Deep in the western Southern Uplands of Scotland, you’ll find Dumfries and Galloway. This beautiful region features a coastline of rocky shoreline and sandy beaches, as well as an inland comprised of acres of forest and green spaces. But aside from the natural beauty of this council area, there are dozens of exciting and unique things to do in Dumfries and Galloway. From spotting dolphins to zooming down a zipline, your holiday will be so packed with things to do that it’ll feel impossible to choose! That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5, and included our favourite 3 campsites to pitch your motorhome at during your trip!
1. Mull of Galloway Experience
One of the greatest symbols of Dumfries and Galloway, this towering, white lighthouse is a must-see for your visit. You can enter the Mull of Galloway lighthouse and climb the 115 steps to the top and be rewarded with a stunning view across the water to Cumbria and Ireland. Keep an eye out for fluttering butterflies and swooping gannets, which will only enrich the view. Need a way to convince the kids? Just mention the leaping dolphins from the RSPB reserve surrounding the lighthouse! Visiting the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse won’t take up too much time of your trip, but it is a sight that will stay with you forever. After spending time at the lofty, vantage point, you can head to the Gallie Craig Coffee House next door to warm up with a delicious hot chocolate!
2. Visit a Castle
It is always fun to visit a castle and imagine the court life that occured there, to see these impressive structures standing centuries later in all their glory. There are loads of castles in Dumfries and Galloway, each with a unique history for you to explore. Caerlaverock Castle was first built in the 13th century and is located on the coast. It is 11 kilometres south of Dumfries and on the edge of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve, so ideal to combine for a day trip. It is a moated triangular castle and played an important role in the Scottish-English conflict. If you’re interested in visiting a castle for a rich interior, then Drumlanrig Castle is the ideal site for you. It is situated on the Queensberry Estate, is a category A listed Castle and home to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry. It hosts numerous events, and is home to a notable art collection, opulent furnishings and antiques. And there are tons more of castles in Dumfries and Galloway, so why not check out this list of the 10 best castles and make a road trip out of it?
3. Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve
Located between the River Nith and the Lochar Water, the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage and has been a designated nature reserve since the 1950s. It is a paradise for bird watchers, as an internationally important wintering site for wading birds and waterfowl. It is renowned for being the winter holiday home of virtually the entire Svalbard population of barnacle goose, roughly 24,000 birds! Caerlaverock differs to other natural sights because of the dramatic coastal scenery, and the view at sunset or sunrise is unparalleled! So grab your hiking boots and enjoy a day in nature.
4. The Whithorn Story
Even just driving to Whithorn is a delight, as the view along the coast will make the time fly by. The colourful houses in the town will be adored by kids, and you’ll all get the chance to dive into history at the Whithorn Story museum. You can visit the recreated Iron Age roundhouse and explore the Whithorn Priory, combining history with a delightful day out! The cafe on site is ideal for a lovely lunch and coffee.
5. Seek Adventure
If you’re looking for things to do in Dumfries and Galloway with the kids, look no further than Cream O’ Galloway. This huge farm adventure park can keep a family busy all day! It features a huge adventure playground, flying fox, slides, bouncy aerial netting area, visitor centre and delightful indoor play areas! You’ll be able to get up close and personal with the furry inhabitants of the farm, and parents will adore the miles of beautiful walks and nature trails. Be sure to sample some of the luxurious cheese and ice cream that is produced there! Another way to keep the youngsters off their phones and moving around is Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre. This fun-filled activity centre offers almost everything, from archery to an off-road Segway tour. You’ll get the chance to glide down the UK’s longest zip wire (820m) - if you dare!
Where to Camp in Dumfries and Galloway
Now that we have covered the top things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, it is time to look at where to stay! We’ve narrowed the list down to our top three campsites in the area. First there is 1.Castle Point Caravan and Camping Site, which is situated only 300 yards from the sea with great views. This small site is ideal for those looking to escape the stress and business of daily life, and who appreciate, being within walking distance to three beaches. There are lovely coastal walks from the site, for example the lovely route past the child friendly beach at Rockliffe to the sailing centre at Kippford, then there is a beautiful walk along the cliffs past Castle Point beach or yet another stunning route from Glenstocken cove to Port O’Warren and Sandyhills. You can also enjoy cycling along the 7 Stanes tracks! Castle Point Caravan and Camping Site has spacious green pitches which will ensure comfort and privacy. Electricity, wifi and hot water are included in the price. This campsite also allows pets, so even Fluffy gets to join the motorhome holiday!
Prices starts from £20.60 per night
GPS: 54.859152, -3.785927
Rockcliffe, Dalbeattie DG5 4QL, UK
If you choose to visit 2. Barnsoul Caravan Park, you’ll be granted the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds. Sitting amongst 80 acres of paddocks, ponds, woodlands and farmland, this campsite has been designed to utilize the stunning natural environment surrounding it. Visitors shouldn’t be surprised to wake up to a red squirrel on their doorstep, or otters and deer in the backyard. But the thing that ensures that this campsite is ideal for the whole family, is the close proximity to a nearby town supplying everything you could need. Follow a day of exploring the area and diving for frogs in the pond with a delicious dinner, where you’ll be torn between the numerous restaurants and pubs available.
GPS: 55.078111, -3.763653
Shawhead, Dumfries DG2 9SQ, UK
Many cherish the idea of staying at a working farm and getting to see everything that goes on up close, and at 3.Solway View you’ll get that chance! It is located within Balmangan Farm, 330 acres of farmland for you to access. It is located beside the sea, so aside from walking around the farm and adjoining woodland, you can go paddling, swimming and fishing. Don’t be alarmed to pass some roe deer on your stroll, and consider bringing a bike to truly explore this gorgeous area. It is a short walk to the nearby village of Borgue, which has a delightful pub to grab a pint and meal at.
Prices starts from £19 per night
GPS: 54.786902, -4.098105
Balmangan Farm Ross Bay, Borgue, Kirkcudbright DG6 4TR, UK
What are you waiting for? Find a motorhome from a private owner on Goboony, and start exploring the impressively beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway. You now know the top things to do, the best castles in Dumfries and Galloway and the nicest campsites to rest your weary head at, so nothing is stopping you from an amazing trip to Scotland!