Castle Douglas.

Dumfries and Galloway is home to the original Scots.

Guid Nychburris Day 2016 in Dumfries.

In Dumfries and Galloway people still travel by horse.

Dumfries and Galloway is home to the Scottish Riviera.

Broughton House Garden.

Dumfries and Galloway is said to have world's best gardens.

Dumfries Show.

Dumfries and Galloway is just across the border from England.

Dumfries Show.

Agriculture accounts for 70% of the area of Dumfries and Galloway.

Stewartry Show.

Famous names associated with Dumfries and Galloway include Robert the Bruce, Merlin the Wizard, Robert Burns, Gavin Maxwell, J M Barrie, James Clerk Maxwell, John Buchan, the Douglases, the Maxwells, the Jardines, the Keswicks...

Stewartry Show.

Dumfries and Galloway has 31 golf courses and is 'mountain biking heaven.'

Stewartry Show.

Dumfries and Galloway has a population of approximately 148,000.

Stewartry Show

Dumfries and Galloway (above) has been named as the best holiday destination in Britain.

The region earned the award from fans of the flagship BBC programme Countryfile .

Dumfries and Galloway

In September we headed up North to Dumfries and Galloway for some cycling.


The TV star Neil Oliver says that "there is no more beautiful part of the world than the Galloway Coast."

Castle Douglas

The best things in Dumfries and Galloway:

Balcary Bay

Balcary Bay Country House Hotel - best hotel and best food (Two AA rosettes)

Cream of Galloway

Cream O' Galloway and Laggan Outdoor centres - best activities for children of all ages.

Drumlanrig Castle - best castle.


Kipford, and, Carrick Shore - best beaches

Threave Gardens

Threave Gardens - world class gardens.

Castle Douglas

Castle Douglas - best town for cyclists (three bicycle shops)

There are also lots of golf courses in the area.

The King's Arms Hotel in Castle Douglas welcomes cyclists and golfers.


Dumfries - best town to visit on a wet day (shops, museums, galleries...)

The artist Hornel's house in Kirkcudbright.

Kirkcudbright - prettiest town.


Gatehouse - John Buchan country

The worst things:

Stagecoach's uncomfortable and horrid old buses. The seats are squashed together. (Avoid them)

The general neglect of the area's transport infrastructure by successive governments, including the current one in Edinburgh.

War Games begin.

The worst things:

The use of this area by the military.

Stewartry Show.

Dumfries and Galloway is a neglected part of the world, particularly when it comes to transport links.

If it was an independent state, like Lichtenstein, Dumfries and Galloway could be rich.

But Dumfries and Galloway is not an independent state and it lacks the power to make the big decisions.

The really big decisions are made in London and in Edinburgh.

The talented people tend to leave Dumfries and Galloway and head south.

Cairnsmore in the distance.

If you cycle off the beaten track in Dumfries and Galloway, you will come across an Enid Blyton - John Buchan - Peter Pan - Rupert Bear - Gavin Maxwell sort of world.

Think of mysterious castles, rounded hills and enchanted bays.

J M Barrie went to school in Dumfries, chief town of Dumfries and Galloway, and there he spent the happiest days of his life (Victoria Terrace).

Robert Burns had a house in Dumfries (Burns Street).

Part of John Buchan's Thirty Nine Steps was filmed in the Dumfries and Galloway hills and valleys.

The gentle hills of Galloway are like the ones in the Rupert Bear or Enid Blyton books: gently rounded, with clumps of trees, rocky outcrops, fluffy little clouds and sometimes deep blue sky.

Carlingwark Loch.

When it's not raining, the light is incredibly bright, and the air so very clear; hence the attraction to artists.

This is not sunny Spain, but the climate tends to be mild; a possibly drier version of Cornwall or the Lake District.

Gavin Maxwell, author of Ring of Bright Water, was born in Dumfries and Galloway.

Drumlanrig Castle

Near Thornhill is exotic, multi-turreted 17th century Drumlanrig Castle, which has paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

This is one of Britain's sexiest castles. It is home to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.

It was a Queensberry who was the father of Lord Arthur Douglas.

Look out for the decorative cupolas, Renaissance-style colonnade, Baroque horseshoe stairway and gorgeous gardens.

There is a large adventure playground for children.


Coastal Kirkcudbright is an attractive and aristocratic "artist's town", associated with the Glasgow Boys.

Kirkcudbright's Broughton House is where the artist Edward Hornel used to live. For part of the year, you can tour the beautiful house and see Hornel's Japanese-style pictures of little girls, some naked, and his magical garden, which is probably the very best garden in the world.

