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Attractions

Frigate Unicorn

Find Scotland Tours that visit The Frigate Unicorn.

Address: H.M. Frigate Unicorn, Victoria Dock, Dundee DD1 3BP
Operated by: The Unicorn Preservation Society
Opening Hours: April to October: Daily 10 am - 5 pm 
November to March: Wed - Sat: 10 am - 4 pm / Sundays: Noon - 4 pm 
Closed 20 December to 4 January
Last Admission 30 mins before closing.
Admission: Adult £ 7.25, Child £ 3.50 (Under 3 free), Senior £ 6, Family £17.50
Parking: No dedicated parking area for ship. You can try to park on streets nearby or else park at the nearby City Quay shopping centre and then cross the bridge from the shopping centre to the ship.
Languages: English
Accessibility: There is a steep gangway up to the ship and access between decks is by means of the original steps which are very steep.
Toilets: Yes, toilets are located on board the ship on the Gun deck that you enter the ship via.
Shop: There is a small gift shop selling pirate and maritime themed gifts.
Cafe/Restaurant: No

 

The Frigate Unicorn in Dundee is located within walking distance of the RRS Discovery so you might wish to combine visits to both of these ships within the same day. Whilst RRS Discovery has been subject to a major restoration and is complimented by a modern visitor centre, the Frigate Unicorn is a more modest affair, but is very original and well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in maritime history.

The ship was built in 1824, which makes it one of the 6th oldest ships in the world and a very rare example of a warship from the era of sail. Although designed as a 46 gun frigate, HMS Unicorn never had to fire her guns in anger and was kept in "reserve" as she entered service soon after the Napoleonic Wars when it was a relatively peaceful time for the Royal Navy.

Soon after the frigate Unicorn was launched, she had a "roof" constructed over her upper deck and it is this roof which has helped her to be preserved in such an original state. The presence of the roof does detract from what would otherwise be an attractively shaped hull, but once you descend to the lower decks you are immersed in the reality of life aboard a 19th century warship. The overpowering impression is just how claustrophobic it would have been to live and fight below decks on a warship like this.

The upper deck has a display of model ships including a scale model of how HMS Frigate would have looked without her "roof" and with her masts and rigging in place. There are also information boards around the upper deck with pictures and stories about ships, sailors and soldiers who were based in Dundee during World War 2.

An area of the Gun Deck is set up to represent the way the ship would have been configured with canons, but the other displays on this deck are a bit haphazard and the originality of the ship on this deck is a bit spoilt by the presence of the gift shop. Descending to the Lower deck, "Orlop" deck and Hold gives you a much better feel for what the original ship would have felt like. When you climb down the steep steps to these decks, you really start to appreciate how crowded and claustrophobic the ship would have been with its full compliment of 300 crew.

As a visitor attraction, it is apparent that the Frigate Unicorn is run on a tight budget, but if you have an interest in Maritime history you will certainly enjoy a visit to this remarkably original warship. 

 Frigate Unicorn in DundeeFrigate Unicorn in Dundee

Guns on the Main DeckGuns on the Main Deck

Cramped crews quarters on Lower DeckCramped crews quarters on Lower Deck

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