How to spend a day in Dundee

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

View of Dundee city centre

Dundee, the northernmost port we depart from in the UK, is an ideal place to sail for those based in northern Scotland or the north of England. You’ll be able to explore exceptional itineraries, including cruises around the British Isles, Norwegian Fjord cruises and even cruises to Iceland.

If you’ll be departing from Dundee and have some time to explore, this guide offers some of the best ways to spend a day in the city of discovery.

How to spend a day in Dundee

  • Visit the historic Discovery Point
  • Explore the Waterfront
  • Discover Verdant Works
  • Get cultured at the V&A

An exhibition inside Discovery Point

Visit the historic Discovery Point

Home to the world-famous RRS Discovery, we can think of nothing better to do in Dundee than visit Discovery Point before your cruise. For those who don’t know, the RRS Discovery is the ship that took Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica in 1901, a journey that has gone down in history. From uncovering the existence of snow-free Antarctic valleys to the Cape Crozier emperor penguin colony, it was one of the most informative early missions to the continent.

Today at Discovery Point, you’ll learn more about the ship, including its construction here in Dundee. With eight galleries, over 150 objects and interactive displays and films, there is plenty to see here, including personal items from the ship’s crew. As well as her National Antarctic Expedition, you’ll be able to learn about her Oceanographic Expedition (which took place from 1925 – 1927) and BANZARE Expedition (from 1929 – 1931)

Dundee Waterfront and the River Tay

Explore the Waterfront

Our next recommendation is located right by the cruise terminal, so it is perfect if you only have an hour or two before boarding, and it’s the Waterfront. On the side of the River Tay, you’ll find some fantastic eateries, the V&A Dundee (more on that later in the article), outstanding green spaces, independent businesses and more.

We spoke to Jilly from Wee Dundee, a local small, sustainable indie-business guide with the inside scoop on the best adventures in the city. Jilly recommended the waterfront, telling us: “One of the best ways to spend an afternoon in Dundee is down at the Waterfront; start at the Urban Beach and marvel at the Tay Whale, then wander around Slessor Gardens via Jannettas for a delicious ice cream. Finish up with some shopping at Dock Street Studios, filled with vintage treasures and gifts by local makers.”

Exterior of The Verdant Works, Dundee

Discover Verdant Works

Also known as Scotland’s Jute Museum, Verdant Works is a former jute mill turned museum. Dedicated to the textile industry, The Verdant Works is the only jute museum in the UK, and here you can learn more about the industry and production of this textile. Jute is intrinsically linked with Dundee, and that story is told here beautifully.

You’ll be able to walk the 19th-century courtyard, explore the office, see the entire production process and even meet some of the characters of the period. The museum is well-reviewed, with many reviewers sharing that the space is well thought-out, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable.

V&A Dundee in the morning sun

Get cultured at the V&A

Many people know the prestigious V&A museum and gallery in London, but only some know of its Dundee-based sister gallery. Presenting Scottish creativity at its finest, the V&A Dundee is the first-ever dedicated design museum in Scotland and the only V&A outside London. Filled with striking pieces that signify Scotland’s design heritage from the past to the present day and even the future, you’ll be able to enjoy a day here taking in the fantastic exhibitions.

The building itself is also one of the most well-known in the city, with its iconic curving concrete walls and rough stone panels. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates (the designers of the 2000 Olympic stadium in Tokyo), the gallery stands proudly on the River Tay waterfront and is a spectacular sight.

Getting to Dundee Cruise Terminal

Dundee Cruise Terminal is only a short distance from the city centre and easy to access for those based in Scotland and the north of England. There is a car park for those who wish to drive, or if you’d prefer to travel by rail, the port is only 1.5 miles from Dundee Rail Station.

Address: Dundee Cruise Terminal, East Camperdown Street, Dundee, DD1 3LG

For full details on how to get to Dundee Cruise Terminal, take a look at our Dundee cruises page.

Our UK departure ports

We cruise from eight regional ports around the UK: Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Falmouth, Dundee, Liverpool, London Tilbury and Newcastle. We believe that cruising should be hassle-free, and with our regional cruises, you’ll be closer to your departure port, meaning you don’t have to deal with airports, luggage weight limits or long journeys just to start your holiday.

Whether you live in John O’Groats or Land’s End, you’ll be close to one of our seven regional ports and able to enjoy no-fly cruising from the UK to a wealth of destinations around the world. Whether you are browsing our cruises in 2024 or beyond, you’ll find a cruise that departs from your most local port to enjoy.

If you want to read other articles like this, check out our blog, which is updated frequently with useful guides and cruising advice.