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Devorgilla Bridge, River Nith, Dumfries


Glasgow to Gretna Green itinerary

Did you know you can discover many gems of south west Scotland on a day out by rail? Set off from Glasgow Central Station on the Glasgow - Kilmarnock - Carlisle line and take in the countryside, towns and villages of Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway, stopping off to do a bit of sightseeing.

The places listed have been suggested by staff from our VisitScotland iCentre network - they are the people who are the true experts in their local areas! If you're travelling around Scotland using the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass, this route makes for an ideal day trip where you can discover a lesser explored corner of Scotland.


Train Walk






Along the Glasgow - Kilmarnock - Carlisle train line, passing through Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.


Enchanting towns and villages, Robert Burns history, rolling countryside.

Areas Covered

South west

Day 1


Along the route there's plenty to see from the window. As you leave Glasgow, the train crosses the River Clyde, passing fine, lush, green spaces like Pollok Country Park, and then through miles of sprawling farmland. You'll weave through the scenic Nith Valley, crossing the River Nith, and enter Burns Country, the part of Scotland steeped in the history of Scotland's Bard, before arriving at historic Gretna Green, where for centuries eloping couples from south of the border flocked to wed.
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Home to the oldest multiple-arched bridge still surviving in Scotland.


A 10 minute walk from the beautiful, old Kilmarnock train station building will take you to the Dick Institute, one of south west Scotland's most important cultural centres. As well as exhibits covering natural science and archaeology, you can discover more about the social history of Kilmarnock, including the Ayrshire town's famous Johnnie Walker whisky production, and see some fantastic contemporary art.

Alternatively, should you fancy some fresh air, head to Dean Castle Country Park, which boasts many beautiful woodland walks and urban farm. The country park was recently used in the filming of hit TV series Outlander, you know!


Further along the line lies the handsome Dumfries, a former royal burgh. The town is where the world-famous wordsmith Robert Burns spent the last few years of his short life, and also has strong connections to the 14th century warrior king, Robert the Bruce.

If it's time for lunch, then it's also a good time to immerse yourself in the history of Burns! Pop into the legendary Globe Inn, a pub established in 1610, which was one of Burns' favourite haunts. Today it retains much of its original character and is a treasure trove of Burns' history. You can also arrange special tours or whisky tastings with the staff at the Globe Inn in advance.

Whilst in Dumfries you might instead consider visiting the Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura. The Victorian camera obscura was installed in a converted windmill and is one of only a few left in Scotland. There is a whole array of fascinating objects in the museum telling the story of the town, from early stone carvings to death masks.

Gretna Green

No trip to this village would be complete without a visit to the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith Shop. It's the site where couples have been coming to marry since the 1750s to take advantage of Scotland's lenient marriage laws, and today you can learn about its dramatic and romantic past.

Or, take a local Stagecoach 79 or 179 bus service to the Devil's Porridge Museum in nearby Eastriggs. Uncover the fascinating history of this munitions factory built for the First World War and hear the stories of the girls' employed to carry out dangerous and messy work.

From Gretna Green, you could return to Glasgow and relax on the return train ride home - it has been a busy day, after all! Alternatively, if you're planning to explore the pretty towns and villages of south east Scotland, continue on to Carlisle, just south of the Scottish border. From there you can hop on 95 or X95 First bus service to Galashiels in the Scottish Borders and travel along the scenic Borders Railway line which terminates at Edinburgh. Decisions, decisions!