Tag Archives: Dundee

What to do in Dundee and what to see in Dundee.

A Sense of Place: 20th Century Scottish Painting at the McManus Galleries Dundee

15′A Sense of Place :20th Century Scottish Painting‘ runs until Autumn 2017 at the McManus Galleries in Dundee.

The exhibition features works by Scottish artists, predominantly of landscapes.

Below are photos of my favourite works in the exhibition.

The Lovers by John Bellamy

Island by James Howie 

Loch Tulla by John MacLauchan Milne 

Rain on Princes Street by Stanley Cursiter 

Mediterranean Hill Town by William McCance

Ode to the North Wind by William Johnstone

St Tropez by John MacLauchan Milne 

A Lowland Church by J D Fergusson

A Cottage in Fife by George Leslie Hunter 

Terraced Fields Gran Canaria by Anne Redpath

Denhead Farm by James Morrison

Green and Blue Boats by Joan Eardley

Skye Fisherman – In Memoriam by Will MacLean 

Window on the Sea by Ian Fleming

Outside the Garden by Ronald Forbes

Full of the Warm South by J D Fergusson

It’s free to enter the ‘A Sense of Place: 20th Century Scottish Painting’ exhibition. McManus Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, and Sunday from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.

The 2017 Degree Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Dundee

The Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee runs until Sunday 28 May 2017. If at possible, you should get to Dundee to see this fabulous show.

I didn’t have the energy to get round the whole show, as I’d been at the McManus Galleries and Dundee Contemporary Arts earlier that day.

Below are photos of some of my favourites from Fine Arts and Jewellery sections at the 2017 Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

In the Jewellery section, I thought that the name Zydrune Auksoriute (her work in pictured below) sounded familiar. I checked on Europe a la Carte. Sure enough she was the artist whom I stumbled upon in the Howff Cemetery in Dundee in 2014.

Zydrune hadn’t modelled her own jewellery, but I spotted her (on left) modelling for Jenny Gillies.


Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed in the textiles section. I was dazzled by the colours, patterns and textures of the various textiles.

I hope that my photos have enticed you to visit the 2017 Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.

Photo Tour of the McManus Galleries in Dundee

The McManus Galleries, one of Dundee’s most distinctive landmarks, was built in Gothic Revival Style.The gallery and museum, which opened in 1876 as the Albert Institure, was closed to the public for four years between 2006-2010 for major renovations.

mcmanus galleries entrance

Upon entering the building, I was drawn to the stained glass windows in the Cafe.

mcmanus galleries cafe

The beautiful stained glass continued with the depictions of well known Scots, including Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, on the staircase windows.

mcmanus galleries sir walter scott

mcmanus galleries robert burns

On the first floor, the Albert Hall, there was more magnificent stained glass.

mcmanus galleries albert hall stained glass windows

mcmanus galleries albert hall stained glass

I found the ‘Making of Modern Dundee’ section very interesting, although it was rather sad to read about the decline of so many industries in the city.

In the 1870s Dundee was the UK’s largest whaling port. However, that industry had declined by the early 1910s. There’s a collection of whaling equipment, including the harpoons depicted below, in the gallery.

mcmanus galleries harpoons

The Tay Rail Bridge opened in 1878, connecting the East Coast line from London. Two years later, the bridge collapsed when a steam train was crossing during a storm, resulting in the death of all passengers and crew.

mcmanus galleries old tay rail bridge

NCR first started manufacturing cash registers in Dundee in1946, later moving onto the making of ATMs. In its heyday it employed more than 6,000 workers. The manufacturing side of NCR ceased in Dundee in 2009.

mcmanus galleries NCR ATM

Dundee publisher DC Thomson is best known for the Dandy (which ceased publication in 2012) and Beano comics. Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, pictured below, are two of characters in the Beano.

mcmanus galleries dennis the menace

Dundee became known for video game development with the launch of ‘Lemmings’ in 1991 and ‘Grand Theft Auto’ in 1996 by DMA Design. In the late 1990s DMA Design changed ownership three times and the Dundee office closed.

mcmanus galleries computer games

There was a Dundee United football strip from when this local team won the Scottish Premier League in 1983. Known locally as the ‘Tangerines’ the colour of the strip reminded me of the infamous Scottish ‘Irn Bru’ fizzy drink.

mcmanus galleries dundee united strip 1983

The McManus is open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12.30pm – 4.30pm. Admission is free of charge.

If you’re in Dundee make sure that you visit the McManus Galleries, even if only to admire the interior of the building.

Review of Taza Indian Buffet Restaurant in Dundee

I had lunch at the Taza Indian Buffet restaurant at the City Quay in Dundee in May 2014. I paid £7 for lunch.  You can park free of charge for one hour outside the restaurant.

It was a Bank Holiday Monday, so the restaurant was busy. However, I didn’t have to wait for long to get a table. My table had a view to the side of the restaurant, towards what looked like some sort of navigational aid.

taza exterior1

I thought that there was a good selection of dishes for starters and main course. My favourite starter was the Aubergine Pakora.

taza starters

The meat in the Lamb Curry was lean, and I enjoyed the Vegetable Curry.

taza main courses

There was a fair selection of desserts, including Honeydew Melon, Ice Cream and Gareau.

