The historic harbour village of Portpatrick has a pretty harbour and a sandy beach as its focal point and a number of good pubs, restaurants and cafes. It also hosts a busy farmers market in the village hall from April-September and December on the third Sunday of the month. The Southern Upland Way also begins here.
Visit the charming market town of Castle Douglas – which styles itself as the fabulous food town of South West Scotland
Kirkcudbright – has attracted many distinguished artists over the centuries from theGlasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists to Glasgow Girl, Jessie M King in the 1920s. There are still many artists and craft workers living in the town today, with their work on display in the studios and galleries in and around the town.
Wigtown – Scotland’s Book Town – home to over 10 book shops, and host to the annual Wigtown Book Festival from 28 September to 7 October 2012. Attracting many big-name authors, you can enjoy over 170 events for adults and children including author events, recitals, theatre, film and music.
Mull of Galloway
The Mull of Galloway is Scotland’s most southerly coast and offers spectacular views. The Lake District, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man are often seen from this unique vantage point. Visit the Mull’s working lighthouse, which was built in 1828. There is a fascinating lighthouse museum and if you have a head for heights, you can climb right up to the top of the 26 metre high tower and walk round the circumference of the light. There is also a RSPB nature reserve at the Mull of Galloway, which is home to an amazing variety of birds from guillemots and razorbills to kittiwakes and fulmars. Wildlife – porpoises, dolphins and grey seals are regularly spotted from the cliffs.
Just below the lighthouse, the Gallie Craig restaurant is definitely worth a visit. This cliff top coffee house, with its award winning turf roof design, is a visitor attraction in its own right providing great home cooking and offering dramatic sea views.
Galloway Forest Park
The Galloway Forest Park, covering some 300 square miles, is situated 45 minutes’ drive to the east, outside Newton Stewart. Kirroughtree is the closest visitor centre to Corsewall, which hosts lots of family activities and a great outdoor adventure park for children. It’s also a great place to walk the dog.
There are lots of other activities to pursue in the Galloway Forest Park, home to the UK’s only ‘Dark Sky Park’, including fishing and walking – set your sights on climbing the Merrick – southern Scotland’s highest peak.
In addition to Kirroughtree, the park has two other visitor centres at Glentrool and Clatteringshaws, which are ideal bases from which to explore the Galloway Hills.
Bladnoch Distillery and Visitor Centre
Home to Scotland’s most southerly whisky distillery.
Culzean Castle and Country Park is an hour’s drive up the Ayrshire coast – the sea views are amazing. A National Trust for Scotland property, there’s so much to do for all ages when you get there – from visiting the Robert Adam designed castle itself and flower filled walled garden to the extensive nature trails, adventure playground and swan pond.