Are you the type who has an interest in history and architecture? Do you love learning about the past and all the stories it holds? If you’ve answered yes to these questions and are planning to spend time in Coastal Kippford shortly, then a trip to Thornhill is a must-do.
This small village can be found in the Mid Nithsdale area, which is in Dumfries and Galloway. While small, it features many interesting sights and attractions that you won’t want to miss, including the rather spectacular Drumlanrig Castle, which is easily one of the grandest Renaissance buildings you’ll find in all of Scotland.
So let’s explore the area together and lay out all the wonders and sights that you can enjoy.
Where Is Thornhill?
Not familiar with the village of Thornhill and unsure of where to find it? It is a village that is located between Sanquhar and Dumfries, within the Nithsdale Valley. It is just over a one hour drive from Carlisle, under one hour 30 minutes drive from Glasgow, and under two hours drive from Edinburgh.
The Origins of Thornhill Date Back to 1714
As mentioned, Thornhill is ideal for those who have a passion for history. The village dates back to 1714 when it was first planned and built. There is talk that the village dates back further with potential ties to the Romans, but the present form didn’t take shape until the early 1700s.
Originally it was on the Queensberry Estate, directly on the main road that travelled from Dumfries to Glasgow. Its purpose was to act as a staging post along that vital link. Today as you tour the village you can still see some of the coaching inns, with some being operational still.
When it was first built it didn’t go by the name “Thornhill”, instead it was called New Dalgarnock, named by the Earl of Queensberry. Its name didn’t get a warm reception so eventually, it was changed.
Other notable features of the village include the Victorian villas, streets that feel broad and open which isn’t always typical of a village, and of course the Mercat Cross. This is the emblem of the Dukes of Queensberry, and it can be found in the heart of the village. It’s a wonderful homage to the village’s founders.
Tack On Time to Tour Drumlanrig Castle
While not located directly in Thornhill, it’s just a stone’s throw away. One can’t visit Thornhill without also taking time to tour Drumlanrig Castle. As mentioned above, this isn’t just an average Renaissance building rather it is one of the best that Scotland has to offer. Found on the Queensberry Estate the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry live there, yet it’s open to the public to view and explore.
It took a full decade to build with construction beginning in 1679 and lasting until 1689. It is also known as the “Pink Palace” of Drumlanrig thanks to the pink sandstone that was used. For those with a love of 17th-century Renaissance architecture, Drumlanrig Castle is the perfect example and has been kept in pristine condition. And it’s not just the castle that will wow visitors, but the grounds as well.
A few interesting facts about the castle include:
- The castle has 120 rooms, four towers and 17 turrets
- Take a guided tour that showcases the castle’s stunning art collection
- The Woodland Adventure Playground is perfect for the kids
- The sprawling Victorian Gardens are a sight to be seen
- There are restaurants and a gift shop on-site
- The walking trails are perfect for a quiet escape
- Get active and bring your mountain bike to set out on the trails.
As for how much time to set aside for the visit, that comes down to what interests you. If you want to explore to the full extent including the shop, gardens, and trails then you could easily spend a full day here. Be sure to check the hours before visiting as they are different for the castle tours, walks/trails, gardens and adventure playgrounds. It’s also recommended that you pre-book your castle tour.
Small but Mighty – Thornhill Features Notable Attractions
Besides Drumlanrig Castle, there are other notable attractions both in the village of Thornhill and just outside, making them easily accessible during your visit.
The Thornhill War Memorial is a landmark and monument that marks the lives lost in World War I.
If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, a visit to the Crinchope Linn Waterfalls is perfect. Worth noting, the trail is quite rocky and uneven so be sure you have proper walking/hiking shoes on. It will be worth the hike, however, as the waterfalls are serene and stunning.
Foodies Can Satisfy Their Palate In Thornhill
Foodies aren’t left out of the fun, as there are several restaurants to visit in Thornhill. You’ll find everything from casual eateries to more classic and traditional dining options. Travelling with young children? Not to worry, as there are family-friendly restaurants as well.
Some of the restaurants that consistently get good ratings from customers include:
- Thomas Tosh
- Jinty-B’s Cakes & Tearoom
- The Buccleuch and Queensberry Arms Hotel Restaurant
- Drumlanrig Cafe
- Lean Bean
- The Trigony
- Jade Garden
- The Farmer’s Arms
- Thornhill Inn.
Many of these restaurants have websites or social media accounts, so you can take a look at their menu and theming before making a decision.
You Won’t Want to Miss Out On What Thornhill Has to Offer
The fact is that Thornhill has plenty to do, see and explore it’s just a matter of where your interests lie.
If you’ve got a stay planned at Coastal Kippford, you can travel to Thornhill by car and reach it within about 45 minutes. If you’re the active type who plans on bringing your bicycle on holiday, it is about a 31-mile trip one-way, so that gives you an idea of what to expect. A side trip to Thornhill makes for the perfect full day, or half day adventure, depending on how much time you want to dedicate to exploring before returning to your home base at Coastal Kippford. Check availability and prices of our holiday home rentals.