It is the site of Royal Dundee Liff Hospital, a large psychiatric institution situated in the grounds of an expansive estate. The hospital is the successor to the Dundee Lunatic Asylum which, in 1882, moved out of the town of Dundee to new facilities built on the site of Westgreen Farm, Liff. In 1889 Gowrie House was built to the south of the asylum at Westgreen for private patients. From 1903 Westgreen was operated by the Dundee District Lunacy Board as Dundee District Asylum, while Gowrie House became the Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum. Westgreen and Gowrie House were reunited in 1959 and in 1963 the facilities at Liff gained the name Royal Dundee Liff Hospital.
Parts of the hospital are closed and the area is now being developed as prime building land for up-market house building. The Acute psychiatric unit moved to a new building called the Carseview Centre, beside Ninewells Hospital, in 2001. As at February 2009, 3 Buildings remain in use, Benvie House, Gourdie House, and Whitelawston House. Greystanes House having closed in 2001, and Gowrie House in 2005.
The Dundee and Newtyle Railway branch line had a station at Liff.
The name of the village features in the title of a bestselling book by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, The Meaning of Liff. It is defined there as "a book, the contents of which are totally belied by its cover".
- "Archive Services Online Catalogue Royal Dundee Liff Hospital". University of Dundee. http://18.104.22.168/dserve.exe?&dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=show.tcl&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqPos=27&dsqSearch=((text)='liff'). Retrieved 19 July 2011.