Dumfries and Galloway Things to Do

  • Barnacle Geese grazing on land at Carlaverock
    Barnacle Geese grazing on land at...
    by MikeBird
  • Swan Hide at Feeding time
    Swan Hide at Feeding time
    by MikeBird
  • The Caerlaverock Farmhouse & Observation Tower
    The Caerlaverock Farmhouse & Observation...
    by MikeBird

Dumfries and Galloway Things to Do

  • Castle Douglas

    On our latest trip to these parts (Dumfries and Galloway) we decided to have a look at Castle Douglas, never having done so before.The main A75 now by-passes Castle Douglas, making it a quieter place to drive through. Our visit was on a Sunday and I have to say it did have a rather dead appearance, most of the shops being closed.The town is a great...

  • Newton Stewart

    Newton Stewart is a pleasant market town in central southern Dumfries and Galloway and is the hub of this area, offering good, local shopping opportunities.It is known as the Gateway to The Galloway Hills which surround the area, from where ample walking trails begin.The town is a popular place for holidays with so many activities available for the...

  • Langholm

    This was a real surprise to us, never having really given the place any thought before now, we found Langholm lovely, sitting on the banks of the River Esk and surrounded by hills. On a sunny day, the riverside was busy with lunchtime picnickers. After a prolonged dry spell, the river was extremely low.The town has a population of 2500 and grew up...

  • Garlieston

    This is a lovely little coastal village on the eastern Machars coast, with it's own harbour and two good beaches. Despite it's ease of access, it remains relatively little known and is an unspoilt gem.The original port and settlement was founded in the 1780's with water mills creating power for a sailcloth and rope industry. By 1800 some 500 people...

  • Tollbooth Center and Museum

    This was the government center for the Stewartry. John Paul Jones was imprisoned here, the last witch burned in Scotland died here. The museum is wonderful, but now it is a showcase for area artists.

  • Harbor Cottage Gallery

    This gallery on the Harbor and just below the castle is the place to stop and shop for local art. There on ever changing exhibits and you can buy much of the art right off the wall.

  • Caerlaverock Castle

    Caerlaverock Castle, 1270, was an unexpected treat as we had no idea what condition the castle was in. It could have been a pile of rubble, you know what some of these castles are like!It is near the Solway Firth, on the B725, 6 miles south of Dumfries.Historic Scotland make a wonderful job of caring for it. It is all beautifully looked after and...

  • Seige Engines

    Make sure you have a look at the seige engines whilst at Caerlaverock Castle. I think I read that they are still in working order.The mangonel reckons to take half an hour to load. It used to have a "spoon" end to it's arm but now has a sling. Of course Philip wanted Nick to make him a model one!!!

  • Nature Walk

    There is a nature trail in the grounds of Caerlaverock Castle with picture boards explaining what is to be seen. It is a pleasant walk which takes you to the remains of the original castle. We nearly walked on frogs, they were everywhere.What we did notice were all the fallen trees, presumably from the recent storms. There was a great deal of...

  • Isle of Whithorn

    Definitely a picture postcard type of place, but in an unpolished sort of way, the Isle of Whithorn has been designated an outstanding conservation area. It was actually an island until the development of the village and harbour construction caused the gap to be filled in!This is the place where Scotland's first saint, St. Ninian landed, more than...

  • Southerness

    I must say, we found Southerness, albeit on a wet and wild day, tacky and somewhat run down.We purely visited to see what was there and to look at the lighthouse, one of the oldest in Scotland.The village consists of one huge static caravan and chalet park that also takes tourers. This is a full blown facility site with amusements and cafes and god...

  • Ardwell House Gardens

    An excellent garden to visit with a walled garden and woodland walks, set around 18thc. Ardwell House. The house is not open to the public. Admission when we visited was by honesty box. can't remember how much.Open all year, 10am. to 5 pm. every day. There is parking, toilets and picnic areas.The gardens are famous for their azaleas and...

  • Logan Botanic Gardens

    Just up the road from Port Logan(14 miles from Stranraer) these extensive gardens have some interesting plant species. Well worth the visit and hours can be spent wandering around.Because of the Gulf stream flowing past here, the unusual variety of plants found here have led to the gardens being named as Scotland's most exotic gardens. There is a...

  • Threave Castle

    I guess you could say visiting Threave Castle is more of an overall experience than seeing a decent ruin. Having said that, we really enjoyed our visit!Close to Threave Gardens and Castle Douglas.A visit to Threave Castle involves a short boat ride, as the ruins are on the small Threave Island on the River Dee.You park in the carpark some distance...

