Due to its southern position, Dundee has more sunlight hours than any other city in Scotland, making it the ideal place to stretch out on the beach, spend a day on a bike, go for a picturesque walk or take part in an interactive outdoor activity. If the rain is pouring during your stay, however, don’t despair, because there is also lots to do inside if you want to keep warm and dry!
Activities in Dundee
If you have an adventurous spirit, Foxlake Dundee is the place for you. With a whole host of outdoor water activities available, you can wakeboard and paddleboard in this large urban park at City Quay, right near HMS Unicorn. If you don’t know your backside spin from your bunny hop, take a thrilling trip on Ringo – a 15-minute wild ride across the lake on a giant inflatable. You’ll feel every bump and splash on here and are guaranteed to leave with a massive smile on your face.
If you prefer to stay on the ground, Downfield Golf Club is probably more your thing. Described by 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie as ‘one of the finest inland courses in Britain’, a great day out is par for the course here. Combining stunning scenery, beautiful wildlife and a challenging course, Downfield is a popular destination for golf lovers across the UK for a reason. Visiting parties are always accepted and the team at the Pro Shop are on hand if you’re in the market for a new set of clubs.
Just a seven-minute drive away from Downfield, you’ll find Camperdown Wildlife Centre. Here you can say hello to a whole manner of wild animals, including lemurs, owls and marmosets. Part of the European Breeding Programme, most of the animals here are at threat of extinction and the team at Camperdown are dedicated to conservation. If you want to make your experience even better, why not sign up to be a zookeeper for a day? This isn’t cheap but is a unique experience that takes you behind the scenes to get up close and personal with the animals. As that is sure to work up your appetite, you can grab a bite to eat at the on-site café, which serves a fantastic selection of homemade snacks, cakes and drinks. Camperdown Wildlife Centre is open all year round from 10am-4.30pm in March-September, and 10am-3.30pm during the rest of the year.
Another activity that will appeal to adrenaline junkies is Ancrum Outdoor Centre. This is a multi-activity centre in Tayside where you can canoe, mountaineer, chain walk, ski, snowboard, mountain bike and so much more. Not for the faint-hearted, you need to book onto a course here before you arrive, so make sure you get in touch with Ancrum directly if this is something that floats your boat.
Set sail for the seas with Pirate Boats, a private and commercial boat charter that is a short walk from the Broughty Castle Museum. Explore open water and allow the knowledgeable skippers to take you on a tour of the sights and sounds of Dundee. As trips can be tailored to your group, you can be taken anywhere in Scotland. The Tay has its own fair share of stunning natural wildlife and you might even catch a glimpse of the Tay dolphin pod if you’re lucky. Prices are available on request, so we advise you to contact Pirate Boats directly if you are interested.
When the rain is pouring down in Scotland, there is no better place to seek shelter than Battlefield Live Dundee. Putting you in the middle of a video game, this is an innovative tactical laser tag experience that sees teams go head to head in a realistic war zone. It’s not for the faint hearted – the public game is called ‘Team Deathmatch’ and you must be over eight years old to play – but it’s a truly unique experience. The two floors, close quarters, dim lighting and smoke effects all come together to make this a real challenge to outflank the enemy. If this sounds right up your street, check out our Dundee East hotel, which is just a 10-minute drive away.
If you like the sound of Battlefield Live but are staying near Camperdown at our Dundee North hotel, City Laser Tag at ScotKart is made from the same mould. Not suitable for under sevens, 40 people go head to head in this combat laser tag experience set in an arena, which is modelled on a video game depiction of Dundee.
While you’re there, why not give ScotKart a go? This is Dundee’s top indoor go-kart track that gives a real-life racing experience sure to impress even the biggest of petrolheads. A gigantic 55,000 sq. ft. space, there is no shortage of high speeds and indoor thrills here. If you’d prefer to watch the rest of your party – or you’re burned out from whizzing around the track – there’s a great viewing area and some seriously good Italian coffee on-site. You can find ScotKart on West Gourdie Industrial Estate, just off the A90.
Near The University of Dundee, Avertical World Climbing Centre is the only indoor climbing centre in Tayside. Here you can climb over low-level boulders or up high-level ropes to experience a boatload of fun whether you’ve climbed before or not. It’s a large place, so there are lots of courses to suit all ages and abilities. It’s open Monday-Friday 11am-10pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-7pm.
