Free things to do in Dumfries & Galloway

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  • A couple look at Bruce's Stone above Loch Trool in the Galloway Forest Park
    Bruce's Stone above Loch Trool in the Galloway Forest Park
  • Looking out over a flock of birds at the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve
    A flock of birds at the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve
  • Two walkers look out from the Bennan Viewpoint on the Galloway Red Kite Trail
    The Bennan Viewpoint on the Galloway Red Kite Trail
  • Looking across the beach of Sandyhills Bay, near Colvend
    Sandyhills Bay, near Colvend

You’ll be spoilt for choice with free attractions in Dumfries & Galloway and you’re bound to come across numerous hidden gems along the way. 

Free things to do

Situated in the heart of the region, Galloway Forest Park offers many family-friendly activities. There are three visitor centres open during the summer throughout the park in Clatteringshaws, Kirroughtree and Glentrool. Each offers an educational insight into the natural habitat and wildlife of the area.

Spend an evening stargazing in the forest’s Dark Sky Park during the winter months and experience the region’s awe-inspiring starry skies.

The region is famed for its creativity and you can visit a range of workshops and open studios. Visit the Tolbooth Art Centre in the Artist’s Town of Kirkcudbright or head to the newest community-led arts project, the CatStrand in New Galloway, which hosts free art exhibitions and much more throughout the year.

If you’re looking for an adventurous activity, there are several high-octane mountain biking trails. Discover 7stanes routes for all abilities in several Galloway forests, including Dalbeattie, Mabie, Kirroughtree and Ae.

Free places to go

Discover a wildlife lover’s paradise, as the region’s diverse landscape is home to many rare species. Walk or cycle along the 24-mile Galloway Red Kite Trail around Loch Ken and explore the heart of scenic Galloway, and keep an eye out for the magnificent birds flying overhead.

At Caerlaverock Wetland Centre and the Mersehead RSPB Reserve, you can observe flocks of thousands of barnacle geese and whooper swans - one of Scotland’s amazing wildlife spectacles.

Spend a day by the coast with beaches that are perfect for relaxation, including Sandyhills, Mossyard and Sandgreen. Admire the coastline even more along the Solway Coast Heritage Trail, with a refreshing walk through some of the best beaches in Dumfries & Galloway.

The Bruce’s Stone sits atop a hill overlooking Loch Trool, and commemorates a victory of Robert the Bruce over an English army in 1307. It is also the recommended starting point for climbing the Merrick, the tallest mountain in southern Scotland.  

Explore the depths of St Ninian's Cave, a small sea cave and the place Scotland’s first saint would visit for some contemplation. It features many engravings and symbols on the outside, and is only four miles from the picturesque coastal town of Whithorn.