Dumfries and Galloway Accommomdation

A Hidden Scotland Guide
Within easy reach of the English border, south-west Scotland’s spectacular Dumfries and Galloway is a treasure trove of things to do, places to stay and secrets to uncover.

As the homeland of the venerable ‘Outlaw King’, Robert the Bruce, as well as the final resting place of Robert Burns the region plays a key role in Scottish history and heritage.

Not only can you explore the first Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the western world, Dumfries’ 11-night ‘Big Burns Supper’ celebration and a world-famous literary festival, the region is also home to the Galloway Forest Park – the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, with more than 7,000 stars and planets visible due to the low light pollution.

Those looking to sample some of Scotland’s sensational outdoor sights won’t be disappointed either. From sandy beaches, to rocky shorelines and vast expanses of forest, there’s a little something for every outdoor explorer to tackle. For those feeling even more adventurous, there is ample opportunity for mountain biking, yachting and windsurfing – what better way to see the sights and snap dome truly Insta-worthy pictures!

Food and drink are also high on the agenda during holidays in Dumfries and Galloway, while culture vultures have a mouth-watering menu to dine from year-round too.

Where to stay in Dumfries and Galloway

Whether it’s a quaint, picture-perfect village for a quiet Scotland escape, or a vibrant town with plenty going on, the options for getaways in Dumfries and Galloway tick all the boxes. The charmingly nicknamed ‘Costa del Solway’ offers spectacular beaches and dramatic coastlines, while just inland, you’ll find the mesmeric Galloway Forest Park. Dumfries offers a bit more to do in terms of attractions, bars and nightlife, while foodies will want to make a beeline for Castle Douglas.

Wherever you decide to base yourself during your Dumfries and Galloway holiday, you’ll never be too far away from any of the main sights, jaw-dropping scenery, or opportunities for adventure, while there’s no shortage of history and heritage to boot. A drive from Gretna in the east to Stranraer in the west takes just over two hours, so it’s easy to get around wherever your starting point.


A quaint town located on Scotland’s west coast, just across the Irish Sea from Belfast, Portpatrick offers a peaceful waterside retreat. Here, you’ll find a picture-perfect harbour, Portpatrick Beach and Portpatrick, Dunskey Golf Club, for those looking to unleash their inner Colin Montgomerie. Don’t miss the stunning coastal views from Dunskey Castle. Killantringan Lighthouse is just a short walk out of town too.


Standing proudly at the head of Loch Ryan, the historic ferry port town of Stranraer is an ideal escape for a spot of retail therapy or to be wined and dined in some of the town’s highly-regarded eateries. The Castle of St. John is the main visitor attraction – a medieval tower house which dates back to 1510 – while Agnew Park makes for an excellent family-friendly day out.


Nestled on the Solway coast, the picturesque harbour town of Kirkcudbright makes for a wonderful Scottish getaway. Known locally as the Artists’ Town for its long association with creative types, Kirkcudbright’s working harbour and elegant mix of Victorian, Georgian and medieval architecture make it a canvas in its own right. Broughton House, former home of artist Edward Hornel, is among the key attractions. Be sure to stroll around the house’s beautiful Japanese gardens too. Kirkcudbright is also within easy reach of Galloway Forest Park, Castle Douglas and Dumfries.

Castle Douglas

This pretty market town is a designated ‘Food Town’, in recognition of its vast array of traditional, independent shops selling local produce, and fantastic selection of eateries. Here, you can shop ‘til you drop and pick up local meat, fish, vegetables, preserves, cheeses and plenty more besides. Just up the road, Threave Garden and Estate is worth a visit, while Dumfries, Galloway Forest Park and Broughton House are all in close proximity.


The largest town in southern Scotland, Dumfries is a former royal burgh and is steeped in history. Most recently home to Formula One driver David Coulthard, former famous residents include Peter Pan author JM Barrie and the National Bard himself, Robert Burns. As you’d expect, a number of Robert Burns monuments adorn the town, while you can also visit Greyfriars Church, the site of the monastery where Robert the Bruce participated in the infamous murder of John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch. Moat Brae: National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling – Barrie’s inspiration for Peter Pan – is also popular among visitors.

Gretna Green

Known famously as the place where historically, young English couples eloped to, Gretna Green is a stone’s throw from the English border and the city of Carlisle. Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is the main attraction. The historic wedding venue now boasts shopping, a marriage museum, a sculpture garden, maze and restaurants – so even if you’re not planning on tying the knot, it’s well worth a visit


Located to the north of Dumfries, Moffat is an historic spa town. It’s also known as Europe’s first Dark Sky Town, with special street lighting ensuring the wonders of the night sky can be enjoyed. Moffat Museum is a lovely place to visit and learn about local history, while there are plenty of local walking opportunities too. Be sure to tuck into some famous Moffat Toffee while in town!


