Attractions Nearby Dundee, Day Trips and Excursions
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)
is a small country and relatively easy to get around by car for most of the year, with many wonderful attractions being just a short drive or bus trip from Dundee. Carefully planned excursions will reveal a land of castles, magnificent scenery and proud people who stay true to their ancient heritage, frequently celebrating their often troubled and violent history.
One of Scotland's most famous exports is the game of golf, begun here 500 years ago at nearby St. Andrews
and now a worldwide phenomenon. Two of the most significant Scottish castles, the mysterious Glamis Castle and the Scone Palace - with its Stone of Destiny, are short drives from Dundee. Other notable attractions and possible day trips include the capital city of Edinburgh
, the Five Glens of Angus, the seaside towns of Arbroath and Montrose, and the charming village of Edzell, while you may also like to take a trip on the Caledonian Steam Railway.
Seemingly stuck in a state of constant regeneration, the Glasgow
of today combines its rich Victorian heritage with an edgy modern vibe. Rows of lively bars and stylish cafes combine with fashion boutiques, quality restaurants and a tempting nightclub scene. From Dundee, Glasgow lies 130 km / 81 miles to the south-west and comes with many attractions worth penciling in. The best of these include the revamped Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the medieval Glasgow Cathedral and some spectacular Rennie Mackintosh-designed buildings, such as the Glasgow School of Art and the reconstructed Willow Tea Rooms. A cruise along the River Clyde is always recommended.
Address: Dundee Road, Glamis, By Forfar, Angus, DD8 1RJ, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1307 840 393
Just 30 minutes' drive from Dundee is the spectacular, reputedly haunted and royally connected Castle of Glamis, historic home to the Earls of Strathmore and located roughly 20 km / 12 miles to the north. Complete with battlements, turrets and Baronial architecture, Glamis Castle was the Queen Mother's childhood home and Princess Margaret was actually born here. Legends and traditions surround its ancient stones, and magnificent collections of art works and antiquities grace its interior. Guided tours take in the main attractions, which include Duncan's Hall (as featured in Shakespeare's Macbeth) and the bedroom of the Queen Mother. In the village of Glamis, the Angus Folk Museum comes with many relics of an agricultural nature.
Open hours: daily, April to October - 10:00 to 18:00; November and December - 10:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discount available for seniors, students and children
A comfortable drive from Dundee is magnificent Edinburgh, 90 km / 56 miles to the south-west and reachable in under one and a half hours. This historic Scottish capital has everything that a tourist could desire, with glorious architecture - including its famous castle, along with museums and similar cultural attractions, exceptional dining options, shops, malls, markets and a varied and lively nightlife. The summer Edinburgh Festival, featuring internationally famous names in all kinds of music, song, theatre, performance, comedy and dance, as well as an amazing Fringe sector, lights up the city and brings literally millions of visitors. Therefore, if you are planning to stay here in the summer, you will need to book up your chosen hotel many months in advance.
Enjoying a scenic valley setting and reached by taking the A90, the town of Perth stands next to attractions such as Huntingtower, New Scone and Tarsappie. The majority of Perth is located on the westerly bank of the River Tay, although it is the eastern side where you will find the nearby Scone Palace (3 km / 2 miles away). Both the North Inch and South Inch parks are likely to be of interest, with North Inch famously being the spot where the Battle of the Clans took place in 1396. Founded in the early 12th century, St. John's Kirk forms the town's centrepiece.
Address: Scone, Perthshire, PH2 6BD, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1738 552 300
Situated some 32 km / 20 miles to the west of Dundee, this stark red sandstone Georgian Gothic palace dates from 1808 and is the home of the Earls of Mansfield, being built on the traditional crowning site of the Scottish kings. Its state rooms are a treasure trove of exquisite antiques, art and period furniture, while the house holds the powerful and mysterious Stone of Scone (or Stone of Destiny), on which the ancient kings were crowned. The maze and stunning gardens are also open to the public.
Open hours: April to October, daily - 09:30 to 17:45
Admission: charge, discount available for seniors, students and children
Often referred to as being north-east Scotland's powerhouse, Aberdeen
is a wealthy oil city with many appealing cultural attractions. At 104 km / 65 miles to the north-east, Aberdeen is under two hours away and is therefore close enough to make a day trip quite possible. If you are coming here just for the day, then you will need to plan your itinerary carefully so that you can be sure to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible. Choose between Aberdeen Harbour, the Maritime Museum, the historic Castlegate area, bustling Union Street, Provost Skene's House, Marischal College and Old Aberdeen, where St. Marchal's Cathedral resides. Close to Castlegate, Aberdeen Beach offers seaside family fun on a sunny day.
