Dundee city’s hidden treasures

I remember when I first arrived in Dundee back in September last year, having been left in this strange, new and exciting city, I was petrified. Everything seemed big, confusing and unfamiliar. Coming from a small town in Northern Ireland, I had been dropped in a totally alien place which was a shock to the system, and something I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for.

I realised recently that during my first year I had wanted so badly to become familiar with this new setting, that I had inevitably ended up never really stepping out of my comfort zone. I lived centrally on campus, bought my groceries from the closest supermarket to the university, went on nights out at the union and ventured into town maybe once or twice a week for a latte in the exact same coffee shop, over and over again. It became a mundane schedule of the same repetitive actions.

Upon starting second year, and with everything about student life completely changing with the pandemic, so too did the way I lived my life as a student here. I realised that I had been letting myself miss out on all of the wonderful things this artsy little city has to offer.

So, whether you are a fresher or a returning student I hope this post helps you to experience the beauty that can be found in the hidden gems of this city that is so full of life and culture.

Key note: Everyone can see the positivity of a place if we only chose to look hard enough. There is always beauty to be found somewhere – even in the most unexpected of places.

As cheesy as that may sound it is so important to remember this while living through these very strange and unprecedented times.

So here are some recommendations of mine that have been a life saver during the pandemic:

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A sunset view of Dundee captured from Law Hill.
    • Green spaces – Who would have thought a patch of grass could make your day? I think this comes with the idea of “adulting”, where we start to appreciate all of those things our parents used to gush about and we would scoff at as children.
      Magdalen Green
      , Dudhope park, the walk up to Law Hill, Slessor gardens, Baxter park and Dundee botanic gardens are all amazing green spaces dotted around the city for you to explore; bring a picnic, sketch your surroundings, read a book or simply go for a walk, you’d be surprised what a bit of fresh air and greenery can do to your mood.

      An example of the amazing graffiti art that can be found around the streets of Dundee.
    • Artistry – The amount of artistic talent to be explored in every crevice of Dundee is awesome. The street art by the waterfront gives you the best of both worlds with the Tay on your one side and the incredible street art on the other. Most streets I have explored this year have something artistic to offer, so you just have to find it. Go out and explore!
  • Broughty Ferry – I never once ventured here during first year. Why, you may ask? Because I didn’t have the slightest idea how to get there. Well, now that I do, I will share this profound knowledge with you as it is truly worth the visit.
    There are a few travel options available including taking a train which costs only around £2, or travelling by bus from the centre of Dundee which takes you into the heart of Broughty Ferry. From there you will find a plethora of cafes and restaurants, the castle and harbour as well as the beach (such a great spot for a walk or study).
  • Coffee shops– for all you coffee lovers and those who care more about the aesthetic of their coffee shop stop, I have the perfect list for you – because I care about both!
    Blend Coffee Lounge
     (rustic style and “studenty”, with free Wifi and charging points – perfect for those study trips), Coffee and Co. (great coffee and atmosphere), 
    The Bach 
    (tasty spot for brunch and do some awesome hot chocolates, plus cute aesthetic), Tartan Coffee House Ltd. (can be found on Perth Road with outdoor seating and delicious cakes), Pacamara (also found on Perth Road – always a busy little place but for good reason) and so many more…so go drink a million coffees!
  • Views – there are some views that (in my opinion) are always something to stop and appreciate. A sunset seen from Law Hill, is something not to be missed here and an amazing photo opportunity for you keen photographers; the brightly coloured shopfronts of Perth Road create arguably the most lively street in Dundee and are a sight to see. And finally, the incredible glow that reflects off the buildings of Airlie Place facing onto the Tay, and the random palm trees whose existence are something I have come to love and appreciate.

Over time I have fallen in love with this crazy little city and have come to realise that university life here is so much more than just lectures, seminars, workshops and the inside walls of my accommodation. Explore and keep exploring, meet new people and see that every opportunity in this place is worth taking, and you’ll see this once you start taking them!

Written by:

Hi! My name is Catherine and I'm a second year English/NI Law student. This is my second year living here in Dundee and I can't wait to share my experiences with you. Whether you are thinking of coming to the university or are already here, I hope you enjoy reading!

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