A land of beautiful beaches and picturesque streets, Dundee in Scotland is a real treat for travellers. It is the fourth largest city in Scotland with an extensive coastline. It sits on the bank of the Firth of the Tay on the Easter northern sea coast. The western and the eastern boundaries of the city are marked by two tributaries of the river Tay.

Creating wonders with stone and mortar, the city leaves an exemplary architectural trail for one. It stands as a culture and heritage centre for the country with artfully constructed museums, historic castles, libraries and educational institutes and culture centres, holding the status of UNESCO City of Design.

Here are 15 Places to visit in Dundee for the Travelling Architect:

1. Victoria And Albert Museum (Vanda Museum)

The VandA museum, described as “the living room for the society”, is the branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is located along the waterfront in the North-Eastern part of the city. Apart from displaying the collection from the museum in London, it also exhibits the local art and products, becoming an important cultural centre of the city. The facades shrewdly capture the essence of the gigantic cliffs of Scotland by creating multiple horizontal layers of precast concrete. The large hole, provided in the centre of the building, abstracts the connection with the Union Street, which runs through the centre of the city, enveloped by the picturesque view of Tay.

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Victoria and Albert Museum ©www.archdaily.com
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Victoria and Albert Museum ©www.archdaily.com
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Victoria and Albert Museum ©www.archdaily.com

2. The Mcmanus- A Memorial And Museum

Designed by Architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott, McManus was constructed as an institute for literature, science and art. It is the largest memorial outside London to ever exist in honour of Prince Albert who paid homage to Dundee’s prosperous design prowess.

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The McManus- A memorial and Museum ©www.visitscotland.com
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The McManus- A memorial and Museum ©www.visitscotland.com
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The McManus- A memorial and Museum ©www.visitscotland.com

3. Courier Building

The courier building is the publishing HG of a family run media powerhouse, Dc Thomson, the man behind Our Wullie, the Beano, The Broons, The evening telegraph and The Dandy amongst others. Being one of the greatest buildings of the Early 20th-century, this structure of sandstone was built in the early 1900s. 10 storeys were later added in the 1960s.

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Courier Building ©www.architectsrepublic.com
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Courier Building ©www.architectsrepublic.com
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Courier Building ©www.architectsrepublic.com

4. Royal Exchange 

The Royal Exchange was constructed in the Flemish neo-gothic style by architect David Bryce in the 1850s. Situated on Panmure street, designed to reflect the Dutch cloth halls, this building was once a host to Dundee Chamber of Commerce and the city’s stock exchange. Like a lot of other buildings in the vicinity, the Exchange was constructed on a marshland, north to the old city walls. This led to a sloppy foundation resulting in the parts of the building to lean to the same steep angle as Pisa.

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Royal Exchange ©www.wikipedia.com
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Royal Exchange ©www.wikipedia.com
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Royal Exchange ©www.wikipedia.com

5. St. Paul’s Cathedral

Dating back to the mid-1800s, this neo-gothic style church was designed by a prominent English architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. It was created for the Episcopalian congregation members of Dundee. The interiors are a magnificent work of gothic style with very dramatic ceilings and cascading panels of stainless glass. The church was” built atop the site of the medieval seat of power, a castle besieged during the wars of the Scottish Independence”.

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St. Paul’s Cathedral ©www.commons.wikimedia.org
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St. Paul’s Cathedral ©www.commons.wikimedia.org
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St. Paul’s Cathedral ©www.commons.wikimedia.org

6. The Bernard King Library

The Bernard King Library at the University of Abertay is a rectangular stone spine with a  curved front garnished with glass. The craftful design is praised by many as it mirrors an open book, the soul essence of a library. This building was built by Norr Consultants and was awarded as the Best New Building in Scotland at the Scottish Design awards.

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The Bernard King Library ©www.theculturetrip.com
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The Bernard King Library ©www.theculturetrip.com

7. Verdant Works

The only dedicated jute museum in the UK, Verdant Works stands as a tribute to Dundee’s rich jute and textile industry. The facade with the white beams, exposed stone and light lofty ceilings are striking features of the building and the interiors are illuminated by a series of checkerboard window panes. Although the building is refurbished, it’s of great architectural importance as it is one of the few remaining buildings of the 19th century in the industrial sector.

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Verdant Works ©www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

8. The Old Steeple/ St. Mary’s Tower

A church with 48 altars and chapels, St. Mary’s or the Old Steeple is part of the city churches and dates back to the 1480s. It is the largest parish church in Scotland. It is said that the original crown spire was demolished by an occupying English Army in 1547.

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The Old Steeple/ St. Mary’s Tower ©www.thesteeplechurch.org
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The Old Steeple/ St. Mary’s Tower ©www.i.pinimg.com

9. The Queens Hotel

Having Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill as guests, the Queen’s hotel is

With guests including Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill, this splendid Victorian hotel was spectacularly located on the information that the Caledonian Railway intended building its new terminus immediately below. The architects, who founded the venture, thought it could be Dundee’s equivalent of Edinburgh’s North British. The information was wrong and they went bankrupt.

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The Queens Hotel ©www.bestwestern.co.uk
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The Queens Hotel ©www.compasshospitality.com

10. Dundee Central Mosque

Almost trapezoid in shape the first mosque built in north-east Scotland is a matte cream stone finished building with a round copper roof and corner towers with minarets. The interesting feature of the building is the domed Mihrab that projects beautifully on the south elevation.

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Dundee Central Mosque ©www.en.wikipedia.org
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Dundee Central Mosque ©www.scottishchurches.org.uk

11. Dundee Repertory Theatre

With a capacity of 450 people, the repertory theatre is inspired from contemporary design. The structural elements and the building materials were exposed initially, the finishes were added in the late 1970s. The design bagged the RIBA Architecture Award in 1986.

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Dundee Repertory Theatre ©www.list.co.uk
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Dundee Repertory Theatre ©www.tripadvisor.com

12. St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral

Story has it that the site was once owned by the medieval Red Friars, who had their own harbour. The building follows the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. Along the course, you can see the long rows of original business chambers and apartments erected in 1793. The double storied front facade results from the fall of the site towards the shoreline.

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St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral ©www.alamy.com
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St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral ©www.permanenttourist.ch

13. Dundee House

The existing Grammar School was made a part of the High school of Dundee. Having a Doric columned portico, this building is one of the finest early 19th century classical buildings in Scotland.

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Dundee House ©www.archdaily.com
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Dundee House ©www.archdaily.com

14. Optical Express 

Built for the nine incorporated trades which bought the ‘flesh shambles’ to build its trade hall here, the Optical Express is a triangular, neoclassical building. It has a curved entrance, pediment of sorts and a giant Corinthian order. Topped with a statue of Britannia, the optical express is the landmark at the east end of the High Street.

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Optical Express ©www.yelp.co.uk

15. Caird Hall And City Chambers

The Caird Hall and the City Chambers is an impressive building with Doric columns facing City Square opened in 1923. It was built by Sir James Caird. The whole area of the Vault and the Greenmarket including Dundee’s 18th century Townhouse was taken down for this building

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Caird Hall and City Chambers ©www.thecourier.co.uk
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Caird Hall and City Chambers ©www.mccrow.org.uk
Author

Architectural Journalist

RTF

Delhi

Saylee is an enthusiast; a reader, a writer and a learner. She is an ecstatic person and an extrovert soul. Currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Design at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, she aspires to be an Interior Architect in the near future. 

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