Home of a world-famous annual literary festival every autumn, Wigtown is Scotland’s National Book Town. It boasts the idyllic combination of a range of independent bookshops and the perfect vistas from which to absorb yourself in a new novel, with views out across the Galloway Hills and Wigtown Bay – which is also a dreamy spot for birdwatching.


On the southern tip of Dumfries and Galloway, Whithorn and the nearby Isle of Whithorn are best associated with St Ninian, who brought Christianity to Scotland. Here, you can explore St Ninian’s Cave, or take the kids to Monreith Animal World. Whithorn is also a recognised UNESCO Biosphere community, while there are numerous stunning cycling and walking routes to enjoy too, complete with coastal views.

How do you get to Dumfries and Galloway?

Within easy reach of cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, plus the serenity of the Lake District and a short ferry ride from Belfast, Dumfries and Galloway is perfectly accessible, whether travelling by air, sea, road or rail.

How can I get around Dumfries and Galloway?

While getting to Dumfries and Galloway is simple enough, the best way to get around is undoubtedly with a car, due to the remote nature of the region. If you have a car, be sure to take advantage of a trip along the South West Coastal 300, which takes in some of the region’s most stunning sights and attractions.

The main towns of Dumfries and Stranraer have well-connected train and bus stations, connecting across the region and beyond, to cities including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Those keen for a spot of exercise and bracing Scottish air can enjoy the numerous cycle routes on offer throughout Dumfries and Galloway. The Upper Nithsdale Trail winds through the Lowther Hills and its fascinating history, culture and nature.

What can I see on my way to Dumfries and Galloway?

Being in such close proximity to Scotland’s culture capital of Glasgow and the historical capital Edinburgh, nearby sights can be enjoyed in abundance. If travelling from England, be sure to stop by Hadrian’s Wall or enjoy the stunning scenery on offer in the Lake District – just over an hour’s drive from Dumfries.

What is driving in Dumfries and Galloway like?

What is driving in Dumfries and Galloway like?As a region famed for its stunning coastline and breath-taking scenery, there’s no better spot for a leisurely drive. And fortunately, the road network across Dumfries and Galloway is ready to welcome you. Long stretches of road are often as calm and peaceful as the surrounding countryside, making driving and cycling around a pleasure. There are also a number of well-publicised tourist routes which enable visitors to take in many of the region’s best sights. The South West Coastal 300 – which also dips into neighbouring Ayrshire – and the Upper Nithsdale Trail, are perhaps two of the better known routes, while both the Scottish Castle Route and Burns Country Run are excellent options for those hunting a bit of local history and culture.

When is the best time to visit Dumfries and Galloway?

If you’re keen to take advantage of a lazy day on the region’s sandy beaches, July and August are the warmest months, with temperatures averaging 17 degrees, but if you’re happy to brace yourself against the elements, travelling out of season will likely result in the best accommodation prices.

It’s also worth factoring in Dumfries and Galloway’s fantastic array of cultural events which take place throughout the year. In January, a visit can coincide with the Big Burns Supper, while in the autumn a trip to Wigtown is a must for literary lovers, as the town hosts its 10-day world-famous literary festival.

The hills of Dumfries and Galloway are alive with the sound of music throughout summer too. The region’s longest running outdoor music festival is the World Ceilidh, set in the remote uplands of Galloway in May. In June, Moffat plays host to the Eden Festival, while the spectacular backdrop of Drumlanrig is the place to be for Electric Fields during the last weekend in August.

Elsewhere, Spring Fling weekend is unmissable for art enthusiasts. Through the late May Bank Holiday, More than eighty top artists and craftmakers open their studios, offering visitors the chance to go behind the scenes to learn about artistic practice, experience artists and makers demonstrating their processes and inspirations, and have the opportunity to buy a piece of artwork direct from the artist. In September, Stranraer celebrates local produce through its Oyster Festival.

What’s the food like in Dumfries and Galloway?

Foodies will already likely have a visit to Scotland’s very own Food Town – Castle Douglas – high on their agenda. The 18th century market town is jam-packed with local produce to sample, from bread and cheese to preserves, fish and meat. There is also a fantastic range of restaurants and cafes to check out too. Head east along the A75 to pay a visit to Annandale Distillery, which produces single malt Scotch whisky. Across the region, you’ll find an excellent range of independent butchers, specialising in local produce such as Galloway Beef, as well as rivers ideal for fly fishing, giving rise to an abundance of local salmon and trout. Our advice? Take a larger pair of trousers!

