Do Dundee like a Local
Posted : 6 February 2020
The best way to really get to know a city is to live it like a local. Our insider’s guide takes you off the beaten track and into the best hidden spots to Discover Dundee. One of the great things about Dundee is that it’s a really compact city. You don’t have to wander far from the centre to discover hidden gems well worth whiling away a few hours in. The Museum of Transport is one of them. Less than a mile from the city centre at Market Mews, its unassuming façade hides a fantastic attraction telling the stories of local transport pioneers and innovators as well as displaying vehicles from local and national collections. It’s a great day out for little and big ones alike.
Continuing east, a walking and cycle path leads to picturesque Broughty Ferry. A former fishing village, it retains an easygoing appeal just a few miles from the busy heart of the city. The large beach facing out into the Tay estuary is stunning and is dominated by Broughty Castle, an old fort that functions as a museum and viewpoint. While there, ideally enjoying the weather which makes Dundee Scotland’s sunniest city, an ice cream at Visocchi’s is a must. You can’t miss it – on summer days there will be locals and visitors queued down the street.
Heading the short distance back into town, it’s easy to miss the charming waterfront area at City Quay. What was once a working dock area has been beautifully converted into a parade of shops, eateries and business premises. Don’t miss a wander down beautiful Chandlers Lane to the water – very Instagrammable! Nearby is the Frigate Unicorn. At nearly 200 years old, HMS Unicorn is one of the world’s most remarkable historic ships and preserved as a museum and visitor attraction in Dundee with four atmospheric decks for visitors to explore. This reminder of the golden age of sail now shares the water with energetic wakeboarders – try it out for yourself at Foxlake if you’re feeling energetic.
Having worked up a hunger – and a thirst – it’s the West End you want to be heading for. While there are great bars and restaurants all over Dundee, some of the best hidden gems live on the lively stretch west from the cultural quarter at DCA. With its hard-to-spot entrance, visitors could be forgiven for walking right by Taypark House. A former baronial mansion house, with impeccable landscaped grounds, it now offers a delicious menu and has a cosy gin lounge, where tasting days are often hosted.
If beer’s more your thing, you don’t want to miss 71 Brewing. Reviving the historic Dundee brewing trade, it produces traditional IPAs and Pilsners as well as more experimental beers finished with extracts from apricot and blueberry to coffee. Tours of the brewery are offered and include a chance to taste its products.
Of course, a good drink deserves good company. And there’s always plenty of that in the West End institutions that is the Speedwell Bar. Known confusingly to locals as Mennie’s (after a long-gone landlady), this old-style pub is full of Edwardian wooden fixtures and fittings, split up into cosy nooks with open fires. With a bit of luck some talented local fiddlers will launch into an impromptu gig while you’re in. To end the night, there’s only one place to go. Not far from Mennie’s is Clark’s Bakery, which is open 24-hours and one of the best places in the city to enjoy to famous Dundee ‘peh.’ Dundonians love a peh, or pie, and will put anything in them, from the staple steak and gravy to curry and even Bolognese. Why not try out a bit of Dundee dialect while you’re ordering too – “eh’ll heh a peh!”