Dundee Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

Photo of the Discovery QuayAlthough a historic city dating back several thousand years and a centre for the ancient Pictish tribes, Dundee in the past was less than kind to its architectural heritage and potential tourist attractions.

During the 19th century, many fine earlier buildings were demolished to make room for commercial enterprises, and in the mid-20th century, modernity took its toll of much that was left, replacing it with sterile concrete blocks. Happily tourists will discover that Dundee's distinguished maritime history is still very much evident in its harbour and waterfront attractions, such as the Discovery Quay and Victoria Dock.

The surrounding region still presents the traditional Scottish scene of castles and many ancient sites of interest, with Broughty Castle and Claypotts Castle standing out in particular.

View of the RRS Discovery

Discovery Quay / Discovery Point and RRS Discovery

Address: Discovery Quay, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 01382 201 245
Built in the city at the turn of the 20th century, this famous wooden 'tall ship', moored at Discovery Quay, is the premier attraction in Dundee for many visitors and a high point in the city's rich maritime history. RRS Discovery was Captain Scott's vessel for his groundbreaking trip to the Antarctic in 1901. The expedition was stranded in the icefields for two harsh, freezing winters and returned in 1904 to a hero's welcome. The ships three masts are clearly visible as they tower high above the riverside, becoming an iconic symbol of the city and its successful regeneration work. The adjacent Discovery Point Museum offers audio-visual presentations, exhibitions and many original Scott-related artefacts.
Open hours: April to October, Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 18:00; November to March, Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Picture of the Victoria Dock and the HM Frigate Unicorn

Victoria Dock and HM Frigate Unicorn

Address: Victoria Dock, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 01382 200 900
The HM Frigate Unicorn, a 46-cannon warship launched in 1824, is the oldest British-built vessel still afloat. Built in the Royal Navy's Chatham Dockyard on the River Thames, she was once amongst the most successful designs in service. The Unicorn represents the short transition in the mid-19th century from wooden sailing ships to iron-clad steamships, and is one of the six oldest ships in the world. Located within the Victoria Dock and close to the Tay Road Bridge, this ship has become a major tourist attraction in Dundee and has managed to retain much of its original sea-faring character. As you explore the four decks on your self-guided tour of the HM Frigate Unicorn, you will be surprised at the cramped conditions where the crew once lived.
Open hours: April to October, daily - 10:00 to 17:00; November to March, Wednesday to Friday - 12:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and families, children five years old and under are free

Dundee Harbour boat

Dundee Harbour and Port

Address: Dundee, Scotland, UK
From its beginnings as a tiny trade port in the 11th and 12th centuries, by medieval times Dundee was an inshore port for trade along with the Port of London and other English harbours. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the city's waterfront became a shipbuilding and international trading centre, the heart of the city's economy. Nowadays, this waterfront monument to many hundreds of years of seafaring history has a new lease of life as a visitor destination, hotel hub and upscale residential and entertainment centre. This is a good place to come for sightseeing pleasure cruises and boat trips.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Broughty Ferry Beach view

Broughty Ferry Beach

Address: Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Offering a taste of the Scottish seaside, Broughty Ferry Beach is a suburb of the city and lies on the easterly outskirts. This long sandy beach has been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness and for good amenities, which have been upgraded in recent years following an injection of cash. Ferry Beach is overlooked by a historic castle, edged by the Esplanade promenade and fronted by the Firth of Tay estuary. Attractions here include swimming, seasonal volleyball nets, a play area for young children, a jet ski club and the Broughty Castle Museum, while occasionally wild seals and even dolphins can be spotted swimming close by.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Broughty Castle photo

Broughty Castle

Address: Tay Estuary, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 01382 436 916
This stark, square castle sits imposingly on a promontory in the Tay Estuary. Completed in 1496 to meet threats from foreign powers, the fortress has been the scene of many battles and sieges, such as the War of the Rough Wooing in the 16th century and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the 17th century. The tower house forms the castle's centerpiece and has four floors, being topped by a flag pole. Upgraded a number of times over the centuries, Broughty Castle now hosts an interesting museum.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00, Sunday - 12:30 to 16:00 (April to September), Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00, Sunday - 12:30 to 16:00 (October to March)
Admission: charge

Claypotts Castle photograph

Claypotts Castle

Address: West Ferry, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Located in the West Ferry area of the city, Claypotts is a perfect example of a Scottish 16th-century castle. Built around the 1570s in the form of a Z-plan structure with fine towers, this medieval castle was intended as a family home and was never attacked. Gifted to the state in the 1920s and now cared for by Historic Scotland, Claypotts is no longer open to the public, but its imposing stone exterior is worth a visit.
Open hours: closed to the public
Admission: free

Camperdown Country Park image

Camperdown Country Park

Address: Coupar Angus Road, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 01382 431 818
This huge park is an activity complex, a green haven, a wildlife centre, a golf course, a nature trail centre, an events venue and just about everything else for local families and visitors. Located roughly 5 km / 3 miles from central Dundee, the Camperdown Country Park's Wildlife Centre is especially impressive, with brown bears, lemurs, lynx, pine martens, porcupines, wallabies, wolves, and many more animal attractions. Shaded, pretty picnic sites give a relaxing break from the rigours of sightseeing. A relatively new addition is the Camperdown Visitor Centre, which opened in early 2011 and features a cafe with patio seating, and glass walls overlooking the Wildlife Centre and the Camperdown Golf Course. Visitors are often surprised to also find a modern ice-skating rink and a cinema complex, providing plenty to do on a rainy day.
Open hours: daily, March to September - 10:00 to 16:30; October to February - 10:00 to 15:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children, families and seniors, children under three years of age are free