Scotland’s South West Coastal 300 is considered to be one of the best driving routes in the UK. It spans over 300 miles and combines miles of breath taking coastline with impressive hills, valleys and lochs. It’s a circular route that meanders through Dumfries and Galloway and just nudges into East and South Ayrshire at its northern part.
Whether you’re planning to do the South West Coastal 300 route by car or motorbike, take the chance to explore some local towns on the way. Here are 5 remarkable towns and villages to visit on the southern stretch of the South West Coastal 300, each with their own unique charm.
Kippford is a small, sailing village, situated between the Solway coast and the Mark Hill woodlands (Muckle as the locals call it). Explore the 5th century hill fort, by hiking through the scenic Jubilee footpath, or wait for low-tide to stroll to Rough Island. The village also boasts spectacular views of the English Lake District coast, Glen Isle and unique white-washed and granite houses along the coast. If you’d rather indulge your taste buds, you can visit the Cocoabean Company chocolate factory and Finlay’s Cream O Galloway dairy farm.
2. Caerlaverock – Sulwath Brewers Ltd
If you’re looking for a mix of beauty, the extraordinary and some jolly good ale, then you’ve hit liquid gold with Caerlaverock. This region is globally famous for its Wildfowl Reserve and the granite-based mountain, Criffel. Within this naturally astounding setting you will find Sulwath Brewers Ltd. This small brewery offers an extensive range of delicious Ales and Westons Family Reserve. You can also enjoy an entertaining and unique tour conducted by the owner, which explains the beer making process, the history of the building and its possible haunting.
The vibrant town of Kirkcudbright is situated southwest of Castle Douglas. Bordered by south west Scotland’s scenic hills and coast, Kirkcudbright offers its visitors both man-made and natural beauty. It’s known as The Artists’ Town because of the town’s link with the Glasgow art movement and is a big attraction due to its religious roots, artistic associations, events, museums and exhibitions. You can paint or picnic by Archibald the Grim’s, Threave Castle, while surrounded by wildflowers, ospreys and otters. Why not experience a touch of the orient with artist, E. A. Hornel’s Japanese Garden or visit The Toolbooth, the town’s old jail which was converted into the Art Centre in 1993? Kirkcudbright is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a bit of culture and variety for your road trip, particularly if you love jazz.
4. Creetown – Creetown Gem Rock Museum
The village of Creetown has many amazing attractions, among which is the Creetown Gem Rock Museum. The museum displays its award winning collection of crystals and minerals in both cut and natural form. The museum is also fully interactive; adventurous visitors can satisfy their need to explore in the Crystal Cave, geology quizzes are available for the more studious visitor or you can watch the ‘Fire in the Stones’ audio-visual display. After you’ve feasted your eyes, you can feast on delicious baked goods and get a beautiful souvenir from the gift shop.
Whithorn is the Holy Grail if you’re looking for a town with an incredible history. Visitors to this awe-inspiring place can experience the remains of Candida Casa: the ‘White’ or ‘Shining’ House, the first documented Scottish Christian church. The Whithorn Priory Museum displays excavated carved stones from Saint Ninian’s Cave that date back to the 700s and the Latinus Stone – a Christian monument possibly linking the earliest Scottish Christian community to the town. Archeological digs are still very active in the town and allow visitors restricted viewing of digs. The town is overwhelming in its religious significance and is a definite visit for the spiritual.
These are just a few of the lovely places to visit on the southern section of the South West Coastal 300 driving route. With the wonders along this Scottish coastline, you are guaranteed an epic road trip.
For more information and the map route please refer to Visit South West Scotland.