Dumfries & Galloway
Discover the history and beauty of Dumfries & Galloway and you'll find lush green forests and sandy shores which have inspired great men and women. Visit the castles and historic spots to learn more of days gone by, while taking in the breathtaking views. Discover coastal communities, the highest village in Britain and towns dedicated to food, books and art.
From walking and cycling to fishing, mountain biking and golfing, there's so much to do in Dumfries & Galloway's outdoor playground, so tee off, saddle up or get your motor running - just get out there, get active and enjoy.
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or prefer to take things in at a more lesuirely pace there are many ways to make the most of your trip to Dumfries & Galloway. Play your way around the region's fantastic 18 and 9-hole golf courses set amid stunning scenery. Follow one, or all of the three golf trails, each offering a different but equally rewarding golfing experience. If you prefer to follow a faster, more vertical trail; take on one of the region's enthralling mountain bike trails. The world-class facilities at 7stanes cater for all abilities, from forest tracks to exhilarating downhill trails.
Take a walk and explore the beautiful countryside or even join in on a walking festival. While out walking, look for the wide range of rare and endangered species which are kept safe living in the peaceful countryside. The Galloway Forest Park has several special areas dedicated to different animals.
Enjoy a world of colour in the gardens of Dumfries & Galloway where palm trees and African daisies mix with daffodils and silver birch trees. Sitting on the south west side of Scotland, the gardens of Dumfries & Galloway are blessed with a rich climate, which ensures they are amongst the most inspiring, unusual and colourful spaces in the country. Discover a huge variety of gardens to visit, each bursting with colour and interest all year round.
Like action sports? Then try mountain biking in Dumfries & Galloway - the gradients can be head spinning. From rolling hills to steep sided valleys, from remote forest tracks to breathtaking coastal views there is mile upon mile of trails including some of the most demanding and technical single track mountain biking to be found anywhere in the world. The 7Stanes series of mountain bike trails is the creme de la creme but there are plenty of others.
Golf is a game of great views and the time to enjoy them and Dumfries & Galloway is a place of great golf courses. Why not bring your clubs and enjoy many of the excellent deals that are on offer for golfers? There's New Galloway's hilly nine hole course, designed by George Baillie in 1902, and Kirkcudbright's eighteen hole hill and riverside setting. Test yourself on the 6309 yard championship course in Dumfries or its younger Doonhamer partner, The Cricthon, established in 1972. Stanraer course, in the far west of the region, is described as "one of the jewels of Scottish golf". It offers spectacular views to Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran. Inland, in the east, the loch side Lochmaben golf course, where the second hole is next to the remains of Robert the Bruce's castle, is famous for the abundance of its wildlife. For beginners there are also many par 3 courses attached to holiday centres or placed picturesquely in the Dumfries & Galloway countryside. In fact, there are courses everywhere, offering varied challenges and many have clubhouses serving snacks, drinks or full meals.
Due to its remoteness, the Galloway Forest Park has been awarded the status of being one of only four "Dark Sky Parks" in the western world, along with the Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah and Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. This means that the largest forest park in Scotland has become the only Dark Sky Park in the UK, causing double celebration amongst astronomers, as 2009 also marked the 400th anniversary of Galileo's astronomical discovery of the telescope.
Once the sun sets on the three hundred square miles of rugged wilderness that is the Galloway Forest Park, under an inky-blue sky they become the darkest in all of Europe. It is here that enthusiasts come to stand in awe, wonder and amazement at the vast universe which is revealed above them. Onlookers are given the rare chance to witness shooting stars; the Andromeda Galaxy, the Aurora Borealis and stellar nurseries, where new suns of distant planets are born. Dark Skies Forest Park