This week Angela from Reading Inspiration is sharing 5 things to do in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s a gorgeous area of Scotland and I’m so glad to have it featured in this series.
I moved to Dumfries and Galloway after several visits led me to fall in love with the rich history and stunning landscapes of the region. My family and I have found that there is a great variety of activities and places to explore here.
Somewhere Free: Robert Burns & History Walk
A walk around the historic town centre and riverside of Dumfries is a great way to get to know the town. Children and grown-ups who love history will enjoy exploring the historical sites associated with the life of Robert Burns. The Scottish poet lived the last years of his life in Dumfries. You can also visit other free museums in this area, including the Old Bridge House Museum and Dumfries Museum.
From the Whitesands bus stands, cross the river at Devorgilla bridge for amazing views of the river Nith. Stop in at the Old Bridge House Museum at the end of the bridge. Then walk on to the Robert Burns Centre. Previously a mill, the centre has an exhibition about the poet’s life in the town and also houses an independent cinema.
Continue through the lovely play area on Mill Green and cross back over the river at the Suspension bridge. Make your way to Burns’s grand commemorative mausoleum in St Michael’s churchyard. Burns lived nearby on what is now Burns Street, which is free and open to visitors. If you walk through the centre of town you will pass the Globe Inn, where Burns enjoyed to drink. And at the end of the High Street, you will come to a striking statue celebrating the bard.
Somewhere For The Whole Day: Kircudbright
A visit to Kirkudbright at any time of year feels like you are in the midst of a thriving art festival!
Known as the artist’s town, Kircudbright’s serene and beautiful light has inspired generations of artists. From the late 19th century the town became a hub for painters, designers and makers. Many artists worked and lived there, including E. A. Hornel of the Glasgow Boys group, Charles Oppenheimer, E. A. Taylor and Jessie M. King who set up studios at The Greengate.
Related Post: 5 Things To Do In South West Wales
This is a great place for families and art lovers to spend a full day as there is so much art to see, as well as activities to take part in. Kirkudbright often has special events including art workshops for children and adults. One of the main attractions is the Kircudbright Galleries, which was previously the town hall. It opened as a gallery in 2017 and shows work by both the towns historic and contemporary artists.
There is also the Stewartry Museum, The Tollbooth Museum, Broughton House and many other galleries. For a break from art, you can explore the town’s harbour and walks. Stroll along the River Dee to take in some of the breathtaking beauty of the area that has inspired so many artists!
Somewhere Outdoors: Caerlaverock Castle
The stunning ruins of Caerlaverock Castle are best explored on a clear day. Although the castle’s distinctive triangular structure is still in place the castle is largely open to the elements! Our son loved finding out about the 13th-century castle’s incredible history, which involved a lengthy siege, several rebuilds and its eventual almost complete destruction in the 16th century.
Though in ruins, the castle’s imposing structure, surrounded by a moat is an impressive sight against the surrounding countryside. For a longer day outdoors, the castle is close to a woodland walk which you can follow down to the nearby Caerlaverock wetlands. From there you can take the Merse March walk to take in amazing views out across the Solway Firth. Stroll through the high grasses and look out for wildlife including arctic geese who spend the winter on the Merse.
Related Post: Holidays With Kids
Somewhere To Eat: La Dolce Vita
This Italian restaurant is our family’s favourite place to eat out in Dumfries. It is family-friendly and has a cosy atmosphere. There’s a good choice of pizzas, pasta and other Italian specialities. We love the midweek specials which are great value. It’s also great for those of us who are gluten intolerant or coeliac, as the menu includes tasty gluten-free options.
Somewhere For A Rainy Day: Moat Brae House
There tend to be quite a few rainy days in this region! We spent one of them during the summer at the recently opened Moat Brae House in Dumfries. The author of Peter Pan, J.M.Barrie, spent time with his childhood friends at Moat Brae. The environment inspired Barrie to create Peter Pan and Neverland.
The house is full of fascinating displays about Barrie’s life and about Peter Pan. It is also a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling. The building has been made even more magical by being adapted to include interactive rooms where children can let their imagination go wild. There is even a theatre room where children can dress up and put on plays.
Related Post: Landmark In The Winter Months
The rain is often interrupted by spells of sunshine and clear skies in Dumfries. When the opportunity arises you can explore the evocative Neverland Discovery Garden. The garden gives a sense of how Barrie and his friends climbed the trees and dreamed of pirates in this magical landscape!
Please note this post may include some affiliate links. This has no effect on you - to find out more please check out the disclosure