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Things To Do And Explore In Dumfries And Galloway, Scotland

Matt Crisp July 5, 2023

Dumfries and Galloway in south western Scotland is a beautiful unspoilt place, with miles of coastline and forests. It’s ideal for a coach tour and a wonderful area to spend a few days exploring. Here are some suggestions for the best things to see and do during your visit. 

Explore the biosphere

This corner of Scotland contains the country’s first UNESCO biosphere reserve. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty that contains a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. It encompasses rolling hills, glacial valleys, forests, and moorland. It’s full of historical and cultural interest, and inspired the work of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.

The area covers 5,268km2 and contains Galloway Dark Skies Park. Here you can experience the wonder and joy of stargazing on a clear night, when over 7,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. It is often possible to distinctly see the reach of the Milky Way that can be obscured by light pollution in more populated areas of the country. 

Nearby is the attractive town of Moffat on the River Annan, which is Europe’s first Dark Skies Town. It offers a range of good quality places to stay and eat, as well as plenty of independent shops. It’s a perfect base to explore local attractions such as the Grey Mare’s Tail, a 60 metre waterfall that runs from the nearby Loch Skeen. 

Caeverlock Castle

The impressive mediaeval Caeverlock Castle is a classic fairytale castle with a wide moat and turrets and battlements. It is a popular film and TV filming location, and perfect for a family trip out. Over the years, the castle has survived sieges and battles, and from 1640 onwards it ceased to be used as a defensive structure.

Today, the castle grounds are home to a nature reserve that contains ancient woodlands and wetlands and a variety of wildlife.

Glenluce Abbey

Glenluce Abbey was founded in 1192 by Roland, Lord of Galloway, and its isolated geographical location means that it was protected from the worst of the destruction during the turbulence of the 16th century. The ruins are well worth a visit as a site of historical interest. 

It is in a beautiful location, just two miles from the sea at Luce Sands and a mile from the village of Glenluce. 


To the west of the region is Abbotsford, the spectacular house of the 19th century novelist Sir Walter Scott who was a bestselling author. He acquired the original building, then a modest farmhouse, in 1811 and set about extending it into the grand and rambling mansion that still stands today. Scott’s descendants occupied the house until 2004.

A team of architects transformed the house into a classic example of the 19th century Scottish Baronial style, and it is now a major tourist attraction for lovers of literature and architectural heritage alike. Abbotsford houses an extensive literary archive of Scott’s life and works, and his cherished collections of books and artefacts.

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