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Amanda Young

  • Caerlaverock Castle
  • The Raiders Road Forest Drive
  • Drumlanrig Castle
  • Mabie Farm Park
  • Dawyck Botanic Garden and Cafe
  • Bainloch Deer Park
  • St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve
  • Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
  • Port Logan Fish Pond
  • 7stanes - Glentress
  • Alnwick Castle as Featured in Harry Potter and Scottish Borders Day Trip from Edinburgh
  • 1 Day Alnwick Castle, Holy Island & Scottish Borders
  • Viking Coast and Alnwick Castle Very Small Group Tour from Edinburgh
  • Hill & Nature Hike - Discover Real Edinburgh With a Local Expert
  • Kingdoms & Keeps: From Holy Island to Harry Potter
  • Kitchen Coos & Ewes
  • Dalscone Farm Fun
  • Beirhope Alpacas

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Top Things to Do in South of Scotland

Things to do in south of scotland, explore popular experiences.

places to visit in south of scotland

Cultural Tours

places to visit in south of scotland

Top Attractions in South of Scotland

places to visit in south of scotland

Historical Tours

places to visit in south of scotland

Multi-day Tours

Ports of call tours.

places to visit in south of scotland

Private Sightseeing Tours

Tours & sightseeing.

places to visit in south of scotland

What travellers are saying

Amanda Young

  • Caerlaverock Castle
  • The Raiders Road Forest Drive
  • Drumlanrig Castle
  • Mabie Farm Park
  • Dawyck Botanic Garden and Cafe
  • Bainloch Deer Park
  • St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve
  • Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
  • Port Logan Fish Pond
  • 7stanes - Glentress
  • Alnwick Castle as Featured in Harry Potter and Scottish Borders Day Trip from Edinburgh
  • 1 Day Alnwick Castle, Holy Island & Scottish Borders
  • Viking Coast and Alnwick Castle Very Small Group Tour from Edinburgh
  • Hill & Nature Hike - Discover Real Edinburgh With a Local Expert
  • Kingdoms & Keeps: From Holy Island to Harry Potter
  • Kitchen Coos & Ewes
  • Dalscone Farm Fun
  • Beirhope Alpacas

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Love from Scotland

An epic drive around Southern Scotland

Posted on Published: 20 November 2022  - Last updated: 13 March 2023

From the Lothians to the beautiful Scottish Borders, through lovely Dumfries and Galloway to the wilds of Lanarkshire and islands of Ayrshire, South Scotland makes for one epic 500 mile road trip. Here is how to road trip around Southern Scotland. 

A South of Scotland Road Trip 

  • Start –  This southern Scotland road trip starts in Edinburgh. It can be driven clockwise or anti-clockwise, it’s up to you. Let’s go.
  • Total driving time/distances – this route around Southern Scotland is 500 miles and will take around 13 hours to drive the route in total without stops.
  • Day 1/2 – East Lothian
  • Day 3/4 – Scottish Borders
  • Day 5/6 – Dumfries and Galloway
  • Day 7 – Ayrshire and Lanarkshire

This post uses affiliate links which support LFS at no cost to you.

Read more: how to plan a road trip in Scotland

Read more: how to visit Dumfries and Galloway

Southern Scotland Road Trip Map

Southern Scotland road trip – Days 1/2 – Explore the East Lothian Coast 

With over 40 miles of stunning coastline, 30 spectacular castles, 22 golf courses, and some of the best seafood (and whisky!) in Scotland, why not start your southern of Scotland road trip in beautiful East Lothian. Here are my favourite places to stop, stay and eat on day 1 and 2 of your Southern Scotland road trip.

  • Visit the seaside town of North Berwick – head down to North Berwick Harbour where you will find the Lobster Shack where chips are served with fresh North Berwick grilled lobster – and even served with champagne! 
  • Explore dramatic Tantallon Castle – towering over Bass Rock, Tantallon Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest castles. After your visit, head to pretty Tyninghame for coffee at the Tyninghame Smithy .
  • Choose your favourite East Lothian beach – find Seacliff with its tiny harbour and castle(£2 to get through the barrier) or head to Tyninghame for views of Bass Rock or Yellowcraigs for tales of treasure on Fidra Lighthouse. 
  • Don’t miss Bostock Bakery – for amazing cakes, bread and coffee at Bostock Bakery near East Linton or on the High Street in North Berwick.
  • Visit Archerfield Estate – between the villages of Gullane and Dirleton is Archerfield Walled Garden a cafe, shop, children’s play area, a regular street food market and the Archerfield Fairy Trail, a collection of fairy houses hidden in Archerfield Wood which kids love.
  • Read more: Things to do in East Lothian

South Scotland - St Abbs

Where to stay in East Lothian

  • For a little luxury – Whitekirk Hill – stylish eco-lodges, leisure club, luxury spa, children’s Play Barn and the Orangery & Walled Terrace cafe. Stay in The Weir (1 bed) * with hot 2 person tub or The Telfer (2 bed) or The Irvine (3 bed) * with family hot tub.
  • For foodies – The Bonnie Badger , Gullane is a restaurant with rooms from Michelin starred chef Tom Kitchen or stay at the The Watchman, Gullane .
  • Discover one of my favourite East Lothian villages from The Old Aberlady Inn – great for exploring Aberlady Bay and Beach.
  • Love classic Scotland? Stay at Greywalls and Chez Roux restaurant for a bit of old school luxury
  • Another of my favourite spots, stay at The Crown in the lovely village of East Linton with its reiverside walks, bookshop and lovely pubs.
  • Looking for lots of places to eat, drink and shop? Stay at the Nether Abbey Hotel in North Berwick

South Scotland Days 3/4 – Discover the Scottish Borders 

Scotland starts here! Stretching from Berwickshire in the east to the Pentland Hills in the west, and bounded by the English border in the south and the capital of Scotland in the north, are the Scottish Borders.

With beautiful historic towns, ancient abbeys, castles and tower houses, rolling peaks and a stunning coastline, the Scottish Borders are the perfect introduction to Scotland. Here are my favourite places to stop, stay and eat on day 3 and 4 of your Southern Scotland road trip.

  • Visit the Berwickshire Coast with a trip to St Abbs and Eyemouth – head for crab butties and to hike the coastal path at St Abbs before heading out to see on a RIB from Eyemouth.
  • Eat at: Ebb Carrs Cafe, St Abbs or Oblo Bar in Eyemouth.
  • Visit the beach at Coldingham Bay – great for surfing.
  • Explore Kelso, the gateway to the Scottish Borders – visit Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle and the family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe before visiting Kelso Abbey. Founded in 1128 by monks, Kelso grew to be one of the wealthiest abbeys in Scotland. 
  • Stroll to Scotts’ View – said to be Sir Walter Scott’s favourite view overlooking the Eildon Hills before lunch and shopping at the Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells.
  • Visit Abbotsford and Melrose Abbey – Melrose has a small town charm and is home to one of the Scottish Borders four famous Abbeys and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. 
  • Read more: how to visit the Scottish Borders

Dryburgh Abbey South Scotland

Where to stay in the Scottish Borders

  • A traditional coaching inn in the small village of Allanton, offering up fantastic hospitality, gorgeous local food and real ale – Allanton Inn .
  • Looking for true romance or fancy staying in your own castle for the night? Well you can at Neidpath Castle near Peebles. 
  • For Eyemouth and St Abbs stay at The Ships Quarters and the lovely Chirnside Hall
  • Fancy a country inn in the Scottish Borders – try The Templehall Hotel , the Horse and Hound Country Inn , and the Auld Cross Keys Inn

Southern Scotland Day 5/6 – Dumfries and Galloway

Whilst South West Scotland might be well known to those arriving off the ferries from Northern Ireland, to many visitors (and locals!) the delights of Scotland’s secret south west corner – from the Solway Firth to Scotland’s most southerly point, and the dramatic mountains of the Southern Uplands – are a true hidden gem. 

Here are my favourite places to stop, stay and eat on day 5 and 6 of your Southern Scotland road trip.

  • A stroll around New Abbey – and visit the famous Sweetheart Abbey  and a pretty Cornmill  both run by Historic Scotland. 
  • Caerlaverock Castle  – Scotland’s only moated, triangular castle, Caerlaverock is nestled on the Solway Firth south of Dumfries in its own National Nature Reserve. 
  • Walk between Rockcliff and Kippford  –  walk the Jubilee Path between these two lovely coastal villages.
  • Threave Castle –  perched out on an island, Threave Castle  is only accessible by boat.
  • Visit Kirkcudbright and Broughton House  – arty and cute, the village of Kirkcudbright is home to Broughton House, the home of one of the famous Glasgow Boys and a hidden Japanese garden.
  • Hike to St Ninian’s Cave  – stroll down to the Solway Firth to find a beautiful pebble beach and a curious cave once used by monks.
  • Visit Wigtown – Scotland’s first book town, and a thriving hub for literature in Scotland with over a dozen book shops and an annual book festival.
  • Logan Botanic Garden  – a botanic garden complete with palm trees, Logan Botanic Garden was also the set of the famously creepy movie the Wickerman. 
  • Visit Scotland’s most southerly point  – and climb the 100 stairs to the top of the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse.

Castle South Scotland

Where to stay in Dumfries and Galloway

  • For Dumfries – stay at the traditional Auldgirth Inn which serves up great food
  • In Langholm – stay at the Douglas Hotel
  • A 19th-century house is surrounded by beautiful countryside stay at the Powfoot Hotel Annan 
  • Stay in the pretty village of Kippford at The Anchor Hotel
  • Like a country house hotel? Stay at Arden House Hotel, Kirkcudbright
  • A classic seaside inn – stay at The harbour inn, Garlieston
  • Great food and a fabulous bar at The Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn

Southern Scotland road trip – day 7+ Ayrshire and Lanarkshire 

Ayrshire is a land of vast vistas, sweeping coves, granite island and incredible views. Ayrshire is most famous for being the birthplace of Rabbie Burns. Further west, the Southern Uplands of Scotland might not have any Munros, but the Merrick and its neighbours are great hills for a stroll on a good day – giving views over the Galloway Forest Park all the way to the Solway Firth.

Here are my favourite places to stop, stay and eat on day 7 of your Southern Scotland road trip.

  • Culzean Castle – explore this giant National Trust for Scotland castle and estate perched out on the edge of the Ayrshire Coast, high on a cliff. 
  • Dumfries House – gorgeously restored by the Prince’s Foundation, Dumfries House is chock full of Chippendale furniture and has beautiful grounds.
  • Galloway Forest Park , the largest forest park in the whole of the UK is one of my favourite places to walk in Scotland. By day, take a hike around beautiful Loch Trool to find Bruce’s Stone under the towering mountains, or the short stroll up the gorgeous Ness Glen near Loch Doon.
  • Crawick Multiverse – a huge art installation designed the late Charles Jencks, visit Crawick for a stroll around the universe.
  • The Lead Mining Museum – a true hidden gem, take a journey into the Lowther Hills to hear about Scotland’s gold rush.

Culzean Castle - South Scotland

Where to stay in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire

  • Discover the comfort of Blackaddie Country House Hotel , which offers delicious fine dining, river views and a very warm welcome.
  • The fabulous Glenapp Castle offers up five star luxury 
  • The lovely Trigony House Hotel has a Garden Spa

Let’s road trip!

Read more: Scotland’s most epic road trips

Visit: Scotland Starts Here for more info on planning your trip to Southern Scotland

places to visit in south of scotland

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Dumfries & Galloway , Itineraries , Scottish Borders

One week in south scotland: itinerary for scottish borders, dumfries and galloway.

Scotland’s south might just be the most overlooked region in the country. While most people head north as soon as they touch down, I recently spent a week exploring the Scottish Borders on the south-east and Dumfries and Galloway in the south-west. This itinerary will convince you to spend a week in south Scotland and contains everything you need to know about transport, attractions, food, accommodation and what to do.

This post contains affiliate links from which I may make a commission. Find out more here . All opinions are my own.

Most people who arrive at one of the international airports in Glasgow or Edinburgh can only think about one thing: going north. They have been dreaming of the Scottish Highlands, the mountains and the valleys that they have seen all over blogs, in TV shows and on billboards.

But Scotland does not only extend to the north – the southern regions between the Central belt incl Glasgow and Edinburgh and Northern England pack a punch that is far off the beaten track. 

If the thought of crowded single-track roads in the Highlands, overflowing campsites and queues at attractions and restaurants puts you off, follow me on this adventure to the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway.

Listen to ‘Rhins of Galloway’ – an episode about this Galloway peninsula on my Scotland podcast!

I spent one week exploring the hidden gems that are waiting for you in southern Scotland including historic abbeys and stunning coastlines, quirky small towns and rolling hills, ruined castles and exotic gardens. This is my best-of!

This self-drive itinerary is based on my personal experience of travelling around the south of Scotland with my family (all adults). It includes practical travel information about both regions – Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway – including where to stay and where to eat out.

We chose to stay in two central locations near Melrose and Newton Stewart and did day trips from there. It is also possible to travel around the south road trip-style, i.e. changing accommodation every night or two. Distances are so feasible though, that this is not necessary if you prefer a more relaxed travel style.

In this travel guide you will find:

  • A Self-Drive Itinerary for southern Scotland in one week (7 nights/8days),
  • Recommendations for Accommodation, Restaurants, Shops and Pubs ,
  • Things to do in the Scottish Borders ,
  • Things to do in Dumfries and Galloway ,
  • And an Interactive Map for your South Scotland holiday.

Need help with your trip? Hire me to review your itinerary or to plan a custom route for your trip!

The cliffs of St Abbs Head nature reserve in the Scottish Borders

Table of Contents

Interactive South Scotland Map

This interactive map contains all the places I mentioned in this itinerary, including optional stops that I did not manage to visit myself. You can also find this interactive map here .

Why should you visit South Scotland?

Here are three top reasons to visit the southern regions of Scotland:

1. The South is Off The Beaten Track

Allow me to exaggerate: no one is going to Scotland’s southern regions. While many locals and domestic visitors consider them among their favourites, most international visitors will never set foot to areas south of Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

Those who are brave enough to throw their dreams of the Scottish Highlands overboard and follow my advice will be rewarded with all the benefits of off-beat travel: more affordable accommodation that can be booked more last-minute, more space at car parks and attractions, and less busy roads and traffic. 

You might also like: Responsible Tourism in Scotland – 14 Travel Tips for a Positive Impact

2. The South is Incredibly Diverse

I believe that many people think that southern Scotland is boring – it is too flat to be scenic and there is nothing to do. Fact is though, that the Borders and D & G are incredibly diverse.

From the bird colonies and nature reserves on the east coast to the coastal walks and lighthouses of the west, the remote hills and mountains of the Southern Uplands to the lush banks of the River Tweed. The landscapes in the south of Scotland are incredibly diverse and so are the activities you can do there. Which brings me to…

3. The South has Something for Everyone

History buffs will love the Abbey Trail in the Scottish Borders and the many castles in Dumfries and Galloway, outdoor lovers can go for challenging walks and multi-day treks, hit the mountain biking trails or fly down one of Europe’s longest zip wires.

There are standing stones, grand houses and exotic gardens, quirky towns dotted with book shops and independent businesses, you can even visit Scotland’s version of the Avenger ‘s New Asgard ! There are many kid-friendly activities, ideas for romantic getaways and outdoor adventures waiting for you. 

The south of Scotland is anything but boring!

Nervous about driving? Learn about UK traffic rules & etiquette with the useful online guide by Tripiamo .

Visit the Scottish Borders (4 nights)

The Scottish Borders spread from the south of Edinburgh to the Scottish-English border and make up the east of southern Scotland. The region is a productive agricultural area covered in barley and wheat fields and lots of animal farming. It is hilly and mostly rural, but there are some noteworthy towns and villages including Peebles, Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh.

The Borders are steeped in Scottish history and played a significant role in Scottish-English wars. There are many castles and abbeys in this region, but many are ruined and thus testimony to the conflicts. 

From the picturesque coastline to the rolling hills inland, the Borders offer a variety of landscapes and activities and are a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the north. 

Scottish Borders Travel Essentials Where to Stay in the Scottish Borders | There are many traditional B&Bs and charming small hotels spread out across the Scottish Borders. You could move around from Melrose to Peebles, Jedburgh, Hawick and the coast, or choose one home base in a central location. We stayed at The Old Paper House  near Melrose which was perfect for our group (7 adults). We had a fully equipped kitchen, a gorgeous garden, views of the Eildon Hills and could walk to shops, sights and eateries in Melrose (20 minutes). Getting around the Scottish Borders | You can move around the Scottish Borders by train or bus, but I recommend hiring a car for full flexibility – here are my top tips for renting cars in Scotland . The best restaurants in the Scottish Borders  | If you eat meat and dairy, the Scottish Borders are a rich larder with loads of local produce to try. As vegans, eating out was a little bit tricky though. My favourite restaurant, which had a tasty vegan-friendly risotto on the menu, was Provender in Melrose (West End House, High Street). I also really enjoyed the cafe at Abbotsford House and the famous Ebbcarrs Cafe in St Abbs (Harbour, St Abbs). It’s famous for its locally caught crab and other seafood but also had a few vegan options.

