There is a huge amount to do in this area, if you fancy doing something other than curling up in front of the fire.
Towns to visit
Dumfries is the main town in Dumfries and Galloway and is home to most major high street firms, supermarkets and local amenities. You will also find the Dumfries Ice Bowl and DG1 leisure complex and swimming pool.
- The Frothy Bike Company – Bikes and a really nice Café, what’s not to like.
- Kilnford Farm Shop and Café – A farm shop with butchers’ counter, florist and café. The Plenty for £20 meat packs are great value.
- Crumb – Wood-fired pizzas, burgers and steak.
- Bob and Berts – Lovely coffee and food – the massive milkshakes are worth a visit alone.
Castle Douglas is the nearest town to the Farmhouse. The ‘Food Town’ is home to some lovely artisan producers, bakers and butchers. It’s also where you’ll find the nearest bank, pharmacy and supermarket (Tesco).
- The Earth’s Crust – Tucked away down a side street in Castle Douglas, this artisan baker is famous for their sourdough, but while visiting why not pick up a handmade quiche or cake.
- Ballard Butchers and S Hendersons are both fantastic butchers.
- Mr Pook’s Kitchen – Offering Dumfries and Galloway on a plate from the Old Bank building.
- Designs Gallery and Cafe – A hub for designer led crafts and inspirational contemporary design with a lovely café downstairs.
Known locally as the ‘Art Town’, Kirkcudbright is actually a lively fishing port. It’s also filled with independent shops, galleries and craft sellers and is watched over by the ruins of MacLellan’s Castle.
- Polar Bites – Eat in or take away, the fish and chips are fab.
- The Auld Alliance - Creating the best of Scottish dishes with a French influence. Reservations recommended.
- Gather, Gatehouse of Fleet – Newly opened in October 2020, this sea view restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner over a stunning vista. Reservations recommended.
- Loch Arthur Farm Shop and Café - A working Community in the South West of Scotland, which includes men and women with learning disabilities, provides a fantastic farm shop and café serving locally sourced and grown foods.
- The Auldgirth Inn – Holding two AA rosettes, this 500-year-old inn serves award winning food and wines beside roaring fires. Reservations recommended.
- The Clachan Inn, St John Dalry – Regularly featured in CAMRAs good beer guide and serving freshly made food from quality, locally sourced produce. Reservations recommended.
Places to visit – For Little Ones
The Cocoa Bean
A winning combination of chocolate shop and play centre (indoor and outdoor). Children (and sometimes adults too) are able to take part in chocolate making workshops in between playing on the play equipment. There is also a nice café where adults can relax while little ones play.
Dalscone Farm Park and Toy Shop
Scotland’s largest independent toy shop together with an indoor play centre, café and farm park.
Cream O’Galloway Ice Cream
Visit a working dairy farm to sample award winning ice cream together with an adventure playground.
A wide moat, twin-towered gatehouse and lofty battlements make Caerlaverock the epitome of the medieval stronghold. Learn all about its turbulent history as a castle caught up in border conflicts.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, Drumlanrig Castle boasts country walks, an adventure playground, tearoom, gift shop and studios. Grown ups might also enjoy a tour of the castle (subject to seasonal opening).
Places to visit – For Bigger Ones
The 7 Stanes
The 7stanes are seven mountain biking centres spanning the south of Scotland, from the heart of the Scottish Borders to Dumfries and Galloway. However, it’s more than just the name of the centres. ‘Stane’ is the Scots word for stone, and at each of the 7stanes locations, you’ll find a unique stone sculpture - a stane - reflecting a local myth or legend. Each Stane has colour coded (denoting difficulty) routes through stunning scenery and forests. For more information, see https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/activities/mountain-biking
Sandyhills is a large sandy beach located along the southern coastline of Dumfries and Galloway. The beach slopes gently so the water is shallow and it is a popular beach for paddling and exploring rock pools. Behind the beach there are car parking spaces (fees apply), a small shop and a café and public toilets.
The 10-mile two-way forest drive links Loch Ken and Clatteringshaws, and is open to vehicles between Easter and the end of October and for walkers, cyclists and horseriders all year. Head for the Otters Pool for a scenic picnic beside the River Dee. There are toilets here in summer too. There is a small fee for vehicles using the Forest Drive.
Loch Ken Activity Centre
Choose from a wide range of outdoor activities including sailing, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, combat laser tag games, archery, mountain biking, climbing and much, much more.
Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre
The visitor centre overlooks tranquil Clatteringshaws Loch, a haven for waterbirds in summer, and beyond to the rolling Galloway Hills. Soak up the stunning views or meander beside the loch to the historic Bruce’s Stone, one of two stones dedicated to the Scottish king in the Forest Park. This is also one of the best places to enjoy the night sky – the visitor centre overlooks the darkest part of the Forest Park, which ensures a particularly dramatic stellar show.