The staff were all very friendly and welcoming.

I’d recommend the Taza Indian Buffet restaurant on Dundee’s City Quay for a reasonably priced tasty meal, Getting a seat by the window at the back of the restaurant with a view of the quayside would be a bonus.

Review of Tza Indian buffet restaurant DundeeKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

Review of City Harbour Chinese Buffet Restaurant in Dundee

My Aunt and I had lunch at the city Harbour Chinese buffet restaurant on the City Quay on Dundee’s watefront on a Tuesday in May 2014. It cost £6.50 per adult. You can park outside the restaurant free of charge for one hour.

city harbour chinese buffet restaurant exterior

The restaurant was fairly quiet. We were happy to be shown to a table at the window with views over the City Quay toward the Carr Lightship.

city harbour chinese buffet restaurant view

The food was fairly standard Chinese buffet fare. But considering that a plate of fish and chips often costs around £8 in a pub, it was good value for money.

city harbour chinese buffet restaurant starters

I thought that the tables were spaced further apart than in many other buffet restaurants. This, plus the addition of screens, made for a pleasant dining experience.

I’d recommend the City Harbour Chinese buffet restaurant in Dundee for a relativelly cheap, filling meal in congenial surrourdings.

Review of City Harbour Buffet Restaurant DundeeKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

Art Show by Zydrune Auksoriute in the Howff Cemetery Dundee

Although it was lookng as though it might start raining at any moment when i was walking from the McManus Galleries to pick up my car from the car park at Dundee Travelodge Central, I decided to have a quick look around the Howff Cemetery.

The Howff was originally the garden of the Greyfriars Monastery, which was destroyed in the 1540s. It was granted licence as a burial ground a few years later by Mary Queen of Scots. Strangely, it was concurrently used as a meeting place (howff) for the Dundee Incorporated Trades until 1776, although it continued to be used for burials until 1857.

the howff entry

The Howff has one of the best collections of tombstones in Scotland.

the howff skull and cross bones

Parts of the perimeter walls date back to 1601.

the howff

I’d observed padlocks on the cemetery gates. There was no information given on closing times, so I was a bit concerned about getting locked into the cemetery, as it was approaching 5pm. Therefore, I was relieved to see some other people around a cherry blosson tree.

As I approached, I could see some art work resting on some headstones under the tree. I had stumbled upon a photo session of the ‘Living Legends’ by painter Zydrune Auksoriute (on the left in the photo below), a Lithuanian studying in Dundee. She, along with her paintings, was being photographed by fellow countrywoman Justina Smiles Photography (on the right of the photo below).

the howff art show

It’s further proof of why you should allow time for wandering around on your travels, you never know who you might bump into.

Exploring Dundee’s Waterfront

I had a walk around the waterfront in Dundee on the afternoon of a holiday Monday in May. I was amazed that it was so quiet, as when I’d passed the shops there were plenty of people about. The weather was reasonable with some warm sunshine, although you could sense rain wasn’t far away.

I started off on the banks of the Firth (estuary) of Tay.

waterfront quayside

I thought that the standng stones installation was a bit drab. It was almost the same colour as the surrounding pavement and the estuary.

waterfront sculpture1

I had the viewing platfrom on the quayside to myself.

waterfront viewing platform

Then I had a walk on the Tay Road Bridge. The pedestrian/cyclist section of the bridge is in the centre, which would make it pretty noisy and difficult to see the views if traffic were heavy.

waterfront looking toward dundee from tay road bridge

Dundee from the Tay Road Bridge

To the west, I could see the Discovery Centre and the Tay Rail Bridge.

waterfront view from tay bridge

Unfortunately, Dundee didn’t exactly look at its best as there are enormous piles of rubble where Tayside House, the former local authority HQ, used to stand. This is all part of the revamp of the Waterfront prior to the construction of the V&A Dundee.

You can see one of these rubble piles in my close up of the Discovery Centre from the bridge. These works have closed off the walkway along the estuary.

waterfront view of discovery centre from tay bridge

Next, I had a wander around the City Quay.

city quay1

City Quay is home to two ships. One is the North Carr Lightship, which is currently used by a maritime training charity.

waterfront carr lightship

A bit further along the dock, HM Frigate Unicorn is moored. It was constructed as a Royal Navy frigate in the early 1820s.

hm unicorn

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, both the Taza Indian buffet and the City Harbour Chinese Buffet offer good value food, with views across to City Quay.

5 of the Best Dundee Hotels

I think that the Scottish city of Dundee is an ideal short break destination, so here are some suggestions for Dundee hotels.  Dundee is located on the east coast of Scotland, on the Tay Estuary.  There are some great Dundee attractions such as Discovery Point, Sensation Science Centre and the Verdant Works.  Dundee also has a good selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.  There’s a lovely beach in the suburb of Broughty Ferry.

