A Full Guide to the Delightful Dundee

Tucked away in the eastern Lowlands, just on the bank of the Firth of Tay, lies the delightful city of Dundee. This is the fourth largest city in all of Scotland, recognised for its outstanding architecture and gorgeous seafront which sets it apart from the three other largest cities.

For those who are hiring a motorhome in Scotland this year, we’ve been writing a few blogs on the most exciting – yet underrated – places to park up and experience, and Dundee is certainly one of them. 

With a host of activities to enjoy and some beautiful spots to explore, this is the perfect spot for anyone who wants a ‘Scottish city experience’, without the hustle and bustle of cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow. So let’s take a deep dive into Dundee’s history and work out what makes it so good.

Dundee: A History

In the 11th and 12 centuries, Dundee was initially a small port, used for the transportation of wine and other goods from countries like Spain and France. Toward the end of the 1100s, however, more and more people were moving into the port, leading to King William giving it an official charter – allowing townspeople to have their own local government and court. 

Over the next few centuries, Dundee grew in significance and soon became a target for the English, who burned part of the town to the ground in 1548. Four years later, however, the town was rebuilt and walls were erected to protect it from another attack. 

Only these town walls weren’t the most effective. In 1651, an English general spent two weeks sacking the town and ordered the demolition of its walls six years later. This event – along with a huge storm that damaged most of the harbour in 1658 – was devastating for the town, and very near killed it.

Yet somehow, it survived. In the 18th century, Dundee began to revive itself, finding a new industry in the production of linen and thriving through the arrival of Irish immigrants. After erecting several new important buildings, including the City Hall in 1731 and St Andrews Church in 1772, Dundee was officially given city status in the 1800s – making it the earliest official city in Scotland – and since then it has become a hub for Scottish locals and travellers alike.

A Day in Dundee

If you want to park up one of our vehicles at Dundee, then you’ll have plenty of things to do while you’re there. One of the most popular activities, for instance, is a tour of the V&A museum. Sitting right on the waterfront, this is a glorious building with cutting-edge architecture, complete with a fascinating collection of design pieces, including a brilliant Tartan exhibition.

If you’re not that into design, maybe you’ll be interested in the relic of explorational history that resides at Discovery Point. Here, you can visit the vessel of one of the most famous explorers in the world, Captain Scott, who led an expedition to Antarctica in the RRS Discovery

With the chance to step aboard the Discovery and take a look around the ship, this is a great activity for those who love history and want to get up close and personal with one of the most important ships of the early twentieth century. Don’t worry, you won’t be setting sail anywhere, and Scotland is a fair bit warmer than Antarctica!

Other Activities in Dundee

While these are two of the most popular attractions in Dundee, there are plenty of other exciting things to get up to. There’s the McManus Art Gallery for those who are into Victorian Gothic creativity, there’s the Mills Observatory for those who want to catch a glimpse of some planets, and there’s also the famous Dundee Science Centre for those travelling with kids

With plenty of restaurants – serving fish and chips of course! – like Porters Bar, Gidi Grill, and the Bridgeview Station to try out, as well as some quaint cafes like Henry’s Coffee House and Empire State Coffee Artisan Roasters, this is one of those cities where you can never get bored. Unless you hate history, culture, exploration, fun, good food, and good coffee, of course. In which case, what on earth are you doing travelling Scotland?!

Dundee: A Perfect Choice for Your Motorhome Adventure

As we mentioned before, Dundee is a great place if you’d like a taste of Scottish city life without everything feeling too hectic. While Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen are wonderful cities in their own right, there’s something a little more quiet and peaceful about Dundee. 

Complete with that gorgeous waterfront and wonderful people, it’s truly a town that feels comfortable in its skin – despite going through such hardships in the past. So go and have a look and enjoy what it has to offer!