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Dumfries and Galloway

My husband and I love nothing more than a holiday with our dogs (two lively whippets) in the beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway Scotland. Just over the border to the west, this area of Scotland is extremely accessible for us from the East of England, capturing that special feel and beauty of Scotland. Here we find utter peace.

There are many things to do in Dumfries and Galloway. Since we are both teachers, we only travel in peak season. Even in the school holidays Dumfries and Galloway offer various activities and places, such as open spaces, amazing beaches, good food and an abundance of fresh air- what is not to love? If you have a question regarding places to visit in Dumfries and Galloway, well here is a few list to consider:

Dumfries and Galloway Guide

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This Dumfries and Galloway guide covers everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip. This guide includes where to stay in Dumfries & Galloway. #VisitScotland #DumfriesAndGallowayGuide #DumfriesAndGalloway #Dumfries&Galloway #VisitDumfriesAndGalloway
The Complete Guide to Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

Top Places to Visit in Dumfries & Galloway

  1. Monreith
  2. Kilsture Forest
  3. Galloway Forest Park
  4. St Ninian’s Cave
  5. Rigg Bay
  6. Garlieston
  7. Portpatrick

Click for Other UK place guides

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Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Dumfries & Galloway Tours: Click here to check out the top Dumfries & Galloway tours
Best Dumfries & Galloway Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway
Best Dumfries & Galloway Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Dumfries & Galloway

Top 10 Things to do In Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Guide

1. Go for a walk on Monreith beach

Do check the tide times when you’re at Galloway Scotland! As previously mentioned, this is a small but perfectly formed beach that is so beautiful and peaceful. For school holidays Dumfries and Galloway offer such a perfect place to bring your children to the beach.

2. Take afternoon tea at Knockinaam Lodge

What to do in dumfries and galloway if you’d like some tea and relax?

One of the relaxing things to do Dumfries and Galloway is to enjoy sandwiches, savory bites, scones, and cakes- delicious.

3. Buy croissants (and fresh bread of course!) at The Earth’s Crust.

This must be in your check list of things to do Dumfries and Galloway. They are enormous and so tasty. You will not be disappointed.

4. Try Mountain biking at Mabie 7stanes in Galloway Forest Park

Mountain biking in Galloway Scotland is what you need to do. Which happens to be the best in the United Kingdom. Choose from marked trails to suit all levels of experience and ability.

5. Walk the coastal path

If you’re wondering about another things to do dumfries and Galloway, just head to Port Patrick to enjoy the stunning views and take in plenty of fresh air.

Many tourists spend their time here in Dumfries and Galloway as things to do.

6. Visit the Crafty Distillery

What to do in Dumfries if you love a gin? Take a tour of the Crafty Distillery when you’re at Dumfries and Galloway, enjoy a spot of lunch and take home some of their fabulous gin.

7. Climb the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

This is for you who are adventurous and looking for things to do Dumfries and Galloway. Enjoy the beautiful elevated landscape below. You will also receive a certificate of achievement when you come back down the 115 steps!

After taking in the stunning elevated landscape and receiving your well-deserved certificate of achievement, you’ll truly appreciate many other Dumfries and Galloway things to do in the morning.

8. Walk the cobbled beach to St Ninivan’s Cave

In the middle of the school holiday and planning to go to Galloway Scotland? Plan your visit during the school holidays Dumfries and Galloway is ready to give you an experience of the spiritual and peaceful ambiance at the beach near Whithorn, a retreat associated with the early Christian saint St. Ninian.

9. Take a trip to Cream o’ Galloway

Pay a visit here if you’re in Dumfries and Galloway. Here you must buy some delicious ice cream. Flavors include cranachan, gingerbread, peppermint choc-chip and many more so stock up. You can also have a beautiful walk here, visit the farm and also the visitor’s center.

10. Take in some history

Probably the unusual things to do in Dumfries and Galloway. But, well, let’s learn something while admiring the scenery. Enjoy the bloody battle tales at the great medieval fortress Caerlaverock Castle, now a popular film destination.

