Dundee, the fourth largest city in Scotland, spreads along the north bank of the Firth of Tay at the foot of Balgary Hill. Once a major port, the city’s waterfront is well worth visiting and has since become a commercial and cultural hub that includes an excellent maritime museum complete with preserved vessels and a science center. Dundee has also become a popular place for entertainment, and in the Old Town center you can enjoy the city’s food scene, as well as shopping.
The eagerly anticipated V&A Dundee is at the heart of the all the hype, and has been the catalyst for many of the improvements around the city. Not only is it the first design museum in Scotland, it is the only other V&A museum outside of London in the world. The building is designed by famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who will also be responsible for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium. The striking contemporary design, which floods the interior with natural light and views of the Tay, is a symbol of the city’s developing waterfront. Kuma described the space as a “livingroom for the city”, and it is exactly that.
Much of Dundee’s growth over the centuries was due to its jute industry, a natural fiber used in the manufacture of ropes and products such as sacks. The excellent Verdant Works explores the impact of the industry on the area, including its effect upon the local populace, half of whom of working age were employed in the industry. The museum, housed in a former mill, contains fully restored machinery , hands-on exhibits, and multimedia attractions of interest to all ages, which show how Dundee was once responsible for nearly all global jute production.
The Caledonian Railway
The age of steam comes to life at The Caledonian Railway, a preserved heritage railway line once used by Queen Victoria. It starts in the picturesque Angus cathedral ‘city’ of Brechin, in reality the size of a small town, and extends to the National Trust for Scotland property of the House of Dun, near Montrose on the county’s coast. The presence of an attraction at either end makes for a good option for a day out. The railway also operates a number of special event trains, including a steam train mocked up to look like Thomas the Tank Engine – perfect for young families.
Camperdown Wildlife Centre
A visit to Camperdown Wildlife Centre, part of Camperdown Country Park, is one of the top things for families to do in Dundee. Set amid the 400 acres of the former country estate, the wildlife center presently houses some 300 or so animals representing 50 species, including the star attractions, a pair of European brown bears named Star and Comet. Other animal attractions include lemurs and marmosets, along with numerous birds, including golden eagles.