Should I book my accommodation early?

For best prices and widest selection, it’s always best to book accommodation early, particularly if you plan to visit during one of the region’s popular festival or events. Having said that, Dumfries and Galloway is packed full of fantastic accommodation options, so even a last-minute trip should see you bag a perfect pad.

What should I pack for a holiday to Dumfries and Galloway?

As with any holiday in Scotland, it’s best to come prepared whatever time of year you visit – that’s part of the beauty, right? So, while it’s best to avoid January if you’re not a fan of getting soggy, a light rain jacket and cosy jumper still might be advisable even in the height of summer.

With so many outdoor adventures to be had around Dumfries and Galloway, hiking boots, rucksack, sun cream, bug spray, a hat and good book are a must, while experienced explorers might also want to take advantage of the activities on offer and bring their own bike, maps and camping gear.

For families, the beaches are a must and there are even some with plenty of sand for sandcastle building. So, be sure to pack accordingly.

What are the best activities for families in Dumfries and Galloway?

No family holiday to Dumfries and Galloway is complete without visiting Galloway Forest Park. The UK’s first Dark Sky Park, from where more than 7,000 planets and stars can be seen – including the Milky Way – is truly spectacular for all ages. But it’s not just stargazing the park has to offer. You’ll also find gorgeous walking and cycling trails, the ruins of a traditional Galloway farming village, abandoned over 200 years ago, and Bruce’s Stone, which overlooks the glistening waters of Loch Trool and commemorates Robert the Bruce and the battle that took place here in 1307. Near Newton Stewart to the south of the park, Red Deer Range and the neighbouring Wild Goat Park are also great spots to take the family.

The Galloway Kite Trail, circling Loch Ken, is a beautiful 24-mile walk or cycle ride around the tranquil body of water where – as the name suggests – it’s possible to spot swooping kites in the skies overhead. The Loch itself is great for fishing or, if you’re feeling brave, even a spot of wild swimming.

Here you’ll also find the Galloway Activity Centre, where the whole family can enjoy canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, paddleboarding, a 25 ft climbing wall, zip wire, and even a spot of archery.

When planning a Scottish getaway, a beach trip might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But you’d be missing out if you bypass Dumfries and Galloway’s spectacular coast. South of Wigtown and Castle Douglas, Brighouse Bay is a wonderful, sandy spot, while head a little way west and Dalavan Beach and Mossyard Beach are also not to be missed.

And with beaches comes ice-cream. Just outside Gatehouse of Fleet – located between Wigtown and Castle Douglas – Cream o’ Galloway is a must for any family holiday in Dumfries and Galloway. The working dairy farm has a highly acclaimed ice-cream parlour, with plenty of quirky flavours to sample – any kid’s dream! Then you can work off the sweet treats with a farmer-led farm tour, round of crazy golf or nature trail walk – before rewarding yourselves with another ice-cream! When in Rome…!

Other recommended sights include Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura, St Ninian’s Cave, Caerlaverock Castle, Mabie Farm Park and Robert Burns House.

Can I fly to Dumfries and Galloway?

While Dumfries and Galloway doesn’t have its own commercial airport, it is easily accessible from each of Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh and Newcastle – with each of these international airports just an hour-and-a-half drive away. Carlisle Airport is also just a 20-minute drive from Gretna Green in the east of the region, making flying a viable option from across the UK and beyond.

What are the types of accommodation in Dumfries and Galloway?

Gone are the days of holiday accommodation options ranging from a value-for-money BnB, a fancy hotel or a caravan. While you’ll still find all of these across Dumfries and Galloway, accommodation choices are now far more wide-ranging, whether you’re travelling as a couple, family, with four-legged friends or in a big party. Choose from one of the classics, or take in a memorable glamping trip in a wigwam or treehouse, book a stay in a homely cottage, an upmarket town house, a Scandinavian-style lodge, or even at Lochinch Castle.

What are the best nightlife spots in Dumfries and Galloway?

As a fairly rural region, nightlife in Dumfries and Galloway is a little sparce. You’ll find quaint pubs in most main areas, such as Gretna and Stranraer, but for something a little livelier, you’ll need to head to Dumfries itself. Here you can enjoy a night out at Chancers nightclub, or in one of the many bars around town. Definitely take time to visit The Globe Inn – the watering hole of choice of National Bard Robert Burns himself. The food comes with rave reviews and there’s a Robert Burns tour to enjoy too.

