Luxury Holiday Cottages on a Coastal Estate
If you are looking for a cosy bolthole in south-west Scotland for Christmas or New Year, look no further. We have one 4-star holiday cottage in Portpatrick available for the Christmas week – Cedar Lodge (sleeps 8) – and one 4-star self-catering cottage – Garden Cottage (sleeps 6) for New Year. Both have beautiful sea views and are within walking distance of the sea.
All our luxury holiday cottages in Dumfries and Galloway come dressed for Christmas – with a festively decorated Christmas tree, fresh ivy decorations above the fireplaces and a proper wreath on the front door. There will also be home-made mince pies to greet you on arrival, as well as our delicious Corsewall brownies.
Festive Food for Thought
Suspecting your car will be packed to the gunwales with suitcases and presents and space will be at a premium, we thought it would be useful if we put together a list of local shops and suppliers in Galloway so you can either order in advance or perhaps up pick things en route to help your Scottish Christmas and New Year go with a bang!
For decent fresh fish with everything from salmon and shellfish to scallops, order from Ferry Fish who will deliver to your cottage door just before Christmas (usually on 23rd December or Christmas Eve). They also do excellent turkeys for the Christmas roast, which are locally sourced from a farm in neighbouring Ayrshire.
Alternatively, if you are travelling to us along the A75, it’s definitely worth stopping at Marrbury Smokehouse at Carsluith Castle, which is just beside the road. If we’re passing, we often stock up on their excellent wild Cree smoked salmon and smoked Kirkcudbright scallops. Peppered smoked duck is another delicacy you can buy here.
A mile or so down the road at Carsluith just off the A75, you’ll find the Galloway Smokehouse, which is another excellent supplier of smoked Scottish salmon (as opposed to Scottish smoked salmon – but that’s another story!). They do a wide choice of smoked fish and meats, venison, steak and chicken pies and hampers. They have recently opened a restaurant – the Galloway Fisherman – specialising in local fish dishes, which has lovely views over Wigtown Bay.
For meat, our favourite butcher in Stranraer is W M Frasers on Hanover Street – which has a wide range of fresh and cooked meats and where you can order in an excellent ham or turkey or steak pie.
If you are organised and would like to do an online shop and have it delivered to your cottage, Asda and Morrisons will deliver direct to your cottage and Tesco provides a ‘click and collect’ service, enabling you to shop online and have it delivered to Stranraer, which can take the stress out of doing battle with the Christmas and New Year crowds.
There are a few farm shops where you could pick up some Christmas treats en route. If you are coming from England, we would highly recommend stopping at Tebay Services on the M6, just south of Penrith, which is just under three hours’ drive from Corsewall Estate Holiday Cottages. It is the only independent motorway service station on the M6 and the only one to have a duck pond complete with ducks! It has a good farm shop for cheeses, meat, smoked fish etc and a great gift shop catering for all ages too – so you can’t fail to pick up a last-minute present there.
On the A75, just west of Dumfries in a converted farm steading is Kilnford Farm Shop, which sells an excellent selection of Galloway reared meat, hampers, cheeses, fruit and vegetables. They have a great cafe too – so it’s a very pleasant place to stop for a break. It’s about 1.5 hours from here to Corsewall or to Cedar Lodge at Portpatrick.
Just off the A75 at Beeswing is the Loch Arthur Farmshop & Café. Here you will find wonderful locally produced cheeses, bread and organic meat, fruit and veg in addition to lots of homemade goodies and Christmas hampers. If you have missed the boat on ‘stir up Sunday’, their Christmas cakes come highly recommended. The farmshop is open during winter Monday-Saturday from 9am-4.30pm.
If you are coming to us from the north via the A77, there’s a farm shop just north of Girvan – Dowhill. The shop specialises in a wide range of ready meals and has a butcher’s shop, which is run by Dalduff Farm Butchers and sells locally produced lamb and beef. They have an impressive gift shop, which does a good line in toys, clothing and food gifts. They also have a restaurant/cafe if you’re looking to take a break.
For a refreshing treat, you could drop in at the Crafty Distillery to pick up some award-winning Hills and Harbour gin. It’s located just off the A75, at the Newton Stewart roundabout. Using noble fir needles, bladderwrack seaweed and a mix of local botanicals, the Crafty people there produce a smooth and deliciously more-ish gin.
The Bladnoch Distillery near Wigtown, is Scotland’s most southerly distillery and produces premium single malt Scotch Whisky. It is open for tours up until 23 December and will re-open on 4 January.
So much of Christmas is about food! When the eating is done and it’s time for some fresh air, there are a host of magnificent woodland paths and coastal walks around Corsewall Estate for guests to enjoy. Many guests comment that they love the new paths as they don’t need to drive anywhere to walk – it’s just a case of stepping outside and the walks are right on their doorstep.
The Corsewall Loop walk takes you through the historic policy woodlands – originally laid out to represent the British Army’s dispositions at the Battle of Corunna of 1809 in Northern Spain. When you reach the top of the hill, catch your breath at one of the picnic benches, which also provides fabulous views across the open farmland of the Rhins and onto Loch Ryan then out north and over to the Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran. In spring, the woodland walks are thick with carpets of bluebells and in summer, the policy fields are full of wildflowers.
Further north along the shores of Loch Ryan, but still on the Corsewall Estate, another new path now leads from Port Beg beach and hugs the coast round the rugged headland to Lady Bay – a pretty sandy beach with a craggy cove at the far end.
