V&A Dundee

We are lucky in Scotland to have so many places, like the National Museum of Scotland, to take our wee people to visit. Culture places, innit. Soft play can wait, for we recently visited the new and overwhelmingly popular V&A Dundee. The queue stretched for miles. The breeze off the Tay blew cold. Yet we stood and waited, for this was a big moment; the first V&A museum outside of London, and here it is on our doorstep.

Once inside the brutalist exterior, it’s pretty much a large open cavern. You don’t expect there to be much else to see other than this inside out space, yet there is. We decided to get tickets for the feature exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, instead of the free to enter standard exhibit, which had an internal queue almost as long as the external one to get in.

It was a really great exhibition too, with so much stuff in each of the winding, labyrinth like pockets within the larger exhibition. Lots on the early ocean liners all the way through to the high-point of luxury ocean travel. It was fascinating seeing all the marketing and promotional posters and garb that accompanied these new and exciting ways to travel. Missy was very much uninterested and was playing up big licks, prompting more than one whispered dressing-down. Despite this, we made our way around the route which culminated in a cinematic area whereby they reeled off films that included ocean liner travel. Just outside the entrance to this final area there is a piece of the Titanic, recovered as it bobbed about on the surface, and is one of the largest pieces to be recovered. Even more than that, however, is the fact that since it was first constructed and installed inside the Titanic, this large piece of doorway returns to Europe. Don’t recall where it has been since then, but here it is, for the first time since the wood was painstakingly carved by many craftspeople.

What took the moment away was the cinema, in comedy style. As the film rolled we saw many of Hollywood’s finest output, one after the other, until we arrived at James Cameron’s Titanic. Unfortunately whoever made this film was a bastard with the editing and the film went from Jack and Rose lolloping around the first class deck, enjoying life in the sun and the thrill of adventure, to a brutal cut to Rose floating on the big door and Jack frozen stiff, gently sinking into the deep. I didn’t manage to stifle the guffaw I let out, much to the fellow cinema-goers’ chagrin. Hey-ho, it was magical.

All in all it was a lovely place and we liked the shop and its wares. Very on trend indeed. We headed to our old stomping ground up Perth Road and into South Tay Street, where we found the Innis & Gunn | The Beer Kitchen Dundee restaurant. What a place this is! Incredible food, fantastic value for money and very, very welcoming to Children. We had barely got ourselves in and menus up to our faces and someone had arrived with a massive basket of toys for Missy. Wonderful.

A quick trip over to the DCA and their lovely shop and back to the car we went, Missy exhausted and the sun slowly setting over this magical City of Dundee. The development and regeneration that has happened since we were last there is remarkable. We now have yet another incredible place right on our doorstep. Scotland. It really has it all.