Dundee’s Discovery Point celebrates 30 years

Left to Right: Dundee Heritage Trust staff (Kim Turford, April Harvey, Emma Halford-Forbes, Dominic Halford-Forbes and Ceri Tully) cake cutting for Discovery Point's 30th anniversary on Saturday 1st July 2023

ONE OF Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions, Discovery Point in Dundee, is celebrating its 30th anniversary and, as well as looking at their achievements so far, they are also looking forward to what is next on the horizon. 

To celebrate 30 years since it was officially opened, visitors to Discovery Point on Saturday 1 July got the chance to enjoy an austral winter – winter in the Southern Hemisphere – as experienced by the crew of the RRS Discovery that included Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson, on the highly successful British National Antarctic Expedition in 1901. 

They were also amongst the first to be able to register their interest for the new Adopt an Object campaign – an exciting way to support the Dundee Heritage Trust collection, by adopting one of their objects for the year. Fascinating objects including Antarctic goggles that have seen the Last Place on Earth and Shackleton’s legendary Aurora Australis book, are amongst the items available to be adopted, with the lucky adopter benefitting from a range of exclusive incentives and special opportunities to engage with work behind the scenes at both Discovery Point and Verdant Works

Opened by the late Duke of Edinburgh on 1 July 1993, Discovery Point created a new and exciting visitor centre for the RRS Discovery, which moved to her new berth in Discovery Quay the previous year. As well as being an important catalyst for Dundee’s regeneration, sitting alongside the new V&A Dundee as the centrepiece of the £1 billion Waterfront Development, Discovery Point has been the source of many fond memories for locals and fellow Scots.

Ali Gellatly, Ship and Facilities Director at Dundee Heritage Trust said: “It’s incredible to think that in 30 years more than two million visitors have visited Discovery Point, including the present Prince and Princess of Wales in October 2015; astronauts who flew on space shuttle Discovery’s last flight in July 2011; and descendants of the original crew of the RRS Discovery, including Captain Scott’s grandson, Falcon Scott. I visited Discovery Point as a youngster and was so inspired by my visits that it gave me my passion for ships and exploration. 30 years on and I’m proud to say I have the best job in the world!”

Last year the Trust opened the Dundee Dome, a stunning, brand-new gallery in this previously inaccessible roof space at the top of the Discovery Point Dome, offering 360°panoramic views of the city, waterfront and River Tay and featuring Gaia, the impressive artwork by world famous environmental artist, Luke Jerram. This year, major restoration works began on the RRS Discovery. These urgent works will enable the conservation and preservation of this world heritage asset, the ship that took Scott and Shackleton to the Antarctic in the days when that was as unthinkable as space travel. A specialist survey identified several critical areas for conservation. The National Heritage Memorial Fund has generously funded the urgent works; the original grant or £409k was increased by £1million to account for rises in cost of materials and construction, and costs across the board. There is still £1million left to raise to complete these critical conservation works, due to be completed in 2025.

Deirdre Robertson, Chief Executive of Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “We are so proud of the impact Discovery Point has made to the regeneration of Dundee but also how it has inspired many visitors over the past 30 years. We have had to navigate some very difficult times in recent years during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are very excited for the next 30 years and beyond and the ongoing impact that Discovery Point will make on locals and fellow Scots alike”.

For more information visit: www.dundeeheritagetrust.co.uk, Facebook (Discovery Point & RRS Discovery), Instagram (@DiscoveryDundee) or Twitter: (@DiscoveryDundee)

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