A visit to Dundee

The RRS Discovery in front of the V&A Museum in Dundee
The RRS Discovery in front of the V&A Museum in Dundee

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With a population of a little under 150,000 inhabitants Dundee (gaelic: Dùn Dèagh) is undergoing a major change at the moment.


I just read a post on the Dundee City Council twitter account today that tourism boomed during the past year with 1.05 million visitors!


I guess that this is also thanks to the Dundee Waterfront redesign featuring the V&A Museum. 

The waterfront consists of the following zones: 

  1. Riverside: Airport and sports and recreation possibilities
  2. Seabraes: Residential and business quarter, e.g. for digital media
  3. Central Waterfront: V&A Museum (first design museum in Scotland), public parks, hotels and leisure outlets and the "RRS Discovery"
  4. City Quay: Residential and business area and location of the frigate "Unicorn"
  5. Port of Dundee: Harbour area with matching logistics 

V & A Museum

The V&A Museum in Dundee
The V&A Museum in Dundee

The V&A (Victoria & Albert) Museum in Dundee opened on 15 September 2018. It is a subsidiary of the V&A Museum in London that was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.


It has been a major visitor attraction from day one.


The museum was designed by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates. Its exterior was inspired by Scottish cliffs and looks entirely different at any time of day. It is located on the Dundee Waterfront right beside the RRS Discovery (Discovery Point) and creates a great contrast to the old ship.


The Scottish Design Galleries feature all kinds of historical and contemporary Scottish design from architecture, fashion and furniture to video games. The exhibits are from museums and private collections throughout the world. One of those exhibits is the Oak Room that was designed by the famous Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Macintosh.


Admission is free except for changing exhibitions. Tours can be booked at the reception desk.


The museum is wheelchair-accessible and assistance dogs are welcome. There are induction loops for the hearing-impaired and special tours for visually handicapped or deaf visitors. All floors can be reached by lifts. All levels have accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. According to the museum flyer breastfeeding is welcome throughout the building.


The museum has a café and a shop on the ground level and a restaurant on the first floor. We were there on a weekday in November and would have had to book in advance as the restaurant was completely laid out.

RRS Discovery

On board the RRS Discovery
On board the RRS Discovery

The RRS Discovery is a wooden three-masted ship with a coal-fired auxiliary steam engine that was specifically constructed for scientific research in Antarctica. It was launched in 1901.

Its hull consisted of several different types and layers of wood to withstand the pressure of the Arctic pack ice, which proved successful when the ship got locked in the ice for two years!


Its crew consisted of 37 men and 11 officers.


The extensive provision list contained supplies for three years. A flock of sheep was added in  New Zealand and the men hunted penguins and seals.


 The galley was the warmest place on the ship, which is why the sick bay (a tiny room with two beds) was nearby.

Dundee city centre

Unfortunately, there are lots of vacant shops in Dundee.

It seems to be a little bit better in the shopping malls - however, you can find exactly the same stores in almost every German shopping centre...

"Desperate Dan" in Dundee city centre
"Desperate Dan" in Dundee city centre

Dundee Law Viewpoint

If you would like a 360° view over the city you should drive up to Dundee Law Viewpoint (you can park right at the viewpoint, satnav recommended).

Panoramic view from Dundee Law Viewpoint
Panoramic view from Dundee Law Viewpoint

You can also admire the Tay Bridge from the other side of the Firth of Tay...

View from Newport-on-Tay/Wormit towards Dundee
View from Newport-on-Tay/Wormit towards Dundee

You can find further photos of Dundee and our visits to the VA Museum and the RRS Discovery in the linked blog posts below.

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