Day 1: Edinburgh to Melrose

Like most journeys, ours began at Edinburgh airport, where we picked up my family and our rental car. Since they had visited Edinburgh in the past, we headed straight out to the south of Scotland. We started exploring right away and added some stops to our route from Edinburgh to Melrose.

TOP TIP If you’d like to see Edinburgh on this trip, I recommend cutting one night in the Borders (down to three nights) and spend that one in Edinburgh at the beginning.

Stop 1: Rosslyn Chapel

You might have heard about Rosslyn Chapel before because you are a history buff – or because you’ve watched  The Da Vinci Code . Either way, it is a must-see when visiting the south of Scotland.

The chapel in the village of Roslin (watch the different spellings when you type it into your GPS or Google Maps), dates back to the 15th century. Even though less than half of the originally planned structure was ever built, it is absolutely stunning. 

Rosslyn Chapel is covered in decorative elements inside and out, from gargoyles and statues to columns and stained-glass windows. The stone is carved in the most intricate manner and some of the columns on the inside, in particular, have caused a lot of artistic jealousy. Apparently, the master stonemason even killed one of his apprentices for carving a more beautiful column than him!

The entrance to Rosslyn Chapel includes an exhibition at the visitor centre and entrance to the chapel. Inside the chapel, there are staff members to answer your questions and regular demonstrations to bring to life the time period in which the chapel was built.

Note, that photography is prohibited inside the chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel , Chapel Loan, Roslin EH25 9PU, website , £9 (Concession: £7)

You might also like: My Top 20 Places to Visit in Scotland

Rosslyn Chapel in the Scottish Borders

Stop 2: Peebles

This lovely small town lies on the banks of the River Tweed and is perfect to stretch your legs or stop for lunch. There are quirky cafes and shops and many walks to into the surrounding landscape start right in the centre of Peebles.

We actually did not manage to stop in Peebles. Instead, we were headed to Galashiels for a big shop before the rain came crashing down.

Additional stop: The Pentland Hills

Another interesting place to visit on the way from Edinburgh airport to the Scottish Borders is the Pentlands. The Pentland Hills lie southwest of Edinburgh and are a popular recreational area for city-dwellers. 

The Pentland Hills Regional Park is crisscrossed by trails, rivers and glens, making for fantastic hiking terrain. There are many paths to choose from, but great places for quick a wander into the hills are Balerno and Nine Mile Burn .

Overnight in Melrose (4 nights)

We based ourselves near the village of Melrose, which is a great hub to explore the Scottish Borders from. Melrose has plenty of accommodation options, ranging from self-catering holiday homes (like the one we rented) to traditional B&Bs and small independent hotels. 

There are many restaurants in Melrose – some local favourites are Barts Hotel and the fairly newly opened Provender restaurant. There is also a Coop supermarket to stock up on necessities and a series of cafes and bars for before and after dinner.

We stayed at a large holiday home in Newstead, about a 5-minute drive from the centre of Melrose (25 minutes on foot). The Old Paper House is a converted farmhouse with beautiful exposed wooden beams, tasteful decoration and a massive garden. It has 4 bedrooms and space for up to 8 people. Perfect for a family trip like ours!

Browse accommodation in Melrose here .

The Old Paper House holiday home in Melrose

Day 2: Of Abbeys and Grand Houses

The Scottish Borders are a paradise for history buffs and book lovers alike. The region has always played a significant role in Scottish history and culture, particularly during the Scottish War of Independence, and has also been significantly impacted by Reformation. It has inspired world-famous poets and authors, who have made their home in the Borders, such as Sir Walter Scott. Today is all about uncovering this history and learning more.

Stop 1: The Borders Abbeys

There are four ruined abbeys in the Scottish Borders that make up the Borders Abbeys. They are located in Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso. Since they are all so close to each other, it is easy to visit all of them in a day – or you can choose one or two to include in your itinerary. We chose to visit Melrose Abbey, since we stayed nearby, and also popped into Kelso Abbey, which is free of charge.

Melrose Abbey: This abbey was founded in 1136, but the structure you can visit today, dates from the 16th century. Robert the Bruce felt so strongly about this monastery that he asked for his heart to be buried here, and after his death, it was brought there from his grave at Dunfermline Abbey. My highlight of this abbey is the roof viewpoint – it’s absolutely worth the climb!  Website , £6 (Concession: £4.80)

Jedburgh Abbey: The abbey was established in the 12th century too and is a beautiful example of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. Website , £6 (Concession: £4.80)

Dryburgh Abbey: This abbey features some of the best Gothic architecture in Scotland. It is also the final resting place of Sir Walter Scott.   Website , £6 (Concession: £4.80)

Kelso Abbey: This is the only Borders Abbey that is free to visit, and even though very little remains of the original structure, it is a stunning example of monastic architecture.  Website

Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders

Stop 2: Abbotsford House

Disclaimer: This was a gifted experience for me and my family.

There are many castles in the Scottish Borders – the most magnificent I have seen must be Floors Castle near Kelso – but also a number of grand houses and homes, which were owned by private individuals. 

Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott – a significant figure of the historical fiction genre and best-selling author way beyond Scotland – might just be one of the most impressive homes in all of Scotland. It looks nothing like the farmhouse Scott bought here in 1812, but more like a fairy tale castle.

Even Queen Victoria loved it! When she stayed at Abbotsford during her first trip to Scotland, she took inspiration from the turrets and gabling and remodelled her own Scottish home, Balmoral Castle , in a similar way.

Today, you can visit Abbotsford House and wander the surrounding estate and gardens. There is an exhibition and a cafe at the visitor centre and an audio tour leads you through the ground floor of the house, including Scott’s impressive library and his intimate study.

I highly recommend a walk around the walled garden adjacent to the house and a wander along the woodland trails around the estate!

Abbotsford House , Melrose TD6 9BQ, website , £11.20 (Concession: £10.20) incl. audio guide 

Abbotsford House The Home of Sir Walter Scott in the Scottish Borders

Day 3: Hills and Coasts

The Scottish Borders are not all about Scottish history and grand architecture. Nature-lovers and outdoorsy people will equally fall in love with this region. This day is all about quenching your thirst for nature, scenery and views. 

Stop 1: Scott’s View

The landscape along the River Tweet is what made Sir Walter Scott buy the estate of Abbotsford House and make this area his home. One of his favourite viewpoints in the area is now known as Scott’s View and offers a magnificent vista of the River Tweed valley and the Eildon Hills near Melrose in the distance.

Standing here, it is not hard to see why Scott – and indeed so many others before and after him – fell in love with the Scottish Borders!

Scott's View in the Scottish Borders.

Stop 2: St Abb’s Head Nature Reserve

Next, make your way to the coast. From Melrose, it takes about one hour to drive to St Abbs on the east coast of Scotland. 

I recommend going for a walk along the cliffs of the nature reserve, before returning to the village for a well-deserved lunch. Park your car at the Nature Reserve car park, signposted on the left before you reach the village – it is just a 10-minute walk to the village and it spares you navigating the narrow and steep roads in the small town. It is also cheaper to park there (£3 all-day), than by the harbour in St Abbs (£5 all-day).

From the car park, walk to the coast and choose from one of many trails available. You can do a loop all the way out to St Abbs Lighthouse and Pettico Wick Bay, or just wander along the coast for a bit and turn back whenever you feel like it. We did the latter and it took us forever because everywhere was so beautiful and we stopped for photos often.

Back in St Abbs, head to Ebbcarrs Cafe by the harbour. Their crab rolls and seafood is famous, but they also have some vegan options on the menu, such as a baked potato with beans.

You might also like: 20 Beautiful Towns to Visit in Scotland

St Abbs and cliffs in the Scottish Borders.

Optional Hike: Eildon Hills

If you fancy a longer hike with some elevation, you could return to Melrose in time to climb the Eildon Hills . There are three summits, but you could easily also just focus on one if you have less time. The trail starts in the centre of Melrose, is straight forward and easy to follow but can be muddy at times. Sturdy hiking shoes with good grips are highly recommended, as is proper raingear and a map of the area. 

Make sure you read up on more  things to do in Melrose here !

Day 4: Day Trip to Northumberland

There are plenty of more things to do in the Scottish Borders, such as driving the Reivers Road trip , going mountain biking at the 7stanes trail centres or tasting whisky at The Borders Distillery . However, we decided to go further afield and spend a day across the border in Northumberland. 

Stop 1: Holy Isle and Lindisfarne

From Melrose, it takes about one hour to drive to the Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne), a tidal island off the coast of Northern England. Its name derives from the island’s significance for Christianity in this region. It is the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels and home to Lindisfarne Priory, which was attacked and raided by Vikings in the 8th century. Despite that, it remains a place of worship to this day. 

Lindisfarne can only be reached via a causeway during low tide and is cut off from the mainland twice a day. It is essential to check tidal times in advance in order to know when it is safe to cross over to the island, and when you can leave again. You can find an up-to-date timetable here .

Once you are on Holy Island, there are plenty of things to do. Visit Lindisfarne Castle ( website , £9) and the historic Lime Kilns beneath it. Wander along the shore and pay a visit to the walled flower garden near the castle. In the village, discover local produce at cafes and restaurants and taste locally produces Meade (honey wine) – they also have some vegan-friendly liqueurs to try!

You can visit the ruins of the Priory ( website , £7.20) and walk up to a watchtower above it (free of charge) for views of the village and the sea. Below the watchtower at the old Lifeboat House, an exhibition illustrates the long history of lifeboats and their missions on the island.

There are several restaurants and cafes on the island, but you can also bring your own supplies and enjoy a picnic among the sand dunes to the west of the island. 

Lindisfarne Castle on the Holy Island in Northumberland.

Additional Stops: Northumberland Castles

For us, the tides worked out in a way, that we had to spend the whole day on the Holy Island. If you can cross over at the beginning of low tide and return before high tide comes back, you might have enough time to explore some of Northumberland’s beautiful castles. 

This region of Northern England is covered in castles, some ruined others, very well preserved, and many are within easy driving distance of the Holy Island. 

From the watchtower, you might have already spotted the ruins of Bamburgh Castle to the south. A bit further lie the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle . One of the grandest castles in the area and one of the largest inhabited castles in the UK is Alnwick Castle . 

You might also like: A Day Trip to Alnwick Castle & Lindisfarne

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is a stop on my day trip to Holy Island with Timberbush Tours.

Visit Dumfries & Galloway (3 nights)

Dumfries and Galloway is the southernmost region in Scotland and is located in the far southwest of the country. It has a short border with northern England and is adjacant to the Scottish Borders, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. Its coast is surrounded by the Solway Firth and the Irish Sea. While inland is dominated by hills and forests – the Southern Uplands and Galloway Forest Park – the coastline is dotted with picturesque villages, stunning cliffs and towering lighthouses.

The region even has it’s own Route 66-style road trip route, the South West Coastal 300 which you could explore for days. We opted to spend three nights in this region, using a central home base in Newton Stewart.

Dumfries & Galloway Travel Essentials Where to Stay in Dumfries & Galloway  | Just like in the Borders, there is a plethora of B&Bs and hotels in Dumfries & Galloway. You could road trip around the region from Moffat to Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Wigtown, Stranraer and Girvan or choose a central location. We stayed at The Old School House in Newton Stewart, which offered us a lot of space, a hot tub in the garden, and a great location to explore the whole region. Getting around Dumfries & Galloway  | Again, I highly recommend to bring your own hire car to the region in order to get the most out of the many coastal roads and hidden gems in Dumfries and Galloway. The best restaurants in  Dumfries & Galloway | We had no problem finding vegan food in Newton Stewart and surrounding areas. Among my favourites were Indian curries at Meena’s and the vegan menu at The Crown Hotel (both Newton Stewart). A real surprise was Shoots and Leaves , the region’s only fully vegan and vegetarian cafe in Wigtown. In Stranraer, we picked up delicious takeaway pizzas from Papa Rab’s Restaurant (they also have a dining area to sit-in) – they even had vegan cheese! The best pubs in Dumfries & Galloway  | A bar to highlight in Dumfries & Galloway is The Grapes in Stranraer, a popular pub and music venue. The owner is a huge country fan and often brings over acts from the American south and from all over Europe to play at the pub, and there are regular trad music sessions as well.

Day 5: Dumfries & Galloway

There are not many large roads going from east to west in the south of Scotland. We followed the winding A708 from Selkirk to Moffat. This road runs right through the Moffat Hills, a range within the Southern Uplands, and is a scenic experience that rivals that of a Highlands road trip. 

Stop 1: Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve

The Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall is more than a pleasant surprise. From the road and the car park you can only see layers of green hills, but when you walk closer, you see that they actually cover a narrow valley and a waterfall that drops 60 m from top to bottom.

There are two viewpoints near the waterfall. One that is further away, but easier to walk to; to the right, across a little footbridge. The other, slightly further and uphill, but closer to the actual waterfall; leading up a little trail to the left. 

If you have a few more hours and prefer to hike instead of more cultural/history stops (see below), you can also follow the steep but rewarding trail up to Loch Skeen . It leads through the Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve, brings you even closer to the waterfall and into the wilderness of this remote hill range.

The parking fee is £3, but it’s free to park here for National Trust of Scotland members. 

Want to know how other ways to save money?  Check out my  50 Money-Saving Travel Tips for Scotland

Grey Mare's Tail waterfall in Dumfries & Galloway.

Optional Stops: Dumfries, Caerlaverock Castle & Sweetheart Abbey

Since we were a bit unlucky with the weather, we moved rather quickly from the Borders to Dumfries & Galloway. There are, however, many things to do along the way and places I have bookmarked for my next trip to the area:

Dumfries: Dumfries is the largest town in the region and a popular stop for my people visiting the south of Scotland. I would have loved to explore the blossoming vegan food scene – especially the vegan menus at Cavens Arms and Mrs Green’s. There are also many other things to do in Dumfries, including the Dumfries Art Trail, the Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura and the Crichton Gardens. If you visit, you are in good company: Bonnie Prince Charlie, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have all spent time in Dumfries as well!

Caerlaverock Castle: This castle, approx. 9 miles south of Dumfries, was the coastal stronghold of the region in medieval times. Even though it is ruined, the triangular outer shape of the castle is pretty well preserved, so that it is easy to imagine what the English soldiers would have seen on their many sieges of the castle. Website , £6.

Sweetheart Abbey: This beautiful abbey was founded by Lady Dervorgilla as a tribute to her husband – thus the monks gave it its lovely name. Apart from the roof, it is remarkably complete and allows you to travel back to the time when it was built, over 700 years ago. Website , £6.

Stop 2: Kirkcudbright

For lunch, we stopped in the coastal town of Kirkcudbright which sits where the River Dee meets the Solway Firth. It is known as an artists’ town and has attracted many Scottish artists since the late 19th century. Today, the streets are lined with quirky and colourful houses, and there are lots of galleries and artist studios waiting to be explored.

We stopped for lunch at The Garret Hotel .

Overnight in Newton Stewart (3 nights)

Despite the rain, the drive from Kirkcudbright to Newton Stewart was glorious, especially the section of the SWC300 that leads right along the shore of the Solway Firth. 

We arrived in Newton Stewart, a small town at the foot of the Galloway Hills, sprawling north to south along the River Cree.  The town makes for a perfect central homebase to explore the rest of Dumfries and Galloway. It is just one hour to places like Sweetheart Abbey or Dumfries, 45 minutes to the west coast (Portpatrick, Stranraer), 15 minutes to Wigtown or the Wood of Cree, and one hour to the southernmost point of Scotland on the Rhins of Galloway. There are several restaurants, hotels and shops in Newton Stewart – everything you need is at your door step.

We stayed in a large holiday home, The Old School House , about 20 minutes walk from the High Street of Newton Stewart. It is located in a quiet residential area and has a whirlpool in the garden – luxury, especially after a rainy day on the road. 

Browse other accommodation in Newton Stewart here .

The Old School House holiday home in Newton Stewart in South Scotland.

Day 6: Wigtownshire – Machars Peninsula

The historic county of Wigtownshire spreads across two peninsulas – the hammer-shaped Rhins of Galloway in the west, and the triangle-shaped Machars peninsula in the east. We spent two days exploring these two areas, which gives you an idea for how much there is to see here!

Stop 1: Wigtown

No trip to the south-west of Scotland is complete without a stop in Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town. Bookworms, in particular, will love it here and could easily spend all day browsing the plethora of bookshops.

There are 16 book shops in Wigtown – that’s one for every 62 inhabitants of this small bustling town. Most of them are located on Main Street and sell second-hand books – although each has a range of new releases too. We went to almost all of them and among my favourites were the giant Old Bank Bookshop , Well-Read Books , Byre Books  and ReadingLasses , which focuses on books by women.

We had the possibly best vegan meal of the holiday in Wigtown too, at Shoots and Leaves , the first fully vegetarian and vegan cafe in Dumfries & Galloway. 

PS: Wigtown hosts the annual Wigtown Book Festival in late September/early October.

Bookshelves in a book shop in Wigtown in South Scotland.

Optional Stops: Whithorn, Isle of Whithorn & St Ninian’s Cave

We were feeling lazy and the rain did not help to lift the spirits – the whirlpool at our house did, on the other hand, so you must excuse that the next suggestion for your itinerary has not been personally tried and tested (yet).

I would have loved to drive further south on the Machars peninsula, visited the Roman Christian sites in Whithorn , wandered the harbour of Isle of Whithorn and walked out to the beautiful St Ninian’s Cave .