  • Threave Gardens

    Threave Gardens was on our planned "to do" list so the first decent morning, we set off in anticipation. The gardens are part of Threave Estate close to Castle Douglas and are National Trust for Scotland maintained. Threave House is within the grounds but that is a seperate attraction. Entrance to the gardens is £6.50 per adult and then they had...

  • Hidden Treasures Lead Mining Museum.

    Wanlockhead is another one of those places we had promised ourselves a visit to. Over Easter, 2010, we made it, albeit in the snow but that only added to the whole experience.Wanlockhead is situated in the Lowther Hills in Dumfries and Galloway and sits prettily at 467 metres high.Snow obviously affects the village for much of the winter and in...

  • Drumlanrig Castle Gardens and Estate

    The estate at Drumlanrig includes a series of way-marked footpaths, ranging from a 1.5km. loch walk,a 2km wildlife walk, a 4km. woodland walkand a 6km. walk offering views of the castle. We opted for the woodland walk which took in Beech Loch, once used for the ice used at the castle, Coldstream Loch and Druid Loch. We noticed a lot of fish leaping...

  • Drumlanrig Castle

    Drumlanrig castle is the Douglas stronghold and the Dumfrieshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry. It is also sowewhere we have wanted to visit for quite some time and easter proved to be that time.The 17th c. renaissance castle is spectacular, built from local pink sandstone (which when quarried, was only just enough to...

  • Moniaive Village.

    Moniaive is some 8 miles west of Thornhill, in the Cairn Valley on the Dalwhat Water and is a very pretty little village.Because of it's attractive setting, it developed into a resort village in the mid 1800's and by 1905, was so popular, theCairn Valley Light Railway was opened, making it accessible from Dumfries.We made the journey here primarily...

  • Bruce's Cave

    Reputedly one of the caves that Robert the Bruce fled to and hid in for over three months during the Wars of Independence.Retreating from battle and Edward Longshanks' army during the winter of 1313, King Robert led a solitary existance in this tiny cave, hewn out of the red sandstone cliff, 30 feet above the river. How he existed, no-one knows but...

  • Goats in the Forest Park

    Another stop to look at the goat santuary. They were at least close to the parking area. Again these are wild animals and close encounters are not appropriate.

  • Deer Spotting at the Galloway Forest...

    Another place to stop on the Queen's Way. Park up and a short walk to a viewpoint where you look out onto the side of the hill and look for Red Deer. This is not a close encounter but if you look very carefully at this pic you will see some deer. Take some binoculars with you.

  • Galloway Forest Park signs - The...

    Places of interest in the Galloway Forest Park are indicated by signs such as this. Do not travel too fast as you will pass straight past them without being able to read the signs. You can see the pathway to the monument for good views in the background

  • Grey Mare's Tail in Galloway Forest Park

    One of the many signposted spots of interest is this waterfall - Grey Mare's Tail. This is a good place to get out and walk around for a bit. The waterfall is less than 5 mins from the main road and you can climb up the hill to the monument for a better view. Signs indicate who was responsible for this monument in the middle of nowhere. If you want...

  • A drive through the Galloway Forest...

    If you are heading to the West coast, rather than taking the main trunk road A75 which is good in its own right, attempt the alternative A762/712 through the Galloway Forest Park. It will take slightly longer of course but the countryside and roads are more interesting. You can get out at varous points for a short stroll or longer hike if you get...

  • Caelaverock Castle

    Great castle to visit. Caelaverock Castle grounds include this castle started in 13th Century and finished in 17th Century; Nature Trail around the back; site of original abandoned castle; kiddies play area; video presentation of seige in 13th Century. You can spend a good 2 to 3 hours here and more if you follow the walks outside of the grounds....

  • Portpatrick a short history

    Portpatrick looks and feels like a sleepy town but that belies its history as an important port. This was the original place to depart for and arrive from the north of Ireland. It must have been a bustling place. There are references to the large number of shipwrecks that have dogged this part of the coast on the history boards around the harbour....

  • Portpatrick A fishing village

    Visit Portpatrick - a quintessential old fishing village or very small town. The harbour area is really picturesque. Whilst there take in the beach within the outer harbour, take a walk along the pathways both north and south of the town. A short walk south along the cliff path takes you to a castle ruin. Refreshments aplanty in the village. Beach...

  • Walk along the Nith at Dumfries

    Set along from Dumfries along the river bank and keep going. Walk through the park and a pleasant stroll soon leaves the town behind and you are into the estuary and the approptiate wildlife. A short stroll one mile along the river will be sufficient although you can get further. On return have refeshments at the tea rooms in the park open all...

  • The Burns' Tomb at St. Michaels in...

