Dundee

In the midland valley of Scotland, you’ll find the beautiful and historic city of Dundee. Dundee is known as a hub of innovation with a unique and vastly creative culture. Accordingly, it has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Design – a particularly groundbreaking achievement as it’s the first UK city to receive this honour. Thanks to its compact layout, Dundee is perfect for a stress-free weekend break, as its wonderful attractions and shopping hotspots are all within close proximity. The city is also perfect for football fanatics, as the stadiums of its two professional clubs - Dundee United and Dundee F.C. - sit adjacent to each other, creating quite an atmosphere come match days.

Our Best Western hotels in Dundee can be found both inside and just outside the city centre, offering a place to stay for every taste. You can choose to be positioned in the centre of it all in our hotel in Dundee’s west end culture quarter, or a little further out in one of our Best Westerns in Perth, Glenrothes or St Andrews.  

Beatiful sunset image over Dundee beach

Culture and nightlife in Dundee

Dundee is certainly not short of enriching activities, with theatres, art galleries, music venues and literary festivals to satisfy all culture junkies. When it hits evening time, you’ll find a great selection of bars to suit your mood, whether you’re hoping to watch the football or dance the night away. Our favourites include Clarks on Lindsay Street - a quirky, contemporary bar that’s open till the early hours of the morning - and Bruach, a popular meet-up spot serving over 50 varieties of gin.

  • Dundee Contemporary Arts: This modern art venue can be found in the centre of the city, offering a selection of unique exhibitions, world films, print courses and excellent dishes at the onsite Jute Café Bar.

  • The McManus: this award winning art gallery and museum is located in a magnificent Gothic Victorian building, fusing together the themes of art, environment and history to create a valuable insight into Dundee’s heritage. You’ll find eight distinct gallery spaces all of which are spacious and open plan.

  • Dark Dundee: The local guides at Dundee’s Dark History Walking Tours take you on an educational, yet chilling journey around the city, highlighting the darkness that lurks within Dundee’s history. Tours can be done both by day and by night, depending on how easily you scare.

RRS Discovery at Dundee Victoria Dock

Things to do in Dundee

Dundee boasts many buildings of architectural and historic relevance, as well as plenty of unique attractions to entice tourists. The city offers museums, galleries, an ice rink, a climbing wall, a leisure complex, and plenty of fine parks for a fun-filled stay. Magdalen Green is the oldest and most appreciated of these parks, with a restored 19th-century bandstand and gorgeous views that stretch out to Fife. Just outside of the city centre lies the charming seaside suburb of Broughty Ferry, where you can enjoy a calm stroll along the waterfront.

  • Dundee Science Centre: The eye-catching Dundee Science Centre includes 60 interactive exhibits, that cater to all five senses. This 4-star attraction is educational for all ages, and the whole family are sure to be captivated by the solar system shows and liquid nitrogen demonstrations.

  • Victoria Dock: Victoria Dock is home to two very important vessels, and they’re well worth seeing. The first is the impressive RRS Discovery, which is the last wooden three-masted ship to be constructed in the UK. The second is the HMS Frigate Unicorn, the oldest British warship still afloat today.

  • Balgay Park: Balgay is one of the most picturesque places to stretch your legs in Dundee. The park houses the Mills Observatory, Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory. It exhibits all the phenomenal sights of the sky, including stars, constellations, asteroids and planets - all for free.

Woman serving at fisher and donaldson bakery

Shopping in Dundee

You can expect a wonderfully compact shopping experience in Dundee, as the majority of the city’s shops are located within one small area. Dundee hosts two main shopping complexes, the Wellgate Centre and the Overgate Centre, which are handily linked by the high street and its own selection of big brand names. Perth Road is also must-visit for serious shoppers, with plenty of contemporary art galleries, quirky gift shops, independent stores and vibrant restaurants for you to explore.

  • Overgate Shopping Centre: With 56 stores inside, Overgate offers all the shops you could need and more. You’ll find a large new Debenhams, Next, H&M, River Island, Primark and New Look, as well as plenty of cafes to fill your appetite.

  • The Forum Centre: This undercover shopping centre acts as an indoor market, selling an eclectic mix of food, fashion and serious bargains. The centre is rather hidden and can be found up a tunnel off the high street, so don’t miss it.

  • Fisher & Donaldson: This family bakery has been delighting visitors since 1919 and has created a particular sweet treat that has left the whole of Scotland speechless. F&D’s signature Fudge Doughnut is out of this world - thick fudge icing on top of a fluffy doughnut with an irresistible custard centre. This doughnut has been featured as one of Buzzfeed’s ‘18 doughnuts to eat before you die’ and even boasts its own Wikipedia page. Try it for yourself - the proof really is in the pudding.  

Well cooked steak with healthy sides

Eating and drinking in Dundee

Dundee offers an exceptionally varied range of restaurants, pubs and cafes to cater to all tastes, whilst a few particular eateries have gone the extra mile to create outstanding bespoke dishes. The retro sweet cakes at Jessie’s Kitchen are an indulgent and well-loved addition to the generally healthy menu, whilst the smoked bacon, fried egg and chipotle mayo roll at Avery & Co is often described as the best breakfast in Dundee.

  • The View Restaurant: This aptly-named restaurant is located on the southern banks of the River Tay, offering magnificent views and cuisine to match. The dishes are modern and Scottish, made with only the highest quality seasonal produce. (Note: The Angus beef fillet with asparagus spears, hollandaise sauce and hand-cut chips is a firm favourite here at Best Western.)

  • Encore: Encore is a brasserie and restaurant that’s found at the Dundee Rep Theatre, in the city’s Cultural Quarter. It’s a sublime spot for a pre-theatre meal, whilst the succulent selection of meats prepared on the grill are truly exquisite.

  • The Phoenix: This traditional and popular pub has been voted the best in Dundee by local residents, and for very good reason. The electric collection of wall art will certainly catch your eye, while the bustling atmosphere and welcoming service ensure you’ll be leaving with a few new friends.

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