Start your second day with a visit to Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura. See relics from the area’s earliest inhabitants from primitive tools and weapons to stone carvings by Scotland’s first Christians. Afterwards, climb the steps up to the museum’s top floor where you’ll find the world’s oldest Camera Obscura. Enjoy incredible panoramic views of the town and surrounding landscape which, on a clear day, can stretch for miles.
No visit to Dumfries would be complete without stopping by Robert Burns House where you can see the desk and chair in which Scotland’s National Bard wrote some of his most important works. Cross the Devorgilla Bridge over the River Nith to reach the Robert Burns Centre, a former 18th century water mill where some of his handwritten manuscripts, personal belongings and books are exhibited. While walking back to the town, stop by the Old Bridge House, the oldest building in Dumfries which houses an authentically recreated 18th century kitchen, an early dentist’s surgery and a nursery. At the south east side of the town you’ll find the neoclassical Robert Burns Mausoleum where the remains of the great poet are interred.
A 5 minute drive will then take you to the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, the restored control tower of the former RAF Dumfries. Filled with everything from original aircrafts to rescue equipment and period jumpsuits, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of flight.
Make your next stop at Shambellie House, a beautiful 19th century country house which now contains the National Museum of Costume. See how style has evolved over the course of a century with everything from corseted Victorian gowns to glamorous 1950s dresses on display.
A short distance outside Dumfries lies the attractive village of New Abbey and the New Abbey Cornmill, a beautifully restored water-powered mill. Hear the sights and sounds of an age gone by as the waterwheel of the white-washed building starts to turn, bringing the original machinery back to life.
Travel 5 miles south and you’ll come to Kirkbean, another of Dumfries & Galloway’s idyllic villages. It is here that John Paul Jones, hero of the American Revolutionary War and founder of the US Navy was born in 1747. You can visit his childhood home at John Paul Jones Cottage Museum on the Arbigland Estate where his father worked as a gardener. All of its rooms have been restored to how they would have appeared in the 18th century except one, which has been transformed into the captain’s cabin of his legendary vessel, the Bonhomme Richard.
Explore further afield on a 30 minute drive to Kippford, a bustling fishing village on the Solway Coast. On your way there, take a detour to Dalbeattie Forest, one of the 7Stanes mountain biking centres which has a network of tranquil footpaths in addition to exhilarating bike trails.
Alternatively, you could travel 30 minutes east to the rarely visited village of Kirkgunzeon. Take in its quiet lanes and pretty white-washed houses before heading to Drumcoltran Tower located 1 mile to the north. Climb the spiral staircase to the parapet walk on the castle’s roof to see spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
If you have the time, travel west to Castle Douglas which has plenty of cafés and restaurants in which you can sample the region’s finest local produce. Beside the town is the lovely Carlingwark Loch, an ideal place to enjoy a picnic before head towards the coast once again.
Another popular beauty spot is Sandyhills National Scenic Area which is found along the Colvend Coast. Savour the undisturbed beauty of its secluded beach while soaking up dramatic views of the Solway Firth before continuing your journey towards Kippford.
Once there, you can enjoy lunch at the Anchor Hotel before setting off along the scenic Jubilee Footpath which leads to the equally picturesque seaside hamlet of Rockcliffe.