City Guide

Things to Do in Dundee

Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021
Dundee city centre at night

The city of Dundee is one of the most popular places for students in the UK to study and welcomes thousands of students every year. The city is the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design and welcomes millions of tourists every year.

Here, we will show you the various things to do in Dundee and give you a brief overview of the city’s long and expansive history and sport life.

Things to do in Dundee


Scotland’s fourth-largest city is one of the most popular places in the UK to study. Dundee has long since been one of the jewels of Scotland and is often praised for its rich and diverse culture and its friendly locals. Dundee has an estimated population of roughly 148,210 according to the most recent figures.

Things to do in Dundee

There’s plenty to do in Dundee regarding nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a chilled night out with your friends, live music or a night out in a nightclub, Dundee has got you covered and then some. We’ve compiled a list of three places that we think would be perfect for you during your stay in Dundee:

First up, we have The Wine Press, which is one of Dundee’s most popular bars and has been a fixture of Shore Terrace for some time. Another very popular place in Dundee is BrewDog Dundee, which offers you a chilled atmosphere and relaxed vibe. Everything that you need is catered for, and you’ve got access to some of the best beers in Scotland. Another bar to look at is The Speedwell Bar; on the outside, this may just look like your local garden pub, but inside it's wonderfully charming with a mixture of family-oriented fun mixed with live music and a good night out.

Dundee has a huge amount that it can offer in terms of culture. A number of museums litter the city and provide an insight into the rich and diverse history of Dundee, like Discovery Point, – a converted captain’s ship, which has been turned into a museum – The McManus or Broughty Castle. All of which are readily available and are more than affordable for members of the public looking to learn more and more about Dundee.

For those of you looking to delve deep into the world of film, Dundee can help you out here, with an excellent array of cinemas. First off we have Cineworld, which comes with tiered seating. Next up we have Dundee’s own Odeon, which too is available and offers the most recent releases. However for those looking for more independent features and the like we recommend joining one of Dundee’s many film societies.

Dundee offers a wide variety of activities for you to engage in when you’re not studying hard, such as the Discovery Film Festival, which has long since been a part of Dundee’s ever-growing film scene. There is also something a little different in the form of a games festival which is offered by Abertay University, and it’s called “Dare to Be Digital”, and it’s been a big part of the Dundee festival scene for quite some time.

Things to do with kids in Dundee


As one of the biggest cities in Scotland and one of the biggest cities in the UK, Dundee has a number of great transportation systems.

There are two main railway stations in the city, Dundee Station, the city’s main train station and Broughty Ferry Station, which isn’t the main station, but nevertheless is very useful. The city also has three other train stations, Balmossie, Invergowrie and Monifieth as well. Abellio ScotRail, CrossCountry, London North Easstern Railway and Caledonian Sleeper all operate within the city.

The city also has a very wide range of bus services that operate in the city as well. Xplore Dundee and Stagecoach Strathtay being the most common. However, CityLink, Megabus and National Express also operate in the city as well and offer direct routes to a number of important cities.

There is an airport in the city as well, Dundee Airport, which flies commercially to London and other major cities. The airport however, doesn’t fly internationally, so those looking to go abroad, will need to head to Edinburgh and go to the Edinburgh Airport.

For those looking to go international by boat, will need to head to the international seaport in Newcastle.

Universities in the City

There are two universities in the city, University of Dundee and Abertay University.

The University of Dundee was established in 1881 as University College, but rebranded upon receiving their university status in 1967. It was also formerly part of the University of St. Andrews as well.

University of Dundee’s student body is represented by the Dundee University Students Association (DUSA). However, DUSA is not affiliated with the National Union of Students, as the DUSA disagrees with their costs and politics. Instead, the DUSA is affiliated with the National Postgraduate Committee and the Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland (CHESS). Students are automatically enrolled, but can cancel their membership at anytime.

There are 43 different clubs affiliated with the university. The university also operates an inter-uni sports appreciation ball called the Blues & Colours Ball. The sports union runs the majority of the university’s sports clubs, but the Institute of Sport and Exercise is also responsible for some and this is controlled directly by the university itself.

Abertay University is the city’s only other public university. It was initially started as the Dundee Institute of Technology in 1888, however, the institute was granted university status in 1994.

Abertay takes part in the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) League. They do however, share a fierce rivalry with the University of Dundee, and the two compete regularly in varsity and non-varsity events.

Things to do with family in Dundee

History and Culture

The city of Dundee has stood for centuries and though human habitation in the area can be traced further back, the city was effectively put on the map by William the Lion and his charter, which granted the area to his brother David, who became Earl of Huntingdon.

During the medieval period, Dundee was renowned for its export of raw wool. The city also became well known for its textile production and the creation of a number of mills. As whaling laws became more relaxed and as the naval practices of the country began to grow, Dundee began to thrive and saw a huge upturn in the population, so too, did the production of marmalade.

The city was, like London before it, subject to a big fire in the city in 1906, which sent, according to historical accounts, rivers of burning whiskey through the streets.


The city of Dundee is represented by a number of sports teams in various sports.

There are two football teams in the city, Dundee and Dundee United. The two teams play in the Scottish Championship. Both teams have played in the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League (then the European Cup), with Dundee losing to AC Milan of Italy and Dundee United losing to Roma, also of Italy. Dundee reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1968 and Dundee United were runners up in the same competition in 1987.

The city also has a thriving Ice Hockey team called the Dundee Stars, who play at the Dundee Ice Arena and play in the Elite League. The Dundee Stars won the Gardiner Conference Trophy in the 2013/14 season.

There are a number of Rugby Union teams in the city as well. The Dundee High School for Former Pupils play in the Scottish National League Division One, which is the second tier of Scottish rugby.

Who’s from Dundee?

Many famous people have come from Dundee too including; Danny Wallace, Brian Cox, Samuel Robertson, Ron Donachie, Heather Ripley, Hamish Clark and Ellie Reid.

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