From quirky statues of Lemmings to the beautiful grounds of the University Botanic Gardens, Dundee has an interesting mix of things to see and do. Boasting some of the most beautiful historical buildings in Scotland, the city has a rich heritage of jute production, which you can explore in depth by visiting just a few of the many wonderful Dundee tourist attractions.
Set in the suburbs of West Ferry, Claypotts Castle has a striking design that makes it one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Originally built during James Vl’s reign, the castle is largely unchanged, retaining most of its original features. It’s small – in fact, in comparison to most castles, it’s pretty tiny – but perfectly formed and has a unique design that more than makes up for its lack in size. You can only venture to the inside of the castle by request, but the outside is free to view all year round, so it’s worth a quick visit – especially if you’re staying at our Monifieth hotel, which is just a seven-minute drive away.
If you fancy hunting for some Lemmings, head to Perth Road. Here, in a small park, are the Lemmings Statues, a fitting tribute to the ground-breaking 90s video game which was made in a studio close by. The bronze statue was created by local artist Alyson Conway and celebrates Dundee’s place as the gaming capital of Scotland. Although not necessarily a landmark, this is well worth a visit if you’re in the area – it’s close to the city centre and the park, although small, has stunning views of the waterfront.
Designed by celebrated Victorian architect, Gilbert Scott, St. Paul’s Cathedral is set atop a small mound in the city centre of Dundee. An elaborate building, it was completed in 1853 and is Gothic in design. Inside, it is spacious, with a grand mosaic by Salviati of Venice that is a true jewel in the crown. Regular services run Monday-Thursday and Sunday. As St. Paul’s Cathedral is known as a liberal church, it is inclusive of everyone.
A six-minute walk away is Steeple Church, a congregation of the Church of Scotland. With the oldest buildings dating back to the 15th century, it has been the site of Christian congregation for over 200 years. During its bicentenary, Steeple Church went under major renovation, which led to the bright appearance you see today. Services are held on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Close to the beautiful village of Balgray, and five miles north of Dundee, is the Tealing Dovecot, a unique dovecot built in the 1500s. At the time, it was used to house pigeons, who were a useful source of food during the winter. An impressive construction, it was built by Sir David Maxwell and its attractive design is a reflection of the original owner’s personal taste and culture.
Cox’s Stack, a 292-foot-high chimney situated in Lochee, is a striking reminder of Dundee’s once fruitful jute industry. Constructed in 1866, it was part of one of the biggest jute manufacturing plants of its time – Camperdown Works. Designed by regional architect James MacLaren, it is located a few minutes’ walk from The Stack Retail Park and a 10-minute drive from our Dundee West hotel.
Built in the 13th century by the Scrymgeour clan, Dudhope Castle is a stunning sight by City Square in the centre of Dundee. What was once a military base is now the first publicly funded park in the city. Although you can’t venture into the castle – it’s an office space used by Dundee City Council – there is still lots to do in this recreational hub. Whether you want to hit some volleys on the tennis courts, let your children run wild in the play area or take a stroll around the veterans’ therapy garden, there is plenty to keep you occupied at Dudhope Castle.
With a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, a visit to the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens is a must for anyone who loves a spot of gardening. As each plant has been carefully selected to contribute to the intention of the garden, you can expect to delight in beautiful horticulture native to Britain, along with more exotic offerings from Asia, North America and the Mediterranean. Set inside the grounds is a charming coffee and gift shop, which is open seven days a week. Make sure you make time to enjoy a bowl of homemade soup here – it’s rather famous for being the best in the area. The gardens are open all year round and can be found on Riverside Drive just off Perth Road.
With sweeping views across the Tay Estuary, Riverside Nature Park is a converted landfill site, which is now home to one of the most beautiful new wildlife habitats in Scotland. With a variety of animals and plants to see – including over 80 species of birds – this is a delightful walk with lots of information boards scattered around to keep you informed. A three-minute drive from Dundee Airport, there is plenty of parking at this tranquil park just outside the city centre.
Dundee’s oldest city park, Magdalen Green has been a haven for visitors for over 400 years. Set on Magdalen Park Road with clear views of the River Tay, it features an iconic bandstand built in 1890 that plays host to concerts every Sunday afternoon in summer.
Three miles out of the city centre, Camperdown Country Park is the largest public park in Dundee. Situated just off the A90, the exquisite Camperdown House – built in 1828 – is the centrepiece around which exciting events, fun activities and breathtaking nature all take place. No matter what you’re interested in, you’ll be sure to find something you like here. There are animals to see at Camperdown Wildlife Centre, one of the best specimen tree collections in the country to view in the grounds, and annual food festivals to indulge in. Camperdown Country Park really does have it all.
A quick, seven-minute walk away from the Dundee Museum of Transport is Baxter Park. Gifted to the city of Dundee by the Baxter family in 1863, this park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton – one of the most innovative landscape gardeners of the 19th century. The park is 38 acres of beautiful flower beds, lawns and grounds, with a recently restored historic Italianate pavilion at its centre.
Home to Dundee’s curling and ice hockey teams, Dundee Ice Arena is the place to go if watching winter sports is your bag. If spectating isn’t for you, why not get your skates on and try it for yourself instead. Dundee Ice Arena offers a whole host of different ice-based activities that are fun for all the family. Beginners can try to stay standing by taking advantage of ice -skating lessons, while more experienced skaters can glide along the ice to music during ‘Disco on Ice’, which is held every Friday night from 7-9pm. You’ll find Dundee Ice Arena in the Camperdown Leisure Complex, right next to our Dundee North hotel and just a five-minute drive from Camperdown Country Park.
‘The Dark Blues’ – or Dundee F.C. – play all their home games at Dens Park, an 11,850-capacity stadium on Dens Road. Currently playing in the Scottish Premiership division, a Dundee F.C. home game is worth a watch if you’re a football fan. The home supporters fill out three of the four stands to create a cracking atmosphere and the tickets are reasonably priced too.
Uniquely, Dens Park is located on the same road as Tannadice Park, the home of Dundee F.C.’s biggest rivals – Dundee United F.C. They play in the Scottish Championship at this 14,223-capacity stadium that was first used to host football matches in the 1870s.