Dundee might have once been known as a city of jute, jam and journalism but there’s much more to this wee city that is now home to groundbreaking companies working in fields like tech and gaming. Dundee’s two universities and the post-industrial regeneration that’s amped up in recent years have both also breathed new life to the city. This has created many fun, slightly unusual, things to do on a day out in Dundee.
With this in mind, we’ve collected ten of our favourite ways to discover Dundee and try something new below, from interactive games to trampolining.
The Dundee underground vaults have previously been mostly closed off from the public but with some new safety features recently added, you can now tour six of these vaults, originally built as a street in the 1640s and lost to the ages until 2000 when construction workers unearthed them.
DD Tours now organises guided excursions to the vaults, illuminating the darker side of Dundee’s history with tales of murder, riots and disaster. Make sure to book your tour in advance and wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear. The tour is not suitable for kids under 10 and hardhats have to be worn by all visitors.
Since you’re reading this post, you’re obviously looking for a great day out for you and your mates or family - you can count on Ryze to make it happen for you! This place is a real experience, offering hours of fun, new experiences and getting you moving. And, as exercise releases endorphins, a visit to Ryze can actually make you happier - what’s better than that?
You’ll be amazed at all the amazing things you can learn with just one visit. The fun equipment in Ryze includes, naturally, a wide variety of trampolines but also foam pits, inflatables, a ninja course, a trapeze and much more.
Located in Trottick on Old Glamis Road, our huge indoor trampoline park has something for everyone. After bouncing, you can sit down to catch your breath in our cafe to enjoy some refreshments. We serve delicious cakes and sandwiches along with tea, coffee and soft drinks.
This quirky independent cafe has two locations, both in the heart of Dundee. Flame Tree serves delicious classics like toasties and baked potatoes alongside some more unusual treats like rainbow-coloured bagels and lattes in a variety of colours including red (beetroot), blue (spirulina), green (matcha) and yellow (turmeric). It’s the perfect spot to try something new and have a highly Instagrammable lunch!
There are also plenty of options for vegans, making Flame Tree a great lunch spot if you follow a plant-based diet or simply want to limit your consumption of animal products.
What list of things to do in Dundee would be complete without featuring the new V&A museum? Work on the V&A, Scotland’s first design museum, began in 2014 and the museum opened its doors for the first time in September 2018. It has since quickly become an important landmark on the Tay.
With a wide range of changing exhibitions, there’s always something new to learn at the V&A. Among other things, you can admire costumes from the Star Wars films, a beautifully-carved wood panel from the Titanic and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s magnificent Oak Room, displayed for the first time in over 50 years.
If you like vinyl, you’ll love Le Freak. You can find some great records at this independent store, from new indie gems to vintage disco LPs and everything in between, both used and new. The shop also organises gigs and club nights, both in the store and in venues across Scotland.
With their friendly and knowledgeable service coupled with an extensive collection, Le Freak is a great little hidden gem of Dundee.
With lots of videogames developed in Dundee, it’s not all that surprising that one exists just for discovering the city. “Other” is a mobile game published by Dundee-based Biome Collective, compatible with iPhones and available in the Apple Store. It allows you to discover Dundee with a spooky, interactive gaming experience.
The game was developed in collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland and takes about an hour to complete. It’s a fun way to experience Dundee whether you’re visiting or a local.
With astronomical displays and a planetarium show, Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory is a great day out for anyone interested in outer space. Set in beautiful woodland on Balgay Hill, it’s the perfect place to learn more about our solar system. The observatory also hosts fun, educational events for kids on a regular basis, free of charge.
There are about 60 dolphins who call the river Tay home. See if you can spot some on this boat tour of Dundee organised by Pirate Boats Ltd. These hour-long trips take you on the open water on a fast RIB and allow you to admire Dundee landmarks and wildlife including dolphins and seals.
Tours are available from April through to November and are suitable for all ages over 7. You can book your tour on the Pirate Boats website.
This is another great, alternative way to discover the city. Whether you’re a tourist or Dundee born and bred, you’ll learn something new on this 90-minute long, self-guided treasure hunt. After you buy your trail experience, you get an email link to a PDF map you can print at home. You can complete the 1.5-mile trail at your own pace, allowing you to spend extra time posing for some group selfies in front of Dundee’s landmarks.
It’s a fun way to spend the day with a group of friends or your family, and there’s even a chance to win a real treasure as correct answers get entered into a monthly prize draw!
Whether you have a serious need for speed or want to challenge your friends to a karting competition, Scotkart Dundee has you covered. You can reach speeds up to 40mph on this 400-metre track, racing their petrol karts. They also have a selection of cadet karts that reach speeds of up to 20mph, perfect for younger speed demons.
There’s also an amazing laser tag venue right next door, perfect if you want a bit of a Battle Royale! Scotkart Dundee can also be booked for parties and corporate events.
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As you can see from the list above, Dundee has something for everyone, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a design buff or a foodie. These cool spots and activities prove the motto of Dundee to be very true: “One City, Many Discoveries”. If you’d like some more tips for things to do in Dundee, be on the lookout for more articles on this very soon!