Areas in Dumfries & Galloway

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  • Looking over a field of buttercups down to numerous boats moored at the harbour at the Isle of Whithorn.
    Isle of Whithorn
  • Police Close - off the high street where a bicycle is propped against the wall in Kirkudbright, Dumfries & Galloway
    Police Close, Kirkudbright
  • An elderly couple walk on the sandy beach at low tide towards the harbour at Port Logan, Dumfries & Galloway
    Port Logan, Dumfries & Galloway
  • The River Nith in Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway
    The River Nith in Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway
  • Wanlockhead
    Wanlockhead, Dumfries & Galloway

Discover the history and beauty of Dumfries & Galloway and you’ll find lush green forests and sandy shores which have inspired great men and women. Visit the castles and historic spots to learn more of days gone by, while taking in the breathtaking views. Discover coastal communities, the highest village in Britain and towns dedicated to food, books and art.

Dumfries and surrounding area

Dumfries, known as ‘the queen of the south’ is the capital of Dumfries & Galloway. Make a stop at this historic market town, famed for its connections with Scotland’s famous poet, Robert Burns. Situated on the wide banks of the River Nith, this lively town is only a short distance inland from the Solway Firth.

Where else can you fish for salmon right in the town centre, choose between four golf courses, find out about the life of Robert Burns, and visit the amazing Camera Obscura, one of only three working in Britain?

Heading out west, just 8 miles along the Solway Coast Heritage Trail lies the pretty conservation village of New Abbey. The imposing Sweetheart Abbey is one of the highlight attractions in the region. The village is also home to a saw mill, two hotels, village shop and a coffee shop which offers excellent scones and refreshments.

Discover the Caerlaverock Experience, to the east along the Solway Coast Heritage Trail, which consists of an amazing triangular castle and nature walk, Wildlife and Wetlands Centre and National Nature Reserve.

The Galloway Heartland

Explore this magnificent part of Dumfries & Galloway which boasts the Galloway Red Kite Trail, Castle Douglas Food Town and the Colvend coast.

Situated on the banks of the River Dee and close to the Solway coast, the charming town of Kirkcudbright boasts an attractive town centre, with medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings, along with a fine harbour overlooked by the 16th century MacLellan’s Castle.

Also known as the Artists’ Town, Kirkcudbright boasts connections with the Glasgow Boys and is a magnet for Scottish art lovers, with a range of galleries and studios to explore.

Castle Douglas, a great place for independently owned and unique shops, is actually designated Dumfries & Galloway’s Food Town due to its market and farming traditions. Don’t miss nearby Threave Gardens and Threave Castle.

Dalbeattie provides an excellent base for exploring the great outdoors. The internationally famous 7stanes mountain biking trail is nearby and there are many opportunities to enjoy golf, fishing or birdwatching. Head up Loch Ken following the Galloway Kite Trail and you’ll find New Galloway, the smallest royal burgh in Scotland. Nearby St John’s Town of Dalry gives you easy access to the Southern Upland Way.

Visit Gatehouse of Fleet, an attractive little town steeped in history, once a thriving industrial centre with cotton mills and shipbuilding industry.

Joining the Solway Coast Heritage Trail, explore more of the fantastic coastline at Auchencairn, which was once a hotbed for smuggling. On the Colvend coast, the village of Kippford is a great place to sit outdoors and enjoy a meal or tackle a variety of outdoor activities such as sailing and walking. Take the scenic footpath to the neighbouring village of Rockcliffe and enjoy a spot of beach combing before you return.

West - The Machars

Just to the east of the Rhinns of Galloway lies the Machars peninsula. Here you'll find a number of beautiful towns and villages that are not to be missed.

A small market town in the heart of the Galloway hills, Newton Stewart is a great base for a range of outdoor activities. Situated on the banks of the River Cree and surrounded by hills, Newton Stewart is famous for its excellent salmon and trout fishing. The town is also the main hub for hill walkers and mountain bikers due to its close proximity with the Galloway Forest Park, Britain's largest forest park.

Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town, has around 30 book-related businesses and over 250,000 books, both old and new to choose from. From Wigtown, travel south down the coast until you reach Garlieston, a small coastal village with a charming harbour.

