Following on from last week’s post and my stay in Dundee at Hotel Indigo, I thought I’d give AHB readers a bit of a low down on what you can do in Dundee, known as the city of discovery!
We had a very wet 36 hours in November, in which to explore Dundee. But, never to be deterred by the weather (after all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes!) we started off by seeking out some of the infamous characters associated with the city. First up was larger than life Desperate Dan, dragging his ‘dawg’ behind him. Desperate Dan is the hero of the ‘Dandy’ magazine, is over 80 years old, and was characterised as the world’s strongest man -able to lift a cow with one hand! Just behind him is the slightly younger Minnie the Minx, who at 65, is seldom seem without her catapult and causing general mischief!
Rivalling the infamous Duke of Wellington statue of Glasgow (the one which always has a traffic cone perched on his head), the Dundee penguins are nearby, appearing to walk along the wall of the City churches. If you’re lucky, you may see them dressed up by locals at Christmas and at other points in the year. You might wonder what connects Dundee to penguins, and the answer can be found here, at the Royal Research Ship Discovery (apologies for the poor light in this photo, it truly was a dreich dark day for photography!)
At the end of the nineteenth century, Dundee had a world-famous ship building industry, so when a boat for Antarctic exploration needed to be designed, it was the obvious place to find expertise! Prominent explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton were on the first journey to the Antarctic. The Discovery is now permanently docked by the Tay River and is open for explorers every day of the year, bar Christmas and New Year public holidays, and is very conveniently placed for our next stop – the V&A Dundee!
Unless you’ve been living in a hole, it’s impossible to not know that the V&A opened Scotland’s first design museum in Dundee in September. It’s an absolutely stunning building with views across the Tay to Fife.
Inside, there are two free gallery spaces, and a paid exhibition (currently this is Ocean Liners which you can visit up until mid Feb 2019).
The Scottish Design Relay exhibition took different regions of Scotland, and young people from each underwent a research and design process to develop a prototype of a new object.
The Scottish Design Gallery takes the visitor along a chronological trip of the Scottish design landscape – from fashion to computer games, furniture to weapons, and sculptures to gadgets.
Every exhibit has a connection to Scotland, and there’s even a whole Rennie Mackinosh room which has been in storage for over 50 years!
The V&A isn’t the only museum though, and I enjoyed a brief visit to the McManus Galleries, which celebrated its 150th birthday last year. With 8 galleries, there’s loads to see (and the rain stayed off for just enough time for me to get this photo of the beautiful building!), and there’s a large on-site cafe where you can rest your weary legs by the end of it!
Our final stop was the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts) where there are more galleries, an independent cinema and a print studio to enjoy.
I haven’t really touched on where you can eat and drink, but here’s some recommendations that we really enjoyed!
Rishi’s – a short walk from the centre of town, we tried their Indian lunch tapas menu which was good value and absolutely delicious!
Rama Thai – a family run smart Thai restaurant which packed a punch with their flavours!