Day 7: Wigtownshire – Rhins of Galloway

For our second day in Wigtownshire, we ventured out to the southernmost point of Scotland, the hammer-shaped peninsula called Rhins of Galloway. We began the day with a “long” drive to the Mull of Galloway (1-1.5 hours) and then slowly worked our way back to Newton Stewart.

Stop 1: Mull of Galloway

There is an RSPB visitor centre for information about local wildlife and flora. If you are lucky, you can spot guillemots, kittiwakes and peregrine falcons, and during May and June, even a small number of puffins is nesting here. If you visit – like me – in August, the flora display is breathtaking, as the purple heather covering the land is beginning to bloom. At low tide, you can witness the Nine Witches of Galloway, a spectacle of nine different ocean currents meeting and crashing into each other below the cliffs. According to legend, witches have created these currents to harm ships and boats crossing over to Scotland.

At the lighthouse, you can visit the exhibition (£3), climb to the top of the lighthouse to learn about how it works and get a 360-view of the area (£3) or do both (£5 combination ticket).

The Gallie Craig cafe near the car park was built into the steep cliffs of the mull (mull means “rounded hill”) and blends perfectly into the landscape. it offers a wide range of hot and cold drinks, cakes, ice cream and full meals, and stunning views, especially from the terrace. 

Mull of Galloway Lighthouse in South Scotland.

Stop 2: Logan Botanic Garden

Many visitors are surprised to hear that the west coast of Scotland is blessed with fairly mild climate year-round – in fact, mild enough to allow palm trees to grow in people’s gardens! 

The Rhins of Galloway are no exception and there is no place more beautifully displaying the benefits of this mild climate than Logan Botanic Garden. It is known to be Scotland’s most exotic garden, supporting plants from Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America and Southern Africa. You will wander among palm trees and tree ferns, or take shelter underneath Eucalyptus trees and giant Gunnera. There is a walled garden with a beautiful flower display and a Victorian glasshouse with exotic plants from South Africa.

For all that – well the beautiful gardens at least – you can thank the Gulf Stream – if only, it came with the tropical temperatures too…

Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan DG9 9ND,  website , £7 (Concession: £6).

Palm trees and purple flowers at Logan Botanic Garden in South Scotland

Optional Stop: Portpatrick & Killantringan Lighthouse

Portpatrick is a small, but picturesque coastal village with a colourful harbour. On a sunny day, you could almost believe you are at the French Riviera thanks to the alfresco restaurants along the seafront!

To get the most out of the stunning scenery of this area, follow an easy coastal trail out to Killantringan Lighthouse. The loop-trail takes around 3-4.5 hours to complete.

Stop 4: Live music in Stranraer

The final stop of the day is Stranraer, a coastal town on the shores of Loch Ryan. You can walk along the refurbished pier and glimpse views of Arran and Ailsa Craig. But in recent times, the town has become increasingly well-known for its focus on music.

The town is host to the annual Galloway Roots Country Music Festival which takes place in October, but even outside of the festival dates, the bars in Stranraer, led by the Grapes Bar , is bringing music from around the world to the southwest of Scotland.

We went to the Grapes for an evening of classic tunes and traditional music, the best Guinness this side of the Irish Sea, and lots of mingling with friendly locals. It’s the kind of pub, you enter as a stranger and leave with a bunch of new friends!

For dinner, we went around the corner to Papa Rab’s Italian restaurant which surprised us with vegan cheese on their pizzas (dairy cheese by default)!

A band playing live music at The Grapes Bar in Stranraer.

Day 8: Departure

As the last day of our South Scotland itinerary has arrived, we must make our way back north to Edinburgh airport. There are multiple routes to take – inland, via Thornhill and Drumlanrig Castle, straight up through the Galloway Forest Park, or along the coast via Girvan and Culzean Castle. Depending on your flight time, you might have to drive straight to the airport or have time to stop off at some additional sites.

Stop 1: Galloway Forest Park

We had to make our way to the airport at a good pace and chose the most direct path north through the Galloway Forest Park. That way, the road was our sightseeing and we only stopped for a few photos of mountain and forest views in the area. 

The Galloway Forest Park is a beautiful recreational area for hikers and cyclists and has many scenic picnic areas too. It is recognised as Dark Sky Park and if you are keen to learn more about the night skies above, I can highly recommend a detour to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory near Dalmellington. They also host educational stargazing evenings which you can book online for any of the nights you spend in Dumfries & Galloway.

The park is making an effort to become Scotland’s third national park!

Mountain views at the Galloway Forest Park in Scotland

Optional stops: Culzean Castle, Drumlanrig Castle & New Lanark

If you have more time at your hands, either because you have a late evening or early morning flight the next day, or because you are continuing your journey to the north of Scotland, here are some suggestions for sites and attractions to visit in south Scotland.

Culzean Castle: Culzean is a stunning cliff-top castle near Maybole and lies just off the coastal route A77. The castle and surrounding gardens are beautiful and offer great views to the Isle of Arran. Nearby, you could also visit the ruins of Dunure Castle, which presents an impressive contrast to the fairytale palace of Culzean. Website , £17 (Concession: £14.25); Gardens only: £11.85 (Concession: £8.50)

Drumlanrig Castle: Taking the inland route towards Edinburgh (A76), Drumlanrig Castle is a great stop-off near Thornhill. Built from red sandstone, it is also known as “Pink Palace” and possibly one of the most romantic castles in Scotland.  Website , £12 (Concession: £10); Gardens only: £6 (Concession: £4.50)

New Lanark: About one hour south-west of Edinburgh airport, you can visit one of Scotland’s cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in New Lanark. In the late 18th century, Scottish industrialist David Dale built cotton mills in this area, alongside several buildings to house the mill workers. Even though the mills are no longer in operation, the village has been preserved and restored, not only to illustrate this important industry in Scotland’s history but also as an early example of urban planning.  Website , £13.95 (Concession: £11.50) incl. 2 daily guided tours which run at 11.30 am and 2 pm.

And just like that, your holiday in the south of Scotland has come to an end. If you are staying in Scotland a bit longer, check out my other itineraries here .

You could for example seamlessly continue with my West Coast of Scotland itinerary by taking the ferry from Ardrossan to Campbeltown!

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Scotland is more than the Highlands - this itinerary for South Scotland shows you the best places to visit in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway!

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8 thoughts on “ One Week in South Scotland: Itinerary for Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway ”

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What a great post. Love the South of Scotland and Grey Mares Tail is one of my favourite walks, Drumlanrig Castle is a beautiful place to visit too. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience.

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Well, this is lovely, Kathi! I love the fact that the South gets the whole “Scottish experience”, but more organic and touristy free.

Once I tick Edinburgh and the Highlands from my bucket list, this post totally convinced me to head South and check these wonderful locations in the future.

It’s really worth looking beyond the “classics” 🙂 Good decision!

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A Guide to the Best Castles to Visit in South Scotland

Scotland is home to some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring castles in the world. With nearly 1,500 towering turrets and sprawling curtain-walled fortresses to see during a sightseeing tour, Scotland’s castles offer visitors a unique glimpse into the country’s past.

In this article, you’ll find a collection of the best castles to visit in South Scotland from world-renowned palaces like Stirling and Edinburgh to Scottish castle ruins such as Dunbar and Tantallon.

Best Castles to Visit in South Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

  • Address:  Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG
  • Contact details:  Tel   0131 225 9846
  • Out About Scotland complete guide: Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh is home to the biggest castle in Scotland, which rightly deserves its place as the country’s number-one tourist attraction, as it’s one of the finest fortifications in Europe, if not the world. More than two million people flock to the city each year to visit Edinburgh Castle and although the ticket prices are on the steep side, there’s enough going on that you could quite easily spend the majority of your day there.

Highlights include the Argyll battery which has the best views in the city (it’s also where the One o’Clock Gun fires), the Palace Yard where you can say hello to Mons Meg (an enormous 15th-century cannon), and St. Margarets Chapel which is believed to be the oldest building in Edinburgh.

Other areas worth exploring are the Royal Palace where Mary Queen of Scots lived and the Crown Room which houses the Honours of Scotland (Scotland’s Crown Jewels).

There are a couple of military museums in the castle as well as the Scottish National War Memorial, and the Great Hall opposite the memorial is full of original examples of weaponry from Scotland’s proud military heritage.

One event I have to mention is the military tattoo held annually on the Castle Esplanade throughout August. The Edinburgh Tattoo is a fantastic experience that I guarantee you’ll never forget, so if you’d like to book a seat, visit the Edinburgh Military Tattoo website, but book early as tickets sell out months in advance. All that, coupled with the attraction’s excellent café, restaurant, and shops, makes a visit to Edinburgh Castle an absolute necessity.

Stirling Castle

  • Address:  Castle Esplanade, Stirling, FK8 1EJ
  • Contact details:  Tel 01786 450 000
  • Out About Scotland complete guide: Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

The ancient and incomparable Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, in part due to the fact that it has so much history waiting to be discovered during a visit. The castle was the royal seat of power long before Edinburgh Castle took the mantle, and it was also the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots.

Like Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle was built on top of an enormous rock pinnacle that would have been virtually impenetrable back in the day, which is the main reason it served as a royal palace for hundreds of years.

Inside the main courtyard, visitors can explore the Royal Palace and the Great Hall, both of which have been restored to their original condition, so they look identical to how they would have looked when they were built over 500 years ago. The palace, in particular, is a fascinating place that’s full of original artwork and furniture.

This historic attraction does a first-class job of transporting you back in time to the reign of James V, helped no end by the tour guides dressed in character costumes who’ll be only too glad to retell the stories of some of the castle’s most famous inhabitants. There’s also a museum on the site that explains the history of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and there are the Queen Anne Gardens that offer visitors stunning views of the Stirling countryside.

As you might expect, the facilities at this attraction are first class with an extensive gift shop, a café with a rooftop terrace, public toilets, and ample parking.

If you’d like to visit Stirling Castle yourself I highly recommend booking a tour with Rabbies. These friendly small-group tours use mini-coaches that seat no more than 16 people so you’ll get to know the people around you and make friends during your excursion.

The Rabbies Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond,, & Whisky Tour starts in Glasgow (1 hour by train from Edinburgh) and heads deep into the heart of some of the most scenic regions in Scotland, including the Trossachs National Park, the stunning Loch Lomond, and Stirling Castle. Find out more about this tour on the Rabbies website .

Aberdour Castle

  • Address:  Aberdour, Fife, KY3 0SL
  • Contact details: Tel 01383 860 519
  • Out About Scotland complete guide: Aberdour Castle

Aberdour Castle

Aberdour Castle in Fife is one of the oldest castles in Scotland. It was built in the 1100s by Sir Alan de Mortimer but was later handed over to the powerful Douglas family who kept it as their family home until 1725.

Sadly, a fire destroyed much of the building in 1688, and a large section of the castle was never repaired, which is why you might be surprised to find yourself walking through ruins before entering the still-intact main building.

Inside, the rooms have been restored to virtually the same condition as when the Douglas’s lived there thanks to the efforts of Historic Environment Scotland which has also installed several information boards that explain the history of the castle and the people who lived and worked in it.

There are a couple of highlights of Aberdour that are worth mentioning, the first of which is the landscaped garden that’s open for visitors to walk around. The area nearest the castle is terraced, and there are picnic benches installed next to an on-site café, making it a great place for a spot of outdoor eating on a sunny day. The far end of the garden is home to one of the largest dovecots in Scotland, and nearby is a lovely wee orchard that’s heavy with the scents of ripe fruit in summer and autumn.

Moving around to the front of the castle takes you past a disabled car park into a large walled garden that’s set to lawn and flower borders, and a small family church can be found through a door at the far end which is also open to visitors.

As far as facilities go, there is a shop, café, and toilets, but no car park for non-disabled guests. There is, however, ample parking at Aberdour train station, which is located just a couple of hundred yards from the castle entrance.

Blackness Castle

  • Address:  Blackness, Linlithgow, West Lothian, EH49 7NH
  • Contact details:  Tel. 01506 834 807
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle lies on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, more-or-less midway between Edinburgh and Linlithgow.

The reason it has such a large external wall is because the wealthy Crichton family constructed it in the 1400s to stop encroaching armies from sailing into Scotland’s interior via the estuary. This wall is angled to deflect cannon fire, which gave it the unintentional shape of a ship’s bow, which is the reason why the castle has had the nickname ‘the ship that never sailed’ for hundreds of years.

Its shape has made it one of the most recognisable castles in South Scotland, along with the fact that it saw military use during WWI, long after many other Scottish castles had fallen into ruin.

Today, visitors can explore Blackness Castle’s tower house and residential building during a self-guided tour, and it’s also possible to access a walkway on top of the outer curtain wall and a viewing platform at the very top of the central tower. From either location, the views across the Firth of Forth are stunning, with wide mud flats that are a haven for wading birds and uninterrupted views east and west along the Fife coastline.

In addition, the old prison and lookout towers are open to the public, but unfortunately, the officer’s quarters situated in the entrance courtyard are closed, as is the barrack block opposite. That being said, there are more than enough things to see to keep tourists entertained for an hour or more at Blackness Castle, and the picnic benches on the lawn offer mesmerising views across the Firth of Forth.

If you’d like to spend a little longer at the attraction, there’s a path leading behind the castle that leads down to a bay and a small strip of beach, and there’s also a footpath heading west that follows the coastline for three miles before finishing near Boness Motor Museum.

Blair Castle

  • Address:  Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, PH18 5TL
  • Contact details:  Tel. 01796 481207
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Blair Castle

Blair Castle

You’ll find Blair Castle nestled in rolling countryside near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, within easy access of the A9 and B8079. The castle has an enormous amount of history behind it and has served an incredible nineteen generations of the Atholl family for over 750 years.

In my opinion, Blair Castle is up there with Dunrobin when it comes to fairy-tale looks, and it’s not far from what you might imagine a real-life Disney castle would look like with its turrets, battlements, and breathtaking scenery in every direction.

During a self-guided tour, visitors are free to walk around the castle at their leisure, which can be a wee bit overwhelming as the castle is so big, but thankfully there are lots of guides on hand to answer questions and explain the history of the exhibits.

There are over 30 rooms that are accessible to tourists, and they’re all chock-full of sculptures, paintings, and memorabilia, which makes a nice change from some of the castles on this list that are nothing more than ruins. But as nice as the interior is, perhaps the highlight of a visit to Blair Castle is exploring the surrounding gardens.

The gardens are enormous and include a walled garden, a conifer woodland, a secluded grove, and a sculpture trail, making them a perfect place for a summer visit.

Caerlaverock Castle

  • Address:  Glencaple, Dumfries, DG1 4RU
  • Contact details:  Tel. 01387 770 244
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Caerlaverock Castle

caerlaverock castle

Caerlaverock Castle is one of the most interesting castles in Dumfries and Galloway, not because it’s particularly big or historically significant, but because it has an unusual triangular shape that (as far as I know) is unique in Scotland. That, and the fact that it’s set in one of the few remaining moats left in the country, means it’s very photogenic, so don’t forget to bring your camera with you when you visit.

Although it won’t take much more than an hour to fully explore the castle and the grounds, there’s quite a lot you can do in the immediate area thanks to the track that runs down to Caerlaverock Nature Reserve.

The nature reserve has paths leading through grassland that offer lovely walks into the Solway Firth, and you’ll no doubt see lots of wildlife on the way. Even if you’re not bothered about exploring the castle, it’s still worth visiting just to go for a walk to see what is arguably one of the nicest parts of the Dumfries coastline.

Heading back to the castle after a coastal walk allows you to let the kids off the leash on the grounds outside the museum, where there are picnic benches and a small play park. The wee museum with its reconstructions of mediaeval weapons is quite interesting, and there’s an on-site café if hungry bellies start rumbling.

The visitor centre also has a shop with the usual history-themed souvenirs; there are public toilets; and the car park has space for around 20 cars.

Castle Campbell

  • Address: Castle Campbell, Dollar, Clackmannanshire, FK14 7PP
  • Contact details:  Tel.   01259 742 408
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Castle Campbell

Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen

Dollar Glen in Clackmannanshire is home to a castle that has one of the nicest terrace views in Scotland. Castle Campbell is a 15th-century fort that was originally built as the family home of Lord Lorne, but it passed into the ownership of Clan Campbell when the 1st Earl of Argyle married Lord Lorne’s daughter.

The Campbells owned it for more than 400 years, but it was handed over to the state in the 1940s, at which point it was designated as a scheduled ancient monument.

Tourists will find Castle Campbell a fascinating place to explore with its atmospheric tower house and courtyard and an accessible rooftop that offers panoramic views over Dollar Glen. The glen draws just as many visitors to the area as the castle does, and I totally recommend you go there if you’re ever in Clackmannanshire and looking for something to do.

It’s a great place to go for a walk on a sunny afternoon, and it’s full of wildlife, including red squirrels, deer, and birds of prey, so it’s worth taking a pair of binoculars with you as you never know what you’ll see (if you don’t have a pair, I recommend these binoculars ).

Access is easy from the castle, as there’s a path leading into Dollar Glen from the castle entrance, but there are other entrance points at the Dollar Glen car park (postcode FK14 7BZ).

