The Best Activities in Dundee for Students

Sep 15, 2021

Looking for activities in Dundee for students? Our guide uncovers the best the city has to offer.

The Best Activities in Dundee for Students

One of the best parts of being a student is exploring your new home, and Dundee has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained during your time at university.

Whether you’re looking for a culture fix, great places to eat out, or unique experiences, Scotland’s fourth-largest city has something to suit everyone. 

To help you to navigate your new city and settle in quickly, we’ve put together a guide to the best activities in Dundee for students.

We’ve included everything you need to get you started in your new home, and you’ll be living like a local in no time. 

Head to the (many) museums and galleries

The city of Dundee was once a major shipping port, and now the waterfront has been transformed into the cultural hub of the city. 

Spend an afternoon exploring the amazing V&A museum, one of the newest additions to the city. It’s also Scotland’s first museum dedicated to design.

You’ll notice the building itself pays homage to Dundee’s maritime history, with the striking design inspired by the cliffs that can be found along Scotland’s east coast.

The University of Abertay has close connections with the V&A museum, and is often involved in the exhibitions there - so be sure to look out for them during your stay!

Alongside the V&A, there are many other museums and galleries to visit across the city, including:

A beautiful gothic building in the centre of Dundee, the gallery keeps collections spanning from the 19th century to the present day. Don’t miss the history exhibits during your trip too.

A lovingly restored warship that is permanently docked on the waterfront. At nearly 200 years old, it’s the oldest seaworthy vessel in the British Isles.

If you fancy venturing a little further afield, head to Broughty Ferry, just outside the city centre. Here, you can visit Broughty Castle Museum, which gives you an insight into how the Castle was built to protect Scotland against the English Navy. 

Food and Drink 

Exploring a new place is hungry work, and there are few worse things than choosing the wrong place to eat after a long day. To help you out, we’ve put together some of Dundee’s culinary highlights, no matter what your budget is.

Pacamara - a fan favourite as breakfast is served until 4pm. Expect Scottish breakfast, eggs benedict and sweet options like waffles and pancakes.

Henry’s - an independent coffee house serving up lunch, light bites and delicious hot chocolates - perfect for keeping warm during the winter months.

Don Michele - a family-run Italian restaurant in the centre of the city. Enjoy pizza with pals or a date night over handmade pasta.

Tail End - fish and chips are always better by the coast, and Tail End offers some of the best. Upgrade your supper to include a cocktail, or stick with a traditional mug of tea.

Dundee also has a lively nightlife scene, read our full guide here, or read on for some of our top picks for pubs, clubs and bars in the city.

Draffen’s Secret Bar - We’d love to tell you more, but we can’t! You’ll need to ask around to find the location, but we can promise an experience like no other.

Duck Slattery’s Showbar - Labelled as the biggest dance party in Dundee, you can expect to boogie on benches and take part in games and sing-a-longs. We’d suggest comfy shoes for this one!

Best free activities in Dundee

Student budgets can be tight, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to make the most of your time in Dundee.

Many of the museums and galleries we mentioned earlier don’t charge an entry fee, and here are some of our other top picks for free activities in the city:

Camperdown Country Park

Just three miles from the city centre, Camperdown Country Park is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. As Dundee’s largest park, there are over 190 types of trees, stunning architecture and 400 acres of green space.

The park also hosts events and activities throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out for them during your visit.

Search for The Beano statues throughout the city

Spend some time in Dundee’s city centre and you’ll notice the fair amount of statues that feature throughout. The statues are a reference to the children’s comic, The Beano, which was first published in the city in 1938.

You’ll find favourite characters from the comic dotted around the city, including Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minx and many more. 

Stargaze at Mills Observatory

Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory is located at the foot of Balgay Hill, in the city centre. Spend an evening watching the stars above you, or search for planets and constellations through the Victorian telescope.

Between October and March, head to the planetarium shows to learn about the meteors, galaxies and more.

Other unmissable activities

Dundee is a great mix of nature, city life, and culture. As you spend more time in the city you’ll no doubt get to know your favourite spots and become a local expert in no time.

Here are some of our top picks for some other activities for students Dundee has to offer:

Ryze Dundee Xtreme Air Sports - get a workout in or just have fun at this giant trampoline park. There’s also a ninja obstacle course and foam pits too!

University of Dundee Botanic Garden - enjoy a peaceful afternoon exploring the hidden areas of the garden, learn where paper comes from and visit the giant Victorian Water Lily.

Open/Close Dundee - uncover why Dundee is Scotland’s design capital and follow the street art trails. This tour will take you off the beaten path and into the nooks and crannies of the city to find vibrant and beautiful artwork.

We hope our guide proves useful during your first few weeks in Dundee. If you’re looking for student accommodation for September, check out our recently refurbished accommodation at the Old Mill, in Dundee City Centre.

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