The South West
Southwest Scotland is a gem in its own right within the landscape and culture of Scotland. With miles of quiet sandy beaches, challenging craggy coastal cliffs and hundreds of acres of forests teeming with wildlife and bird life and a culture and heritage datingback to the early times of recorded history. You will discover there is a surprisingly mild climate due to the effect of the Gulf Stream and also beautifully clear nights which, due to little light pollution, provide superb star gazing opportunities. Within the area there is the country’s first Dark Skies Park in the Galloway Forest Park which extends to three hundred square miles of forest, heather clad hill and peaceful glens.
Southwest Scotland can be divided into the regions of Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire. Dumfries and Galloway is still frequently subdivided into the local areas of Wigtownshire, Stewartry and Kirkcudbright, and Dumfriesshire. The local government changes only happened about twenty years ago and have still not really seeped through to everyday life! Ayrshire lies on the northern side of the region with superb sandy beaches, excellent golf courses including Troon and Turnberry and very good connections to Glasgow by rail and car and of course easy access to Prestwick Airport and Glasgow International Airport.
The area, often referred,to as Scotlands best kept secret, gives visitors a truly memorable experience, whether looking for quiet peaceful relaxation, outdoor sports and pursuits including exhilarating mountain bike trails, breath taking scenery, stunning sandy beaches, excellent eating and dining opportunities, variedand interesting historical sites such as Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire Coast, Logan Botanical Gardens near Stranraer or Sweetheart Abbey just southwest of Dumfries. It is an area that, once discovered, you will want to return to time and again for truly memorable holidays.
Upcoming Events & Places to Visit
Threave’s wonderful garden has been created over the years by students of the NTS School of Heritage Gardening – and is a fine example of landscaped beauty. The garden is divided into a series of smaller gardens to showcase different styles, including a rose garden, rockery and walled garden.
Hosting various events throughout the year remember to check the website for whats on when you are here!
A rugged and beautiful destination offering open space and tranquil wildlife watching. Wander through wildflower meadows spotting orchids, butterflies and dragonflies, or see the winter migration spectacle.
Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre offer adventure and recreational experiences for all the family. Set in the heart of Dumfries & Galloway, on the hills above the solway coast, you really will struggle to find a more stunning location. Whatever you interest the centre will tailor make a package to suit your needs. Whether you want to try your hand at adrenaline-pumping activities such as one of Europes longest Zip wires or want to test your aim with archery, Laggan Outdoor runs numerous activities that will make your holiday one to remember. A fabulous array of food is also available at their Basecamp Cafe.
Newton Stewart Walking Festival - 11th - 17th May 2018
Often described as Scotland's best kept secret, Galloway is a wonderfully unspoilt landscape with an endless variety of routes for walkers to enjoy. Walkfest offers around 30 routes over 7 days, with transport and guides included, as well as a programme of evening social events. Find out more here...
KNOCHENGORROCH WORLD CEILIDH - 24th - 27th May 2018
Knockengorroch Festivals were born from a love of the land, excellent roots music and celebrating the good times. They present unparalleled music, arts and workshops in a beautiful mountain riverside meadow. This is a festival for all the family and has a vast music line up catering for many tastes, and the location is just superb! Check it out for yourself at ...
Spring Fling - 26th - 28th May 2018
Spring Fling is a vibrant visual art and craft open studios event covering the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland; it is highly regarded as one of the UK’s most successful contemporary visual art and craft events. Every year between 90 - 100 professional artists and makers throw open the doors to their studios for three days over the late May bank holiday weekend, offering visitors the chance to get behind the scenes of artistic practice, experience artists and makers demonstrating and explaining their processes and inspirations.
Eden Festival, nr Moffat - 7th - 10th June 2018
This amazing boutique festival is set in the stunning Raehills Meadows & hosting 12 different stages including a kids arena, circus tent, drive in cinema, comedy, cabaret & workshops, as well as a feast of performers, artworks, games & much, much more... Previous headline acts include Boney M, Agnes, Cat Power and many more!!
The RSPB have various events throughout the Autumn/Winter months, so for more details on what’s on during your holiday, search their event calender:-
* Galloway Activity Centre, Loch Ken – Adventure and watersports on the shores of Loch Ken.
Open 7 days a week, 9-5pm
* Logan Botanic Gardens, Port Logan – exotic gardens warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Open daily March- October, 10-5pm.
* Mabie Farm Park, Dumfries – Indoor and outdoor play area, feed and interact with farm animals.
Open 7 days a week, 10-5pm.
* Cream of Galloway, nr Gatehouse of Fleet - Cream o' Galloway is a deliciously good fun place to visit. With its woodland adventure playground including the fabulously bouncy 'Go Boing', indoor visitor centre and play areas, daily events, exciting slides, rides and pedal kart track, and its miles of beautiful walks and nature trails to explore in Galloway's scenic countryside. Closed for the winter - will re-open in Spring 2018 (date to be confirmed).
*Dalscone indoor soft play & farm park, Dumfries - Dalscone is a great family day out and with it's large indoor and outdoor play areas it's a fab place to go, whatever the weather! Open year round but the outdoor and farm park is open April - October only.
* Rockcliffe and Kippford Circular
* Knockman Wood - Newton Stewart
* St Ninians Cave - Whithorn