Craigmillar Castle

  • Address:  Craigmillar Castle Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4SY
  • Contact details: Tel. 0131 661 4445
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

While Edinburgh Castle gets all the attention as Scotland’s most-visited tourist attraction, there’s another royal castle just a few miles to the south that’s worth visiting but is much, much less busy.

Craigmillar Castle is a 20-minute bus ride from Princes Street, just off the Old Dalkeith Road, near Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary. It dates from the 1400s and was originally the power base of the influential Preston family before it was sold to the equally powerful Gilmour family in the 1660s.

As a castle, this one was built with security first and foremost in mind, with walls that are up to 10 feet thick, comprising an outer defensive wall, an inner wall, and a central tower house that would have been virtually impossible to breach back in the day. No wonder Mary Queen of Scots chose Craigmillar Castle as her favourite place to take refuge.

Visitors can explore pretty much the entire castle, as all of it is open to the public, from the east and west gardens to the terrace on the top of the tower house, as well as a great hall and a prison. There are no furnishings inside, but the majority of the walls and staircases are still intact, so visitors can get a good idea of how the castle would have looked back in Queen Mary’s day.

Highlights include the tower house rooftop, where you can get a superb viewpoint of Holyrood Park; the scenic inner garden that has picnic benches; and the land outside the castle that has footpaths running through woodland.

Facilities-wise, Craigmillar Castle is a wee bit lacking with a small shop, no café, and very limited parking spaces, but on the plus side, there are bus stops the length of Old Dalkeith Road, meaning visitors can return to the city centre in no time at all.

Crichton Castle

  • Address:  Pathhead, EH37 5XA
  • Contact details: Tel. 01875 320 017
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle in Midlothian is one of the hardest to find on this list, but it’s been included because it’s set in exceptionally pretty countryside and has a tower house that is one of the oldest in Scotland.

It was built in the late 1300s for the Crichton family and was their primary seat of power for two hundred years until they lost much of their wealth in the 15th century and were forced to sell the castle to the Earl of Bothwell.

Although it’s almost completely in ruin and without a roof, Crichton Castle is very photogenic, especially in the inner courtyard, which has very unusual diamond-shaped carvings on the walls. Some of the staircases are still accessible in the former residential quarter, so visitors can climb part way up, but due to their ruined state, it’s sadly not possible to get to the top of the main tower house.

One unusual feature of Crichton Castle is the building next to it that looks like it could have been a mediaeval church but is, in fact, the old stable block. It’s almost as fortified as the main castle and is quite unlike any other in the south of Scotland.

There are only a few facilities at this castle, which include a small car park and a small shop in the entrance kiosk, but be aware that there are no public toilets. On the positive side, Crichton Castle is frequently unmanned, and the entrance gate is often left open, so there’s every possibility you’ll arrive and find yourself able to enter at no cost.

A visit to this castle won’t take long—30–45 minutes—but I recommend timing your visit until late in the day as the surrounding woodland is a haven for bats. If bat-spotting isn’t on your agenda, you can always take a drive to Vogrie Country Park, which is just 2 miles north and features a café and miniature railway, or the National Mining Museum in Gorebridge, which is just 4 miles to the north.

Dirleton Castle

  • Address:  Dirleton, East Lothian, EH39 5ER
  • Contact details: Tel. 01620 850 330
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Dirleton Castle

Dirleton Castle

East Lothian is perhaps best known for its coastline, but there are more than a few historic sites of interest that visitors to the south of Scotland should consider adding to their sightseeing itineraries. One of my personal favourites is the castle in the village of Dirleton, located 2 miles east of North Berwick and a couple of hundred yards off the A198.

Like many fortified buildings in this part of the country, Dirleton Castle was built in the 13th century as a home to a powerful family (the de Vaux’s), and its age means it’s almost entirely in ruin, with a number of walls that have completely collapsed and no roof.

Even so, it’s certainly worth a visit, and there are two surprising stand-out features worth mentioning. The first is the two towers looming over the entrance walkway, which are among the oldest in Scotland. The second is the large garden outside the castle, which has the longest flowering border in the world.

There’s also one of the oldest surviving chapels in Scotland, a cavernous storage vault, and one of the largest and best-preserved pigeon houses in the country.

Facilities are quite good, with ample parking, a picnic area, a small gift shop, and educational displays, and there’s enough space outside the castle walls to let the kids run around and burn off some energy after romping around the castle’s nooks and crannies.

Several attractions in the area are worth exploring, including two gorgeous beaches at Gullane and Yellowcraig , Archerfield Walled Garden which has a superb café with indoor and outdoor seating, and North Berwick which is home to the Scottish Seabird Centre that runs tours to Bass Rock where one of the world’s biggest gannet colonies lives.

Doune Castle

  • Address:  Castle Hill, Doune, Perthshire, FK16 6EA
  • Contact details: Tel. 01786 842768  
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Doune Castle

Doune Castle

Fan of Monty Python, Outlander, or Game of Thornes? Then you have to visit Doune Castle in central Scotland.

This Perthshire fortress served as the home of the Duke of Albany and Earl of Moray from the 14th to the 19th centuries, which makes it one of the oldest and best-preserved castles from that time that’s still standing in Scotland. There are a lot of interesting features to look at during your visit, including one of the finest great halls in Scotland, and it’s immediately obvious that no expense was spared when Doune Castle was built.

The castle has played a starring role in several movies and TV shows in recent years, and many tourists visit just to snap a selfie or two in front of the main gate. However, there are lots of interesting features to discover for those willing to explore a little further, including the gatehouse, which is one of the biggest in Scotland.

Visitor facilities are pretty good for a historic attraction of this size, with a shop, picnic area, toilets, and ample parking, but sadly, there’s no café (although Stirling is only 8 miles away).

After walking around the castle (plan for one hour), you can head to many other attractions nearby, including Stirling Castle (9 miles) and Blair Drummond Safari Park (4 miles), as well as the Trossachs National Park, which lies 8 miles to the west on the A84.

Hailes Castle

  • Address:  Haddington, EH41 4PY
  • Contact details: NA
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Hailes Castle

Hailes Castle

East Lothian is a massively underrated region of Scotland, which is a shame because tourists often miss out on gems like Hailes Castle, which is located in a very pretty setting next to the River Tyne. The castle lies midway between Haddington and Dunbar and is easily accessed from the A1, so visiting it by car only takes around half an hour from Edinburgh.

It’s quite small as castles go, and a visit shouldn’t take much more than half an hour, but there’s a lovely footpath along the river if you’d like to spend a little longer in the area. The original part of the castle was built in the 14th century and was extended several times, but as with most of these smaller fortifications, it was eventually abandoned and now lies almost entirely in ruin.

There are a couple of sections that give an indication of how big it would have been in its heyday, but apart from the underground brewery, the entire castle is roofless and exposed to the elements.

One point to note about Hailes Castle is that it’s unmanned and is therefore entirely free to visit, so taking a quick detour after a trip to nearby attractions like Preston Mill and the National Museum of Flight is a bit of a no-brainer. Children will love exploring all the nooks and crannies inside the crumbling castle walls, and the grass area next to the River Tyne makes a great spot for a summer picnic, especially as the castle is so secluded.

The main downside for tourists is the lack of available parking with space for just three cars on the road, but it’s possible to park up in Haddington and walk to the castle along the River Tyne, which is an extraordinarily scenic footpath that will stretch your visit into a full afternoon.

Linlithgow Palace

  • Address:  Kirkgate, Linlithgow, West Lothian, EH49 7AL
  • Contact details: Tel. 01506 842 896
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace

The West Lothian market town of Linlithgow lies midway between Edinburgh and Stirling castles, which is why an immense fortified palace was built there as a safe refuge for royalty travelling between the two cities.

Linlithgow Palace lies opposite a small freshwater loch that would have acted as a reliable source of fish for the palace’s occupants back in the day, and it’s the main reason why a fort of some kind is known to have existed on the site for at least 2,000 years.

Construction began on the palace in 1424 on the orders of James I, and it saw use as a royal residence for the following 300 years until a great fire swept through it in 1746, which destroyed most of the roof. By this time, the royal court had moved to London, and the upkeep of the palace was a drain on the nation’s coffers, so it was decided to abandon it entirely shortly after.

What remains is one of the largest fortified buildings of its age in Scotland, and although it’s a shadow of its former glory, it’s a genuinely fascinating place to visit.

Access to the castle lies down a narrow, cobbled alley, which leads onto a rough car park at the front entrance gate. There’s a small shop and ticket office at the entrance, which leads into the main courtyard, where visitors can then explore a maze of unfurnished rooms and hallways.

Two highlights at Linlithgow Palace make it memorable, the first of which is the enormous stone fountain in the inner courtyard. The fountain features many detailed carvings set into the stonework, and at the weekends in summer, it’s turned on so that visitors can watch it in action. The second highlight is the viewing platform at the palace’s highest point, Queen Margaret’s Bower, where superb views can be enjoyed across the loch to the Firth of Forth bridges in the far distance.

Outside the palace’s walls, footpaths run around the loch, which is a designated site of scientific interest due to the number of wildfowl that live there, and it’s a short walk into Linlithgow town centre, where there are lots of artisan coffee shops and restaurants.

Tantallon Castle

  • Address:  North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 5PN
  • Contact details: Tel. 01620 892 727
  • Out About Scotland: A Complete Guide: Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle

North Berwick is a must-visit for tourists to East Lothian, especially those who are planning to explore the county’s beautiful coastline.

One particular highlight that has to be included in this article is Tantallon Castle, which lies 3 miles south of North Berwick. This sizeable mediaeval fortress overlooks Bass Rock and Seacliff Beach and is best known as the last curtain-walled castle that was built in Scotland.

The 1st Earl of Douglas constructed it in the 1300s, and a succession of Scottish nobles lived there until Oliver Cromwell’s forces besieged it in 1650 and left it partially in ruins. Not much of the original castle remains today, but the huge castle wall on the landward side is almost entirely intact and gives some idea of how sizeable the structure would have been in its prime.

Visitors can explore the remaining residential area as well as the inner courtyard during a visit, but the highlight has to be climbing to the top of the curtain wall, which has a walkway with amazing views in all directions.

Historic Environment Scotland, which is in charge of managing Tantallon Castle, has put in a parking lot, a tiny ticket office and gift shop, as well as restrooms, a picnic area, and a few informational displays. I suggest giving yourself one hour to view the castle, after which you have options to head into North Berwick or enjoy any of the beaches on either side, with personal recommendations being Seacliff, Tyninghame, and Dunbar beaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is scotland’s most beautiful castle.

Scotland is home to many beautiful castles, but the most popular is Edinburgh Castle. This iconic fortress is located on a volcanic plug in the heart of Scotland’s capital and offers stunning elevated views of the city and surrounding landscape.

Other beautiful castles in Scotland include Urquhart Castle, which lies on the banks of Loch Ness; Dunnottar Castle, which is situated on top of an enormous crag overlooking the North Sea near Aberdeen; and Eilean Donan Castle, which is positioned at the meeting point of the lochs Alsh, Long, and Duich in the Scottish Highlands.

Why is Urquhart Castle famous?

Urquhart Castle has a spectacular vantage point over Loch Ness, which has contributed to its fame. Its construction began in the 13th century, and for the next few centuries, it served as a strategic stronghold for Scotland, drawing intense fighting between the Scots and the English. Many myths and stories have developed around the Loch and Urquhart Castle, most notably that of the Loch Ness Monster.

Which is the oldest castle in Scotland?

Castle Sween is the oldest Scottish mainland castle for which we have reliable historical information. It was constructed in the 1100s and was inhabited for more than 500 years. It overlooks Loch Sween and the Isle of Jura from an elevated position on the northern end of the Campbeltown peninsula.

How many castles are in Scotland?

Scotland’s history is marked by the construction of an estimated 2,000 castles, of which around a quarter have now entirely disappeared from the landscape. Among the surviving 1,500 are castles like Edinburgh and Stirling that have been preserved in their entirety, as well as ruins such as Urquhart and Innis Chonnell.

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Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest , Facebook , and YouTube .

places to visit in south of scotland

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History lovers will enjoy visiting the ruined abbeys that once ruled over agricultural communities that dot the southern border. They were frequently ransacked before their destruction in the Reformation and now many are linked by cycling and walking paths and are some of Scotland’s most atmospheric historic sites.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take in the region’s attractive landscapes created by its geological past of colliding continents and erupting volcanoes. With extensive forest cover between the bustling market towns and hills leading down to stretches of coastline and some of Scotland’s sunniest weather, it will be easy to get outside and explore. Along the coast, you can also find spectacular wildlife such as white-tailed sea eagles to minke whales and basking sharks cruising along the coast.

Ruined abbeys, stunning coastline, and serene woodland walks- check out these 8 great places in Southwest #Scotland to experience the best the region has to offer. #UK

Visitors to the region will be welcomed with an array of activities and sights to see from serene forest walks, beachcombing along the stunning coastline, exploring castle ruins , or getting out on the links at one of the many golf courses – all finished off with an evening of getting to know the locals by joining in on a festival or heading to a pub. 

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, a week, or longer, here are eight great places to visit in southwest Scotland to experience the best this region has to offer  as recommended by fellow travel bloggers.

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8 great places to visit in southwest scotland.

  • Kirkcudbright
  • Isle of Arran

Places to Visit in Southwest Scotland Map

Prepare to be seduced by Oban, a Victorian harbour town in the heart of Scotland’s Western Highlands. Blessed with a majestic setting, Oban’s stately Victorian buildings flank a horseshoe-shaped bay, framed by the backdrop of the majestic Ben More. It even has its own version of Rome’s Colosseum, called McCaig’s Folly, which keeps watch over the town from its hillside vantage point.

Oban’s broad seafront promenade is perfect for strolling and dreaming, whilst breathing in a restorative lungful of salty air.  Look to the horizon, and on a clear day, you can make out the mountains of Mull, shrouded in mist.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Oban Distillery :  In the centre of the town, is one of Scotland’s oldest and smallest, whisky distilleries. Find out what you didn’t know about the amber nectar by taking a guided tour of Oban Distillery (and don’t miss the chance to sample a dram or two!).
  • Day Trip to Mull:  As the gateway to the romance of the Hebridean islands, it’s easy to visit Mull or Iona on an easy day trip from Oban. Or why not take a journey to a more far-flung island?
  • Feast on Subline Seafood:  One of the best  reasons to visit Oban  is to eat some of the freshest seafood that you will find anywhere.  The self-proclaimed ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’, Oban has a wide range of eating options for a town of its size, from MacGillivray’s Seafood, operating out of a harbour-side van, to excellent fish and chip shops and more upscale restaurants.

Contribution and Photo from Bridget of The Flashpacker

Reviews of Oban Distillery   |  Reviews of Isle of Mull   |  Reviews of MacGillivray’s Seafood

The town of Ayr in Scotland is all about its famous homegrown son, Scottish poet Robert Burns. It also has a fantastic location on the coast of southwest Scotland which makes it popular for seaside and golf vacations as well.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Learn about Robert Burns : Start your visit to Ayr at the Robert Burns Museum . This modern museum cleverly brings Robert Burns’ life and works to life using interactive digital techniques. Across the road from the museum is the graveyard where Robert Burns’ father was buried. Walk down the street known as “Poet’s Corner” to visit Burns Cottage.
  • Enjoy Plants and Bridges : After visiting the museum head back to stroll through the beautiful Robert Burns’ gardens and see the Burns Monument. Once finished at the gardens, walk down to the iconic Brig O Doon. This lovely bridge featured in the Burns poem Tam O’Shanter and even appears on the Scottish £5 note! Brig O Doon is next to a lovely pub called the Brig O Doon House Hotel. Not only is this a lovely cozy pub it also has a beautiful garden. And if you have time pop into nearby Rozelle Park and its lovely duck pond.
  • Walk along the Ayrshire Coastal Path to Troon : The west coast of Scotland is a real hidden gem. It is absolutely beautiful and tends to be considerably warmer than the rest of Scotland. The path runs for 100 miles along the coast and offers clear views of Arran island as well wildlife on occasion. The path between Ayr and Troon is just over 7 miles and should take about 2 ½ hours. Troon is a lovely seaside town with a very long sandy beach. In summer it is busy with sun lovers and activities.

Contribution and Photo from Amanda of The Boutique Adventurer


Kirkcudbright is a pretty town on the banks of the River Dee in southwestern Scotland, at the point where the wide estuary narrows to become a real river. The area has been settled since at least the 12th century and became a Royal Burgh in 1455.

This part of Scotland has a soft, rolling, green landscape with big open skies, and Kirkcudbright sits beautifully within it.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Visit Galleries : Kirkcudbright’s lovely setting, the feeling of slight remoteness and beautiful light has attracted many artists to the town. Between the 1880s and early 1900s, artists from Glasgow based themselves in the town, forming the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Colony. Today Kirkcudbright is still known as the “artists’ town” and is still home to a community of artists and several interesting galleries where you can see (and buy) local artists’ work.
  • Explore MacLellan’s Castle : The ruins of MacLellan’s Castle in the centre of Kirkcudbright are dramatic and unmissable. Built in 1581-2 by Sir Thomas MacLellan, the “castle” isn’t really a castle at all, but a fortified house made to look like a castle to show off how powerful and wealthy Sir Thomas was. Visitors to Kirkcudbright can go inside MacLellan’s Castle; don’t miss the “laird’s lug” – a secret spy hole that the master of the house could use to eavesdrop on guests.
  • See Locations from “The Wicker Man”: The cult horror film which starred Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward was filmed in and around Kirkcudbright in the early 1970s. The film follows a righteous policeman who travels to a mysterious island and the strange events that follow. Fans of the film will recognise a number of Wicker Man locations in the town, notably May Morrison’s sweet shop, which is now a gallery.