Dragon sculpture in Dundee city centre

Best places to stay in Dundee

My tips for the best places to stay in Dundee are based on my own experience plus research into Dundee hotels which receive very good reviews from guests.

Premier Inn Dundee Centre is right on the Tay Estuary, so try to get a room at the back of the hotel for the views. The rooms are slightly dated but it’ s a good Dundee budget hotel. If you manage to get one of the £29 rooms it’s a bargain for the location.  It’s just across from Dundee railway station, so ideal if you come by train.  You can read my review with a video of the room in which I stayed in August 2010.

Premier Inn Dundee Centre on the Tay Estuary

The 4 star Apex Hotel is on City Quay, I’ve seen room only rates here from around £65 a night.  The rooms get very good guest reviews but there are some negative comments about the restaurant, especially for evening meals.   However, there are a couple of restaurants on City Quay and a good  choice in the city centre, a 10 minute walk away.  The hotel has a free car park, a health spa and free wifi.

Apex City Quay Hotel Dundee

Another budget Dundee hotel option is the Travelodge Dundee Centre where I stayed in May 2010 for only £12 for the night. This was booked during the Travelodge January 2010 sale.  The building was formerly a jute mill, so I had an enormous room with 3 big windows.  There’s a free car park at the rear. I found the hotel to be a bit noisy as there’s a busy road at the front and service access to a supermarket at the rear.  However, I do live in a quiet location and often find city centres noisy.  You can read my full review which has a video of my room.

Travelodge Dundee Central

My room at Travelodge Dundee Centre

The Holiday Inn Express Dundee opened recently. The cheapest rooms I’ve seen on offer for this hotel were around £60.  Continental breakfast is included in the room rate and there’s free wifi in the lobby.


Holiday Inn Express Dundee by occahome

If you’re looking for accommodation away from the  city centre, the Taychreggan Hotel in Broughty Ferry is a good choice.  This Victorian mansion has ten rooms, some with views over the Tay estuary.  There’s a garden with a sun terrace.

View from Broughty Ferry Castle

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Things to do in Dundee - Discovery Point Dundee

Discovery Point Dundee: Home of Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition ship

Discovery Point, in the Scottish city of Dundee, is the home of RRS Discovery, the the ship which transported Captain Scott’s first Antarctic “Discovery Expedition” to the South Pole in 1901. The ship was built in Dundee and returned there in 1986.

Things to do in Dundee - Discovery Point Dundee

RSS Discovery against the Dundee skyline

Discovery was locked in by ice in the South Pole during the Winter of 1903.  She had to be rescued by two other ships, Morning and Terra Nova (which took Scott back to Antarctica on the ill fated Terra Nova Expedition in 1910). In order to free Discovery the rescuers had to blast through 20 miles of ice.

Discovery Point entrance

RRS Discovery was the first ship to be specifically constructed for Antarctic exploration.  Dundee was chosen due to the workers experience in building robust whaling ships.

Discovery Point Dundee - Things to do in Dundee

Dundee Docks exhibit at Discovery Point

The “Race to the Pole – Centenary of the Terra Nova Expedition” exhibition runs until 2 December 2010, to commemorate 100 years since the start of Scott’s second and final journey to the Antarctic, where the expedition members perished on their way back to the ship, after being beaten to the South Pole by the Norwegian Amundsen.

Things to do in Dundee - Discovery Point Dundee

Ice fishing exhibit at Discovery Point Dundee

The highlight of my visit was going on board RSS Discovery. I was amazed by the height of the masts, although the ship did also have engines.

Discovery Point was a showpiece of Dundee’s regeneration in the 1980s and is a must-visit Dundee attraction.  You can see all my Discovery Point photos and videos on Flickr.

I’d also recommend visiting the Dundee attractions the Sensation Science Centre and  The Verdant Works (which tells the story of Dundee’s jute industry).

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Sensation Science Centre, Dundee: Great fun for families

I visited the Sensation Science Centre in Dundee in August 2010 during my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour.  It’s a great all weather Dundee attraction for families. This is the sort of place that our twin sons loved in their youth, where kids get involved in the hands-on exhibits as well as various fun, educational activities.

Sensation Science Centre Dundee - Things to do in Dundee

Exterior of Sensation Science Centre Dundee

My favourite was the Magic Mirror, where if you stood still you’d disappear from the monitor but as soon as you moved you were visible on screen.

Magic Mirror at Sensation Science Centre Dundee

It must be an adventure climbing in the large head in the Taste and Smell section.

The ne Small Step space exhibition was on during my visit.

In Mindball you control the movement of a small sphere with your brain waves. Two people, with monitors strapped on their heads, sit at opposite ends of a long table with the sphere placed in the centre of the table. The winner is the person who is most relaxed, as the ball will move towards their less relaxed opponent.

As my visit was during the school holidays, there were several shows and events on offer throughout the day. I watched a film about the planets projected on the top of the Planetarium tent while lying on a mat on the ground.

If you’re looking for ideas for other things to do in Dundee, I’d recommend the Verdant Works and Discovery Point.

You can see all my Sensation photos and videos on Flickr.

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