Let the landscape and atmosphere of the magical south west of Scotland work its spell on you. The region is the perfect tonic for modern life and the perfect setting for a great holiday adventure. Ascend the rolling hills of Langholm. Stand above the sea cliffs at the Mull of Galloway. Feel the sand between your toes on Colvend beach known as the 'Scottish Secret Coast’. Watch the sunset over the silver expanse of the Solway Firth. Stroll through the rugged grandeur of the Galloway Forest Park (the UK's first Dark Sky Park). This area of Scotland was voted 'Holiday Destination of the Year 2015/16' by Countryfile Magazine.
There’s more on offer than just the fantastic scenery. Dumfries and Galloway is steeped in history. Whithorn is the birthplace of Scottish Christianity, a church being founded here by St Ninian at the end of the Roman period. Castles, fortified towers, ancient standing stones and ruined abbeys still stand proud. Threave Castle, the former stronghold of the Black Douglases, is situated on a river island accessible by ferry. Visit Drumlanrig Castle, the home of the Duke of Buccleuch with its renowned art collection and extensive Victorian gardens. Hear the medieval romances associated with the impossibly named Sweetheart Abbey and visit moated triangular Caerlaverock Castle which best represents what a medieval fortress should be – substantial and formidable.
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Dumfries and Galloway has also a remarkable artistic pedigree. The poet Robert Burns lived and worked in the area, as farmer and then Exciseman, seeking smugglers on the Solway coast. He was inspired not only by the natural beauty of the landscape, but by the attractions of the local lasses. Many of his greatest works were composed in this region and it is fitting that he is buried in Dumfries.
Kirkcudbright is a pretty harbour town and was the focus of an important artist’s colony at the turn of the 20th century. Broughton House and Garden in the town was the home of the artist E A Hornel and is open to the public. The light and landscape still stir the imagination of over 400 contemporary artists and craft workers who have settled in the region. Galleries, workshops and studios showcasing their creativity are scattered among the towns and villages. If you‘re a bibliophile, then you must visit Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town. It also plays host to an annual Book Festival, one of the biggest in the UK.
Exploring the charming streets and harboursides of the region’s towns is one of the delights of staying here. All have their own unique character and attractions. Castle Douglas is now promoted as a Food Town where you can enjoy fresh local produce in a lovely market town atmosphere. Moffat, once a flourishing spa, is in a beautiful setting at the head of Annandale. Newton Stewart is an ideal base for treks into the Galloway hills. The county town of Dumfries boasts a wide variety of independent and high street stores, museums and great eating out options.
Outdoor activities overflow for all abilities in Dumfries and Galloway. In the west the Solway Coast Heritage Trail is a popular way to soak up the spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife, taking in tidal flats and towering cliffs. While in the east, you can follow the Border Reiver Trail across moorland and grassy uplands. The Galloway Forest Park is Britain’s largest – explore its peaks, lochs and woodland by foot, bike or horseback. Of course, with 200 miles of coastline, there’s ample opportunity to get on the water or relax on an unspoiled beach.
Gretna Green is many visitors first view of Scotland - and Dumfries-shire - as they drive over the border from England. The famous Blacksmith’s Shop and Marriage Anvil are located here. Runaway weddings are now a rarity. Instead, why not arrange a holiday elopement in Dumfries and Galloway!
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