The Wonders of Castle Douglas Await

If you’ve already booked your stay at Coastal Kippford then you’re in for a treat, but what about the days you want to get out and explore?  Did you know there’s an incredible destination not far away?  Castle Douglas is a small town found in Dumfries and Galloway that simply shouldn’t be missed.  But don’t just take our word for it, let’s highlight all the beauty and treasures that await.  

A Long History That Is Dotted with Interesting Facts

For those unfamiliar with Castle Douglas, it was founded back in 1792 making it 231 years old.  So if you pride yourself on being a history buff, this is a must-visit town.  It can be found in the eastern area of Galloway, directly between Gatehouse of Fleet and Dalbeattie.  This makes it a great day trip or even a half-day trip, depending on how much exploring you’re prepared to do.

The town was originally founded by William Douglas who worked in the “American Trade” industry.  After founding the town he went on to bring a number of industries to the Carlingwark Loch shores, which included hand-woven cotton factories. 

As you explore the town today and walk along Cotton Street, you’ll realise it’s been named after its beginnings.  To make the town easy for residents when it was first founded, Douglas used the traditional grid pattern in terms of the street layout.  Even today it makes the town ideal for tourists, as it’s almost impossible to get lost.

Did you also know that Castle Douglas played an important role in World War II?  It acted as a landing or reception area for the children of Glasgow that were evacuated.  It also served as the base for the 92nd (Loyals) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery from 1943-1944.  Specifically, it was used as a training ground for Operation Overlord. 

It’s not hard to find pieces of history as you walk the streets, in particular King Street which is home to the Town Clock tower, which dates back to 1935.  You’ll also find prehistoric crannogs, incredible bronze tools that have been found over the years, and much more.

It’s not hard to find pieces of history as you walk the streets, in particular King Street which is home to the Town Clock tower, which dates back to 1935.  You’ll also find prehistoric crannogs, incredible bronze tools that have been found over the years, and much more.

The Railway Transformed the Small Town

It wasn’t until 1859 that the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway was finally finished and it made travel to and from the town much simpler.  This transformed what was still a rather sleepy town into one that was bustling with activity and commerce.  It’s worth noting that if you visit today you won’t find the railway any longer, as it was shut down back in 1965.

It’s Not Just About the Historical References

But at the same time, Castle Douglas is so much more than just its historic roots.  You’ll find plenty of modern infusions here that make it more of a crowd-pleaser for all ages and interest levels.

You’ll want to be sure to visit the Community Centre of Cotton Street which is known for being lively and engaging.  As for shopping, King Street is the place to be as you’ll find some quaint little shops and high-end offerings.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, be sure to schedule your visit during mealtime so you can check out one of the many restaurants and pubs.  King Street alone has a collection of Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants.

Here’s something that visitors will really appreciate and that’s the free parking.  No need to spend extra money during your tour of Castle Douglas, instead you can use that money on souvenirs and activities.

The Wonders of Castle Douglas Await

A Designated Food Town – Arrive with an Appetite

As mentioned above, you’ll find a selection of restaurants, cafes and pubs in Castle Douglas, in fact, there are so many that it’s been designated as Scotland’s only Food Town. 

Despite its small size, the town has more than 50 local businesses that specialise in food and drink – in particular locally produced foods, beer and an assortment of confectionery.  A few food shops and restaurants worth noting include Glen Urr ice cream, The Toffee Shop and Gillian Warden’s In House Chocolates.  For those who are looking for fresh meat, there are delis, three butchers, a fish shop and many different grocers. 

There is a small brewery, Sulwath Brewers, that can be found on King Street and features a fully licensed Brewery Tap room.  Its real ales are all hand crafted so you know you’re in for a treat, and they represent the local flavours and culture.

Many describe the food, menus and flavours of Castle Douglas as a step back in time.  There is a lot of focus on tradition, fresh local ingredients, classic recipes and pairings and making sure visitors are treated to incredible options.

Be Sure to Take in Threave Castle

The Wonders of Castle Douglas Await

While Castle Douglas is a lovely town to explore, tourists would be remiss if they didn’t travel to the nearby Threave Castle.  This is the castle that belongs to the Black Douglas line from the House of Douglas.  You’ll need to take a ferry ride to reach it since it is on an island in River Dee.  It makes the adventure all the more memorable!

For those looking to brush up on Threave Castle’s history, it dates back to the 1370s, making it extremely interesting.  It was built by Archibald the Grim.  When it was constructed it had one of the most impressive and impregnable defences of the time, an artillery house.  And while the Black Douglas lords ruled the castle for many years, their reign fell in 1455 when King James II overthrew them and made it a royal castle instead.

Visitors should note this isn’t one of those massive and impressive, perfectly preserved castles, rather there is a fair bit of ruins.  It’s really about taking in the history of the castle, the island and the times.  In 1921 it was designated a scheduled monument and excavations at length started taking place in the 1970s. 

The Threave Garden and Estate is Spectacular and Another Must-See

Also a quick jaunt from Castle Douglas is the Threave Garden and Estate.  This is a large garden that is meticulously cared for by the National Trust for Scotland.  Another interesting fact is the Practical School of Horticulture calls it home.  The gardens span 64 acres whereas the estate itself is made up of 1,500 acres.

Other highlights of the garden and estate are a nature reserve for ospreys and bats, a rock garden, ponds, a plant centre, a walled garden and a visitor centre which is a great place to begin your exploration.

Enjoy the Water Views at Carlingwark Loch

Another highlight can be found right next to Castle Douglas and that’s Carlingwark Loch.  Found on the water, visitors can take part in picnicking, sailing and boating.  If you’re travelling as a family, there is a kids’ playground that is sure to help them burn off their energy.

The Wonders of Castle Douglas Await

A Hop, Skip and a Jump Away

Castle Douglas is one of those lovely little gems that is perfect for exploring while staying in Coastal Kippford.  There’s something for everyone, no matter the age.  The scenery alone will have you in awe, not to mention the warm hospitality that the locals will show you.

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