There are also some pretty coastal walks nearby at Portpatrick, where the Southern Upland Way starts or up the Ayrshire Coastal Path, which starts just north of Cairnryan.
Alternatively, you could head for the hills – the Galloway Forest Park is walkers’ paradise, whether you fancy a gentle stroll or tackle the highest mountain in southern Scotland – the Merrick. The visitor centre at Kirroughtree will be open throughout December.
Unlike many National Trust properties which shut their doors firmly for winter, Dumfries House, near Cumnock in Ayrshire, which was rescued by HRH Prince Charles, is open for tours until 19 December. The Dumfries House Estate is a wonderful location for a fun and relaxing day out for all the family and is open free of charge, and the grounds are open 365 days a year.
The recently restored 5-acre walled garden now has a magnificent mixture of terrace, greenhouses, formal areas and an education garden. This is also open all year round – but it is worth checking opening hours on the website before visiting. Just outside the walled garden, the Arboretum houses an impressive collection of over 500 specimens and a range of shrubs and woodland flowers. There are lots of woodland walks to enjoy around the estate and it’s free to explore the policies.
The Coach House Cafe serves excellent lunches and snacks and is right next door to the amazing children’s adventure playground – kids won’t want to leave! The cafe and main house are closed over Christmas and New Year from 23 December and will re-open on 6 January 2022.
You might want to consider a day trip to Northern Ireland between Christmas and New Year. The ferry port of Cairnryan is a 20-minute drive from Corsewall Estate/Portpatrick, so a day trip is easily do-able. The Stena Line ferry, which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes, takes you right into Belfast (P&O only goes to Larne). They run up to six sailings a day and often offer deals for foot passengers. Visit the Titanic Museum while you are there and if you want to venture out of town, there are bus tours you can take to the spectacular Giant’s Causeway.
For indoor activities, the local leisure centre in Stranraer, the Ryan Centre, has a swimming pool with a flume and two other slides, plus it has a soft play area – Ryan’s Den – for younger children. It is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and 2nd January, but otherwise is open every day over the Christmas holidays. Do call to book in advance: 01776 703535.
Church Services at Christmas
If you would like to go to Church of Scotland service, on Christmas Eve, there is an early evening Christingle family service in the neighbouring village of Leswalt. The exact time is still to be confirmed, however, it is usually at 6.30pm. For Catholics, St Joseph’s RC on Lewis Street in Stranraer has a number of services.
Eating out at Christmas and New Year in Dumfries and Galloway
All of our luxury self-catering cottages in Dumfries and Galloway come with well-equipped kitchens, but we know that everyone deserves at least one night off, especially at Christmas time.
Connor’s Restaurant, which is right on the waterfront, overlooking the village’s picturesque harbour in Portpatrick, is a local favourite. It serves excellent locally sourced meat, seafood and fish dishes. It’s extremely popular with locals and visitors all year round, so booking well in advance is a must. Conor’s is generally open six days a week from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
We’d highly recommend the Old Colfin Creamery, three miles outside Portpatrick. Over the Christmas and New Year weeks it will be open for lunch and dinner from Monday, 20th December to Thursday, 23rd December and Thursday, 30th December – Saturday, 1st January and for lunch on Sunday, 2nd January. It’s definitely worth booking a table here well in advance.
Henry’s Bay House on Cairnryan Road in Stranraer is right at the head of Loch Ryan and has wonderful views over the loch towards Corsewall Estate in the distance! It’s owned and managed by local chef/restaurateur John Henry and his wife, Jane, who runs front of house. Open for lunches and in the evening, the restaurant serves fresh locally sourced meat, fish and shellfish from Loch Ryan oysters to Galloway smoked Salmon. Over the Christmas and New Year weeks it will be open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday, 22nd December – Thursday, 23rd December and Wednesday, 29th December – Friday, 31st December
The Tigh na Mara Hotel in Sandhead is another excellent family run restaurant. The restaurant and bar are open for lunch and dinner throughout the festive period but closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. It’s worth booking in advance as I suspect it will be popular.
The award-winning Knockinaam Lodge, near Portpatrick is 20 minutes’ drive from Corsewall Estate Holiday Cottages. It really is still a cut above the rest, with fantastic food and an amazing position on the shore looking out across the Irish Sea. The hotel is open over the Christmas and New Year period but it’s important to phone in advance to book a table.
The Mount Stewart Hotel in Portpatrick is perched right at the top of a hill overlooking the bay, with fabulous sea views over to Ireland. This is a great place to sit weather watching and see the waves rolling in and crashing on the rocks on wild days. The restaurant and bar is fully open every day throughout Christmas and New Year.
Holiday Cottage Availability
We currently have availability for Christmas at:
Cedar Lodge in Portpatrick, which sleeps 8 in four bedrooms all en suite. It has wonderful sea views and the rate for Christmas, available from 20-27 December is £1,716.
Garden Cottage in the heart of Corsewall Estate, which sleeps 6, has three bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms. With lovely views over Loch Ryan, the rate for the New Year week from 28 December – 4 January is £1,558.
A maximum of two dogs are very welcome at all of our cottages and there are lots of pretty walks for them to enjoy around the estate and along the beach. You can make an enquiry about our luxury 4-star Galloway holiday cottages for December and Christmas, check availability or book online on the website here.