Dumfries and Galloway Guide

Food In Dumfries and Galloway

Exploring the cuisine is one of the things to do in Dumfries and Galloway. There are numerous opportunities to find fabulous fresh produce in this region. You are surrounded by wonderful and local fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish, etc.

Galloway Scotland has lots to offer when it comes to local cuisine. Pick up some locally smoked Scottish salmon or Galloway Lodge preserves. Castle Douglas is known as the foodies’ town and probably a good starting point to get some supplies and just for a meander for those of us that love food browsing. In this town, you will find The Earth’s Crust Bakery, and award-winning pies at Ballards Butchers to name just a couple of the food producers in the town.

Don’t miss out on the great choice of things to do in Dumfries and Galloway while you’re enjoying the local delicacies. You may also be lucky enough to track down Ferry Fish here too but if you do miss them, you can call them to find out where their van will be or to book a delivery of fresh fish. Eating in has never been so good!

If you fancy eating out, Mr. Pook’s Kitchen in Castle Douglas is a great choice here in Galloway Scotland. It received a glowing review in The Times and uses local produce to make some delicious dishes.

Alternatively (or in addition to if you really love eating out) head to the fabulous Knockinaam Lodge in Port Patrick for their tasting menu or for a seasonal afternoon tea.

Drink in Dumfries and Galloway

You are spoilt for choice with local whiskey and gin distilleries here- a good way to spend a rainy afternoon if you get one. Exploring the offerings of the Crafty Distillery is a necessity while considering what to do in Dumfries and Galloway. We love the Crafty Distillery, the producer of Hills and Harbour Gin- this has become my favorite tipple.

Don’t worry- if you are not local you can restock via John Lewis when you get home. At The Crafty Distillery, you can go on a tour to see the magic happen. You can also enjoy one of their local producer picnic-style lunches with your drink.

Dumfries and Galloway Money Saving Tips

This is a great place to spend little on holiday as there is so much to do outdoors and for free.

Exploring the natural beauty and enjoying the local produce is a cost-effective way to experience places to visit in Dumfries and Galloway, making it one of the great locations in this region without breaking the bank. With plenty of fresh, quality produce locally, cooking and eating in is a real treat too so again, a low-cost option. Accommodation tends to be extremely reasonable in Scotland, and in this region, but traveling out of peak season will reduce this cost further also.

Accommodation tends to be extremely reasonable in Scotland, and in this region, but traveling out of peak season will reduce this cost further also.

Dumfries & Galloway Packing Advice

If you love the great outdoors this will be a heavenly break for you. Take into account the season and temperature at the time of your trip and adjust this list as appropriate.

If you already have a list of places to visit in Dumfries and Galloway, please be prepared by taking:

Be prepared by taking:

  • Your mountain bike and the appropriate related accessories (puncture repair kit/ helmet etc.)
  • Good quality walking shoes– the landscape can be rugged so good grip and waterproof fabric is a must.
  • Good quality walking socks to go with your walking shoes.
  • A rucksack to take on long walks, handy for taking water, snacks and other essentials.
  • A lightweight waterproof jacket and warm layers to go under for changeable weather.
  • A warm hat and gloves for the cooler months.
    plenty of comfortable clothes for a relaxing holiday- PJ’s are an absolute must!
  • Smarter clothing if you are planning on eating out.

Quick Tip: View my full UK packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my UK Essentials shopping list here.

Where to Stay in Dumfries and Galloway

There are many good quality cottages to rent in Dumfries and Galloway, some of which are more remote than others so choose carefully to suit your preference. If you are someone who prefers to have a phone signal and wifi, check availability with the property owners.

There are also bed and breakfasts and hotels in the area if you prefer a catered option. Or you could go for a more unusual place to stay in Scotland.

Top Accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway

The Waterfront Seafront hotel and Bistro

Cally Palace Hotel & Golf Course

Torrs Warren Country House Bed & Breakfast

Fernhill Hotel

Check out more of these hotels on

Dumfries and Galloway Guide

Getting Around in Dumfries and Galloway

Having a rental car offers up a world of possibilities for things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, allowing you to discover hidden gems and take in the stunning mountain coastline vistas.

You will need to rent a car to really see the best of this region if you don’t have one. Many places are tucked away and traveling this way can allow you to take in the spectacular mountainous coastal views.

