Romantic itinerary of Dumfries & Galloway

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Follow this romantic itinerary of Dumfries & Galloway and discover the sweet side of the region’s history. Visit a selection of romantic landmarks and monuments on this romance trail.

  • Looking over to the ruins of Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey
    The ruins of Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey
  • The Burns Mausoleum in Saint Michael's Churchyard
    The Burns Mausoleum
  • The exterior of the Globe Inn
    The Globe Inn
  • The sign at the world famous Old Blacksmith's Shop
    The Gretna Green Sign

Begin your journey into romantic Scotland at the village of Gretna Green, just on the Scottish side of the border. Famous for its weddings, Gretna Green became a popular destination for eloping couples due to the more relaxed marriage laws in Scotland.

Step inside the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop to hear about the couples who ran away to tie the knot in beautiful Dumfries & Galloway. The past is brought to life in the ancient building of the blacksmiths cottage and workshop. Passing through the narrow walls and low ceiling of this building the eerie atmosphere is captivating. Listen to the voices of a frantic young couple as they make the dramatic dash over the border in fascinating audiovisual displays. Take a tour of this unique and romantic building and learn about some of the famous people who snubbed convention by marrying here. Examine letters, telegrams and even some marriage certificates of those from all walks of life who, over the years, defied relatives and friends to follow their hearts to Gretna Green. There are letters from lonely singletons looking for a partner and telegraphs from frantic parents desperate to stop wayward daughters.

Continue your journey with a visit to the Coach Museum which hosts a rare collection of 19th century coaches and other historic modes of transport. Marvel at the magnificent royal carriage, the State Landau, used by King William IV and Queen Adelaide on state occasions. Explore real coaches which transported couples from across England to their wedding at Gretna Green.

Take a pleasant stroll through the Sculpture Garden and enjoy a selection of art created by both amateur and professional artists including the world famous statue ‘the Gretna Green Lovers’. Have fun navigating the twists and turns of the Courtship Maze and hope that your true love awaits you in the centre. Finish your afternoon with a stroll around the delightful and romantic village of Gretna Green, visit the local shops and browse the merchandise.

Relax for the evening in one of the many traditional Scottish restaurants in the area, or visit the Whisky House and sample some of the finest single malts.

Continue your journey into romantic Dumfries & Galloway and explore the heritage and inspiration for Scotland's National Bard, Robert Burns. Explore the area that inspired some of his most romantic work including Ae Fond Kiss and A Red Red Rose. Head along the A75 to the market town of Dumfries where Burns lived for the final eight years of his life to follow the Burns Heritage Trail.

Find out more about his romantic side and love of the lassies at his former house on Burns Street, which is now a museum to his life and works. It was in this ordinary sandstone building that Burns spent the last years of his brilliant life. The chair where he wrote his last poems, manuscripts and letters remains as do the famous Kilmarnock and Edinburgh versions of his work.

From there take a tour around the town of Dumfries, following the Burns Heritage Trail and stop off at a variety of Burns monuments, museums and his old haunts. Trail maps can be collected at the Burns Visitor Centre, or the Burns House. The tour takes a circular route through the heart of Dumfries and visits important locations including his mausoleum and memorial. Finish your tour around Dumfries with a spot of lunch and a dram at the Bard's favourite 'howff', the Globe Inn. His favourite seat still survives and some of his poetry may be seen, inscribed by Robert Burns in an upstairs bedroom. The Globe Inn was the setting for the first ever Burns Supper in 1819 and is world-renowned for its annual celebration of the Bard's life and works.

Finish your tour of romantic Dumfries & Galloway with a visit to a romantic monument just a 15 minute drive down the A710 to the lovely village of New Abbey. The village has great charm and character and is known best for the romantic history of the ruin of Sweetheart Abbey. The story of the founding of Sweetheart Abbey is held to be a testament to the enduring power of love. This splendid ruin of a late 13th century abbey was built by Lady Devorgilla in memory of her late husband, John Balliol and is thought to have inspired the creation of the word sweetheart. After he died, she carried his heart with her in a casket, referring to her 'dulce cor', the latin for sweetheart. When she died a few years later, the abbey was named Sweetheart Abbey by the monks in memory of the love story. She was buried beneath the high altar alongside her late husband's heart. The graceful building still inspires all who visit with its tale of divine love.