The Isle of Whithorn and town of Whithorn are famous for their connections with St Ninian, who first brought Christianity to Scotland. Discover the tales of the local community at the Whithorn Story Visitor Centre

To the east of Whithorn, Port William and the surrounding area boasts safe beaches and an array of wildlife. North is Glenluce, where you can explore the 12th century Cistercian Glenluce Abbey.

Travel east to Creetown, which acquired cult status amongst movie buffs as the filming location for classic horror movie, The Wicker Man. It's also home to the Creetown Heritage Museum and award-winning Gem Rock Museum, where you can see the finest private collection of gemstones, crystals, rocks and fossils, in the UK.

West - Stranraer & The Rhinns

A hammer-head peninsula, the Rhinns stretches over 25 miles from Corsewall Point down to the Mull of Galloway, the southernmost part of Scotland. With a stunning coastline, numerous small bays and a varied landscape, the Rhinns of Galloway has a natural beauty that will take your breath away.

Dumfries & Galloway’s second largest town is Stranraer. Visit the medieval Castle of St John, a ruined four-storey tower house built around 1500, which sits on a green in the main street. Stranraer is easily accessible with excellent rail and coach transport links.

To the south west, you will find the charming seaside town of Portpatrick. Set around a small bay with pretty pastel coloured houses, take the opportunity to sit down and have some food and drink while you admire the exceptional views out to sea. Portpatrick is incredibly picturesque, yet remains something of a hidden gem.

Further south down the coast lies the charming village of Port Logan. Admire the stunning sunset over the Irish Sea, take part in a spot of fishing or visit nearby Logan Botanic Garden.

Not to be missed is the Mull of Galloway. With a spectacular unspoilt coastline, beautiful countryside and the most southern lighthouse in Scotland, the Mull of Galloway really is an area highlight.

The East

The east of Dumfries & Galloway is home to a number of fascinating towns and villages from the small historical spa town of Moffat to Gretna Green, 'the marriage capital of the UK'.

Lockerbie is a small agricultural town close to the main M74 north, yet with excellent scenery and touring country roads. Nearby Lochmaben has three scenic lochs and is a good base for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, with plenty of opportunities for sailing, fishing, cycling, and walking.  

A wander around the town of Annan will reveal its historic sights, such as the 176-year-old bridge with its graceful arches, and Bridge House, considered one of the finest town houses in Scotland.

Surrounded by four hills, Langholm is ideal for a walking or fishing trip. The River Esk, one of Scotland's greatest salmon rivers, flows right through the town.

At the border lies the town of Gretna and nearby Gretna Green. Be sure to visit the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop where you can uncover the relationship between the town and weddings.

The small historical spa town of Moffat has a wide tree-lined high street, which retains much of its original characteristics. Moffat boasts the title of Scotland's first 'walkers are welcome town' and offers great access to the surrounding hills.

Nithsdale

Explore this magnificent region in the northern part of Dumfries & Galloway, home to a range of beautiful towns and villages.

The little market town of Sanquhar nestles in the Nith Valley and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The nearby range of rolling hills offers great walking opportunities and the Southern Upland Way passes straight through the town. Send a postcard from the Sanquhar Post Office, the oldest post office in the world, or visit the town’s most notable building, the handsome Georgian Tolbooth Museum.

Wanlockhead in the Lowther Hills is Scotland’s highest village, standing at 1,531 ft above sea level. The former lead mining village is right on the Southern Upland Way, making it a good place to stop for walkers. If you are approaching by car, you’ll pass through one of the most beautiful and majestic glens in southern Scotland - the Mennock Pass. Wanlockhead is connected to neighbouring Leadhills via the charming Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway - a great way to see the countryside.

Just 14 miles north of Dumfries is the attractive and bustling village of Thornhill. Be sure to visit Drumlanrig Castle, which lies just to the north. Afterwards, head to Moniaive which holds a number of festivals throughout the year and has been described by The Times as one of the ‘coolest’ villages in Britain.

Don’t forget to pay homage to the birthplace of Kirkpatrick MacMillan, who invented the bike in 1839, by visiting Keir Mill, near Penpont.

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