Pilkington and Bell, this historic church features stained glass windows created by Stephen Adam in 1903, an ornately-constructed timber pulpit, and still has its original light fittings and pews. Short tours are available Tuesdays through Fridays.

Gate Church International, Dundee, 158 Perth Road, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 221222

Learn science the fun way at Dundee Science Centre

Fancy meeting a robot, climbing through a giant nose, or morphing into an ape? You’re in the right place. Visitors of all ages will find something interesting in the 60+ highly sensory exhibits that the Dundee Science Centre, a registered Scottish nonprofit, offers.

Dundee Science Centre, Greenmarket, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 228800

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Enjoy a fudge doughnut at Fisher and Donaldson

If there’s one bakery that’s been a regional institution for nearly a century, it’s Fisher and Donaldson. With four of their seven outposts located in and around Dundee, a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without a pit stop at this family-owned bake shop. Don’t even think about leaving without buying one of their renowned fudge doughnuts.

Fisher and Donaldson, 12 Whitehall Street, Dundee, United Kingdom, +44 1382 223488

Take a trip to St Andrews

A short 20-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride will take you across the Tay Bridge and into Fife for a day trip to the historic St Andrews, home of golf and the University of St Andrews. The charming small town boasts three beaches (one of which, West Sands, was immortalised in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire), picturesque 600-year old university buildings, and of course, the world-famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club— don’t forget to take a photo at the Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course’s 18th hole.