A traveller, linguist and blogger, I aim to share my enthusiasm for culture and adventure whilst on the move. Visit my blog at wordndwhimsy.wordpress.com.
Published May 19th 2017
Dundee, Scotland's 4th city with a population of 150,000, lies on the east coast, perfectly nestled in the Tay Estuary against a backdrop of the Sidlaw Hills. The city is a place of such diverse natural and urban landscapes. You can be in the centre one minute, strolling along the riverside the next, or walking along a beach, exploring nature reserves on the banks of the Tay, or even finding yourself atop heather-strewn hills just minutes from the city limits. Whether you are a local looking to find new perspectives of the city or visiting for the first time, Dundee has so many thinking spaces to offer! As a starting point, let me share my personal top viewpoints in Dundee:
1. The observation platform on Marine Parade This triangular platform with its winding, metal staircase is the perfect place to stop and take in views of the Silvery Tay and see the Tay Road Bridge up close. Settled in front of the riverfront apartments on the waterfront, the small platform is just far enough from the city centre that you can really enjoy a few moments of peace, watching the lights reflecting on the water.
2. Clatto Reservoir Just past Dryburgh, on the outskirts of Dundee, is Clatto Country Park. Located between Templeton Forest and Camperdown Park, it is already easy to imagine that you are far away from the city centre, especially when you reach the reservoir and look beyond out to the Sidlaws. Best to go on a summer's evening; the sunsets over the water are really beautiful. From here you can continue walks around the forest or beyond to the hills.
From the Law, an extinct volcano that rises up as the focal point of the view of Dundee from across the river, you get an amazing view of the city and its surrounding countryside. Look one way and you'll see Broughty Ferry castle jutting out into the river, look another and you'll get an unspoiled view of the Sidlaws, sprawling out for miles beyond the city. Go for an early morning clamber up the Law and watch a brilliant sunrise over the valley below.
4. Dudhope Park Dudhope Park stretches upwards towards the Law, overlooking the city centre. You can walk around the garden of Dudhope Castle, a pretty medieval tower house, take a trip to the skate park or just find a space to sit and look out over the city. It's as pretty in spring when daffodils line the pathways, as it is in autumn when the fallen brown leaves match the rust red of the old Dudhope Infirmary adjacent. The park is really open, which for me is the best way to describe the spaces in Dundee. Unassuming but wholly welcoming.
5. Train journey to Perth A little more obscure, but hear me out. One of my favourite views of Dundee is the view from the train coming into and leaving the city along the river. On the train out of Dundee, going towards Perth and Glasgow, sit on the left hand side of the carriage if you can. There is one point just as the train pulls past Invergowrie where the land drops away from your vision and you just get a brilliant view over the Tay and the Riverside Nature Park. You really feel like you are out in the countryside already, when you are in reality only 2 minutes away from the station. A walk around the Riverside Nature Park is worthwhile too. Opening in 2011, what used to be an old landfill site is now home to an abundance of plant and animal life. With great views over the estuary, you can watch birds flying in over the river or wander through the wildflowers. It is a place of tranquillity and nature in an urban environment.
6. Newport-on-Tay Last but not least, if you want to get a view of the entire Dundee skyline, you'll need to leave the city and walk to the other side of the bridge, into Newport-on-Tay. Turn right off the bridge and walk through the village; there is a small bandstand in a park from where you get a great view of bonnie Dundee.