    The lovely old church is surrounded by red sandstone gravestones and mausoleums. Then, at the end of the red sandstone walkway, you see the shiny white Burns' tomb. It looks quite grand but a bit incongruous.

  • Statue of Jean Armour, Robert Burns'...

    This statue was erected in 2004 and is directly across from the church where Burns' tomb is. It's an easy walk from downtown and from the Burns House. The tomb is also worth a visit although it oddly doesn't match anything else in the cemetery.

  • Fountain Square in Dumfries

    It was raining every so lightly so there weren't many people about but we were impressed by the lovely fountain. There are stores all around the square so it's a good place to do some fun shopping. We were walking to the Robert Burns House nearby but came back to look around the square.

  • Check out the bridge

    There is a town square with parking right by the bridge. You'll find the Tourist Office here with several very helpful and friendly people who will give you maps and directions. It had rained a lot while we were in Dumfries so the river was running high and fast. It was quite dramatic. The bridge is beautiful and there is a park on the other side.

  • Scotlands Highest Village & The Lead...

    This is Scotland's highest village and was once a thriving lead mining community, The mines finally closed in 1956 and with them went the main source of employment. Now the main reason to visit the village apart from if you are walking "The Southern Upland Way" is the Wanlockhead Museum of Scottish Lead Mining, and this was the reason for the day...


    Also in the grounds of Threave gardens is a Countryside Centre, housed in the old stable block. It was undergoing some refurbishment when I was there recently but normally has exhibitions on the conservation and forestery work of the estate. The area is designated as a Special Protection area for its wildfowl refuge and the wetlands are an Area of...


    This is Scotlands most southerly point and is in fact farther south than parts of England, such as Durham! The lighthouse was built in 1828 and sits on the cliffs, some 270 feet above the sea. There are some nice beaches in this area. Growing up, we often spent short breaks in our caravan at nearby New England Bay. Fond memories!


    As mentioned above, Kirkcudbright became an artists colony and now houses many art galleries of varying sizes. The National Trust own and have opened to the public, Broughton House which was the home of the artist EA Hornel and you can see his studio & some of his works as well as other rooms in the house and the Japanese style garden. At either...


    One of my recent discoveries in Dumfries and Galloway is the town of Kirkcudbright. I decided to go there because I had read about an art exhibition that was being held there but really didn't know what the town itself was going to be like at all.In fact I discovered its a really pretty town and certainly well worth a visit! Its well known for...


    The gardens are quite extensive and have many different areas where you can see all sorts of unusual as well as garden standards. At the top of the park is woodland which has an orchard and bird hide then you move down passed a rose garden and heather garden towards the "secret garden", peat garden, rockery and finally the walled garden with fruit...


    Not to be confused with Threave Castle just a few miles away, the gardens are seperate and run by the National Trust for Scotland. In fact the house was their gardening school where they would train gardeners to work in their other properties. I'm not sure if that is still the case now but its definitely well worth a visit. I remember going here as...

  • Starting a revolution

    castledykes has a little moat and Bailey mound ,no castle though. Much of this park is in the very sheltered foundations of a much bigger building and the gardens safe from the wind are sheltered and exotic. The little plaque commemorating why there is no castle gives one food for thought.

  • Castle Kennedy Gardens

    An outstanding garden set in the grounds of two castles. 2mile garden walk including two lochs.Impressive rhododendron display in Spring.A walled garden, at it's best in Aug. and Sept.One of the castles is a ruin and was burnt down in 1716 and the other, Lochinch,(built in 1864) is the home of Earl and Countess Stair. It has a sunken garden and is...

  • Logan Botanic Gardens

    I just enjoyed taking close ups of some of the flowers. There were so many interesting varieties in different areas of the garden. In one part, there was what looked like giant rhubarb growing. We walked through a tunnel in the midst of this. We felt like intrepid explorers, not knowing where we would come out or what we might encounter!!The...

  • Sulwath Brewery

    This is a very small brewery with verrrry fine beer. The friendly owner, brewer Mr. Henderson gives a fine explanation and tour of his beers and how they got that way. After which you can sit down and enjoy a pint and take some home!

  • Stewartry Museum

    This is a small museum but filled to the brim with interesting things. From ancient times and items to the present.


Dumfries and Galloway Hotels

  • Premier Inn Dumfries

    Like all these budget chains, the theory is you know what to expect as far as standards are...

  • Popinjay Hotel

    15 Lanark Rd, (formerly Best Western), Rosebank, ML8 5QB, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Couples

  • Balmoral Hotel

    High Street, Moffat, DG10 9DL, gb

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

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Dumfries and Galloway Things to Do

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