Holidays in Dumfries and Galloway can be as leisurely or as energetic as you wish. Popular outdoor activities include cycling, fishing, walking and golf but there’s an abundance of other activities for families and couples of all ages. Here’s a handy guide of some of the numerous activities on offer when you’re spending your holidays in Dumfries and Galloway.
Small Towns To Visit
Known as Scotland’s Food Town, Castle Douglas offers a wide variety of restaurants, cafés, takeaways and shops.
A lively fishing port that is also known as The Artists’ Town because of the annual Arts and Crafts trail http://www.artandcraftstrail.com/ that happens every August.
This charming town has theatres, art galleries and numerous shops, and is well known for its Moffat Sheep Races and the annual Moffat Gala.
A haven for all book lovers. Wigtown was designated as Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998 and has a variety of book shops, in addition to hosting the annual Wigtown Book Festival. http://www.wigtownbookfestival.com/
Family Days Out
A chocolate factory where both adults and children can create chocolate masterpieces in the chocolate workshops. There are also indoor and outdoor play areas, the Cocoabean cafe and the factory chocolate shop to stock up on tasty treats.
The farm offers a woodland adventure playground, indoor play areas, slides and rides, a pedal kart track plus beautiful nature trails and walks. To tickle your taste buds there are over 30 flavours of ice cream to choose from and the chance to purchase the homemade Finlay’s Farmhouse Cheese.
For those interested in exploring the past. A look at life for soldiers in the trenches in the First World War and for the women who worked at the war munitions factory. The museum also has a Second World War exhibition, interactive touchscreens, a well stocked shop and the Gretna Green Café.
8. Dino Park
Perfect for dinosaur fans of all ages. You walk around the park and can admire (or be scared by) the incredibly life like dinosaurs positioned in the shrubbery. There is also a bouncy castle, soft play area, the Dino Park treehouse and a shop.
Numerous adventurous activities on offer for various ages including: windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, zip wires, archery, laser tag and more.
10. Laggan Outdoors
Scottish Thistle Awards winner with many activities to choose from including: zip wire, archery, Segway, dirt scooters, water balling, clay pigeon shooting and grass sledging.
11. Mabie Farm Park
Original farm fun for the family with indoor and outdoor areas to explore. There are farm animals to see, a petting area, soft play area (the Farmer’s Den), bikes, paddle boats, various rides, a farm shop and tearoom.
Get Close To Nature
This Kite Feeding Station enables viewers to see red kites close up when they come to snatch food provided for them, and to observe birds in the distance. There are also opportunities to see other wildlife such as deer, stoat, kestrel, sparrow hawk and yellow hammer.
A reserve offering wildlife watching from comfortable hides. Depending on the season of your visit, you may see different animals such as: osprey, warblers, barn owls, barnacle geese and whooper swans.
This trail is situated around beautiful Lock Ken and provides the opportunity to see red kites in beautiful scenery. In winter the trail is 24 miles; in summer it covers an additional 16 miles. Popular with cyclists because of the fairly level route, as well as with walkers, families and birdwatchers.
This nature reserve has a nature trail and two hides from which you may see a host of visitors such as Greenland white fronted and greylag geese, redstarts, pied flycatchers and red kite.
A unique opportunity to see wildlife at night using professional hand held night vision and thermal imaging wildlife observation equipment. You may see rabbits, badgers and Roe deer – all immersed in their normal nocturnal routine and unaware of your presence.
Enjoy close encounters with red deer or join a guided walk with the knowledgeable Wildlife Rangers.
Rockcliffe is a beautiful coastline along the Solway Firth on the southern edge of Dumfries and Galloway. Enjoy coastal walks, visit the bird sanctuary on Rough Island and discover the ancient hilltop Mote of Mark. Guided walks available in the summer.
The Wild Goat Park is where you can get close to friendly, wild goats. There are also picnic benches in the area overlooking the beautiful rolling hills.
A great medieval fortress with a moat, towered gatehouse and battlements. Discover its turbulent history due to border conflicts with the English and see the siege warfare exhibition. Although ruined, this castle is a fine example of one of the strongest castles in Scotland.
21. Cardoness Castle
This 6 storey, 15th Century tower house was built for the lawless McCullochs. Learn their history, view the pit prison and admire the views over the Water of Fleet from the battlements.
These 75 acres of sculptured landscaped gardens have been described as a showpiece of Galloway. Admire the rhodedendron collection, championship trees and rare species, and enjoy strolling around the beautiful avenues around the ruins of Castle Kennedy.
A 90,000 acre estate is home to Drumlanrig Castle which boasts 120 rooms, 4 towers, 17 turrets and paintings by Old Masters which can be seen amid the fine furnishings and antiques. In addition to exploring the castle you can enjoy beautiful walks, salmon fishing, an adventure playground and mountain bike trails.
Admire the remains of this tower house, owned by Sir Thomas MacLellan, and discover its great domestic comfort, in stark contrast to its lack of defences. Find the secret spyhole behind the fireplace in the Great Hall – a spot the owner used to eavesdrop on his guests. And finally learn how the loss of the MacLellan fortune led to the demise of the castle.
25. Threave Castle
Perched atop an island in the middle of the River Dee, a visit to the huge tower house begins with a 10 minute walk through woods to reach the river. Ring on the brass bell at the small jetty and a boatman will come from the castle to take you to the island. Once there, you can admire this late 14th century tower house which became the stronghold of the Black Douglases.
When spending your holidays in Dumfries and Galloway make sure you try out at least some of 25 suggested attractions. Not only will you have some great days out, but you’ll also experience the area’s beautiful scenery, its history and the friendliness of the locals!