The coastal city of Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest and a place where many a visitor finds all kinds of hidden gems. There is drama and majesty here. It is a place where modern life bustles alongside history and, as you would expect from a coastal enclave, much of its history has to do with the sea and exploration.
RRS Discovery was the last British ship to be built with three masts but there is something else of which this ship can boast – it was the boat built for adventure. It was the vessel on which Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton made their first visit to the Antarctic. Docked at the aptly named Discovery Point, you can learn of her past with a tour of the museum whilst also taking in the splendour of Dundee’s waterfront.
Jute is a rough fibre that was used in many applications. It is rawest form, it is a rough, strong fibre that held cotton bales together and yet, with a little more refinement it was used in soft furnishings. As a port city, you would expect much of its history to be about the sea and the trade that it brought. The Jute Museum charts this long history, with interactive displays including how the working class were the backbone of this industry. Fascinating for all ages, a ticket for Scotland’s Jute Museum can also mean a discount when visiting the RRS Discovery too.
Wherever humans tread, they leave behind tell-tale signs of their existence – and art is one medium that charts the highs and lows of human evolution. This art gallery is housed in a gothic building, impressive in itself but the art housed in its eight, open plan galleries is simply stunning. There is so much to see and admire that this it is wise to play a day within museum walls if you are an avid art fan. With an onsite shop and a pleasant café, it is a place you could spend many hours or days…
Purpose built in 1935, the Mills Observatory is a must for anyone transfixed by the stars and what space can tell us about our own planet. There are numerous displays, alongside interesting talks by renowned stargazers as well as informative workshops that make this a hidden Dundee gem. The observatory and its Victorian telescope sit side-by-side with the latest modern technology for star gazing and solar viewing. Admission is free but there is a small charge for any shows at the planetarium, a small price to pay for such a fantastic experience.
It will be the centrepiece of the Dundee waterfront and with the opening scheduled for summer 2018, you could be one of the first to admire not only the exhibitions but the building itself. Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the V&A Museum of Design will open with exhibitions showcasing the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh right up to modern-day designers such as Holly Fulton. Well worth being part of the historic opening season.
A 15th Century coastal fort that saw many battles and sieges, the castle and the local environ was an important part of the area’s defence system. The castle that we see today is the latest rebuild of the fort, dating back to the 19th Century. Entry is free and is a fascinating display of what life was like for people throughout the history of Broughty Ferry. There is a small gift shop and a pleasant café to relax in after exploring what was one a heavily -fortified building. You may even catch sight of a dolphin or two!