Can I camp in Dumfries and Galloway?

With so much natural beauty on the doorstep, it’s almost rude not to! Great camp sites, caravan and holiday parks are on offer along the coast, overlooking tranquil lochs or surrounded by forest. But if something a bit more upmarket is more your scene, there’s no shortage of glamping options too. Make you Dumfries and Galloway holiday truly memorable with a stay in a themed snug, wigwam, yurt, shepherd’s hut or even an enchanting treehouse!

What is Dumfries and Galloway known for?

Dumfries and Galloway boasts a rich and bountiful heritage, with its famous sons including National Bard, Robert Burns and 14th century monarch, Robert the Bruce. If you don’t know much about these two figures in Scottish history, there is an abundance of opportunities to learn more about them throughout Dumfries and Galloway. Take a trip to Robert Burns House, Robert Burns Centre, or The Globe Inn, all in Dumfries, or visit Bruce’s Stone in Galloway Forest Park, which commemorates his first victory in the Scottish Wars of Independence. The region is also acclaimed for its spectacular natural scenery, giving rise to glorious walking routes, cycling trails and outdoor adventure.

Does Dumfries and Galloway get midges?

While midges aren’t as rife here as in the Highlands, in the warmer summer months you will likely still encounter midges in Dumfries and Galloway, particularly in woodland and forest areas. Along the coast, reports are far less common however.

Our top accommodation recommendations

Brockloch Bothy

Nestled between Castle Douglas and Dumfries, Brockloch Bothy provides a simply stunning eco-retreat for four people, in the heart of gorgeous Galloway hills.

Brockloch Bothy

Barend Holiday Lodges

These self-catering lodges on the Dumfries and Galloway coast are ideal for couples’ escapes, all the way up to groups of eight. As well as beautiful lodges, you’ll also find swimming, cycling, walking and golf on the agenda.

The Abbot’s Tower

Book a getaway to remember with a stay in one of the two suites on offer – the Dungeon or Abbot’s Room – in this restored 16th Century Tower House designed in Scottish Renaissance style.

Laggan Behind

Sleeping up to seven people across three bedrooms, Laggan Behind in Gatehouse of Fleet, is nothing short of breath-taking both inside and out. With a hot tub, barbeque, pizza oven and PlayStation 4, it would be impossible to drag yourself away – if it wasn’t for the spectacular surroundings, of course

The Selkirk Arms

In the heart of Kirkcudbright, The Selkirk Arms is ideally situated for a Dumfries and Galloway escape. The dog-friendly Georgian hotel dates back to 1777 and is a short walk from MacLellan’s Castle and Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park.

Dunskey Castle

Just outside of Stranraer, overlooking the Irish Sea, Dunskey Castle is a spectacular setting for a Dumfries and Galloway holiday. Offering 25 bedrooms and nine activity rooms, Dunskey Castle is ideal for weddings, celebrations or corporate events.
Dunskey Castle

The Portpatrick Hotel

Simply the stuff dreams are made of. Overlooking the gorgeous Portpatrick Harbour, this elegant castle-style hotel is nestled within nine acres of clifftop land. Dunskey Castle, Portpatrick, Dunskey Golf Club and the town centre are all within easy reach.

The Buccleuch Arms Hotel

Located north of Dumfries in the centre of Moffat, Buccleuch Arms Hotel offers 13 rooms within its circa-1760 coaching inn. The hotel has rooms catering for single visitors to groups of four, so is ideal for couples and small families.

Sea View Snugs at Laggan

Set on an historic, private estate, you’ll find 18 individually themed cabins in an idyllic location overlooking the coast. Perfect for couples’ holidays in Dumfries and Galloway, stargazing is a must, while some snugs even have their own hot tub.

The Roundhouse Dalbeattie

Offering a minimum seven-night stay in Dalbeattie, near Castle Douglas, the Roundhouse is quirky yet modern and chic accommodation for up to four people.

Three Little Huts

Located in Gatehouse of Fleet, the Three Little Huts makes for a perfect rural escape in scenic Dumfries and Galloway. Offering style and comfort, the shepherd’s huts sleep two per unit with unique outdoor bath tubs and stunning sea views.

High Lodge

Sleeping two people, High Lodge eco-cottage provides a wonderful base from which to explore Wigtown, Whithorn and beyond. Set within the Galloway House Estate, you’ll be just moments from a dreamy private beach.