We are all looking for ways to save money and make our pennies go further at the moment. Here at Corsewall Estate Holiday Cottages – luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway – we have a few suggestions for some fun and free days out in south west Scotland.
Star gazing in the Galloway International Dark Sky Park
Our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway are close to the Galloway International Dark Sky Park, where we have incredibly dark skies at night – with almost no light pollution. It makes for perfect conditions for star gazing. There are various apps available that can help you identify constellations but an easy one to spot is the ‘Big Dipper’. There are different displays that you can see during different months but any time from October through to April ensures the sky will be dark. Don’t forget to wrap up warm as it will be cold at night.
Paddle boarding or Kayaking
Bring your paddle board or kayak with you to our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway. Lady Bay on Corsewall Estate is the perfect place to take them out and explore the beautifully rugged coastline of Loch Ryan. It has a relatively sheltered cove for pottering about, which often has an onshore wind. Lady Bay has a slip way onto the beach which is helpful for unloading boats, paddle boards and kayaks.
We have lots of wonderful woodland walks and coastal paths around Corsewall Estate. If you do want to go for a walk with beautiful views and scenery, you simply have to step outside the door of one of our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway. All our cottages are dog friendly – so they ideal for exercising your furry four-legged friends.
Cedar Lodge, our luxury holiday cottage in Portpatrick, is close to the start of the Southern Upland Way. One of our favourite walks, which takes in the first leg of the SUW, is to head from Killantringan Lighthouse to Portpatrick, have a well-earned pub lunch and walk back again. There are great views from the cliff tops across the sea to Northern Ireland.
Alternatively, head to the Galloway Forest Park either at Kirroughtree, Glentrool or Clatteringshaws where there are any number of well signed walking trails. Or tackle the Merrick – the highest mountain in southern Scotland at 843 metres, which can be accessed from Bruce’s Stone. We think the Bruce’s Stone area is the prettiest part of Glen Trool.
Museums – Kirkcudbright Galleries, Stranraer Museum and the Castle of St John
There are many galleries and museums across Dumfries & Galloway that are free to visit. My favourite is the Kirkcudbright Galleries. It has a rich permanent collection including paintings by celebrated artists from Edward Atkinson Hornel and Jessie King to Samuel John Peploe. It also hosts several visiting and temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
In Stranraer, there’s the Castle of St John, a medieval fortified tower right in the heart of the town, which tells you about the powerful landowners who built the castle, the Government troops who used the castle and the criminals who were imprisoned there during the 19th century. Housed in the town’s historic old town hall, the Stranraer Museum is a fascinating insight to the area with displays covering local history, farming, costume and archaeology. Both Stranraer museums are closed during winter.
Ospreys at Threave Nature Reserve, Castle Douglas
Ospreys have been nesting on the Threave Nature Reserve for over a decade. Between March and September head to the Dee View wildlife hide, which is just beyond the Threave Castle boat jetty. It’s staffed by a team of knowledgeable volunteers, who can point out the ospreys’ nest and hopefully you’ll be able to see both the parents and the youngsters.
Bird watching on Loch Ryan
Loch Ryan is an all-year-round destination for bird watching – in winter you can expect to see black-throated and red-throated divers and Slavonian grebes and in summer you’ll see oystercatchers, gannets diving bombing into the sea, cormorants and terns galore. Plus, it’s only a short walk from our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway.
Mull of Galloway
For dramatic and scenic views of the cliffs and on a clear day, see England, Isle of Man and Ireland head to the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point. There’s a small charge to visit the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and Museum, however, the RSPB visitor centre and nature reserve is free of charge. It is staffed by volunteers and features displays about the local wildlife. The Mull is home to a wide range of seabirds from Guillemots and Razorbills to Kittiwakes and Shags. Spring and summer see the clifftops scattered with wildflowers and plants.
Lady Bay on Corsewall Estate is one of our favourite spots for swimming. I tend to be a summer swimmer but have been known to partake in a Loony Dook on New Year’s Day – nuts I know – but it definitely gets the circulation going.
Luce Bay at the village of Sandhead on the South Rhins also has a wonderful beach for swimming. The vast sandy beach acts as a radiator for the shallow waters of the bay. It’s surprisingly warm, or should I say, less cold, from mid-summer onwards.
Dumfries House Gardens
It’s a little bit further afield, however, a visit to Dumfries House near Ayr is a worthwhile treat. Whilst there is a charge to visit the house itself and the walled garden, the 2,000 estate grounds are free to explore. They have a superb children’s play park, a fun science zone and a maze too.
If you love Outlander, although not the ones used in the series, there are a surprising number of standing stones in Galloway, all within varying distances from our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway to fire up your Outlander imagination.
Visit the Early Christian Stones at Kirkmadrine, near Sandhead, Long Tom and the Taxing Stone on Little Laight Moor, Torhouse Stone Circle near Wigtown, the Drumtroddan Standing Stones near Port William and last, but not least, Cairnholy near Carsluith – an impressive pair of neolithic burial monuments.
We do hope this is useful food for thought and has given you some creative ways of making money go a bit further while on holiday in south west Scotland and hopefully at one of our luxury holiday cottages by the coast in Dumfries and Galloway.