Contribution and Photo from Helen of Helen on Her Holidays

Reviews of MacLellan’s Castle   |  Reviews of Kirkcudbright Galleries

READ MORE:  Looking for more great places to visit in Scotland? Check out these 8 great places to visit in Southeast Scotland ! 


The Isle of Arran is the 7th largest in Scotland and is famously known as “Scotland in Miniature”, thanks to its low-lying grasslands in the south and the more mountainous terrain in the north. There are two ferry crossings to Arran from the mainland – Claonaig in Kintyre to Lochranza for 30 minutes and Ardrossan to Brodick for 55 minutes, making it one of the most accessible islands in Scotland .

With a rich history dating back to prehistoric times as well as stunning scenery, including beaches ad plenty of walking tracks, the Isle of Arran is a must-visit in Scotland.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Lochranza : Located on the edge of Loch Ranza, hence its name, this is one of the most picturesque villages on Arran. The fortified tower house of Lochranza Castle is a focal point of the village and one of the most visited attractions, as well the Arran Distillery which opened in 1995.
  • Machrie Moor : Home to six stone circles as well as burial cairns and cists, Machrie Moor is a must-stop on your travels around Arran. Stone circles were used for ceremonial or religious activities, but no one quite knows exactly how or why. While only some of the stones remain standing, it’s still an impressive and interesting site.
  • Brodick Castle : The present Brodick Castle was built in 1844, although the presence of a building on this site dates back much further. The inside of the castle has been decorated as it would have been in Victorian times, while the surrounding country gardens include woodlands and waterfalls too.

Contribution and Photo from Sonja of Migrating Miss

Reviews of Lochranza   |  Reviews of Machrie Moor   |  Reviews of Brodick Castle

READ MORE:  Looking for more Scottish castles to explore? Check out these 12 castles to visit in Scotland !

Glentrool is a tiny village in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park – the only village inside the park actually! It offers the perfect glimpse into a welcoming community in rural Scotland and is a great home base for activities in the park. Glentrool is also a Biosphere community, one of four villages in the Southern Ayrshire & Galloway UNESCO Biosphere, which are fully devoted to sustainable eco-tourism in Scotland .

The village was built by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s to create housing for forest workers and their families. Many people lived and worked here during that time, but the decline of the workforce required in the logging industry meant that many families moved away eventually and houses stood empty.

Today, the village is thriving once again though. As the forest workers left, new arrivals bought the houses from Forestry Commission and turned them into a close-knit community. A great example of this is the Gletrool Kindness Path, a footpath lined with hand-painted stones with beautiful artwork and kind words. Many of the activities offered in the park, from hiking and kayaking to heritage walks and Dark Sky gazing, start right here in the village.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Loch Trool & Bruce’s Stone:  The stunning and narrow freshwater Loch Trool stretches for 1.5 miles at the foot of Merrick, the tallest mountain in the Galloway Hills. It is lined with pinewoods and offers stunning mountain views – especially for kayakers who venture into the middle of the loch. In 1307, Robert the Bruce fought and won a significant battle at the shores of the loch. Bruce’s Stone, a large boulder high above Loch Trool commemorates the victory.
  • Dark Sky Park:  Due to the lack of light pollution, the area around Glentrool is a designated Dark Sky Park. Local Dark Sky Rangers like Elizabeth Tindal offer activities to experience the darkest nights in Scotland: dark sky walks, stargazing and starlight picnics.
  • Glentrool Community Centre :  The village centre in the heart of Glentrool offers a warm welcome to visitors and locals alike. It plays host to workshops and entertainment nights and houses the Glentrool Gallery & Craft Shop. Someone is usually around to tell you more about Glentrool’s history, tell stories of the smugglers who once came through here, or simply offer a steaming cup of tea!

Contribution and Photo from Kathi of Watch Me See

Reviews of Loch Trool & Bruce’s Stone

Port Ellen is the 2nd largest settlement on the island of Islay found in the remote and scattered Argyll region on Scotland’s rugged west coast. It is also a relatively small town, second to the larger Bowmore, However Port Ellen serves as Islay’s main Harbour with daily ferry crossings travelling from the mainland port of Kennacraig ( the boat to Islay here ).

Port Ellen also marks the start of whisky exploration on Islay, and island foremost famous and world-renowned for its tasty peat-smoked single malt scotch whiskys and most tourism on the island follows similarly. And while it is simple to take a car across to Islay on the ferry, the main attractions of the island are found within walking distance of Port Ellen.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • The 3 Distilleries Walk : This newish walking route starts out from arrivals at Port Ellen to follow the near coast past three of the islands more famous working distilleries (Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg). The route is linear with a cycle track, and at around four miles it is easy to complete on a day trip to Port Ellen and Islay.
  • Laphroaig Distillery : The nearest distillery is the Laphroaig Distillery located around 1.5 miles along the coastline from the seafront stretch of Port Ellen. The distillery offers daily tours, whisky tasting sets, and the area is just stunning. ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ is also a great pilgrimage for those who have joined their online community.
  • Port Ellen Seafront : Just next to arrivals at Port Ellen is a sandy beachfront as well as a marina for yachtsmen passing through the Sound of Jura. The seafront is also the mainstay for most visitors with hotels, restaurants and just the necessary conveniences for a stay on Islay

Contribution and Photo from Allan of It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor

Reviews of 3 Distilleries Walk  |  Reviews of Laphroaig Distillery

READ MORE:  Looking for more great places to visit in Scotland? Check out these 8 great places to visit in Northern Scotland !

Inveraray is a quaint town in Argyll and Bute which is located on the shores of beautiful Loch Fynn. The town itself was completely rebuilt in the 18 th  century and is considered one of the best examples of a new town in this period. There are many wonderful things to see and do in Inveraray.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • Inveraray Castle : Inveraray Castle is a marvellous castle with lovely gardens! The castle closes for winter at the end of October but it is still worth a visit. You can stroll up to the front of the castle for free and admire the neo-gothic architecture. There is a beautiful old stone bridge closeby which is very Instagrammable!
  • Hike to Dun Na Cuaiche : Dun Na Cuaiche is a watchtower on a hill that overlooks Inveraray Castle and the town of Inveraray itself. The hike is not too difficult and takes you through enchanting woodland full of moss and silver birch trees. When you do make it to the top, you will be rewarded with one of the best views in Scotland! This is a great easy hike in Scotland with amazing views !
  • Wonder around Inveraray : Make sure you have a stroll around the pretty fishing town of Inveraray during your visit. There are plenty of lovely independent shops as well as little cafes to explore. The views across the loch towards Inveraray bridge and the surrounding mountains are marvellous. There is also a beautiful Celtic cross to admire by the harbour.

Contribution from Anna of My Travel Scrapbook

Reviews of Inveraray Castle   |  Reviews of Dun Na Cuaiche Woodland Walk

As one of the most underrated cities in Scotland , Glasgow is a real hidden gem. While many travellers to Scotland spend their time solely in Edinburgh , it would be a shame to miss this vibrant, edgy city with fantastic food, street art, architecture and green open spaces. While Glasgow was once an industrial city without the best safety record, all that’s changed in recent years. Glasgow has become cool and gentrified with lots of exciting projects and local businesses to visit during your trip.

Two days in Glasgow  is a great amount of time to spend because you’ll be able to see the highlights of the city centre as well as the up-and-coming outer neighbourhoods.

places to visit in south of scotland


  • The Lighthouse : This modern art museum in the heart of Glasgow is a must for fans of art and architecture. As well as quirky interactive modern art, there are exhibitions that change regularly. You can also climb the symmetrical, curving metal staircase to the roof where you’ll get spectacular views out over Glasgow.
  • Southside : A must-visit area of Glasgow is the Southside, known for its cafes and brunches. Eat at Gnom for Asian fusion food (the oozy short rib and egg bao buns are excellent!), Potluck or Cafe Strangebrew. This area of Glasgow was once run-down and sketchy but now ut’s a lovely sunny part of Glasgow with lots of open spaces.
  • Pollok Country Park : With 146 hectares of land to explore, there are many reasons to visit Pollok Country Park located southwest of the city. One of these reasons is the herds of Highland cattle only found in Scotland. In the park, you can also explore the Burrel Collection, an impressive collection of art donated by Sir William Burrel.

Contribution and Photo from Rose of Where Goes Rose

Reviews of The Lighthouse   |  Reviews of Pollok Country Park

Looking for more information to plan your visit to Scotland? You may find these articles helpful.

  • 8 Great Places to Visit in Northern Scotland

Weekend Guide to Edinburgh

Guide to scotland’s unesco world heritage sites, weekend breaks in scotland, map of places to visit in southwest scotland.


To book flights, rental cars, accommodations, and activities for your trip, please check out our recommended travel providers, favourite apps and websites. 

  • Want to visit castles in Scotland? Check out   The Complete Illustrated Guide to Castles, Palaces, and Stately House of Britain and Ireland   and you’re sure to find plenty to explore!
  • The Most Amazing Royal Places in Britain   brings British heritage to life with hundreds of ideas for days out to discover castles, grand estates, and the secret hideaways of kings and queens.
  • For all things Scotland, you can’t go wrong with Rick Steves! Check out his   Scotland travel guide , full episodes of his   TV show , or download his app for excellent   audio tours .

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places to visit in south of scotland


Things to do in edinburgh, scotland, guide to visiting edinburgh castle.

The 14 best places to visit in Scotland

James Smart

Nov 19, 2023 • 10 min read

places to visit in south of scotland

Pack your camping gear (and your rainproofs) and head to some of the best places to visit in Scotland © Robert Coppinger / Shutterstock

Some of the best places to visit in Scotland will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever gazed at a whisky label or shortbread tin. Think dramatic peaks, lonely glens, lochs, tartan and haggis!

From spectacular Skye and historic Edinburgh to the rolling rivers of Speyside, Scotland’s big sights are as glorious as you’d imagine. But scratch the surface of this proud nation and you’ll find a varied and engrossing place, dotted with prehistoric villages, wild clubs, rich seafood and ruined abbeys.

So, where to start? Once you've decided on the best time for your visit , you need to decide on the best places to go while you're there. Here is our pick of the best destinations in Scotland to get you started.

Group of people walking along cliff edge looking over Edinburgh

1. Edinburgh

Best place for year-round entertainment

Scotland's capital may be famous for its festivals, but there's much more to the city than that. Edinburgh is a place of many moods: visit in spring to see the Old Town silhouetted against a blue sky and a yellow haze of daffodils, or on a chill winter’s day for fog snagging the spires of the Royal Mile, rain on the cobblestones, and a warm glow beckoning from the windows of local pubs. With a world-class modern art gallery , top museums , spooky historic sites and a majestic 12th-century castle , there's plenty to keep you entertained whatever the season.

Local tip: Start your visit to Edinburgh with a climb up Arthur's Seat , an extinct volcano for panoramic views over the city.

2. West Highland Way

Best place for long-distance hiking

The best way to really get inside Scotland's landscapes is to walk them. Here, peaks tower over lochs and sea cliffs gaze over the wind-whipped sea, but there are short woodland trails and charming strolls through valleys dusted with purple heather, too. Top of the wish list for many hikers is the 96-mile West Highland Way from Milngavie (near Glasgow) to Fort William , a weeklong walk through some of the country's finest scenery, finishing in the shadow of its highest peak, Ben Nevis.

If you don’t have the time or energy for a long-distance trek, it's possible to do just a day's hike along part of the trail. For example, you could walk the section from Rowardennan to Inversnaid, returning to your starting point using the Loch Lomond waterbus . Whichever section you take on, pack waterproofs and midge repellent. Rail lovers should note that sleeper trains run south from Fort William all the way to London, making for an easy exit after a walk.

Detour:  The 1,345m (4,413ft) summit of Ben Nevis is within reach of anyone who's reasonably fit: treat the peak with respect and your reward (weather permitting) will be magnificent views that can stretch as far as Northern Ireland.

The Kylesku Bridge spanning Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin in the Scottish Highlands, which is a landmark on the North Coast 500 tourist driving route.

3. North Coast 500

Best place for a scenic road trip

Breathtaking views abound in the Highlands , but the far north is where things become truly awe-inspiring. This is the best place in Scotland to explore by car (you can also cycle it), with some of the finest roadside scenery in Europe.

The North Coast 500 starts and ends in the likable city of Inverness , and loops past the lochs, sand dunes and golf courses of the east coast before taking in the remote cliffs and beaches of Cape Wrath, the rugged peaks of Assynt and Torridon’s desolate beauty. These sights, and the nooks of warm Highland hospitality found in the region's classic rural pubs and old crofting villages, make this an unforgettable weeklong tour.

4. Isle of Skye

Best place for photographers

In a country famous for stunning scenery, the Isle of Skye takes the top prize. From the craggy peaks of the Cuillins and the bizarre pinnacles of the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing to the spectacular sea cliffs of Neist Point, there's a photo opportunity awaiting you at almost every turn.

Skye is also one of the best places in Scotland to see golden eagles, and you’ll find convivial pubs and top seafood restaurants if you can tear your eyes from the natural world. Of course, all this tourist appeal makes Skye one of Scotland's most popular destinations. The crowds tend to stick to Portree , Dunvegan and Trotternish – it’s almost always possible to find peace and quiet in the island’s further-flung corners.

Planning tip:  Come prepared for changeable weather – when it’s fine, it’s very fine indeed, but all too often it isn’t.

5. Loch Lomond

Best place for a lakeside hike

Despite being less than an hour's drive from the bustle and sprawl of Glasgow, the bonnie braes (banks) of Loch Lomond – immortalized in the words of one of Scotland's best-known songs – comprise one of the most scenic parts of the country.

At the heart of Scotland's first national park , the loch begins as a broad, island-peppered lake in the south, its shores clothed in bluebell-sprinkled woods before narrowing in the north to a fjord-like trench ringed by mountains.

Detour: The summit of Ben Lomond (974m/3,031ft) is a popular climb – follow the well-maintained path for a 7-mile round-trip on the popular Tourist Route (allow around 5 hours).

embers of the public enjoy their first drink in a beer garden at the Rosevale Tavern in Partick on July 06, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Best place for live music and pub culture

Scotland's biggest city may lack Edinburgh's stunning setting, but it more than makes up for it with a barrelful of things to do and a warmth and energy that leaves every visitor impressed. Edgy and contemporary, it's a great spot to browse art galleries and museums , and to discover the works of local design hero Charles Rennie Mackintosh .

Glasgow’s infectious vitality is best sampled via its lively pubs and clubs, which host one of the world's great live music scenes.

Local tip:  Check out upcoming (mostly alt-rock) acts at the Barrowland  (crowned the UK's best music venue by Time Out magazine in 2023), a legendary former ballroom, or try the Sub Club for house and techno, the Clutha Bar for roots and rock, or Nice N Sleazy , a classic indie dive.

7. Stirling

Best place for castle fans

With an impregnable position atop a mighty wooded crag – the plug of an extinct volcano – Stirling ’s beautifully preserved Old Town is a treasure trove of historic buildings and cobbled streets winding up to the ramparts of Stirling Castle . This fortress has seen serious action – it was bombarded by the Warwolf, a giant 14th-century English siege engine, and was besieged during the 1745 Jacobite rising, as well as sending troops to the battle of Bannockburn (the decisive battle celebrated at the end of Braveheart ), just a few miles south.

Today, views that stretch to the Highlands, glorious tapestries and juicy history make this Scotland’s best castle – and a great family attraction.

Planning tip:  It's best to visit in the afternoon; many tourists come on day trips, so you may have the castle almost to yourself by 4pm.

Fishing boat in the harbour at Lybster on the east coast of Scotland.

8. St Andrews

Best place for golfers

Scotland invented the game of golf, and the city of  St Andrews is still revered as its spiritual home by hackers and champions alike. Links courses are the classic experience here – bumpy coastal affairs where the rough is heather and machair (coastal grass) and the main enemy is the wind, which can make a disaster of a promising round in an instant.

St Andrews, the historic Fife university town, is golf's headquarters , and an irresistible destination for anyone who loves the sport. And if you're not so keen, well, the city has impressive medieval ruins , stately university buildings , idyllic white sands and excellent guesthouses and restaurants .

The stone ruins of Skara Brae on the coast of Mainland Orkney

9. Skara Brae

Best place for lovers of ancient history

When visiting ancient sites, it can sometimes be difficult to bridge the gulf of years or build a connection with the people that built them, but Scotland’s superb prehistoric remains have an immediate impact. Few places offer a better glimpse of everyday Stone Age life than Skara Brae in Orkney  with its carefully constructed fireplaces, beds, cupboards and water cisterns.

This Neolithic village – which, at 5,000 years is older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza – lay buried in coastal sand dunes for centuries. Even today, it can feel as though the inhabitants have just slipped out to go fishing and could return at any moment.