Kirkcudbright has a wild life park and a fabulous jazz festival each June.

Wigtown, which looks rather French, is Dumfries and Galloway's book town and it has at least 20 book businesses.

Depleted-uranium shells were fired at Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright. MoD

Weapons testing at Dundrennan has led to certain worries.

"Although 27 tonnes of depleted uranium have been fired into the sea at the Kircudbright range none of the shells has been recovered despite extensive searches....the controversial shells ...blamed for causing...Gulf War Syndrome..." according to The Galloway News.


Gatehouse of Fleet has a large second hand book shop, run by poet Robin Munro.

Gatehouse's Cally Palace Hotel has AA one rosette food and a super golf course.

Georgian buildings; bonny views of hills.

Gatehouse has the Laggan Outdoor centre.

Laggan Outdoor centre

New Abbey is associated with John Balliol, the founder of Balliol College, Oxford. This pretty village has an abbey and a tearoom.

Castle Douglas has the best shopping in the area, a caravan park, three cycle shops, golf, a boating loch, a little art gallery, a theatre, one of the best second hand book shops in Scotland and the tiny Sulwath brewery which produces the world's tastiest real ales (Knockendoch is a dark copper coloured brew tasting of deeply roasted malts) and which provides tours.

Castle Douglas is close to Threave Gardens and Threave Castle.

Creetown - well worth a visit. It has a gem museum.

Dalbeattie has some of the friendliest people in Britain.

It has the fabulous little Dalbeattie Museum of Victoriana.

The officer on the deck of the Titanic, when it sank, was a man from Dalbeattie.

The Dalbeattie area is famous for off-road cycling.

From the Dalbeattie Museum

The National Trust's hilly Threave Gardens, near the town of Castle Douglas, has a magical walled garden, glasshouses, an eastern style pond, rock plants, tall trees, rhododendrons and heavenly views on a clear day.

Logan Botanic Garden, 14 miles South of Stranraer, at Port Logan, open March-October, has water, walled, terrace, woodland and other small gardens, with tree ferns, palm trees, climbers... and there's a nice licensed restaurant.

Crossmichael, near Castle Douglas, used to have a Michelin starred restaurant, but it moved to Leith in Edinburgh, which is where the money and the power lie.

Buddhists, and others, will enjoy the Samye-Ling Tibetan Centre at Eskdalemuir. Here you will find a magnificent golden-roofed temple, and the oldest Tibeten centre in the West.

Port Patrick

Rockcliffe is an Enid Blyton sort of coastal village with mystery islands, beaches, rock pools and (according to the local papers) smugglers not too far away. Great for walks. Nice tearoom. Yachts and pubs at nearby Kipford.

(Wash your hands after building castles on the beach. Watch out for incoming tides).

Dumfries straddles the River Nith.

Dumfries has some superbly attractive Victorian and medieval buildings which are now right next to some truly hideous 60's buildings and various carparks.

You will see lots of children who look seriously malnourished.

You begin to think you are in the Third World.

Some of the school kids from JM Barrie's old school will politely offer directions.


Dumfries has a number of attractions, including:

1. The Gracefield Arts Centre.

2.  The Dumfries townhouse Moat Brae which is destined to become a shrine to J M Barrie... "It was in the Enchanted Garden of this house, chasing, climbing, and prowling through the undergrowth, that the young Barrie met Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and the other characters..." -Glasgow Herald.

Chrichton Church. The Crichton

3. Dumfries has the fantastic, world-class, Victorian, Chrichton buildings and gardens at Bankend Rd.


Formerly this was one of the biggest mental institutions in the world - world famous and set up by a rich philanthropist; now it is university buildings, a decent hotel, museum, gardens, and a smaller mental institution.

4. Dumfries also has one of Britain's best looking churches - St Michaels.

Robert Burns is buried outside.

5. Dumfries has a theatre linked to J M Barrie.

6. There is a Camera Obscura and a museum.

7. There are lots of charity shops.

8. Osama bin Laden's Mujahideen received training from the British SAS in mountains surrounding the Criffel near Dumfries in Scotland. (Sunday Mail, Sept 2001)

Former SAS member, Ken Connor, said that training camps were set up in a remote mountain area in 1983.

(BBC News SCOTLAND Scots link to US terror suspect / PEN-L message, SAS trained Mujahedin fighters in Scotland)

Stewartry Show, Castle Douglas

Loch Ken, near Castle Douglas, is for windsurfers. The Galloway Sailing Centre at Loch Ken can tell you about Dinghy Courses, powerboating courses, canoeing courses, gorge scrambling and quad bikes.

