Philip Long is the director of V&A Dundee, the first design museum under the V&A brand created outside London. It opens in the second half of 2018.
My favourite view is of our museum stretching out into the River Tay, a new companion to the RRS Discovery, Captain Scott’s Antarctic ship, and a bold piece of architecture that reconnects the city and the water.
For many years, Dundee has been separated from the river that was its economic lifeblood for centuries by a network of roads built for the Tay Road Bridge that replaced the city’s docks and cut off access to the river. A redesigned waterfront and our stunning design by Kengo Kuma are changing that by opening up the city and attracting people back to the river again.
Related article: A view from Kagurazaka, Tokyo, by Kengo Kuma, the Japanese architect
Where to live
The centre of Dundee is being transformed by new investment and a 30-year, £1bn waterfront masterplan involving public and private investors. The West End is popular with the staff and students of its two universities, Abertay University and the University of Dundee.
To the east is the waterside suburb of Broughty Ferry, while over the water Wormit, Newport-on-Tay and Tayport stretch along the River Tay. On both sides of the river beautiful 19th-century properties face the water, many built for the wealthy jute merchants of the time.
Where to eat
The Dundee Contemporary Art centre’s restaurant is always popular for a lively bistro lunch, while newer openings such as Castlehill Restaurant offer contemporary Scottish cuisine, including tasting menus for lunch and dinner. In nearby Newport-on-Tay, Jamie Scott, a former winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, the BBC TV show, creates a Scottish-style tapas experience with small plates and local sourcing at The Newport Restaurant.
V&A Dundee will also be home to a stunning restaurant and outdoor terrace, with views upriver to watch the incredible sunsets we enjoy regularly — and the occasional display of the northern lights, if you’re particularly fortunate.
Where to embrace culture
Dundee is a very exciting city, with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant community of designers and artists. It was the first UK city to become a Unesco City of Design, in recognition of contributions including the comics of DC Thomson such as The Beano, video games including Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings.
The DCA runs an excellent programme of contemporary art exhibitions and film festivals, the Dundee Rep Theatre hosts both Scotland’s only permanent repertory ensemble and the internationally renowned Scottish Dance Theatre.
The McManus holds a great collection of fine art, reflecting the generosity of the city’s past industrialists.
A short drive away near Arbroath is Hospitalfield, an important early Arts and Crafts building that became an art school in 1902 and houses the art collection of Patrick Allan-Fraser.
A very strong programme of events and artist residencies animates this beautiful building.
Where to watch dolphins
Dundee’s incredible natural location gives immediate access to a large amount of wildlife, including dolphin watching in the mouth of the River Tay. Scheduled and private boat trips launch from Broughty Ferry.
Where to escape
For keen runners and cyclists, Tentsmuir Forest is a paradise. Miles of track wind through the woods, connecting Dundee round the north-easterly tip of Fife and down towards St Andrews, famous around the world as the home of golf.
Related article: A home for golf in Fife, Scotland
The beautiful, expansive beaches are popular with adventurers, lovers of wildlife and families. Huge seal colonies can be seen on the sandbanks, while hot crêpes are available year round at the main Forestry Commission car park.
Photographs: Sean Dooley; Frame Focus Capture Photography; Viktoria Begg; Maurice Crooks/Alamy; Ruth Clark; Louise Coupar; Karen Appleyard/Alamy; Stephen Finn/Alamy