Those who love to explore the great outdoors, get off the beaten track and see art and nature collide.
Things to do
With miles of luscious countryside, verdant forests and undulating coastline, Dumfries & Galloway has a natural landscape which inspires creativity. Take in this region in autumn and visit some of its outdoor artworks.
The Striding Arches by Andy Goldsworthy are site-specific arched sculptures of sandstone located round Cairnhead which are bound to make an impression. Situated in the open country and on hillsides, some of them require a fairly demanding walk and are perfect for keen ramblers, so pack a picnic and a flask of tea before you set off.
Landscaping and the cosmos are not something you would think come hand-in-hand, but Crawick Multiverse is a unique art land. Designed by Charles Jencks, it features striking stone sculptures and represents ideas around space, astronomy and cosmology.
From Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre in the Galloway Forest Park, you can experience two of the Rosnes Benches. The vision of environmental artists Dalziel + Scullion, these installations encourage you to enjoy nature from a lesser-seen perspective. Another of the walks from Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre takes in Matt Baker's Quorum, a series of curious heads carved into granite and positioned on drystone walls.
Not all of the greatest works were created by man - while in the area, take the chance to see the universe's most remarkable tapestry and admire the wonders of the sky at night. Head to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in nearby Dalmellington, not far from Ayr (best to book in advance). It is set in the Galloway Forest Park, the UK's First Dark Sky Park, where you can see thousands of twinkling stars and constellations - even without the use of a telescope!
The area has lots of charming, quiet villages, including Sanquhar and Thornhill. Newark Farmhouse B&B near Sanquhar is an ideal place to enjoy an authentic taste of countryside living, or art lovers will love Afton B&B and Art Gallery. Find more accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway.
If looking for a tasty lunch, consider popping into Café @ A' the Airts in Sanquhar for home baking and filling sarnies, or for a more formal dining experience, book a table at Blackaddie House Hotel. Find more places to eat.
This part of Dumfries & Galloway is easy to get to. By car, it's an hour from Glasgow, 1 hour 40 minutes from Edinburgh and only 1 hour 20 minutes from Carlisle.