- The V&A Dundee is a beautiful museum near the River Tay and designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
- Explore the ever-changing exhibitions as you explore everything from video games to world-changing fashion.
- In the permanent Scottish Design Galleries, discover Scottish heritage in the building that you may have never realised before.
- Get a cup of tea at the Tatha Restaurant, or enjoy the open air of Scotland on the Allan Terrace.
The V&A museum Dundee is a free design museum in Dundee, Scotland, opened in 2018 on the waterfront. It's a first in several ways including being the first design museum in Scotland, the first V&A museum outside of London, and the first UK building with architecture designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, inspired by the eastern cliff edges of Scotland. If you're looking for what to do in Dundee, this should definitely be on your list. You might also like Discovery Point or the Mcmanus Art Gallery and Museum.
The V&A Dundee has been home to several different V&A exhibitions since its opening. These are typically found in the Exhibition Gallery and Michelin Design Gallery. These temporary exhibitions show the unique style of the V&A. Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt ran from April 2019 to September 2019, immersing visitors into the world of video games with concept art, original designs, and more. Ocean Liners: Speed and Style explored how ocean liners became a key component of powerful and luxury travel. It explored the design inside and out of ocean liners, the lifestyle that occurred on them, the people who went on them, and the cultural impact of them throughout the centuries. Hands of X: Design Meets Disability focused on choosing prosthetics, the personal choice people make when they choose their own and was based on active participation from visitors to the museum. Rules of Play was a colourful experience, with spaces inside the gallery made as playful as possible. Visitors were encouraged to create their own wooden constructions and was a unique experience for guests. The Scottish Design Relay was created to show the creative process of everyone that participated in the Scottish Design Relay, with initial drawings and prototypes to finished designs. In August 2020, the Mary Quant exhibition began, showcasing her work in fashion. It was the first significant fashion exhibition at the Dundee design museum. Most famous for popularising the miniskirt, Quant injected colour into the fashion world post the Second World War. The exhibition included a jute miniskirt and designs that playfully subverted menswear. The menswear is particularly interesting due to women being banned from wearing trousers in certain social settings. Mary Quant was a rebel, and the August exhibition was used to display this.
The Scottish Design Galleries include permanent exhibitions inside the museum. The designs range from fashion to architecture to healthcare. It includes several different drawings within the exhibition, and the pieces have come from all over, including some being international. The Gallery explores what design means in Scotland, and how Scottish design has changed across the decades. Other permanent pieces inside the main Scottish Design Galleries section of the building include the Oak Room. The Oak Room is a conserved piece of Scottish history. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Oak Room was originally completed in 1908 on Ingram Street in Glasgow and was meant to be opening as a tea room for the local people. It was restored in over 700 parts, taking 16 months to be redone inside of the museum building. It has received international acclaim.
For more of the museum, you can enjoy some of the free online V&A Dundee events. With a recent focus on fashion, these events let you see the museum from your own home, but also have links to the current exhibitions happening at the museum. You can take the learning home with you with events like these.
If you're feeling hungry, you might enjoy the V&A Dundee Restaurant. The Tatha Restaurant is the best of both worlds, with takeaway options or sit-in choices. Serving breakfast, lunch and tea, there's also the option to take the food to the Allan Terrace to look over the river. They also sometimes create special afternoon teas to match the current exhibition, such as a Mary Quant inspired cream tea. If you want to take a little bit of the museum home, the shop offers many beautiful souvenirs. The designs are inspired by designers featured in the museum, from Quant to Kuma to a variety of other exclusive collaborations.
After a brilliant day at the museum, why not explore Dundee? There's the Olympia waterpark, Caird Hall which has live music, the trampoline park Ryze Dundee, and plenty more cinemas, sports arenas, and places to see. Looking for somewhere to eat? Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar is the home of delicious Mediterranean delights. Gidi Grill has all the meat you could wish for, tastily cooked. Collinson's Restaurant serves classic British food, and Piccolo has delicious gourmet Italian food. For places to stay, there's the Premier Inn, Holiday Inn, Sleeperz Hotel and Malmaison Hotel. For somewhere more unique, you could try Hotel du Vin, with unique room designs. The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in Dundee is great for a luxurious stay in the city. As a city since the 12th century, you'll be sure to find places full of culture wherever you end up. In 2014, it was celebrated by the United Nations as a UNESCO City of Design, the first-ever in the UK. It's a truly unique city, with unique sites to visit.
What to know before you go
- The V&A Dundee opening times are 10am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday, but these may be subject to change.
- The V&A museum is accessible by wheelchair, with lifts to each floor and wide paths.
- Accessible toilets are found on all floors, and a Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1.
- Assistance dogs are welcome inside the museum.
- There is a non-staffed buggy park on the ground floor.
- Baby changing facilities can be found in Level 0 and Level 2.
- Locker rooms are available.
- The museum works on a one-way system.
- The V&A Dundee is on the Riverside Esplanade in Dundee, near to the waterfront.
- The museum is a three-minute walk from Dundee Railway Station, accessible by the Caledonian Sleeper, Cross Country, LNER and ScotRail.
- The closest bus stop is Railway Station, a three-minute walk away. This can be reached by the 42, 54, 77, 77A, 77B, 99, 99A, 99B, 99C, 99D, N99, X7 and X54.
- The museum is an eight and a half-hour drive from London, a six and a half-hour drive from Birmingham, and an hour and 20-minutes drive from Edinburgh, depending on speed, route, and traffic.
- There is no dedicated V&A Dundee parking, but there are Dundee City Council-owned car parks around the city. Public parking can be found on South Crichton Street.
- Dundee Airport is a 10-minute car journey from the museum.