13 Best Sights in Dundee, Fife and Angus

Dundee Contemporary Arts

Fodor's choice

Between a 17th-century mansion and a cathedral, this strikingly modern building houses one of Britain's most exciting artistic venues. The two galleries house changing shows by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. There are children's and adult's workshops, special events, and meet-the-artist events throughout the year. Two movie theaters screen mainly independent, revival, and children's films. There's also a craft shop and a buzzing café-bar that's open until late.

McManus Galleries

Fodor's choice

Dundee's principal museum and art gallery, housed in a striking Gothic Revival–style building, has an engaging collection of artifacts that document the city's history and the working, social, and cultural lives of Dundonians throughout the Victorian period and the 20th century. Its varied fine art collection includes paintings by Rossetti, Raeburn, and Peploe as well as thought-provoking yet accessible contemporary works and visiting exhibitions.

RRS Discovery

Fodor's choice

Dundee's urban-renewal program—the city is determined to celebrate its industrial past—was motivated in part by the arrival of the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Discovery, the vessel used by Captain Robert F. Scott (1868–1912) on his polar explorations. The steamer was originally built and launched in Dundee; now it's a permanent resident, sitting by the suitably clifflike V&A museum. At Discovery Point, under the handsome cupola, the story of the ship and its famous expedition unfold; you can even feel the Antarctic chill as if you were there. The ship, berthed outside, is the star: wander the deck, then explore the quarters to see the daily existence endured by the ship's crew and captain.

Recommended Fodor's Video

V&A Dundee

Fodor's choice

Opened to worldwide acclaim in 2018, the first outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum of London is housed in an arresting riverside building by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Scotland's first-ever design museum contains seminal works and inspiring displays by Scots and international designers. The Scottish Design Galleries present the past, present, and future through the V&A collections and loans from around the world. Among the many highlights is Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Oak Room, unveiled for the first time in 50 years. Stellar shows, exclusively created for the new V&A galleries, spark inspiration among young and old. This "living room for the city," as Kuma described his design, is worth a visit for the building and setting alone: the vistas in and around its sea-cliff-like edges and perches provide places to linger, mingle, and reflect. If the weather is bad, the Living Room Café here is a great place to linger, refuel, and admire the views of the architecture and river, plus the gift shop has a wealth of quirky design gift ideas.

Broughty Castle

Originally built to guard the Tay Estuary, Broughty Castle is now a museum focusing on fishing, ferries, and the history of the area's whaling industry. The cannons and ramparts make for fine photo opportunities, and inside (up a very narrow stairway) are four floors of displays, including some of the lovely art collection of the Victorian inventor and engineer Sir James Orchar. To the north of the castle lies beautiful Broughty Ferry Beach, which, even in midwinter, is enjoyed by the locals; there is regular bus service from Dundee's city center.

Mills Observatory

At the top of a thickly forested hill, Mills Observatory is the only full-time public observatory in Britain. There are displays on astronomy, space exploration, scientific instruments, and a 12-inch refracting telescope for night viewing of the stars and planets. Dundonians flock here when there's a solar or lunar event. If one happens during your visit, don't miss this universally happy experience.


Across the Tay River, this charming shoreline suburb has spectacular river views, handsome Victorian architecture, and an interesting collection of independent shops and restaurants, plus some beguling walks. Once just a small village with cottages, Newport was transformed and renamed "New Dundee" when the city's Victorian jute barons and middle classes made it a fashionable enclave. Dundee's mill workers folllowed suit, traveling on the Fifie steam ferries to escape the cachaphonous and polluted city; you can follow in their brogues and barefoot soles by walking along the Braes Riverside Park. Although the Victorian bathing establishments once there have gone, the ornate 1878 ferry port has been partly restored. You'd be brave to take a dip even on a warm Tayside day, so opt for a sunset sit-down here instead. Head here by bus from Dundee midafternoon to walk the Braes, landscaped gardens, and woodland of nearby Tayfield Estate (aka Berry's Den). Then head to the Boat Brae for refreshments while watching the sunset over the Tay.

Boat Brae, Dundee, Dundee City, DD6 8EX, Scotland

North Carr Lightship

Moored next to the Unicorn, you'll see a strange rusting red ship, the North Carr Lightship. After playing a significant role in World War II, Scotland's only remaining lightship was wrecked on the Fife shore during a storm in 1959; seven crew members were lost. The ship is sadly closed awaiting funds for refurbishment but is worth a look from the dock. Donations for restoration welcomed by the Taymara charity, which also runs boat trips.

Tay River Trips

Taymara, the nonprofit group that looks after the North Carr Lightship, runs exhilarating dolphin-watching trips on the vessel Missel Thrush. Hour-long excursions leave from Broughty Ferry Harbour (weekdays) and Tayport Harbour (weekends), and take you around the mouth of the delta, where dolphins jump and play. Booking in advance is essential.

The Law

For sweeping views of the city, the Angus Glens to the north, and Fife's coastline to the south, head up to Dundee's very own extinct volcano. This 1,640-feet-above-sea-level hill (law means hill in Scots) has a World War II memorial, parking lot, and seating area.

Law Rd., Dundee, Dundee City, DD3, Scotland


It's easy to spot this 46-gun wood warship, as it's fronted by a figurehead of a white unicorn. This frigate has the distinction of being the oldest British-built warship afloat, having been launched in 1824 at Chatham, England. You can clamber right down into the hold, or see the models and displays about the Royal Navy's history. Live events like jazz concerts and theater performances are staged onboard.

University of Dundee Botanic Garden

This renowned botanical garden contains an extensive collection of native and exotic plants outdoors and in tropical and temperate greenhouses. There are some beautiful areas for picnicking, as well as a visitor center, an art gallery, and a coffee shop.

Verdant Works

In a former jute mill, Verdant Works houses a multifaceted exhibit on the story of jute and the town's involvement in the jute trade. Restored machinery, audiovisual displays, and tableaux all bring to life the hard, noisy life of the jute worker. A light and airy café serves Dundee cakes.

W. Hendersons Wynd, Dundee, Dundee City, DD1 5BT, Scotland
sights Details
Rate Includes: £12, £19 includes RRS Discovery, Closed Mon. in Nov.–Mar.