Touring here and sightseeing as you travel is entertainment alone.

The M6 takes you from easily from the south of the country, or the A74 (M) from the north. For public transport options, you will find a train and bus station in Dumfries and Stranraer to take you around the region.

Nearby Carlisle links with other cities such as Glasgow, Manchester, and London.

Dumfries and Galloway Safety Advice

Dumfries and Galloway provides a real sense peace and safety. The local people are extremely friendly, and we have found them very willing to help if we have needed recommendations, travel advice, etc. 

You can discover unusual things to do in Dumfries and Galloway while experiencing a genuine sense of quiet and safety, all while receiving courteous guidance and recommendations from the locals. Some places are very remote so awareness and preparation should be made for such conditions, particularly if traveling alone.

Please remember to never travel abroad without insurance. You can read Claire’s Insurance guide here.

Dumfries and Galloway Travel Guide planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Dumfries & Galloway?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Dumfries & Galloway which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Dumfries & Galloway on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Dumfries & Galloway?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Dumfries & Galloway?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

The Best Time To Visit Dumfries and Galloway

This very much depends on your preference. We love all seasons in Scotland but with each, as with all UK destinations, comes pros and cons. The summer months can be less rainy but you may encounter midges. Do also be careful of ticks in woodland areas.

The winter can very low temperatures, snow and ice so do bear this in mind when booking.

We love visiting Scotland in Spring and Autumn and have been lucky enough to have had fine weather during these times- bright skies and very little rain.

Visiting during term time may be preferable for those seeking some serious isolation and wishing to encounter fewer other travelers.

Author Bio

A woman sitting at a table in a restaurant in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Melanie Varey from Twoplusdogs. A lover of open spaces, exercise, fresh air and finding beautiful places to enjoy in the company of my family- my husband and our two cheeky whippets.

Food is an important part of our family life; in fact, our friends say we are eating, planning what or where to eat, or cooking our next meal! We love eating out and really value quality food and restaurants. A teacher and Reflexologist, I am passionate about health and wellbeing.

What to Read in The United Kingdom

Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist is a great companion on your trip to the UK. You can get it before your trip to help you plan out all of the best places to go. It’s a go to bucket list of the not to miss places to visit in the UK.

It’s full of beautiful photography and it goes much further than just the typical tourist traps and includes everything from coastal walks, music festivals, and hidden away pubs you must visit. 

If you are interested in learning more about the upper echelons of the British aristocracy then this book abut the life of Anne Glenconner is a great read.

She has long been at the center of the royal circle as a life long friend of the Queen and her sister. Her father was the Earl of Leicester and controlled one of the largest estates  in England. 

Sadly Anne turned out to be “the greatest disappointment” to her father and she was unable to inherit his great estate and instead make her own way in the world while surviving the vipers of court life! And interesting read to see how the ‘other half’ live.

The UK that you will see today is a product of the post WWII industrial revolution.

Nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented series of changes in the wake of the war. Cities grew fast and revolutions in transports, communication, science, and the way people lived happened in quick succession. 

Added to these changes was a growing skepticism of religion, a questioning of power resulting in political and social unrest.

In spite if these turbulent times Britain remained strong on a global level which saw it quickly rise as a global leader… this was of course before Brexit!

If you are looking for a light read to accompany yo on your UK vacation then Bridget Jones’s Diary is the perfect literary companion. Even if you have watched the movie, the book is soooo much better.

Us brits are legit obsessed with manners to a fault. Seriously we love nothing more that throwing as many please and thank you’s in to a sentence as we can make fit. And don’t even get me started with our obsession with apologizing for EVERYTHING! 

But our obsession doesn’t just stop there, there is so much more to British etiquette most of which will confuse the hell out of visitors from foreign lands. 

In this book you will get an illuminating insight in to all of the social rules we are governed by, from never putting your elbows on the table to holding open doors. But this book goes deeper and shines a light on where this crazy obsession with good manners comes from. Its a interesting and quirky must read.

Looking for a novel to sink your teeth into on those long cross country train journeys in the UK. White Teeth is it.

Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

Check out My travel books

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