Dumfries and Galloway – 3 day guide
The ideal introduction to Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway is the country’s most southwesterly council area. Compared to the Highlands (clue’s in the title!) there are fewer mountains and hills to conquer, but that’s not to say that the area falls short in its sights and activities. Dumfries and Galloway has miles of stunning coastline waiting to be discovered by visitors, and the area is rich with food and drink output. Our three-day tour of the region allows you to see a little of everything on offer, from natural scenery to man-made attractions.
Gretna Green – Kirkcudbright (51 miles)
Famed for its popularity with newlyweds, Gretna Green is a good place to start your Dumfries and Galloway adventure. Instead of hanging around to get hitched, head inland a little and pass through Dumfries, a market town and former royal burgh. Caerlaverock Castle is a historic, medieval landmark worth exploring, and on-site you can also find the ruins of another, older castle at the end of a nature trail through the forest. The nearby town of Kirkcudbright is famous for its annual arts and crafts trail that brings music and art to galleries and venues every summer. There are also two activity centres – Laggan Outdoor and Galloway Activity Centre – for sporty types. Pull up in the town’s Seaward Caravan Park for the night.
Kirkcudbright – Stranraer (48 miles)
The beauty of enjoying Scotland’s south west coast is that there are endless opportunities to hop out of your Rockinvan and explore the miles of beautiful coastline, so don’t be afraid to deviate from our guide when you spot a beach or two. Between paddles, stop in at Wigtown, a town famous for its annual book festival which runs in the autumn. Because of the global audience the festival attracts, Wigtown has a range of lovely shops and amenities, but its walks are the real selling point. Try the Torhouse Stone Circle – two miles from the town, and rumoured to be the burial site of the first king of Galloway. The countryside around the spot is extremely pretty. Stranraer is further up the coast and is the place to go for those who are green of finger. Castle Kennedy Gardens encompass 75 acres of landscaped green space around the ruins of Castle Kennedy and are surrounded by the White and Black Lochs.
Stranraer – Galloway Forest Park (42 miles)
No trip to Dumfries and Galloway would be complete without a hike or bike around Galloway Forest Park. The park comprises forest, moorland and lochs, and is one of only four ‘dark sky’ parks in the western world. It’s got to be seen to be believed – at night it’s one of the best places in the UK to stargaze. The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is on a hill at the edge of the park and affords some truly spectacular views come darkness. If you’ve got a tent, it’s possible to camp in the forest itself. Otherwise, pull up at the nearby Whitecairn and Glenluce Holiday Parks.
Galloway Forest Park – Moffat (58 miles)
There’s plenty to do in Moffat, a bustling market town in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway. The 7 Stanes mountain biking routes are a good way to burn off some energy, and indeed the surrounding area has much in the way to offer keen bikers too. Moffat Hills are a great destination to take a picnic if the weather is sunny, while the Moffat Golf Club, with its 18-hole course, is listed as one of Golf Monthly magazine’s Hidden 100 Gems. Tired out from a day of activity? Head to Moffat Camping and Caravanning Site, which is well equipped for a chilled night and a stopover.
Moffat – Annan (29 miles)
The trip from Moffat to Annan will bring you past Drumlanrig Castle, which boasts 40 acres of formal gardens as well as more strenuous walks. Trails ranging from 1km to 7km mean there’s something suitable dependent on whether you want to commit a whole afternoon or are in need of something a little shorter. There’s also the chance to join one of the estate’s rangers on a walking or Land Rover tour of the pretty surroundings in order to spot otters, birds of prey and red squirrels. How better to explore than with an expert? Treat yourself to a gourmet dinner at the well thought-of Del Amitri, in Annan, where you can expect gastro goodies from talented chefs.
Dumfries - Sandyhills Bay (36 miles)
Make the pretty area of Sandyhills Bay the final stop in your Dumfries and Galloway adventure. It’s a good base to explore more beaches from because it hugs the south coast of Scotland where sandy stretches abound. Annan Beach is a great spot to blow the cobwebs out and have a brisk stroll, while a little further along the coast, Southerness Beach has the pre-requisite sand. Sandyhills Bay Beach is one of the finest in Southern Scotland, renowned for its large expanse of sand and great swimming or paddleboarding conditions. After a day and night at the beach, Sandyhills Bay Leisure Park is located in a sheltered wooded area and comes complete with a well-stocked, licensed shop