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Though often overshadowed by Edinburgh and Glasgow, Dundee is definitely a city worth exploring. It’s a place that offers visitors a different side to Scottish life, replete with attractions, sightseeing spots and excellent restaurants and hotels. Charmingly situated on the Firth of Tay, Dundee is the fourth largest city in Scotland and boasts two universities, a blossoming waterfront and a whole host of historic buildings and nearby attractions.
Dundee has a train station and a small airport, offering flights to and from London and Jersey. It’s an easy city to drive into from other parts of Scotland and the UK, but if you aren’t bringing your own car to Dundee, it’s incredibly easy to rent a vehicle once you’ve arrived. There are a number of car rental companies around the city, with several clustered close to the docks. Once you’ve hired a vehicle, you’ll have the freedom to travel around the city, and to drive out of Dundee to visit nearby attractions. You should find the streets of Dundee fairly straightforward to navigate, but it’s good idea to avoid driving during the rush hour.
There are many things to do and see in Dundee, but perhaps the best way to start your trip is with a climb up Dundee Law, an extinct volcano rising 174m over the surrounding area and providing stunning views of the city and the Firth of Tay. After snapping some shots of the city from above, head back towards the water, where you can tour the RRS Discovery, an Antarctic vessel built in Dundee in 1900; and the HM Frigate Unicorn, a 19th Century ship offering an authentic taste of Victorian life at sea. Other attractions near the water include the Contemporary Arts Centre, the university campuses, the fascinating Verdant Works museum, and the charming City Square, famous for its bronze statue of Desperate Dan.
Once you’ve explored the centre of Dundee, you can hop in the car and drive a little further out, heading for a day on the links at Caird Park (which borders the 16th Century Mains Castle) or Downfield. For avid stargazers, the Mills Observatory provides a charming half-day’s activity. Located northwest of the city centre (around a ten minute drive) it’s easily accessed by car and foot, and is open to the public six months of the year. Nature enthusiasts, meanwhile, will want to head to Camperdown Wildlife Centre, which boasts a variety of animal and bird enclosures, a picnic area and a café.
For the ultimate literary tour of the area, drive west out of Dundee on the A90, turning onto the B953. This route will take you to Dunsinane Hill, made famous in Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”. A second location from Macbeth, Glamis Castle, can be found a half hour car journey north of Dundee on the A90 and the A928. Just remember to bring your walking boots and your camera – and to watch out for witches, of course.