Visitors to Dundee city centre can now enjoy the feeling of sand between their toes – after an urban beach at the city’s Waterfront opened to the public.
The beach, next to the V&A, is the latest part of the £1 billion transformation of the area.
In the coming weeks it will be joined by an active travel hub, an interactive play area, a life-size whale sculpture and a landscaped area.
Construction of the beach started in 2019 but it was hit by delays when the coronavirus pandemic started last year.
What do the first visitors think?
Murray Garness, 13, from Dundee, says he felt lucky to have stumbled upon the grand opening of the beach with his family.
He said: “The whole new Waterfront plan with the V&A and the parks and stuff – I think it’s a really nice place to come a visit for a day.
“Slessor Gardens, we go there every now and then but this has added a whole new level to this area.
“I’m quite excited to see the rest of it. It’s beyond my expectations, absolutely amazing.”
Natalie Maitland, 31, feels the development is just what the city needs.
She said: “It’s just great to see so much positivity for Dundee because it’s needed.
“Dundee is a jewel of Scotland, we’ve needed something that will put us back on the map for a positive reason.
“It’s good to see everybody coming together and just enjoying what we’ve got to offer.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and seeing the changes, you would have never have guessed Dundee would get something like this, it’s good.”
Svetlana Phillips, 23, who moved to Dundee five years ago, says it will be great to see people enjoying the beach.
She said: “It’s a bit more special and different and I think seeing everyone around and seeing the joy would actually bring smiles to everyone’s faces.
“It’ll be a nice addition to Slessor gardens, it’s really brought everyone together.
“I think they’ll definitely make the most of this new space as well.”
Mr Alexander said: “It’s fantastic. It’s been such a long time coming.
“Obviously Covid has delayed progress in terms of getting the opening and we’ve still got more to come with the whale sculpture, the landscaping works and the cycling hub.
“We’ve had feedback from folk asking when is the urban beach going to be open so the fact we’ve managed to get it open in summer is really important.
“Families and people can come and enjoy down and enjoy it and that’s what it’s all about, Slessor Gardens, Waterfront Place, it’s about people enjoying themselves.
“It’s their city, their park, and it’s just great to officially open it.”
Rest of Waterfront Place to open September
Mr Alexander says he’s looking forward to the rest of the development opening up around September time.
He added: “There’s so much that has changed for the better in the city for the last few years in particular and this is just another stage, another milestone.
“And this isn’t the end of it, we’ve got really ambitious plans for the city going forward and Waterfront Place is another piece of public realm.
“I think the reality is the rest of Waterfront Place won’t be open until September.
“By that time we might have lost the good weather so really if you’re going to enjoy a beach let’s make it in the summer months.”
Ms Bell says the urban beach is a great addition to the Waterfront.
She said: “I think the commitment to leisure and play and feeling care free has been priority in the development of urban beach so at the V&A we’re absolutely delighted that it’s opening up.
“It feels like a space for every generation and I think that’s what’s really important.
“I just can’t wait to see little kids, babies, toddlers and older people being in this space together, I think that’s just a really precious thing.”