Scotland’s ‘third city’ sits on the River Tay, with the landmark Tay Rail Bridge as a backdrop. Few cities in Britain can match Dundee’s setting, arguably seen at its best from across the river in Fife. After shrugging off its post-industrial history, Dundee has transformed into a modern, vibrant place with much to occupy visitors and excellent amenities for the locals. As you would expect from a university town, Dundee has a thriving arts scene, good bars and restaurants and some of the friendliest people to be found in Scotland. It is now famous for embracing hi-tech industry and was the original home of Rockstar, the company responsible for the Grand Theft Auto series of computer games.
THINGS TO DO
Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)
The DCA is undoubtedly the cultural focus of Dundee and while it houses a great art-house cinema, stylish bar and a quality restaurant, its raison d’être is the cutting-edge gallery space on the ground floor. Having quickly gained a reputation as a forward-thinking art venue, the DCA is now an established part of Scotland’s art scene, exhibiting innovative works by new local artists, established Scottish names and internationally renowned artists alike.
152 Nethergate (B5), 01382 909 900, www.dca.org.uk, gallery and shop closed Mon, free entry.
The Discovery Point Antarctic Museum is based in and around the impressive RSS Discovery, Captain Scott’s ship for his polar voyages. Wandering around the old ship can be a moving experience, as you picture the incredibly harsh conditions endured by Scott’s crew. With a great hands-on exhibition and a range of historical artefacts on show, this is a good way to kill a few hours before returning to your super-safe, comfortable life. Its award-winning attraction status is well deserved.
Riverside Drive (C5), 01382 309 060 www.rrsdiscovery.com, open daily 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm, £7.
Watch a Football Match
Dundee (The Dees) and Dundee United (The Terrors) have stadiums located barely 100m away from each other, fuelling a passionate rivalry that is compelling for any visitor to witness.The Dundee derby is unlikely to rival the white-knuckle excitement of an Old Firm match between Rangers and Celtic, but it will certainly be a safer afternoon out. Both teams share a good-natured sense of competition, so you can expect to enjoy yourself no matter which team you pick.
Fat Sams has been going since 1983 and remains a mainstay of Dundee’s nightlife. Famed for hosting early gigs by The View, Glasvegas and The Courteneers, it has recently expanded to become a hip club venue too.The change has greatly increased the capacity of the place and the three floors now offer a diverse range of clubbing experiences.The emphasis is on chart floor-fillers, as well as R&B, house and hip-hop - but there are also rock, indie and retro nights. At its heart Fat Sams is an all-purpose, all-tastes kind of place.
31 South Ward Road (B3), 01382 228 181, www.fatsams.co.uk, open daily 10.30pm-2.30pm.
This converted schoolyard in Westport is one of Dundee’s best live music venues and has played host to bands including The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and the Mad Professor and has launched the careers of local bands like The Law and The View. It was taken over in December 2004 and since then has cemented its place at the heart of Dundee's burgeoning creative scene. It also hosts tribute bands, comedy nights and charity events.
13 Brown Street (A4), 01382 227 080, www.myspace.com/dundeedoghouse, open daily 9am-late.
Owned by G1, the colossus of Scottish nightlife that owns restaurants and bars all over the country,The Social is one of Dundee's most popular destinations.
It’s a modern style-bar with clean lines and a contemporary feel. It serves indulgent cocktails and occasionally puts on some live music. Basically, it's a pub with a swish feel, but without any pretentiousness.
10 South Tay St (A5), 01382 202 070, www.socialanimal.co.uk, open daily 11.30am-2pm, 5pm-9.45pm.
The Phoenix has been going for over 150 years, and in all that time it’s probably never been quiet. Permanently busy, the small, ramshackle pub is a boisterous place, equally popular with students and locals all out for a good time, whether it’s noon or midnight.The place is like a down-at-heel laird, the ornate décor scuffed around the edges, but all the more charming for it.The tiny bar is worked with considerable good nature and humour, and serves some cracking real ales. Factor in its excellent reputation for simple bar food and you get a great, bustling wee venue.
103 Nethergate (B4), 01382 200 014, opening times vary.
If it was good enough for Prince William, it'll be good enough for you. St. Andrews is a small, picturesque university town, famed for its golfing history. It's a beautiful place, set right on the beach, with a serene atmosphere, stunning sights and great pubs.There’s lots to see, ranging from the University to the ruins of the cathedral, once the biggest building in Scotland.To get here by train, travel to Leuchars from Dundee or Edinburgh, and get a connecting bus.