Updated September 2021
The past few years have seen the city of Dundee on Scotland's east coast have a bit of a renaissance, so much so that's it has recently been named one of the top 5 hottest cities in the world! The city has a real buzz at the moment and with the massive redesign of the waterfront and the completion of the long awaited V+A Museum this city is thriving, exciting and inspiring. There is so much things to do in Dundee with kids, especially as it's a city known for it's talented video game creators and comic book designers, which lead to Dundee being named as a UNESCO City of Design.
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1. Dundee Science Centre
Where else could you shoot out a nose like a bogey, move a ping pong ball with your mind or turn yourself into a gorilla? This place is packed with experiments you can try out in a fun exciting way so the kids are still learning but they don’t quite realise it. We learned about morse code, the solar system, dinosaurs, played games with robots, sat on a hover craft and tried out some optical illusions. There is a new We are inventing zone where kids can experiment and invent new creations, a relaxing sensory zone with bubble tubes and an interactive floor projector and an animation station where they can create their own animated films. This is perfect for those with enquiring minds and I can confirm adults learn lots too!
Children 1-2 £3.50
Children 0-1 Free
Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB
2. Camperdown Wildlife Park
This park in Dundee has been around for as long as I can remember and I have fond memories of playing here as a child so I was excited to be returning with mine. Lemurs, bears, otters and meerkats are amongst the animals here and there is also wolves, tortoises, peacocks, goats and a whole load more. You could easily stay here for the full day if you explore the park just outside. A slow paced, spread out kind of place you can stop for picnic, or just sit for a bit and not feel rushed or hurried. It's also one of the best things to do in Dundee with toddlers.
Childen 0-3 £1.50
Camperdown Country Park, Coupar Angus Road, Dundee, DD2 4TF
3. Camperdown Country Park
Just next door to the wildlife park is Camperdown Country Park, the largest public park in Dundee. At over 400 acres there is ample space to run around and a state of the art play area for kids of all ages mean that you can relax while the kids burn off some energy. It’s nice to get out the city and spend some quality time with the kids getting back to nature, and imagine what all that fresh air does when you get home! The Neoclassical Camperdown House sits in the centre of the park and was built in 1828, the park itself has over 190 species of trees and is now part of the National Trees Collection of Scotland.
Coupar Angus Road, DD2 4TF
4. The beaches
The number 73 bus from the city centre will take you to three beaches along the coast. I'd recommend staying on the bus until you reach Carnoustie. Here you'll find a lovely quiet beach with a fantastic wooden play area which is huge! From here you can take the bus back towrds Dundee and get off at a second beach, in Monifeith. This is a stunning long, sandy beach with beautiful views, and the exposed rocks at low tide mean the kids can explore and perhaps find some wildlife. The west side of the beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due the amount of water birds and wildfowl. Take the bus to Broughty Ferry for a wander along their beach and finish your day with an award winning ice cream from Visocchi's in the town. A lovely thing to do in Dundee for families.
Kid-friendly hotels in Dundee
The Hampton by Hilton is situated right in the heart of the city and has a good selection of family rooms of different sizes. You get free wifi, a flat screen TV and a complimentary hot breakfast and it gets rave reviews about comfy beds and friendly staff. To check rates and book click here. The Sleeperz Hotel is on the waterfront opposite the V&A, it's a modern slick hotel with family rooms which have bunk beds for the kids, a full breakfast, all day menu and a lovely lounge serving hot drinks and pastries in the morning. To check rates and book click here. The Apex sits at the end of the Tay Bridge and is one I always recommend and love to stay at while I'm in Dundee. It's a large spacious hotel and the rooms are spotless and comfortable with huge windows to take in the view. The restaurant serves a fantastic buffet breakfast and lovely meals in the evening. There is a lovely swimming pool and spa too. To check rates and book click here..
5. Discovery Point and RSS Discovery
Travelling to Dundee with kids, one of the first things you'll see when you cross the Tay Bridge is this mighty ship. This large ship is a well known site in Dundee and welcomes visitors into the city from its home on the waterfront. Captain Scott’s ship the RSS Discovery is fascinating and the kids will love hearing about its voyage to the Antartica through the multimedia exhibitions and hands on activities. The ship was purposely built in Dundee to take its crew on the first scientific expedition to the Antartica in 1901. What kids doesn’t like to pretend to be captain of the ship. The centre has loads for kids to do, such as dressing up as an explorer, testing their strength on the sled pull and taking the trail quiz. Once you buy your tickets you can explore both the centre and the ship and there is also a cafe and gift shop.