Family fun can be had at the award winning Cream o' Galloway, Rainton, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas. Open Easter until October. This place has an adventure playground and nature trail as well as a restaurant selling the best ice cream in the UK.

Castle Douglas

Cycling was invented in Dumfries and Galloway.

Cyclists might enjoy the route from Rhonehouse to Kirkcudbright ( 7 miles, deserted road, flowers, sheep, rabbits, little hills like babies' buttocks, country cottages)....

Or Palnackie to Castle Douglas taking the route over the hills.

The Dalbeattie area is famous for having off-road trails and miles and miles of quiet country roads.


Dumfries and Galloway has traditionally been used by the armed forces for hush hush training of special forces (and 'Moslem terrorists', according to newspapers).

Expect to see the occasional Hawk fighter, tank, or men dressed as trees.

Military aircraft have crashed into local farms. "The latest crash was only seconds away from Lockerbie, in one direction, and Dumfries in the other..." according to The Dumfries Courier.


Lockerbie is famous because of Major Charles McKee.

Pan Am Flight 103 hit Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.

On that flight "were at least 2 US Intelligence agents and a Mr Khalid Nazir Jafaar."

The Dumfries and Galloway police began to investigate.

But for two days it was "difficult" for them to collect evidence as "CIA agents combed the countryside for the luggage of the dead American intelligence agents and a suitcase full of heroin....

"59 bodies were left lying around Lockerbie until 24 December... then there were only 58 bodies..." according to Lester Coleman.



Much of the rail network is gone.

The road network is poor.

The nearest airport is at Newcastle in England.

As transport is the key to the success of an area, Dumfries and Galloway has its problems!

National Express coaches will take you from London, Birmingham, Manchester etc to Dumfries and beyond.

A grotty little train will transport you from Carlisle to Dumfries. The train used to go to Stranraer, but not any more.

Bus services are poor.

Many local buses travel too fast. Stagecoach buses have little leg room and usually no toilets even on the longest journeys.

Dumfries by William Miller


Balcary Bay Country House Hotel - best hotel and best food (Two AA rosettes)

Knockinaam Lodge.

The King's Arms Hotel in Castle Douglas welcomes cyclists and golfers.

Brighouse Bay leisure park takes caravans and tents and has lodges and cottages.

It "boasts a vast range of on-site facilities that appeal to everyone, from small boats on the pond for the younger generation to Quad Bikes for the thrillseekers. The indoor pool complex offers swimming for all ages with a jacuzzi and steam room for a spot of relaxation after all that work.The 18 hole Golf Course is championship length and has glorious views across the Irish Sea. There is also a 9 hole par 3 for all the family."

Similar to Brighouse Bay is Sandyhills Bay, sitting at the foot of wooded hills and close to a sheltered sandy beach.

There are many other caravan and camp sites.

You could stay in DUMFRIES which has at least one good Bed and Breakfast.

CASTLE DOUGLAS has a number of Bed and Breakfast places.

GATEHOUSE's Cally Palace Hotel has one AA rosette food and a super golf course; Georgian buildings; bonny views of hills.

NEWTON STEWART, a quiet contry town in the middle of John Buchan style countryside, has the KIRROUGHTREE HOUSE hotel which has an AA 2 Rosette restaurant. The hotel is AA 3 stars. Posh country house interior.

PORTPATRICK, on the coast, somewhat remote, has the wonderful KNOCKINAAM LODGE HOTEL, the restaurant of which has AA 3 Rosettes! (same as London's River Cafe, Bibendum....)

“First Class accomodation in a beautiful location”

“A Home from Home”

“WOW Factor in the new rooms”

Views In Galloway !!

William Jardine. The Keswick family still has farms and properties in Dumfries and Galloway.


The people of Dumfries and Galloway are the people who ran Hong Kong (Jardines and Flemings...) and ran a large part of the Empire!

You'll bump into Galloway people in Africa, South America and Australasia.

Strangely, this area has quite a few millionaires. Lots of big houses. They must like the scenery.

Dumfries and Galloway has a low crime rate...... It has the best crime clear-up rate in Britain.


TO SUM UP - THIS IS BETTER THAN the Lake District or Cornwall - if you have a romantic sort of mind and a car or a bike.

Dumfries and Galloway will appeal to -

CYCLISTS, golfers, fishermen, WALKERS, foodies, CARAVANERS, booklovers, JOHN BUCHAN/JM BARRIE/GAVIN MAXWELL FANS, Bird watchers, Enid Blyton children..........


Threave Garden
Robert Burns House
Drumlanrig Castle
The Stewartry Museum
World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop Museum
Cardoness Castle
Cream 'o Galloway
Threave Castle
Broughton House
Globe Inn

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