October is a wonderful month to get out and about with the children in Dumfries and Galloway during the half term break.  It’s a last chance to enjoy the countryside, the beautiful gardens of Wigtownshire and the stunning autumn colours before the weather turns.

Castle Kennedy Gardens has some fun ranger-led events with the talented Elizabeth Tindal during October including a guided walk to see all the magnificent trees changing colour on October 11, nature weaving and a heart-shaped bird feeders making sessions on October 18, an orienteering skills session on October 25, plus there’s a pumpkin trail around the gardens, which runs every day from October 19-29 – always a great way to exercise the little ones without them realising you’re taking them for a walk.

The Fish Pond at Logan is such an unusual visitor attraction and is popular with all ages.  The UK’s oldest and most unique natural, marine aquarium, it’s open from March through to the end of October.  You’ll see all sorts here from cod and plaice to a one-clawed lobster and star fish and you may get the chance to handle some of the creatures too.

Situated at one end of a expansive sandy bay, the beach is a great place for a walk with the dogs.  Port Logan itself is a pretty village at the other end of the bay.  From Friday-Sunday, you can treat yourself with a delicious home-made ice cream, coffee or hot chocolate (complete with squirty cream and marshmallows) from the Cool Licks and Hot Drinks pop up cafe in the car park on the edge of the village.  Incidentally, Port Logan’s picturesque pier and lighthouse, which is set to star in Gerard Butler’s soon-to-be-launched film, ‘Keepers’, was designed by Thomas Telford in 1818.

Mountain biking at Kirroughtree is beautiful at any time of year and is all the more so with the autumn colours in October.  We love whizzing round (some faster than others) the mountain biking trails around Kirroughtree – the grown ups tend to stick to the easier ones, while the children try the more challenging routes.  I gather there is a relatively flat route from Kirroughtree to Creetown, which we have made plans to check out with friends, so I’m really looking forward to exploring some new terrain.

We’ll also plan to have a picnic at the Otter Pool beside the River Dee and explore the area around the Raiders Road in the Galloway Forest Park. Raiders Road is a two-way forest drive that connects Loch Ken and Clatteringshaws, which is open to cars between Easter and the end of October. I’m sure we’ll catch a glimpse of the magnificent red kites soaring over head as there are a few viewing platforms and a feeding station along the route.

Of course, the October holidays wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Logan Botanic Garden.  Thanks to all the exotic trees and shrubs from South America and the southern hemisphere, there will still be plenty of colour in the gardens.

There are a couple of family events in October – including making your very own rock buddy for your desk or bedside table on October 26 and ‘dream up your own dream catcher’ on October 19 – both I know will be extremely popular with our children.  There’s also a guided walk round the gardens on October 10, with highlights including dahlias, which I love, Salvias and autumn flowering bulbs.  This could be an ideal time to ask all those niggling gardening questions which have been bothering you all year. Meanwhile, I’ll take the opportunity to enjoy a last slice of the cheesecake in the award-winning Potting Shed Bistro – raspberry or lime they are both winners as far as I’m concerned.

It’s also a last chance to visit all the other fabulous gardens across Wigtownshire before they close for winter and enjoy all the marvellous autumn colours from Glenwhan and Logan House and Dunskey. 

We have good availability in October at our holiday cottages in south west Scotland for any last minute short breaks with a 15% discount off the normal rates for October 2-6, bringing a 4 night stay at Stables Cottage down to £315.56; based on two people sharing one bedroom, High Clachan Farmhouse, with a 15% discount is now available for £267.75 and Cedar Lodge, our stylish self catering cottage in Portpatrick, with a 15% discount is now available from £307.91.  We also have availability for a week’s holiday in our luxury 4-star holiday cottages in Dumfries and Galloway: High Clachan Farmhouse (sleeps up to 8) is now available from October 7-14 with a 15% late availability discount from £382.50; Stables Cottage (sleeps 4), which has a log burning stove, perfect for keeping cosy during the autumn evenings, with 15% late availability discount is now available for £467.50 and Garden Cottage (sleeps 6), available with a 15% late availability from September 30-October 7 for £548.25.  Do check out our availability page on the website for further dates and prices.