10. Glen Coe

Best place for clan history

Scotland's most famous glen combines two essential qualities of the Highlands: dramatic scenery and a deep sense of history. The peace and beauty of this valley today belies the fact that Glen Coe was the scene of a ruthless 17th-century massacre, when the local MacDonalds were murdered by soldiers of the Campbell clan.

Some of the glen's finest walks – to the Lost Valley, for example – follow the routes taken by fleeing clanspeople, many of whom perished in the snow.

Planning tip:  Start at the Glencoe Visitor Centre for more information on this beautiful place and its tragic history.

11. Perthshire

Best place to enjoy nature's bounty

In Perthshire , the heart of Scotland, picturesque towns bloom with flowers, distilleries emit tempting malty odors and sheep graze in impossibly green meadows. There's a feeling of the bounty of nature that no other place in Scotland can replicate.

Blue-gray lochs shimmer, reflecting the changing moods of the weather; centuries-old trees tower amid riverside forests; majestic glens scythe their way into remote wildernesses; and salmon leap upriver to the place of their birth.

A group of black-and-white birds with colourful beaks stand together on a clifftop on a misty day

12. Shetland Islands

Best place for birdwatching

Close enough to Norway to make Scottish nationality an ambiguous concept, the Shetland Islands are Britain’s most northerly outpost. The stirringly bleak setting – recognized as a precious UNESCO geopark – still feels uniquely Scottish though, with deep, naked glens flanked by steep hills, twinkling, sky-blue lochs and, of course, wandering sheep on the little-trafficked roads. It's the birdlife, however, that really draws visitors here.

From their first arrival in late spring to the raucous feeding frenzies of high summer, the vast colonies of gannets, guillemots, skua, puffins and kittiwakes at Hermaness , Noss, Sumburgh Head and Fair Isle provide some of Britain's most impressive birdwatching experiences.

Local tip: Shetland is one of the best places in the UK to spot orcas (and the Northern Lights).

13. Speyside

Best place for whisky tasting

Scotland's national drink is whisky – from the Gaelic uisge beatha , meaning “water of life” – and this fiery spirit has been distilled here for more than 500 years. More than 50 distilleries are in operation in Speyside, Scotland's most famous whisky area, famed for fruity, lightly spicy flavors (head over to Islay for peatier varieties).

Ask at the Whisky Museum about the Malt Whisky Trail, a self-guided tour around the local distilleries. If you just have time for one, the Balvenie Distillery is a good bet as it still uses a traditional malting floor – the smell is glorious!

Planning tip:  Dufftown lies at the heart of the region and is host to the biannual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

14. The Scotland Borders

Best place for a country ramble

Many visitors to Scotland race up to Edinburgh and then hightail it to the Highlands, missing the Scottish Borders entirely . That's their loss. Once fought over by war chiefs and cattle thieves, the Borders region is rich in history and packed with good cycling and hiking routes.

There are grand country houses, too – Traquair House brews Jacobite Ale and has a concealed room that once hid Catholic priests – and a series of gorgeous ruined abbeys – Gothic Melrose Abbey is the best – plus birds and sea cliffs at St Abb’s Head. More active types can fish for salmon or thunder down the mountain bike trails at Glentress and Innerleithen.

This article was first published May 2021 and updated November 2023

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20 Most Beautiful Places & Beauty Spots in Scotland

It's easy to find beautiful places to visit in Scotland. With our wild beaches, sparkling lochs and romantic castles, we're often referred to as one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Dunnottar Castle Aberdeenshire

places to visit in south of scotland

A couple at Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven

Dunnottar is one of the most recognisable castles in Scotland. Perched on the cliff edge of the North Sea, it boasts a dramatic and evocative atmosphere with centuries of history. Marvel at the intricate details and amazing condition of the castle, alongside the incredible panoramic views out to sea.

  • On Public Transport Route
  • Pets Welcome

Bow Fiddle Rock Moray

places to visit in south of scotland

Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie

Bow Fiddle Rock in Portknockie is a stunning sight to admire as the sun shoots its last rays over the coastline. Hike the trails around the area, find your own secret slice of paradise and keep an eye out for the nesting seabirds, such as herring gulls, great black-backed and lesser black-backed gulls.

Isle of Iona Isle of Iona

places to visit in south of scotland

Looking across the coast to the jetty on Iona

The Isle of Iona is a small, picturesque island just off the south west coast of Mull. Known for its strong, historic connections to Christianity, explore Iona Abbey or head to the northern coast which has beautiful bays and beaches, boasting the best views out to sea.

Traigh Hornais Clachan Sands North Uist

places to visit in south of scotland

Camping at Clachan Sands

The Traigh Hornais Clachan Sands on  North Uist  is an impressive stretch of pristine white sands, perfect for a scenic stroll or a picnic on the beach. The crystal-clear waters and shallow bay give the perfect opportunity for snorkelling and swimming. Head for a wander at dusk to enjoy an immaculate sunset.

Bealach na Ba Wester Ross

places to visit in south of scotland

Bealach na Ba

© @wills_onthehills

The Bealach na Ba is one of the most famous driving routes in Scotland. Known as the Road to Applecross, the route offers epic views out across the whole of Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. With its tight bends and single track, this road isn't for the faint hearted but the views from the top are astonishing.

Loch Ken Galloway Forest Park

places to visit in south of scotland

Loch Ken, Galloway Forest Park

© VisitScotland / Damian Shields

Located in the south east corner of the Galloway Forest Park, Loch Ken offers walking, cycling, watersports and fishing. Take a stroll around the banks of the loch at sunset and you'll be mesmerised by the landscapes.

Glenfinnan Fort William

places to visit in south of scotland

Glenfinnan Monument

© VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

Glenfinnan Monument is a striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings. Set amid superb Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel, it sits opposite the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. A must-see for any amateur photographer or Instagram enthusiast.

  • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  • Hearing Loop
  • Cafe or Restaurant

Eoligarry Beach Isle of Barra

places to visit in south of scotland

Eoligarry Beach, Isle of Barra

© @steve_gormley

Eoligarry Beach is an unspoiled white sand beach on the Isle of Barra, the most southerly of the Outer Hebridean islands. Land on the island by plane along the famous Traigh Mhor beach and begin your adventure north to Eoligarry, featuring incredible views out to the islands of Orosay, Fuday and Fiaraidh around you.

An Lochan Uaine Cairngorms National Park

places to visit in south of scotland

An Lochan Uaine

Legend says that this mysterious loch is green because the local fairies used to wash their clothes in the waters. It might just be due to the trees lying along the loch floor but either way, we think there is something pretty magical about the Green Loch in Glenmore Forest Park, situated in the heart of Cairngorms National Park .

Mealt Falls Isle of Skye

places to visit in south of scotland

Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye

Mealt Falls on the north of Skye is an incredible sight. Partnered with the popular Kilt Rock, together they create a fantastic viewpoint. Take a wander around Mealt Loch, or along the coast and take in the jaw-dropping views for miles around you.

Rannoch Moor Perthshire

places to visit in south of scotland

A frozen Lochan na h-Achlaise with a snow-capped Black Mount in the background, Rannoch Moor.

© VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved.

Rannoch Moor is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. You'll find grassy moorland, peat bogs, lochs and heather hillocks which all make for striking scenery.

National Wallace Monument Stirling

places to visit in south of scotland

The Wallace Monument in autumn

Admire the famous National Wallace Monument in Stirling, and the incredible hills behind. Follow the story of Scottish patriot and martyr, Sir William Wallace at this national landmark where you can learn about centuries of history.

Ullapool Wester Ross

places to visit in south of scotland

© VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Head to the north west coast of Scotland where you'll come across the quaint fishing village of Ullapool. The town boasts a variety of things to see and do, as well as being a perfect spot to enjoy a sunset or two over the pretty harbour.

St Abb's Scottish Borders

places to visit in south of scotland

St Abb's is a small fishing village sitting on the Berwickshire coast only an hour south east of Edinburgh. You might recognise the jagged cliffs and old fishermen's cottages from the big screen - Marvel filmed here for the blockbuster, Avengers: Endgame . The town has even been twinned with New Asgard, the fictional village in the movie.

Glen Clova Angus Glens

places to visit in south of scotland

Corrie Fee, Glen Clova

Glen Clova is a valley with superb views and an abundance of flora and wildlife. It's one of the Angus Glens, a series of tranquil valleys split by single-track roads, offering some of the most majestic landscapes of north east Scotland. It sits between Angus, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire and makes up part of the Cairngorms National Park.

Fingal's Cave Isle of Staffa

places to visit in south of scotland

Fingals Cave on Staffa Island

This awe-inspiring natural formation will take your breath away. Marvel at the towering basalt columns and intricate rock details of Fingal's Cave as you take a boat tour out to the island and explore the enticing atmosphere of the cave itself. You'll find it off the west coast of Scotland.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool Isle of Jura

places to visit in south of scotland

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

The Corryvreckan Whirlpool is one of the largest permanent whirlpools in the world and one of the most dangerous stretches of water around the British Isles. Take a boat ride out around the islands with a bumpy ride through the whirlpool itself, all in the hands of a very capable and experienced captain. It's located on the Gulf of Corryvreckan, between the isles of Jura and Scarba.

Loch Lomond Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

places to visit in south of scotland

Walkers on Conic Hill

Loch Lomond is one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland. Experience peace and quiet, whilst spotting wildlife and exploring the beautiful landscapes. Relax amongst the natural beauty of the lochs and breathe in the air of the hills and awe-inspiring views from each of these summits.

Yesnaby Castle sea stack Orkney

places to visit in south of scotland

Yesnaby Castle sea stack on the west coast of Orkney

You can't help but admire the beauty around the Yesnaby Castle sea stacks. Sitting off the west coast of Orkney, this impressive rock formation is a great place to see various sea birds including the oyster catcher.

Tobermory Isle of Mull

places to visit in south of scotland

A sea plane glides over the multicoloured houses along the pier at Tobermory, with the hills of North Mull over the water in the distance

© VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.

Tobermory is one of the most easily recognisable towns in Scotland, thanks to the brightly coloured houses along the harbour-front. Head to the Isle of Mull where you can experience the magic of this quaint fishing port, which was used as inspiration for the popular children's TV show, Balamory .

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We might be biased, but we think Scotland truly is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Why not share your beautiful holiday destinations over on our social platforms -  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  X (formerly Twitter) ?

There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in every region, but why not slow down your travels and experience all that Scotland has to offer?

Discover more about slow travel in Scotland

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10 Amazing Things To Do in South West Scotland

Categories Dumfries & Galloway , Hidden Gems , Scotland

10 Amazing Things To Do in South West Scotland

A trip to South West Scotland is the perfect nature escape; there are a lot of things to do in South West Scotland, and during my first trip, I was amazed at how much this area has to offer.

Table of Contents

With breathtaking scenery, enchanting history, scrumptious cuisine, bright sandy beaches, and some of the darkest, starry skies in Europe – South West Scotland is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle and recentre yourself.

This blog post was written as part of a paid partnership with Visit South West Scotland . All opinions are my own.

In this blog post, I’m covering some of the best places to visit in South West Scotland to achieve just that. I’ve also got some helpful tips for planning your trip here – so read on, and feel inspired to visit this wonderful hidden gem!

places to visit in south of scotland

Tips for planning your trip to South West Scotland

The best way to explore South West Scotland is by car. For car rental, I recommend Auto Europe , Celtic Legend, or Arnold Clarke .

Using public transport can be a little tricky, especially as many of the areas we visited were quite remote.

If you are using public transport, the best way to reach South West Scotland is by catching the train to either Stranraer , Girvan , or Dumfries , then using the bus to get around from there.

There is a bus from the Girvan station to Newton Stewart , which is where you will find some of the activities in this list.

A central place to base yourself is in Wigtown . We stayed at Wigwam Holidays Wigtown which is located on a sheep and beef farm near the town. Our wigwam was the perfect indulgent escape; there are seven wigwams available to book, and six of these come with a private hot tub.

Our accommodation at Wigwam Holidays Wigtown was the perfect base to wind down with some stargazing in the hot tub before bed!

places to visit in south of scotland

Things to do in South West Scotland

1. Go stargazing at the Galloway Astronomy Centre

places to visit in south of scotland

If you’re visiting South West Scotland, make sure you make time to see the star attraction (see what I did there) – the night sky.

If you live in the UK, you may be surprised to hear that you may have never seen a truly dark sky before. A recent survey by the British Astronomical Association revealed that 57% of respondents struggled to see more than 10 stars with the naked eye, compared to 2% who could see more than 30 stars (truly dark skies).

The best place to learn about stargazing is the Galloway Astronomy Centre . Owned by Mike and Helen Alexander, they run tours, workshops, and courses where they teach beginners to the more experienced about what you can see in the night sky. They are also the only observatory open to the public in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mike is incredibly knowledgeable – he has been studying astronomy for 50 years! It certainly helps to have an expert beside you when trying to spot constellations, and I learned a lot from him during our tour.

They also have bed and breakfast accommodation , so the observatory is right on your doorstep!

The best time for stargazing is early spring and autumn; during the summer the sky doesn’t truly get ”dark” in Scotland. You’ll also want to plan your visit to avoid the full moon. The moon’s glare is so bright it can drown out many stars.

Tips for stargazing in South West Scotland

  • Want to see the light pollution in your area? Check out this Light Pollution Map .
  • Before you go stargazing, grab a copy of the Sky Map for the month. SkyMaps is a fantastic website and gives you plenty of information about what you can see with the naked eye and binoculars too. You need to know what you’re looking at, after all!
  • Make sure you pack a pair of binoculars – you can actually see many stars, planets, and constellations with a simple pair of binoculars, like these ones .

2. Glentrool, Galloway Forest Park

places to visit in south of scotland

Glentrool in Galloway Forest Park has the perfect blend of hiking, cycling, and history. It’s also a great area for stargazing, as it’s located in the Dark Sky Park .

The best view in Glentrool is from Bruce’s Stone , a tribute to Robert the Bruce , who, with just 300 men – was victorious in the Battle of Glen Trool against King Edward I’s 1500-strong army in 1307.

This battle was the beginning of the Wars of Scottish Independence , which Robert the Bruce decisively brought to a close at the Battle of Bannockburn 7 years later.

The best way to explore this history and get some of the greatest views of the glen is by walking the Loch Trool Trail , a 9 km (5 mile) circuit around the loch which also passes by Bruce’s Stone and the battlefield where the fight took place.

The Glentrool Visitor Centre has a small cafe which is a refreshing place to grab a bite to eat and an ice cream.

Make sure you bring coins with you to pay for parking.

  • For more information to plan your trip, visit the Forestry and Land website .

3. Culzean Castle and Country Park

places to visit in south of scotland

Culzean Castle (pronounced ‘’kil-lane’’) is an extravagant castle set within 120 hectares of country park on the Ayrshire coast. It’s the former home of the chief of the Kennedy Clan and dates back to 1792.

The castle was originally a tower, but it was expanded to become a great castle. The Library and Round Drawing Room make up some of the oldest parts of the castle.

Some of the Kennedy family actually immigrated to the American Colonies, but then moved back to Scotland when they inherited the castle when a relative died. Fortunately, they were wealthy and poured a lot of money into expanding the castle. No expense was spared, as you can still see today.Some of the Kennedy family actually immigrated to the American ColoniesThe Kennedys actually immigrated to the USA, but then moved back to Scotland when they inherited the castle when a relative died. Fortunately, they were wealthy and poured a lot of money into expanding the castle. No expense was spared, as you can still see today.

The castle was designed by Robert Adam , one of the most influential architects at the time. The Oval Staircase is one of his last designs before he passed away, and is a must-see when you visit the castle.

There are so many things to explore in the country park, including a swan pond, walled gardens, beaches, deer park, woodland walks, children’s playgrounds, a cafe, and an art shop.

It’s easy to spend an entire day here, so take your time and enjoy everything the country park has to offer.

Fun fact: Though the Culzean Kennedys have no connection to the Presidential Kennedys, in 1945, President Eisenhower was gifted a lifetime tenancy for the castle’s top-floor flat. It was Scotland’s way of saying thank you for his work with Scottish troops during the war.

  • For more information, visit the National Trust For Scotland website.

4. Kitchen Coos and Ewes

places to visit in south of scotland

Have you ever wanted to pat a Highland Coo?

Kitchen Coos and Ewes is probably one of the best attractions in Scotland I’ve visited so far!

Neale and Janet offer farm tours and experiences where you can see Highland cows and Beltex sheep on their farm.

The Highland cows are incredibly well looked-after – you can tell because they are so friendly!

If you’re lucky, they will come up to you, where you have the opportunity to pat them. If not, you can still get plenty of coo action, watching them graze happily in their paddocks.

Not only do you have the chance to see Highland cattle and sheep, but there is Iron Age history you can explore too! Their farm was once an Iron Age settlement, and you can still see evidence of it today.

Janet is a whiz in the kitchen and served us some delicious home baking while we were there (including shortbread in the shape of Highland Coos!)

Out of all the things to do in South West Scotland, this was definitely a highlight!

places to visit in south of scotland

If you’ve been following me you’ll know I’m a huge book lover – and if you’re like me, a stop at Scotland’s National Book Town should be on your list!

Wigtown has a range of independent bookshops, which sell a mixture of new and second-hand books.

