Visit Dundee and the South Highlands on Your Next Holiday
The birthplace of Aberdeen Angus beef, Peter Pan, golf and Arbroath Smokies - Dundee and the South Highlands is a region that is enriched by fascinating history, Scottish traditions, and a thriving passion for art. In fact, Dundee was named as the country's first UNESCO City of Design, with notable artworks and designs amidst the stunning architecture. In addtion to this bustling coastal city, the world-renowned St. Andrews and the charming city of Perth also lie in Central Scotland - not to mention the vast breadth of countryside waiting to be explored.
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Things to do in Dundee and the South Highlands
The region played a key role in the Scottish Declaration of Independence and, as a result, you'll find a fantastic abundance of museums, historical landmarks, and top attractions waiting to tell you about the region's historical significance. And with coastal towns such as St. Andrews and Arbroath within easy reach, water sports and strolls along the seaside are fun activities not to be missed.
Places to Visit
Known as the sunniest city in Scotland and famous for producing three famous J's - jam, jute, and journalism - Dundee is an exciting and diverse city with much to see and do. Its stunning waterfront is lined with excellent bars and restaurants, as well as a 19th-century warship, and two nautical museums. The city's epithet is "One City, Many Discoveries" as a result of Dundee's history of scientific events and discoveries. Make sure you visit the brand new V&A Museum of Design, the first ever design museum in the UK built outside of London.
Regarded as one of the finest towns in Europe and 'the home of golf', St. Andrews is a place of profound history and engrained culture. Its spectacular coast marks the East of Scotland and it is home to one of the best golf courses in the world - the Old Course. The town is named after the Apostle, St. Andrew, with religion being of great historical significance to the town's legacy. The beautiful ruins of St. Andrew's cathedral, which was the largest in Scotland, is a wonderful site to be visited during your stay. There is also a fantastic range of shops, bars, and restaurants, giving this upmarket seaside spot a cosmopolitan edge.
Nestled away in bonny central Scotland, by the banks of the River Tay, Perth is a charming city with picturesque scenery, a wealth of history, and unspoilt character. It's fondly regarded as 'The Fair City' as the story Fair Maid of Perth was written by Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, with Fair Maid's House being one of the most popular attractions to visit. As well as the many historical landmarks to discover, Perth also offers excellent brewery and distillery tours and an abundance of outdoor activities such as Highland safaris and river bugging. Due to the city's location amidst the bucolic Scottish countryside, it is often referred to as 'the Gatweay to the Highlands', with miles of stunning landscape spanning as far as the eye can see.
Where to Stay
Whether you're looking fo a peaceful break in the countryside, adventure on the water, or sight-seeing in a bustling city, we have a range of options across Dundee and the South Highlands for you to choose from. Use our links below to find your ideal location and take the first step towards your dream holiday.
Located just four miles east of Dundee, Broughty Ferry beach lies in a delightful former fishing village that's home to some of Dundee's best shops and restaurants. This beautiful beach, which is lined with dunes and has views across the Tay estuary, is the idyllic place for a long stroll to take in the scenery of the coast. There are some excellent traditional pubs to try for a spot of lunch, as well as perfect areas to sit and have a picnic. The beach has a renovated park which includes a number of facilities, such as children's go-karting, crazy golf, volley ball, and a jet ski club. On New Year's Day, as part of a famous tradition, people go swimming between the piers of the harbours in the icy water.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a stunning park that includes several ranges of hills, two forest parks, two peaks, 19 corbetts, and 57 designated nature conservation sites. This spectacular park spans across 720 square miles and has a whole host of activities to choose from, such as camping, hiking, orienteering, cycling, and sailing across the waters of Loch Lomond itself. You can even visit one of the loch's 30 islands and take a glimpse of the Arrochar Alps and Ben Lomond, Scotland's most southerly Munro. Make sure to keep your eye out for the island Inchconnachan, as you might be lucky enough to see the colony of red-necked wallabies hopping around the beach.
Golfing at The Old Course
St. Andrews is home to one of the best and oldest golf courses in the world, The Old Course. Since the early 15th century, people have played the sport at 'the home of golf' on the links at St. Andrews, with many believing this was the birthplace of golf. The Open Championship, one of four main competitions for professional golfers, has been staged here 29 times, reeling in thousands of players, golf enthusiasts, and tourists over the years. You can play on one of the many courses, with several options available depending on your handicap and preference. Or, you can take a tour around the beautiful grounds and view the iconic Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course and Tom Morris's exquisite architecture on the New Course.
Learn about one of the most gallant voyages of exploration in history and step aboard the ship that took Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton, and their crew to the Antarctic. The RSS Discovery set sail in 1901, with the men aboard spending two harsh winters freezing in the Antartic ice, before returning home in 1904 as heroes to tell their tale. Discovery Point tells the story of the 'Heroes of the Ice', with a fascinating museum dedicated to their voyage and the opportunity to board the tall ship itself. The exhibitions range from original artefacts to state of the art visual and audio displays that bring the story to life.
Broughty Castle Museum
Built in 1945 and set on the picturesque banks of the River Tay, Broughty Castle has braved many sieges and battles over the centuries, with the coastal fort being rebuilt in the 19th century. The castle houses an excellent museum, displaying the life, legacy, and history of Broughty Ferry, the village in which it's located. Make sure you visit the Orchar Gallery, which features an array of spectacular paintings from the Victorian era. The other side of the castle overlooks the stunning coastline, where many have reported spotting dolphins rising out of the ocean.
The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum
The award-winning McManus Art Gallery & Museum is a must-see when visiting the area. The building is a glorious gothic construction from the Victorian era, where exhibitions and displays of art and history give a captivating insight into Dundee and the beginning of mankind. It's home to the city's main art collection and has been the centre of culture and artwork since 1867. There are eight stunning open gallery spaces for visitors to explore, with a changing programme of exhibitions on display throughout the year, so make sure you check out what's on before you go.
HM Frigate Unicorn
As the last surviving wooden warship in Scotland, the HM Frigate Unicorn is almost 200 years old and stands as one of the world's oldest and most magnificent historic ships. It was originally constructed for the Royal Navy in 1824 and is a surviving sailing frigate of the successful Leda class. Visitors can explore four of the ship's enormous decks to learn about its history and Dundee's Navy in the 'the Golden Age of Sail'. Make sure you check what's on before you visit, as sometimes there is live music played on the ship - giving visitors the chance to listen to some good old fashioned sea-shanties.
My Perfect Stay
If I could describe Dundee in one word, it would be fascinating. During my time in Dundee, I was spoilt for choice with the numerous attractions on offer! It has an astonishing history combined with a 21st century vibe, which makes it the ideal place to visit. The Arts & Culture available are amazing, these include the Dundee Repertory Company, Caird Hall where the likes of the Beatles, Elton John and David Bowie have performed and various other smaller locations which host local and international musicians during the Jazz, Guitar and Blues festivals.
One of my all-time favourite spots is off the coast of Angus where you can take part in water sports, hillwalking or simply explore the city, all of which I would highly recommend. For those who prefer a quieter break, Dundee and Angus also hold museums, abbeys and castles, perfect for soaking up the important history this city contains. There is so much to do in Dundee, so you're sure to find something to suit everyone.