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The unique feature of Groom’s Cottage (shared with its neighbour, Coachman’s Cottage) is its location in the grounds of the Adam-style Arbigland House with historic links to American Independence and the Scottish Enlightenment. Arbigland Gardens are open to the public four afternoons a week, but residents are free to roam round the 24 acres at any time. Because there is sea on three sides, the Gardens’ local climate is particularly mild. Although predominantly woodland, with 200 year-old trees and an astonishing array of camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas, hidden away are a series of different garden areas, including a Japanese garden, a lake and a sunken rose garden with a pavilion built by Italian prisoners-of-war. Wildlife abounds, including deer and red squirrels, but the peace and quiet are only really broken by the chatter of birds and the occasional outburst from the resident cockerel.
Groom’s Cottage is Grade B listed and was refurbished and modernised in 2019. It forms part of the 17th century stable yard next to the Grade A listed Arbigland House, where the owners live. The 2 bedroom Groom’s Cottage may also be booked in conjunction with the adjacent 4 bedroom Coachman’s Cottage. Together they form one unit called The Stables that can accommodate 14 people.
A half-mile Broad Walk leads from the Cottage past the main House down to the beach on the Solway Firth. Here you can enjoy a happy beachcomber’s feeling with the sound of the sea and call of the curlew, together with spectacular views across the Firth to the Cumbrian Hills. In addition to garden walks, for the more energetic there are walks along this beach, in one direction to Powillimount with its strange rock formations and on to Southerness with its lighthouse. In the other direction you can walk to Carsethorn and “The Steamboat”, repeatedly voted the best pub in Dumfries and Galloway.
Although many may just wish to relax in such peaceful surroundings, Arbigland is an excellent base for recreational pursuits. Southerness Links golf course is virtually within walking distance and the RSPB Mersehead Reserve is just a few miles further along the coast. The Reserve is spectacular in winter and spring with thousands of geese and other over-wintering wildfowl. In summer there are delightful walks down to the beach. The RSPB staff run wildlife events throughout the year, including dawn walks, pond dipping and badger watching. Beyond Mersehead, you come to the picturesque villages of Rockcliffe and Kippford, with more coastal walks, sailing, pubs and teashops. Away from the coast, there are Forestry Commission woodland trails and cycling is well catered for, particularly with the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Routes, the closest of these being at Dalbeattie and Mabie Woods.
If you are more interested in history, there are numerous sites to explore, including Arbigland House itself (by prior arrangement with the owners) and the neighbouring John Paul Jones Cottage, being the birthplace of the founder of the American Navy. In New Abbey, there are the ruins of Sweetheart Abbey and one of the country’s oldest Corn Mills (both maintained by Historic Scotland). Dumfries boasts the world’s oldest Camera Obscura at its Museum. Connections with Robert Burns can be explored throughout Dumfries, at Arbigland itself (he was a close friend of the family) and at Ellisland Farm, Holywood where Burns lived and wrote for a number of years. In the opposite direction, lie Dalbeattie with two curiosities, its private Museum and Buittle Tower, then Castle Douglas with Threave Castle and Threave Gardens, and then Kirkcudbright with Broughton House, the Stewartry Museum and numerous art galleries. Beyond Kirkcudbright there are further gardens benefiting from this area’s mild local climate, including Cally Gardens and the Logan Botanic Garden.
Postcode DG2 8BQ
Short breaks are welcome throughout the year
Damage Deposit £150
Accommodation: Sleeping 3 + 1 in 2 bedrooms over two floors: Ground Floor: Entrance Hallway; Open living area comprising sitting room with wood burning stove and single sofa bed; Kitchen and dining area; Utility room with washer/dryer. First Floor: Landing; Double bedroom; Bathroom; Single bedroom
Facilities: Central heating & electricity included * Bed linen & towels provided * Washer/drier * Fridge * Freezer * Microwave * TV * Wifi * Wood burning stove with intial basket of logs provided * Courtyard and 24 acre shared garden with lake and beach * Garden furniture * Parking * Cot & highchair can be provided * Dogs welcome
Extras: £20 per dog/week