Reviews, Things to do

V&A Dundee: Scotland’s first design Museum

My son and I took a trip to Dundee this long weekend to visit the new V&A museum, Scotland’s first design museum.

You can see the fantastic building the moment you step out of the train station… The slanted walls and water features catch your eye alongside the waterfront of the River Tay and the Discovery ship… it sure is a treat for the eyes!

V&A Museum Dundee

The building was designed by award-winning Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma and this is his first building in the UK.

We stopped for a couple of photos outside because how could we resist really?! We certainly were not the only ones doing this either… Even on a rather cold day!

My son outside the V&A Museum DundeeMe outside the fantastic V&A Dundee Museum

Visitor information

The museum has free entry to the majority of the exhibitions excluding the touring exhibitions (currently ‘Ocean Liners: Speed and style’ until 24/02/19) which you pay a ticket price for.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00 daily

Wheelchair accessible

There is a gift shop too of course!

Our thoughts on the exhibits

The V&A Dundee only opened to the public on the 15th of September – one week before we visited so even with us choosing to go on a Friday (school holiday here in Aberdeen but not Dundee) it was still VERY busy!

Upon entering the museum we were amazed by the amount of people in there all taking in the interesting designs.

We chose not to buy a ticket for the Ocean Liner exhibition so skipped the reception area and headed straight to the exhibits.

We had a little wander around to see what there was and spotted a large queue for one of the exhibition spaces.

This was for the main permanent (and free to view) exhibits so we joined this queue. I think we waited around 20-25 minutes but I put this down to it only being the second week open and wouldn’t expect this once the ‘new museum hype’ calms down a little.

While we waited, my son sat moving his way along some of the many benches in the museums drawing in his own little notebook… He is a creative little boy anyway and he was inspired by the designs and people in the museum.

The Scottish design gallery was really interesting with items ranging from Scottish clothing, architecture and furniture to name a few.

V&A Museum Dundee - Scottish gallery exhibits

We enjoyed looking at the fashion items and my personal favourite was this tiara with wings! I will have one of those please!

V&A Museum Dundee Scottish design gallery dressV&A Museum Dundee Scottish design gallery winged tiara

There was also little exhibits and design artwork to view elsewhere in the building. We however, thought that there seemed to be a lot of space that we personally feel could have featured more exhibits (that you don’t need to buy a ticket for).

V&A Museum Dundee

There is also a learning centre where events and workshops will be held in the future.

Catering

There are three options for having a bite to eat in the V&A – the living room café, Tatha bar and kitchen and even a relaxed picnic room.

We went to the living room café for a spot of lunch. We opted for the kids lunch box option – 5 items for £5.50 to choose from; ham or cheese sandwich, a choice of snacks and juice. My son was pretty unimpressed with the small half a sandwich that he got. This would be a fine option for very young children but not older ones.

I had a warm baguette slice with tomatoes & Mozzarella which was really lovely – the little one stole a bit of mine and said he wished he got one too!

Other options at the café included frittatas, salads, soups which all looked really nice, it seems to have a good variety on offer at the café. It is not your standard boring sandwiches here!

V&A Museum Dundee living room cafe lunch

There was also a range of cakes… However unfortunately they were completely out of the question for me. I have a nut allergy and we spotted at least two of the cakes had large pieces of nuts in them and were right next to and even touching some of the other cakes without nuts! There seemed to only be two tongs used for all the cakes too so I wasn’t going to risk it, as all the cakes had a chance of being a nut allergy sufferer’s nightmare! Pretty annoying as it surely wouldn’t be difficult to keep the nut-free cakes separate.

The other restaurant looked quite fancy and a perfect spot for a romantic meal I would imagine, with a fantastic view of the Discovery ship and River Tay. There is also an outdoor space nearby you can venture out to with some great views over the Tay.

V&A museum Dundee River Tay view

V&A Museum Dundee views of the river Tay

The picnic room looked like a nice peaceful little room to grab a bite if you bring your own snacks – great idea that you rarely see in museums.

Accessibility

If you have read my blog before you will know I love to spot whether a venue/attraction is accessible and inclusive.

The V&A seemed to be one of the most inclusive venues I have been to in a long time. 

Big brownie points for this.

There is a lift available for wheelchair users and plenty of space to get around all areas of the museum. I saw a few wheelchair users in attendance and this is good to see.

The venue has stated they want to be an inclusive place where everyone feels welcome. They have British sign language and touch tours for visually impaired or deaf visitors.

They also have a changing places toilet and Grace’s sign on their accessible toilets for those with invisible disabilities. There is a few benches and also portable seats around the venue for anyone who needs to sit down during their visit. Staff were offering the portable seats to people as they queued for the exhibits too which was a nice touch.

Good job V&A!

V&A Museum Dundee exterior selfie

Overall ratings

We enjoyed our visit exploring this new design museum in Dundee and there was some cool exhibits to see. I would however say we would have liked a little more in there to see (without needing to purchase a ticket).

My 9 year old son, Nathan, rated the museum a 7 out of 10.

My son outside the new V&A Museum Dundee

I love the idea of the museum, the building’s design and how accessible they are. I also think it would be a really cool space for events – they do have venue hire. I can imagine having a glass of fizz, nibbles and networking or even a nice little acoustic singer in their entrance foyer. Lovely!

Definitely somewhere to visit if you are in Dundee. Also while you’re there I’d recommend stopping by The McManus Galleries too. This is a (free entry) art gallery and museum which is around 10 minutes walk away from the V&A, which we really like.

V&A Museum Dundee exterior
Let me know your thoughts if you have been to the V&A Dundee.

2 thoughts on “V&A Dundee: Scotland’s first design Museum”

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