Hotels in Dundee, United Kingdom
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Dundee – a fine and dandy cultural city break destination
You may associate Scotland’s fourth-largest city, Dundee, with one of many things: marmalade, shipbuilding, cakes, football or even jute making. Few, though would consider it as a place for a hotel break. Those who do take the plunge will discover a city transformed – its rough industrial heritage being repackaged for tourists and its waterfront given a twenty-first-century facelift. Dundee has also been reinvented as a city of culture and can now even boast the accolade of becoming the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design.
The City of Jute, Jam and Journalism
Dundee’s identity is often linked to its perceived main industries – ‘Jute, Jam and Journalism’.
Dundee became the European capital for Jute production in the nineteenth century. The rough natural fibre used for rope and sacks was imported from India and spun in the city’s mills. Visitors can now get acquainted with this once-prosperous industry in the surprisingly fascinating and interactive centre: Verdant Works – one of Dundee’s most popular attractions.
The word ‘Jam’ really stands for ‘marmalade’, which unfortunately doesn’t start with the letter J. Dundee became associated with the bitter-tasting conserve thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of a local lady. Janet Keiller opened a factory to produce Dundee Marmalade in 1797, using thick chunks of Seville orange rind that would make the city evermore synonymous with the breakfast spread.
Journalism, the final part of the Trinity, refers to the city’s publisher – DC Thompson, founded in 1905 and creator of the Beano and Dandy comics. Dundee is so proud of this link that it has installed an eight-foot-high Bronze statue in the city centre to commemorate one of its most iconic characters – Desperate Dan!
A voyage of Discovery
It would seem that no-one could find a synonym for shipbuilding beginning with a J though, as it is difficult to ignore Dundee’s prominent role in this industry. No fewer than two thousand ships were built in the dock yard in the decade between 1871 and 1881 alone. None were more famous than the RRS Discovery which took Captain Robert Scott on his Antarctic missions.
Visitors to the impressive Discovery Point can not only pay homage to the legendary vessel here, but also get an insight into Scott’s Antarctic voyages in the state-of-the-art attraction: Heroes of the Ice.
Another unmissable sight is that of the HM Frigate Unicorn, a nineteenth-century warship and the oldest seaworthy ship in Britain.
Dundee’s whaling industry also boomed in the nineteenth century as it provided the jute trade with the whale oil that it craved. You can find out more about the city’s whaling heritage in Broughty Castle and Museum. The castle was built in the fifteenth century to protect the Tay estuary and offers fantastic views over the waters.
The seaside resort of Broughty Ferry, by which the castle is found, is a lovely place to have a stroll around and relax. Dotted with grand villas, quaint fishermen’s cottages, a large expanse of sand and a beautiful esplanade, Ferry contains many pleasant pubs and restaurants, as well as a selection of hotels and guesthouses.
A cultural epicentre
If you’re wanting to get an insight into Dundee’s history, a good place to start is the McManus, the city’s art gallery and museum. This grand Victorian building also flaunts a range of exhibitions, including nineteenth and twentieth century international works of art. Lovers of vintage transport will also find their slice of heaven in the Dundee Transport Museum.
As fascinating as its past may be, Dundee refuses to live only off its history. Scotland’s sunniest city is now forging a new vibrant identity as a haven for culture and the arts. At the heart of this movement is Dundee Contemporary Arts, housing modern art galleries and two cinemas showing films from around the world. The V&A Museum of design is also due to open in 2018.
There are also a whole host of venues where you can enjoy dance, art, comedy and music performances and concerts, including the Caird Hall auditorium, Dundee Repertory Theatre and Gardyne Theatre.
If you’re planning on staying in one of the many hotels in Dundee in late summer, you can also experience the Food and Flower Festival, the largest of its kind in Scotland.
Lay down on the Law
To get a good overview of the city, there’s no better place than Dundee Law, literally meaning Dundee’s hill. In reality though the 572-foot mount that characterises the city is in fact an extinct volcano. Whatever, it makes for a lovely stroll and its stylish observation point offers stunning views to Fife and over Perthshire on a clear day.
You take the high road … and I’ll take the plane
Once you’ve decided which hotel in Dundee takes your fancy, you’ll be confronted by another choice – how to get there. The city is now easily accessible not only by car and rail but also by air and boat.
Just a short distance from the UK’s motorway network, Dundee is just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and can be reached directly by rail from Birmingham and London on the East Coast line.
Dundee is additionally becoming a popular port of call for cruise ships on their way to the Baltics and Scandinavia, whilst air travel is also taking off, with regular flights from London Stansted. Consequently, there are now a growing selection of hotels near Dundee Airport and the railway station.