Wigtown is home to Scotland’s largest second-hand book store, The Book Shop , which is owned by Shaun Bythell , author of ‘Diary of a Bookseller’ and ‘Confessions of a Bookseller.’

The Scottish Book section is ginormous and has many collectibles available for sale.

I also loved ReadingLasses – a second hand book shop and cafe, which serves up decadent homebaked cakes!

  • Read more: The best bookshops in Scotland to get lost in

6. Glenwhan Gardens & Tea Room

places to visit in south of scotland

South West Scotland has many beautiful gardens to visit – and Glenwhan Gardens is a treasure.

This spectacular garden covers 12 acres and has a collection of plants from all over the world. A 17-acre Moorland Walk has 120 species of wildflowers and grasses, which you can see as you wander along the Tree Trail.

As I walked the garden paths, the aroma of freshly bloomed flowers immediately transported my mind away from my worries and back into the present.

Artists were perched throughout the garden; it’s certainly a peaceful place, bursting with nature and the sounds of waterfowl as they drift along the pond. The highst point of the garden looks out across Luce Bay to the Mull of Galloway.

The tea room has a variety of homemade cakes and sandwiches, and delicious soup. The tea room caters to all dietary requirements, with many gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options on the menu.

Glenwhan Gardens also has a Shephard’s Hut for accommodation available on Airbnb , perfect for a peaceful weekend away.

7. Whithorn

places to visit in south of scotland

Whithorn is a truly fascinating area for history lovers. It’s famous for its connections with St. Ninian and as one of the earliest Christian settlements in Scotland.

It is home to a variety of Christian stone carvings, including the Latinus stone , Scotland’s oldest Christian monument. You can see this stone, along with others, at the Historic Scotland museum.

Whithorn was also once a settlement during the Iron Age; evidence of life in this area dates back to 500BC, and many excavations have been completed in the area. One of the most interesting places to visit is the roundhouse, a replica of an Iron Age roundhouse that was found nearby at the Black Loch of Myrton.

The roundhouse was able to be replicated because the original was so well-preserved in peat bog, and archeologists were able to tell a lot about the people that lived in the area.

The roundhouse was rebuilt using as many traditional means as possible, and now you can take a tour with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about Scotland during the Iron Age!

To explore Whithorn’s complete history, from the Iron Age, to Christianity, to today – the museum and exhibition at The Whithorn Visitor Centre are fascinating.

There is also an exciting new long-distance trail called The Whithorn Way that has just launched. Spanning 149 miles, the hike begins in Glasgow and ends in Whithorn.

Be sure to add on a few days in Whithorn to the end of your hike to absorb all the incredible history in this area.

  • For more information on visiting Whithorn, visit their website .

8. The Steam Packet Inn

places to visit in south of scotland

The Steam Packet Inn is a restaurant I was delighted to discover on my travels in South West Scotland. Located at the bottom of the southwest coast on the Isle of Whithorn , this seafood restaurant truly is a hidden gem.

The Steam Packet Inn is a family-owned restaurant, and it recently underwent a big renovation. The new restaurant looks fantastic – with a large, traditional-looking bar as the centerpiece of the restaurant, a cosy lounge area for casual diners, and fairy lights lining the ceiling, it’s the very essence of Scottish coorie.

Our table looked out across the harbor as the sun set over the fishing village, and I happily munched on my delicious dinner of haddock and chips. Their dessert menu was just as good, with the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever tasted!

If you’re visiting South West Scotland, this restaurant is a must for the bucket list.

I was delighted to The Steam Packet Inn is dog-friendly too.

9. Crook of Baldoon

places to visit in south of scotland

For bird watchers, the Crook of Baldoon is a haven.

The Crook of Baldoon is a coastal reserve of 196 hectares near Wigtown.

It is home to thousands of birds throughout the year, including pink-footed and barnacle geese, shelducks, whooper, lapwings, and skylarks.

It’s a peaceful place to spend a morning, or even an entire day – if you’ve got a pair of binoculars and some patience to wait for the birds to reveal themselves!

  • Read more: The best places to visit in Scotland for bird lovers

10. Mull of Galloway

mull of galloway lighthouse south west scotland

The Mull of Galloway is the most southern point of Scotland. With miles of sandy beaches and the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, this area is a beautiful one to explore.

The drive to reach the Mull of Galloway is also really special -as you drive the winding road to reach the lighthouse, you’ll pass miles and miles of green farmland, cute cottages, and white sandy beaches.

Bring your binoculars because the Mull of Galloway is one of the best places to see dolphins, porpoises, and sea birds. You can also climb the 115 steps to the top of the lighthouse, which has super views across the Rhinns of Galloway.

I recommend getting ice cream from the cafe at the lighthouse – it’s some of the best I’ve tasted!

For more information on visiting the Mull of Galloway, visit their website .

Have I inspired you to visit the Dark Sky Park? Have you tried any of the above recommended things to do in South West Scotland?

Related posts


Map reveals where in the UK you can see the 2024 solar eclipse

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Eclipse of the Sun

There is a chance you can see the upcoming solar eclipse right here in the UK – Americans aren’t getting all the fun.  

On Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse is sweeping across North America , starting in Mexico and travelling across the US and into northeast Canada .

However, the tail end of this most magical of spectacles will be visible in parts of the UK and Ireland, as a partial eclipse sneaks into view. 

According to, the start of the partial eclipse is predicted to be at 7.52pm and end at 8.51pm.

Map showing where the partial eclipse will be visible

Can you see the solar eclipse in the UK in 2024?

The partial solar eclipse will pass across Scotland, Ireland and the north of England. 

Cities that can catch a glimpse of the eclipse include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Inverness, Stornoway, Dublin, Galway, Cork and Limerick. 

If you can’t whisk yourself away to the north for the chance of a partial solar eclipse, Nasa will be live-streaming the whole event on its official YouTube channel or its site , or you can catch it below. 

However, we are talking the UK and Ireland here, so it should be noted that the chance of seeing a partial solar eclipse is heavily dependent on the weather – let’s hope for clear skies.

Where can you see the partial solar eclipse in the UK and Ireland?

  • Stornoway: 22.5% coverage 
  • Inverness: 16% 
  • Edinburgh: 6.1% 
  • Glasgow: 11.2% 
  • Belfast: 17.2% 
  • Liverpool: 0.64% 
  • Manchester: 0.82%
  • Dublin: 15.4% 
  • Galway: 34.5% 
  • Cork: 19.5%
  • Limerick: 20%

Why is this total solar eclipse special? 

Total solar eclipses are special as they are only supposed to happen every once in 375 years in the same place in the world. 

However, for those lucky enough to be in the US states of Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky, this will be the second time in seven years a total eclipse has crossed them. 

Seeing a total solar eclipse in the same locations is incredibly rare. 

Great American Eclipse Sequence

When is the next total solar eclipse in the UK? 

People in the UK have a long time to wait until the next total solar eclipse. 

Whilst a partial eclipse will be viewed across 90% of the country in 2026, the next total eclipse won’t be until 2081 in the Channel Islands or 2090 in the South West.

The last total solar eclipse seen in the UK was in 1999, and was spotted over Cornwall and parts of Devon, as well as the English Channel and the island of Alderney.

However, in a typical British fashion, clouds covered it from other areas it should have been visible in. 

Total solar eclipses generally occur every 18 months or so, but partial ones take place between two and five times a year.

MORE : Map shows where bird flu is spreading in US amid new warning

MORE : Prisoners win fight to watch solar eclipse and will be given viewing glasses

MORE : Parkinson’s breakthrough as diabetes and weight-loss drug slows progress

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10 Best Mountain Towns in the South

From a folk music hub in Virginia to an oenophile-favorite spot in Georgia, here are some of the best mountain towns in the South.

places to visit in south of scotland

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While it may be well-warranted, the South’s reputation for scorching summer weather isn’t completely accurate. Of course, there are places like Savannah, New Orleans, and Atlanta, where the heat and humidity require the constant presence of air conditioning and ceiling fans, but the region also comes with its share of slightly cooler, above-sea-level escapes. Serving as antidotes to the ever-increasing temperatures, mountain towns are where Southerners go when the air gets too thick and even the shortest walk results in a level of perspiration typically only encountered during a high-intensity workout.

Located within the Appalachian Mountains and its subranges — including the Alleghenies, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Cumberland Mountains — these small, often remote, towns are chock-full of reasons to visit throughout the year, especially in late spring, summer, and fall. Along with the more tolerable temperatures associated with higher altitudes, many of these destinations feature a slate of other natural cooling mechanisms: swimming holes, floatable rivers, and towering, ancient trees that graciously provide shade to those hiking in the area. 

For Melany Robinson, founder of Sprouthouse , the summer appeal of a Southern mountain town — particularly the ones in Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, where she considers “home”  — goes deeper than a simple thermometer reading.  “I think of skiing on mountain lakes and hiking on rhododendron-covered trails. I think of cold fried chicken and homemade peach ice cream. I think of fiddlers playing bluegrass music and long drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” she says. 

As someone who grew up just 10 minutes from that parkway, I can attest to the fact that Southern mountain towns are a singular source of magic, relaxation, and reprieve from the formidable summer heat. There are a few, however, that are more worthy of a trip than others. Read on to discover 10 of the best mountain towns in the South.

Highlands, North Carolina

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Named one of Travel + Leisure ’s Best Small Towns of 2023, Highlands, North Carolina (population: 1,088) has a long history as a getaway for Southerners looking to escape the oppressive summer heat — whether they’re traveling from Charleston, Atlanta, or Nashville. Its position within the Nantahala National Forest and elevation of 4,118 feet give way to a relatively pleasant climate throughout the season; from June through August, the maximum temperature hovers between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Notably, summer is one of the most popular times to visit Highlands, so it’s a good idea to book your trip in advance. Old Edwards Inn , Half-Mile Farm , and Highlander Mountain House continue to be favorites among travelers, but there’s also a new face in the mix: The Outpost Inn officially opened its 14 rooms to the public in early 2024, and its central location is convenient for exploring the town and surrounding trails, waterfalls, and mountain views.

Waynesboro, Virginia

Matthew T. Carroll/Getty Images

Upon entering Waynesboro, says Corry Blanc, founder and owner of kitchenware and barware brand Blanc Creatives , “you’re transported to an old industrial mountain town, once sleepy and now coming to life with artisans and amazing nature.” Here, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and the Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive intersect to create a hub of outdoor and cultural activities where, he explains, “you can’t throw a rock… without hitting a brewery, winery, restaurant, or hiking trail.” If you’re planning on just a quick trip to Waynesboro, though, Blanc has one piece of advice: “Be careful if you visit for a weekend because you just might wind up living here… that’s what happened to me.”

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Hannah Swift/Getty Images

You won’t completely escape the summer heat in Blue Ridge, the “trout capital of Georgia,” but the mountain town has plenty of ways to make it more bearable. Fly fishing, tubing, rafting, and kayaking will get you out on the Toccoa River, and a selection of nearby breweries and wineries take the edge off an otherwise warm day. Before (or after) the sun reaches its peak during the day, be sure to explore downtown Blue Ridge’s boutiques, art galleries, and lineup of restaurants. Come nightfall, slide into bed at the charming Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast , a renovated Victorian home filled with comfort and thoughtful amenities.

Lansing, North Carolina

Cavan Images/Getty Images

There’s certainly no shortage of excellent mountain towns in Western North Carolina —  Boone , Brevard , and Waynesville are all strong contenders — but Robinson has a special place in her heart for Lansing. “My grandfather bought 90 acres on the north fork of the New River when my mom was little,” she says. “I have fond memories of floating down the [river] in inner tubes, biking the Virginia Creeper Trail, and hiking alongside wild ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park.” To fuel days traversing trails, mountain biking, and fly fishing the Lansing Heritage Trout Waters, Robinson recommends grabbing coffee at the General Store and pizza from Pie on the Mountain .

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The main entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee — a mountain town with an impressive roster of summer activities, both natural and human-made. Following breakfast at Pancake Pantry or The Donut Friar , travelers can drive the Roaring Fork Nature Trail, fish in the Smokies’ streams, walk the awe-inspiring SkyBridge , and go waterfall spotting throughout the area. Downtown Gatlinburg also boasts a range of unique galleries, boutiques, and candy shops, which you can pop in and out of along the “Parkway.”

Dahlonega, Georgia

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

“If you love nature, you’ll love this part of North Georgia,” says Blanc, who recommends travelers explore both Dahlonega and neighboring Dawsonville. “The Approach Trail for the Appalachian Trail starts at Amicalola Falls State Park , which is the highest waterfall in Georgia. The area is also full of amazing river systems that I grew up kayaking and trout fishing on,” he explains. Outside of outdoor pursuits, Dahlonega — one of T+L’s Best Small Towns of 2023 — is known for its thriving wine, spirits, and craft beer industry and its dedication to sharing its history and culture with visitors. Plus, adds Blanc, “It’s only one hour north of Atlanta, making it perfect for day trips or weekend getaways.”

Mentone, Alabama

In northeast Alabama, not far from both the Tennessee and Georgia state lines, sits Mentone. Some may know it for its summer camps, others may know it as the location of the only ski resort in the state. Either way, its location atop Lookout Mountain produces an atmosphere that qualifies the destination as one of the best mountain towns in the South. Nearby DeSoto State Park is a must-explore for hikers and other nature enthusiasts, as its 3,502 acres are filled with places to kayak, swim, boulder, fish, bike, and more. The park also has a few waterfalls, but travelers should note, pending rainfall, they may be dry in the summer.

Bryson City, North Carolina

Marje/Getty Images

If you want a classic North Carolina mountain town with a distinct sense of place, consider a trip to Bryson City, the “outdoor adventure capital of the Great Smoky Mountains.” Just over an hour’s drive from Asheville, the fewer-than-2,000-person town takes full advantage of its surroundings; long summer days can take the form of whitewater rafting the Tuckasegee River, tubing down Deep Creek, or paddling the Nantahala. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which offers scenic single-day train rides leaving from the historic train depot in downtown Bryson City, also runs throughout the season.

Floyd, Virginia

Daniel Mark Robertson/Getty Images

For a Southwest Virginia mountain road trip, Robinson recommends a few spots — Roanoke, Lexington, Devils Backbone Basecamp in Roseland, and the tiny, one-stoplight town of Floyd. The latter is one of the main stops along “ The Crooked Road ,” Virginia’s heritage music trail, and it’s home to the “world’s largest collection of traditional bluegrass and old-time music.” You can browse County Sales ’ impressive inventory of tunes and titles at your leisure, but you'll want to plan ahead (and reserve seats online) for one of the town’s most famous events: the Friday Night Jamboree at Floyd Country Store. According to Robinson, a trip to Floyd wouldn’t be complete with watching the fiddlers and cloggers take the stage. When summer arrives, the Jamboree gets a bit bigger, expanding into parking lots, alleys, and driveways; not to mention, the famed FloydFest , an annual celebration of music and art, brings in visitors from near and far in July.

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Eifel Kreutz/Getty Images

If there’s one connecting thread between all Southern mountain towns, it’s a shared appreciation of art. Nowhere is this more prominent than Black Mountain. The North Carolina town once revolved around Black Mountain College, a mid-20th century artists’ haven, and there’s a thrum of creativity that continues to this day. Even if you’re only visiting for a weekend, plan to fill your itinerary with shopping trips and performances at Black Mountain Center of the Arts , White Horse Black Mountain , Red House Studios , Seven Sisters Gallery , and Mountain Nest .

Spring Adventures

Spring in the south of scotland.

As spring arrives in the South of Scotland, warmer, brighter days breathe new life into our countryside. The landscape bursts into bloom, as vibrant flowers like daffodils and bluebells take over gardens and woodlands. Across the region, thriving working farms welcome newborn animals and invite visitors to ‘Go Rural’ for a day.

Immerse yourself in colourful communities to celebrate local arts festivals and seasonal events for the whole family. Explore botanic gardens, woodlands and stately homes along cycle routes and trails for all. Or treat your tastebuds to an abundance of fresh, regional produce this season in restaurants and cafes.

places to visit in south of scotland

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Weekend Money: Benefits and pensions going up - here's how much and exactly when

Pensions and benefits are going up between Saturday and Monday. Read this and more in Weekend Money, and we'll be back with live Money updates on Monday. Leave a comment on anything we've covered below.

Sunday 7 April 2024 10:45, UK

Weekend Money

  • The price of getting divorced
  • Benefits and pensions rise in coming days
  • Calculate how much your take-home pay rises from today as NI cut
  • Your comments: Angry pensioners, angry drinkers and angry mail recipients
  • News round-up
  • What makes up the cost of a £6 pint - and how much is profit?
  • All the places kids can eat cheap or free this Easter break

Ask a question or make a comment

Here's a round up of the changes...

  • Child benefit

The amount people can earn before child benefit is reduced or taken away is increasing.

At the moment, people lose 1% of the benefit for every £100 they earn over £50,000. At £60,000, the benefit is cut completely.

From this month, the benefit won't be reduced until one parent earns more than £60,000. And it will only go completely at £80,000.

Benefits and tax credits that are linked to inflation will rise by 6.7% this month.

That was the level CPI in September.