Discovery Quay, Dundee, DD1 4XA
6. DC Thomson
No trip to Dundee would be complete without a walk to see Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx on the High Street. DC Thomson, the publishing company behind such comic classics as Beano, Oor Wullie, The Broons and the Dandy is based in Dundee and if you head to West Marketgate you can find the real Bash Street. You can also find Malcolm Robertson's "Oor Wullie' statue in front of the McManus Art Gallery and Angela Hunter's cute little penguins outside City Churches. Older children and adults will no doubt remember the video game 'Lemmings', which was created in the city, and you can find a few climbing all over a wall down by the waterfront. There are actually over 500 of public art dotted all over the city.
7. HM Frigate Unicorn
Another of Dundee’s famous ships is berthed in Victoria Docks and was built as a sailing frigate for the Royal Navy. Launched in 1824 it’s the most complete original ship in the world and is stunning to look at. When you step on board you are transported back in time. There are four floors to explore with thousands of individual pieces to discover and you can download the 'Top 10 for kids trail' as well as activity sheets from the website before you go. This is one of my favourite things to do in Dundee with kids as they really seem to be transfixed with the beauty of this ship.
Children over 5 £3.60
Children 0-4 Free
Victoria Docks, Dundee, DD1 3BP
8. Olympia Swimming Pool
I visited the old swimming pool here so many times I lost count and I, as well as most of the locals, loved it. I imagine it must have been a daunting task to design a new pool that could live up to reputation of the old one but they more than succeeded. This fantastic new pool has four slides with screens that lets you pick your music, crazy wild waves, diving boards and a lazy river. There is a pool with lanes for competitions, a nice cafe and state of the art gym. It's modern and can easily keep the kids having fun for hours.
Adults £4.50 off peak/ £5.80 peak time
Children £4.00 off peak/ £4.50 peak time
Children 0-5 £1.50
3 E Whale Lane, Dundee, DD1 3JU
9. Dundee Ice Arena
It’s not easy to find things to do at night with the kids once darkness falls. One of the things I love to do is have a family night at the hockey. Dundee’s elite hockey team, the Dundee Stars play in the winter months most weekends at the ice arena and its an exciting night. The fans are excellent, singing, cheering and banging drums and you can’t help but be swept up in their enthusiasm. You can also hire skates and go ice skating.
For prices see here
7 Dayton Drive, Dundee, DD2 3SQ
10. The Law
Head for the Law and watch the kids faces when you tell them there are standing on a 400 million year old extinct volcano. With 360 degree panoramic views this is a must for anyone visiting the city. Impressive views guarantee you will leave with fab photos as a souvenier. You can walk up the windy hill or if your feeling lazy you can drive to the very top.
11. Dundee Rep Theatre
This theatre is a popular venue in Dundee and is perfect if you fancy some entertainment in the evenings. Showing theatre productions from both the local ensemble and visiting theatre groups, music arts, dance acts and family shows there is loads to keep the kids occupied when everything else is shut. There is also an award winning restaurant.
Ticket prices vary
Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB
The brand new V&A Dundee (Victoria and Albert) is Scotland's first ever Design Museum and is a stunning building on Dundee's waterfront. You can't miss it as you cross the Tay Bridge as it's unique concrete shape juts into the water. It is free to enter and was designed to bring the city together. There is a lovely restaurant and cafe which both have a children's menu and a picnic room which is open at weekends and during school holidays.
1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, DD1 4EZ
13. Mills Observatory
At the summit of Balgay Hill is a purpose built observatory where you can see planets and stars through the powerful telescopes. The digital Telescope will help you identify over 30,000 things you might see and there are displays about space explorations. The views are pretty good too as you are up high and can look over the city and out to the Tay. It is only open at certain times so check the website before you head out. If you are lucky enough to catch it open this is one of the most rewarding things to do in Dundee with kids.
Balgay Park, Glamis Road, Dundee, DD2 2UB
14. Museum of Transport
This charity run transport museum is home to the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and also Dundee's first flying machine. There is loads to see and it's pretty cheap to visit, only £5 for adults and £2.50 for kids. Again, it's not open every day so check the website before you go
Children 0-5 Free
10 Market Mews, Market Street, Dundee, DD1 3LA
As you can see there is plenty to do in Dundee for both kids and adults. Even just walking around the city centre you'll find quirky art work and statues. This is the perfect time to visit Dundee and it's only going to get better as the massive Waterfront development continues to take shape. Have you visited Dundee?
15. Trampolining at Ryze
Ryze Dundee is a brilliant trampoline park situated inside Soccerworld, it's filled with over sized trampolines, ninja warrior obstacle courses, a giant airbag and a huge inflatable with slides. The kids will love this but they will come off sweaty!
60 minute session £12
90 minute session £15
120 minute session £18
The Waterfront Plaza and Slessor Gardens
The waterfront in Dundee is going through a £1 billion renovation and it is still in progress but one zone which has been finished is Slessor Gardens and surrounding this is several themed gardens like an edible garden, a sensory garden and a Baltic garden. There are also an impressive amount of art installations. Slessor garden itself is a large outdoor venue used for events so check before you arrive to see what's on.