Dumfries and Galloway is a beautiful area of Scotland boasting rugged landscapes and the best outdoor activities! Check out my recommendations for the best things to do in Dumfries and Galloway.
Scotland has it all. Named Rough Guide Readers’ ‘Most Beautiful Country In The World’ in 2018, it’s no surprise as to why that is.
There are stunning coastlines, wilderness areas and lochs in abundance. These beautiful places include Cairngorm Mountains and Loch Ness. Lively cities are bursting with culture and wear their history with pride.
Scattered throughout the country are well-maintained castles and palaces such as Balmoral Castle, Holyrood Palace and of course Edinburgh Castle.
Let’s not forget Scotland’s fabulous variety of whiskies and increasingly popular craft breweries. Some suggestions for happy tastebuds include Glenlivet, Jura, Brewdog and Innis and Gunn to name a few.
Dumfries and Galloway
From 2011 until 2017 I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. It really is a gorgeous city but it’s also incredibly easy to get bogged down in a daily routine. Bouncing between cycles of eating, sleep, work, repeat can really take the enjoyment out of a new city.
But there are always amazing experiences waiting for you on your doorstep! It’s worth remembering that the next time you get stuck in a rut!
As Jaime Lyn Beatty said, “Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul!” I couldn’t agree more with that statement; It’s important to get a bit of fresh sea air while visiting new places.
I love exploring my surroundings near and far. From taking in local history to seeing the things that make a location truly special, I cannot get enough!
I recommend booking a couple of days in an area because who doesn’t love a cheeky staycation in stunning surroundings?
Needless to say, the hubby and I were taken in by the natural beauty of Dumfries & Galloway.
Taking the scenic route, hubby and I made the drive down from Edinburgh. We passed through quaint little Scottish towns and villages. Moffat, famous for its toffee; Dumfries town and Castle Douglas; before reaching our final destination of Gatehouse of Fleet.
Our accommodation for the two nights was a real hidden gem. We stayed in the Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre.
Now you might be thinking we were mad but I cannot recommend the Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre enough!
The owners have really put a lot of thought into the facilities, accommodation and activities available on-site and they have done a great job.
The staff were incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgable about the local area. They gave us great suggestions for things to do and see through Dumfries and Galloway.
Sea View Snugs
All ten snugs include a very comfortable king-sized bed, great storage and fantastic facilities. Each snug is carefully decorated with a particular theme such as The Hive (Bee themed) and The Burrow (Rabbit themed). There’s also The Dock which is naval themed and even comes with its own private adjoining wood-fired hot tub!
Naturally, we wanted to make the most of our stay. Therefore, we booked into the Dock and took full advantage of the hot tub – even in light rain!
I wish I was joking.
Laggan Outdoor was 100% correct about the unbeatable views. Throwing back the curtains on the sliding doors, our jaws hit the floor. Looking out, our eyes were drawn over the hills and lush greenery, down to the Irish Sea. There were even a few islands in the far distance.
At night, this is the perfect location for budding stargazers due to the lack of light pollution. Hubby brought his telescope and had a great time viewing different constellations.
A range of facilities is available onsite. These include a cafe (with THEEEE best pancakes I’ve ever tasted) and a gorgeous wedding venue (GG’s Yard).
And of course, there is the activity centre for the thrill-seekers out there.
Make the most of the stunning scenery around you. Take the quick way down the hill travelling by zip wire for a stunning panoramic view of Fleet Bay.
Literally, roll down the hills in a zorb water ball. Or take a tour of the grounds by segway; glide through fields, pathways and get up close with the furry residents.
If you prefer shooting activities why not try some archery or clay pigeon shooting?
During the warmer months, it’s also possible to hire out the BBQ hut for small parties or special events.
Exploring Dumfries and Galloway
Although the snug was pretty fab, we didn’t want to spend all of our time in the hot tub. We came here to explore a little bit of Dumfries and Galloway too.
We were a little surprised about how much there is to see and do in the area. However, we only had one day to explore therefore we were a little short on time. We did manage to see a few hidden gems though.
Carsluith Castle, Dumfries
Admittedly, we didn’t necessarily have much of a plan. However, we were driving along the A75 heading towards Newton Stewart as it seemed like a good thing to do.
Initially looking for somewhere to stop off for a bite to eat, we came across Carsluith Castle and Marrbury Smokehouse.
The name Carsluith Castle would typically conjure an image of a grand castle ruin. However, Carsluith Castle is fairly compact and would be more adequately described as a castle tower.
The castle is well maintained and there are historical plaques to give a historical overview to those who are interested. Members of the public are able to climb to the top to take the spectacular views over the bay.
Luckily for our rumbling tums, Marrbury Smokehouse is based in the adjacent old kitchens of the castle. Marrbury Smokehouse manages to keep the original charm of the castle and the food is delicious.
They also sell their own ice cream and locally made jams – which I simply couldn’t resist!
Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries
Well-fed and nourished we made the move in the direction of Newton Stewart. Arriving in the town centre were not in the mood for a shopping spree. However, we did see signs pointing to Galloway Forest Park and this satisfied our lust for a nature walk.
We had never heard of Galloway Forest Park, I hope I can be forgiven for not appreciating how large it actually was. And beautiful!
There’s something about getting out of your everyday surroundings and jumping into nature. It’s just damn good for the soul! I highly recommend it at every available opportunity.
Stopping off at one of the waterfalls felt like the perfect excuse to take pictures. We walked through the trees and pathways up to the monument to explore further.
Returning to the car, we decided to take the long way back to Laggan Outdoor via Mill On The Fleet.
Mill On The Fleet, Dumfries
The Mill On The Fleet is a restored and converted cotton mill. Downstairs features a quaint little cafe and upstairs is the exhibition and craft area.
Exhibitions include the history of Gatehouse Of Fleet detailing the origins of the town during the industrial revolution.
Sadly we arrived a little too late to fully explore the museum but we were able to walk along the river path outside the mill, taking in the natural beauty of this planned industrial town.
Feeling the cool nip in the air, we made our return to Laggan Outdoor for a dip in the hot tub and a bit of relaxation after quite an adventurous day.
The following day we made our return back to Edinburgh feeling rejuvenated. If you’re looking for the perfect little escape, check out Dumfries and Galloway.
Scotland really is a magical place. If you’re planning a trip to Scotland I’d definitely recommend a visit to Dumfries and Galloway.
The following websites will certainly give you some inspiration for your Scottish road trip. Here’s some help to plan your itinerary:
Have you been somewhere that just takes your breath away but also fills the soul? Is there somewhere on your bucket list you’d like to visit for a staycation? Or maybe you’ve been to Dumfries and Galloway? Did you go to these places or somewhere else?
Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to check out more road trip inspiration here!