If you’re looking for something a bit more subdued, Mills Observatory provides just as much thrill, with a little less action. Located in Balgay Park, this is a purpose-built public observatory where you can let telescopes and state-of-the-art technology – including a truly incredible computerised telescope that can identify 30,000 objects in the sky – help you investigate the magnificent planets and stars our universe has to offer. The views here take your breath away and there are regular educational events that encourage children to be more curious about our galaxy.
If you’re travelling with kids, the Fun Factory in Camperdown is a soft-play heaven they will be thrilled to dive into. Suitable for children up to 11, there are dizzy discs, rope bridges, a three-tier soft-play structure and a sensory room for babies and disabled children, which will all keep your little ones entertained for hours. When it all gets too much and you need a caffeine break, there’s also an on-site café that prepares food fresh while you wait. Open all week from 10am-6pm, kids under six months old go free, and tickets are reasonable for all other ages.
Only a three-minute drive away, adjacent to Dundee Ice Arena, is Dundee’s premier cinema Cineworld. A nine-screen theatre, you can view all of the latest blockbusters here and, if you want something to eat and drink, there is tonnes of choice. McDonald’s is within the same complex, as is Ashoka – an Indian eatery serving a lunchtime buffet – and Weavers Mill, a fairly new pub serving a good selection of gin and great value food.
Although it isn’t known for its beaches, there is plenty of sea, sand and sun to soak up on the Dundee coast. Broughty Ferry Beach lies just beneath the castle in the quaint fishing village of Broughty Ferry. Blessed with lots of space and stunning sand dunes, here you can sit back, relax and enjoy the attractive views across the Tay Estuary. You can even brave a dip in the water, as there is a safe area for swimming and volleyball nets are put up during the summer months.
A 12-minute drive down the coast, you’ll find Monifieth Beach right next to the Riverview Caravan Park. Looking out over the Firth of Tay, this is a fairly rocky beach thanks to a number of sea defences. Although this doesn’t make sunbathing particularly comfortable, it provides a treasure trove for children who could spend hours looking for marine life in the rockpools. If you keep walking further down the coast, you’ll find The Buddon Ness Lighthouse and our Monifieth hotel is just a mile and a half away.
Dundee is a great place to explore by bike. For the more adventurous, The Mountain Bike Skills Trail in Templeton Woods has recently been built to help mountain bike riders develop new skills and confidence. The trail – which journeys through plantations – is a minefield of steep drops, tight corners and obstructive barriers that make it fun, but challenging. If you’re not quite ready to hit the downslide, there are easier trail options available too.
For those who want to stay strictly on the road, you won’t go wrong with the Dundee Green Circular Route, which ventures around the whole city – covering 27 miles in total. To make the most of the sights, make sure you pay attention to the signage, which details points of interest and fun things to see along the way. The route can be picked up at any point but starting at the Discovery Point Visitor Centre and following it in a clockwise direction is the best way to see what it has to offer.
If you prefer to stay firmly on two feet, stretch your legs and explore Dundee by foot. With plenty of safe and amazing walking tours, you can ramble past some of the best sights the city has to offer.
Dark Dundee is a walking tour with a twist. Delving deep into Dundee’s dark and haunted past, this is a way to see the city as you’ve never seen it before. From ghosts and ghouls to disease, death and execution, anyone with a hunger to find out more about Dundee’s more salacious heritage will love these tours. Taking place night and day, tours set off from all over the city, so check out their website to find out the nearest one to our hotels in Dundee.
Starting in Albert Square, take a safer trip through Dundee’s history with Bright Dundee. A walking tour lasting just over an hour, meander around Albert Square and the McManus Gallery and Museum buildings, which are 150 years old. Tours take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
If you’re used to running before you walk, Run the Sights is for you. A guided running tour around Dundee, it was launched in 2016 with the aim to better connect runners with their surroundings. The guides are energetic and enthusiastic and are dedicated to making every single run fun, which is why you can expect them to put on themed events, such as the Prosecco Running Tour. With routes as short as four and a half miles and as long as nine miles, there is something here for runners of all abilities.