Five Glens of Angus
At 37 km / 23 miles to the north, the Five Glens lie in the western part of the Angus region, their fertility fed from the rivers draining down from the moors and mountains. The famous Angus Glens comprise Glen Clova, Glen Isla, Glen Lethnot, Glen Prosen and Glenesk, each of which has something different to offer. Famous for their walks, hunting, riding and fishing, these gently sloping valleys hold a huge variety of native birds and wildlife. The sheer natural beauty hides legends and traditions going all the way back to Roman times.
Scottish Citylink buses regularly travel the 43 km / 27 miles between Dundee and Brechin. Although this town may be relatively small, there is a surprising amount to see and do, with a trip along the Caledonian Steam Railway being very noteworthy. These traditional steam trains head through the countryside to the Bridge of Dun, mainly operating during the summer months only, with occasional services at Easter and Christmas time. The Brechin Museum, the Brechin Cathedral and the National Trust for Scotland's House of Dun complete the main attractions, with the latter being a grand Georgian Country House dating from the early 1730s.
Caledonian Steam Railway
Address: Brechin, Angus, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 01356 622 992
For relief from haunted castles, chilling legends and other Scottish delights, this journey to nostalgia is a great idea for an excursion. Formed by a group of steam railway enthusiasts, the Caledonian Steam Railway takes visitors on an admittedly short trip in veteran carriages, pulled by a working locomotive. Soot in your hair and on your clothes is mandatory, as is the memory of less stressful times.
Open hours: hours vary according to season / operational days
Sited just under 30 km / 19 miles to the east of Dundee, Arbroath is a traditional seaside town, complete with its very own quaint fishing harbour and quite famous for its smoked haddock - named the Arbroath Smokie. A number of excellent attractions reside within the town, with the best including the Arbroath Museum, St. Vigeans Museum and the remains of the sandstone Arbroath Abbey, founded by King William in the latter part of the 12th century. Recently opened on the Fishmarket Quay is a new visitor centre, which is a good port of call when you first arrive.
A site of much historic conflict, Stirling
is 90 km / 56 miles to the south-west of Dundee and reachable in just over an hour. Stirling Castle is one of the principal attractions in this small city, with its Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and its Royal Burgh of Stirling Visitor Centre. Just beneath the castle is the Old Town, where the leading architectural treasures date from between the 15th century and the 17th century. The Bannockburn Heritage Centre, the William Wallace Monument and the Church of the Holy Rude provide a diverse selection of tourism opportunities.
Enjoying a pretty seaside setting some 46 km / 29 miles to the north-east, Montrose boasts a strong Victorian character and stands alongside the River South Esk's mouth. Montrose is known for both its plentiful golf courses and industrial harbour, which plays an important part in the oil industry of the North Sea. Most day trippers come here to check out the Montrose Basin and its mud flats, where many native and migrating birds come to feed. If you enjoy a spot of birdwatching, then you will find a choice of camouflaged hides at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre, while if sunbathing is more your thing, head to the neighbouring beach at Lunan Bay.
The lively market town of Forfar is approximately 39 km / 24 miles to the north of Dundee, where it is especially famous for its tasty 'Forfar Birdie' pasty, which dates from the early part of the 19th century and is made up of minced beef and onion, mixed in a rich gravy. Regular buses (Strathtay Scottish) run to Forfar each day, on their way to nearby Kirriemuir. If you do come here, be sure to try one of the local birdies, and then visit the central Meffan Museum.
The main reason that so many Dundee holiday makers travel the 35 km / 22 miles to Aberlemno is to see the village's mysterious standing stones, which have medieval origins and are considered to be the legacy of ancient warrior tribes. There is little else to see in Aberlemno, and day trippers should note that during the winter months, the stones are covered up to protect them from the cold and frosty Scottish weather.
The small town of Kirriemuir, 31 km / 19 miles to the north of Dundee, is known for both its abundance of red-sandstone buildings and also for being the birthplace of renowned Peter Pan writer, James Matthew Barrie (1860 to 1937). As a result of its heritage, Kirriemuir actively promotes itself as a tourist destination, with hordes of Peter Pan fans arriving here each year to visit number 9 Brechin Road, JM Barrie's Birthplace, which is now open to the public. Visitors to the birthplace will be able to gain free admission to the hilltop Camera Obscura, a gift to the town from Barrie himself. There is also a prominent bronze statue of Peter Pan, which stands just across from the Gateway to the Glens Museum. For die-hard fans, Kirriemuir Cemetery is home to the resting place of JM Barrie, although this is nothing grand.
The picture-postcard village of Edzell has a particularly interesting history, since it was moved to its present planned site in the early 19th century, after Lord Panmure (the owner of Edzell Castle) decided that his view was rather spoilt by the original village. Once the villagers had been successfully relocated, the old village was completely demolished and the castle's outlook very much improved. The nearby Rocks of Solitude is a tranquil river gorge and the perfect place to relax amidst the woodland.