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.

At Castle Kennedy Gardens there’s a pumpkin trail around the gardens, which runs every day from October 13-28 – always a great way to exercise the little ones without them realising you’re taking them for a walk.  For grown-ups, there’s an ‘autumn glory in the gardens’ guided walk on October 10 – an ideal chance to see all the amazing autumnal colours.  Plus, on October 24, Zoolab will be giving visitors the chance to handle lots of exotic creatures from African land snails and snakes to scorpions and tarantulas.  Not for the fainthearted!

Mountain biking at Kirroughtree is beautiful at any time of year and is all the more so with October’s autumn colours.  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.  There’s also a relatively flat cycle route along the old railway to Creetown, which beautiful views over Wigtown Bay – we’ve enjoyed this easy expedition a couple of times with friends and there are various options for extending it on the way back by linking into the green route.  Lunch afterwards at the Kirroughtree Visitor Centre cafe is always well deserved.

Wonderful Autumn Colours at Kirroughtree

In the October holidays we 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.  I’ll report back on that in due course!

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 creating a twig loom keepsake on October 18 and flax weaving – where you can make some simple flax woven animals and flowers as a memento of your visit to the gardens on October 25.  No booking is required and it’s included in the cost of the entrance fee.  I know will be extremely popular with our children.  There’s also a guided walk round the gardens on October 9, 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.

I hope I’ll be able to 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.  This year I take comfort in the fact that the gardens are staying open until November 15 – great news for visitors to the area and for me means lots more cheesecake opportunities.

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 including Glenwhan and Logan House.

Close by to Logan Botanic Garden, is the Fish Pond at Logan, which 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 an 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.

We have good availability for 7-night breaks in October at our luxury four-star holiday cottages in south west Scotland:

Home Farm Cottage (sleeps 5), our new ‘gingerbread’ style cottage complete with log burner, from £625

Garden Cottage (sleeps 6), a charming wing of Corsewall House, with prices from £715;

Cedar Lodge (sleeps 8), our stylish self-catering house in Portpatrick, from £917

High Clachan Farmhouse, (sleeps 8) our luxury 4-star holiday cottage with log burning stove in Dumfries and Galloway, from £815

Stables Cottage (sleeps 4), which has a log burning stove, perfect for keeping cosy during the autumn evenings, from £565

We can also offer short breaks in October for 3 and 4 nights, with prices from £300.

Do check out our availability page on the website for further dates and prices.