These benefits have to go up 6.7% by law:

  • Personal independence payment (PIP)
  • Disability living allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Industrial injuries benefit
  • Carer's allowance
  • Additional State Pension
  • Guardian's allowance

The government also pledged the same raise for benefits including:

  • Universal Credit
  • Contributory employment and support allowance
  • Contributory jobseeker's allowance
  • Statutory maternity/paternity pay and maternity allowance
  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Income support
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit

From April universal credit rates are:

  • Single and under 25 - £311.68
  • Single and 25 or over - £393.45
  • Live with partner, both under 25 - £489.23 (for you both)
  • Live with partner, either of you are 25 or over £617.60 (for you both)

The state pension will rise by 8.5% this month.

The "new" state pension, for those reaching state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, will rise to £221.20 a week - up from £203.85.

The "basic" state pension, for those who took it out prior to April 2016, is rising to £169.50 a week.

Both groups may get more or less depending on individual circumstances. 

When do the changes take effect?

Housing benefit and council tax reduction rates changed at the start of this month.

Tax credits changes typically apply at the start of the new tax year - so Saturday (6 April).

Means-tested benefits like universal credit, income support or pension credit are changed from Monday (8 April).

Pensions also rise from Monday.

By Bhvishya Patel, Money team

We're all familiar with the stats - nearly half (42%) of all marriages in the UK end in divorce.

But unless you've been through it, you'll probably be surprised at how much getting divorced costs. 

It varies depending on where you live and how you do it, but according to MoneyHelper a couple could be looking at between £1,300 and £2,600 for an uncontested divorce and between £10,000 and £30,000 if it is a contested case - for example, you've failed to reach an agreement and the case is taken to court.

The cost can climb even higher if the case drags on.

Family court backlogs mean a quick resolution is almost unheard of - with Ministry of Justice figures showing the average divorce takes more than a year to complete.

So what do you need to know?

This table shows some of the main costs to consider when getting a divorce.

Can you do it for less?

Although the process had become a lot more straightforward with the introduction of no-fault divorces, some solicitors still take advantage, says Desmond O'Donnell, a partner in the family team at the legal firm Thomson Snell & Passmore. 

"I say to my clients, you are more than capable of applying for a divorce without a solicitor - the court fee is £593. You get other solicitors who say 'let me do it for you' because they can charge the client for that and then costs go up to £600-800." Desmond O'Donnell

He says it is better to settle a separation outside court because taking a case to court "racks up costs".

"You get some solicitor firms who see it as a business rather than what is best for their client," he says. 

"If you settle a case quickly you don't make money, so they almost encourage their client to go to court."

He recommends looking at other avenues such as mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and the process of "one couple, one lawyer" to avoid being "at the mercy of the court".

Less lawyer routes

With mediation, through which a couple resolves issues with a mediator, "emails are not flying back and forth" between solicitors and matters can be resolved "within hours", Mr O'Donnell says.

Another way of handling a separation is arbitration - a private system in which spouses choose an arbitrator to hear their case in their chambers.

"It's having a judge who has the time to give your case the attention it needs and because it is much quicker, there is less correspondence so it is going to be cheaper," Mr O'Donnell says.

'Collaborative' lawyers

He also draws attention to collaborative law, which involves specially trained solicitors meeting for roundtable meetings for the benefit of the family.

"As there is more realism brought into it and we're not trying to bluff each other, very often we agree on things outside the traditional court system more quickly and cheaply than the traditional system," he says.

Sharing a solicitor?

Opting for "one couple, one lawyer", with the solicitor acting for both spouses, can cost £3,000 to £4,000 plus VAT - so "much cheaper", Mr O'Donnell says.

But this only works if the couple are on amicable terms.

Finances are not sorted with divorce

A common misconception is that divorce and finances are dealt with in the same processes - they are not, says Zoe Rose, senior associate at Hedges Law.

"I often say to clients you probably won't need a lawyer to help you with the divorce application because if you can do online shopping you can do the relevant online application with the court directly." Zoe Rose

But, she says, with discussions about finances and children people "should be spending some money getting some decent legal advice".

"You do the simple paperwork and come to me for the strategic stuff about what happens with assets and what happens with your children and what that looks like," she says.

How you communicate with your lawyer is key

How people communicate with lawyers is important in keeping costs down, according to Ms Rose.

"If you send your solicitor two emails and then automatically ring them, your solicitor won't have had time to look at your email and won't give you the nuanced advice you want," she says.

"Whereas if you send them a couple of emails and then book a slot later, what you will get back out will be much better."

Here are Ms Rose's other tips to keep fees down:  

  • Only speak to your lawyer about legal advice as you are charged for the time you spend with them;
  • Avoid asking the same questions more than once;
  • Keep ongoing correspondence to a minimum and if you want to ask if an email has been received, your solicitor's assistant is the best person to answer this.

'Train wreck break-up prompted me to set up amicable divorce service'

In the course of writing this article, we came across Kate Daly, a relationship counsellor and the co-founder of Amicable. 

The company first offers a 15-minute free advice consultation and then follows this up by helping couples decide how to divide their money and property, or with arrangements for their children.

Once they have a financial agreement, this is drafted into a consent order and sent to court for a judge to review. 

It means no lawyers are needed and, the theory goes, results in an amicable divorce.

"I came up with the idea for this business off the back of my own awful train wreck divorce - it was really terrible," she says.

"It cost huge amounts of money and it created untold emotional damage, even now it still plays out in my family. A horrible divorce is like the gift that keeps on giving - it just stalks you through all life events.

"When I went through mine, I thought 'what have I done wrong to create this awful situation where we are both spending so much money and ended up in such a bad place?'"

Most couples could do a simple divorce - that is, one with no finances to sort out - themselves, she says, but it is "trickier" to do a consent order and "definitely worth getting legal advice at that point".

"We're on a mission to change the way society thinks about relationships ending and to get to a point where we can say love can end and that doesn't have to be a fight, and it doesn't have to be a failure," she says.

Four topics elicited the most consternation in our mailbox this week: pensioners being drawn into tax, the price of pints, banned adverts and Royal Mail cutbacks. 

On Tuesday we revealed that 650,000 extra pensioners will have to pay income tax for the first time following an inflation-linked 8.5% rise in the state pension which will take many with additional income over the (currently frozen) tax threshold of £12,570.

I have a service pension which I've been living off for 10 years and this month qualify for my state pension. Couldn't believe it when my service pension was nearly £200 less due to tax!! They give with one and take with another!! Brilliant!! I guess I should have expected it!! Ian, Fareham
Thanks to the tax bracket not being raised in line with inflation, I am now paying tax on my pension... Pointless the Tories keeping on about triple lock as I get an increase in one hand then take it out with the other. Mr c k

Others asked if the move meant pensioners were being effectively "taxed twice"...

Why should pensioners have to pay tax on personal/private pensions when they have already paid tax on it during their working lives. Surely the government is getting double payment of taxes? Sarah

This isn't quite right - as pension income is only taxed when it's withdrawn, ie when you retire. 

Making pension contributions during your working life is tax free within certain limits . 

Away from pensions, on Wednesday we reported that a Nationwide advert starring Dominic West would be banned following 282 complaints. 

The watchdog found it was misleading consumers into thinking the building society – unlike its rivals – would not be closing its branches.

Some of our readers have seen first-hand closures, in contrast to the advert's message...

Our Nationwide branch closed after they stated it would remain open for at least two years. Goldie30
Good! I am glad that the Nationwide adverts have been banned as they did, indeed, close last year the Blaby, Leicestershire branch of their bank. So the adverts always left a very bitter taste in the mouth. Well done ASA for calling Nationwide out on this. Alan Henry

Looking at the breakdown of the cost of a pint we posted on Thursday...

...we had an interesting question from Pete on non-alcoholic drinks...

Why do alcohol-free drinks cost so much in pubs and restaurants? Prices are often the same and yet tax is lower. Petethepilot

Although the same duty doesn't apply on alcohol-free drinks, they can be more expensive to manufacture.

Many breweries make their standard beer then "remove" the alcohol after - adding an extra step to an already expensive process, using the same ingredients and methods etc. 

Historically, it's also been brewed in much smaller quantities (naturally driving price up), although as its popularity continues to rise we may see that change. There's also development and marketing costs.

Another reader, John, said... 

Having just returned from a holiday in mainland Spain - I find myself asking why the cost of a large draft local beer (pint) - even in many restaurants - is only about €3. Which is the equivalent of about £2.56. Yet another example of rip-off Britain!!! JohnMette

On Wednesday, Royal Mail revealed it may slash  1,000 jobs as part of cutbacks including reducing second-class deliveries to three days a week, prompting comments like this...

So now we all pay for 1st class post and get 2nd class service.  Liyzlg

National insurance has been cut, for the second time this year, from 10% to 8% on employee earnings between £12,570 and £50,270 from today.

The change, announced by the chancellor in his March budget, impacts around 27 million payroll employees across the UK.

The cut is worth almost £250 to someone earning £25,000 a year and almost £750 for those earning £50,000

Use our tool below for a rough guide to what tax changes can be expected for most people, as there are other variables not included which might affect how much tax you pay including being in receipt of the blind person's allowance or the marriage allowance. It also assumes you are not self-employed and are under pension age...

There are also national insurance cuts for the self-employed. This includes the scrapping of Class 2 contributions, as well as a reduction of the rate of Class 4 contributions from 9% to 6% for the £12,570 to £50,270 earnings bracket.

These will impact nearly two million self-employed people, according to the Treasury.

While many campaigners welcomed the national insurance announcement last month, they pointed out that the tax burden remains at record high levels for Britons - thanks in part to the threshold at which people start paying income tax being frozen, rather than rising with inflation.

Big Issue founder Lord Bird says the government has "lost the plot" over proposed legislation which critics say criminalises homelessness .

He called the Criminal Justice Bill a "waste of time" that fails to stop people living and dying on the streets of the UK.

The bill contains provisions to allow police to forcibly move on "nuisance" rough sleepers, with criteria including creating "excessive smell" or "looking like they are intending to sleep on the streets".

"How the hell are you going to enforce this?" Lord Bird said on Sky News.

"You're going to get the old bill [police] or the local security going out their sniffing people? This is just a waste of time."

Lord Bird said it was "human rights abuse to let people live and die on our streets".

"When it's moved onto criminal justice issues, then you've lost the plot."

British Savings Bonds , which were announced in the budget, have gone on sale .

The bonds, issued by the Treasury-backed NS&I, offer a fixed rate for three years - and the rate has been revealed at 4.15%.

This has left experts feeling a little underwhelmed.

Savings Champion  founder Anna Bowes gave us her view: "In essence, this is simply a re-issuance of the NS&I three-year Guaranteed Income and Guaranteed Growth bonds, rather than anything new or British.

"As was reported just after the budget and as is often the case with NS&I products, while the interest rate is not rock bottom it’s mid-table, so is likely to still be utilised, especially for those rolling over old bonds, and those with more than the FSCS limit of £85,000, because of course all cash held with NS&I is guaranteed by HM Treasury.

"NS&I is a trusted institution so will always be popular, but savers can earn quite a lot more if they shop a

Trade groups have warned of higher food prices and empty supermarket shelves because of new post-Brexit border fees being introduced this month.

A maximum charge of £145 will apply on imports of plant and animal products, such as cheese and fish, entering the UK through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel from 30 April.

The fees are intended to cover the cost of operating new border control posts required after Brexit, and will not apply to goods brought into the UK for personal use, the government said.

But importers warned the new charges could lead to higher prices for consumers.

Read more here ...

The Money blog is your place for consumer news, economic analysis and everything you need to know about the cost of living - bookmark

It runs with live updates every weekday - while on Saturdays we scale back and offer you a selection of weekend reads.

Check them out this morning and we'll be back on Monday with rolling news and features.

The Money team is Emily Mee, Bhvishya Patel, Jess Sharp, Katie Williams, Brad Young and Ollie Cooper, with sub-editing by Isobel Souster. The blog is edited by Jimmy Rice.

Senior doctors in England have voted to accept an improved government pay deal, bringing to an end the year-long dispute which had led to strike action.

The British Medical Association (BMA), a trade union which has been representing the consultants, put the offer on pay and conditions to its members, with 83% voting in favour.

The pay deal includes changes to the review body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration (DDRB) and a 2.85% (£3,000) uplift for those who have been senior doctors for four to seven years, said the BMA.

The offer is in addition to the 6% awarded during the DDRB process last summer.

You can read more here ...

Administrators to The Body Shop are drawing up plans to salvage a future for one of Britain’s best-known high street brands.

Insolvency practitioners at FRP Advisory have outlined proposals to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that would see The Body Shop entering talks with landlords about rent cuts, as well as other creditors, Sky News has learnt.

According to proposals sent to The Body Shop's creditors on Friday morning, which lay bare the depths of the financial problems inherited by the investor which bought the company less than four months ago, a CVA would "allow the company to be rescued and exit from administration".

This would see it continuing to trade under the ownership of Aurelius, the investment firm which took control of it at the start of the year.

Read more in our City editor Mark Kleinman's  full story .

The crisis enveloping Thames Water has deepened after its holding company announced it had been unable to meet a debt repayment.

Kemble Water said it missed an interest payment that was due on Tuesday.

The firm said it had asked its lenders to take no immediate action so as to "provide a stable platform while all options are explored".

The announcement paves the way for a potential restructuring of Thames Water, which serves nearly a quarter of Britain's population.

You can read more about that here .

The UK's largest specialist wine retailer, Majestic, has completed a rescue deal to buy Vagabond from administration.

On Friday, Majestic confirmed it had completed the acquisition of the wine bar chain, which will secure the future of nine Vagabond venues and 171 workers.

The bar firm's "underperforming" site in Canary Wharf has not been bought and will be closed.

Vagabond's two sites at Gatwick Airport are also not included in the deal.

The average UK house price fell by approximately £2,900 month on month in March, according to Halifax.

The typical property value fell by 1%, having risen 0.3% in February.

Average property prices landed at £288,430, said Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages.

"That a monthly fall should occur following five consecutive months of growth is not entirely unexpected, particularly in view of the reset the market has been going through since interest rates began to rise sharply in 2022.

"Despite this, house prices have shown surprising resilience in the face of significantly higher borrowing costs."

Prices remain almost £50,000 above pre-pandemic levels, she added.

Nicky Stevenson, managing director at estate agent group Fine & Country, said: "An increasingly busy property market helped to prop up prices on an annual basis at the beginning of spring, but the monthly fall shows there is still some turbulence."

Once an interest rate cut appears on the horizon, demand should "push UK prices 3% higher this year", said Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at estate agent Knight Frank.

British billionaire Joe Lewis has avoided a jail sentence after admitting he orchestrated an insider trading scheme that helped those around him make millions.

The former Tottenham Hotspur owner, who lives in the Bahamas, tipped off his girlfriend, friends, and two of his private pilots with inside information on four publicly-traded companies, which they used to get rich, prosecutors in New York said.

In January, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud, admitting in court he had known he was breaking the law.

Read more here...

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places to visit in south of scotland


  1. 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Scotland

    places to visit in south of scotland

  2. Top 21 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Scotland

    places to visit in south of scotland

  3. 10 Best Places to Visit in the Scottish Highlands

    places to visit in south of scotland

  4. 8 Great Places to Visit in Southeast Scotland

    places to visit in south of scotland

  5. Southern Scotland travel

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  6. 10 Best Places to Visit in the Scottish Highlands

    places to visit in south of scotland


  1. Top 10 Places To Visit In Scotland- travel guide

  2. 5 Best Places to Visit in Scotland 2024

  3. 10 Best Places to Visit in Scotland

  4. Exploring Glasgow's Southside


  1. 7 Days in the South of Scotland

    Day 4 Dumfries & Galloway. Transport: Heading out of the Scottish Borders and west into Dumfries & Galloway, there's plenty of sights still to see on the journey. For the first couple of days, you can stay in the east of this region - Dumfries being the largest town. 9.

  2. 7 days in Southern Scotland

    Why you should visit Southern Scotland. I'm thrilled to introduce Scotland's greatest underdog, a place to take a breather from the Highlands, the Isle of Skye, the North Coast 500 other stops on the mass tourist trail. By heading toward the south end of Scotland, you'll embark on an epic clockwise journey from coast to coast, through the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, as you ...

  3. South of Scotland Travel Guide & Inspiration

    Where to stay in the South of Scotland. Award winning 5 Star Self Catering Lodges and glamping pods. Stunning views, private hot tubs. Ideal base for exploring Scotland. Set in the beautiful Scottish Borders, this historic property features a 20-bedroom luxury hotel, championship golf course and full range of sporting pursuits.

  4. 30 BEST Places to Visit in South of Scotland (UPDATED 2024)

    Places to visit in South of Scotland. Top Things to Do in South of Scotland. Places to Visit in South of Scotland. Explore popular experiences. See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. See All. Day Trips (9) Bus Tours (18) Gardens (43) Full-day Tours (13)

  5. Things to Do in South of Scotland

    Things to Do in South of Scotland, Scotland: See Tripadvisor's 274,661 traveler reviews and photos of South of Scotland tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in April. We have reviews of the best places to see in South of Scotland. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  6. Towns and Villages

    Towns and Villages. Whether you're hoping to explore picturesque towns, coastal communities or quaint villages, you'll find a destination that captures your heart in the South. Immerse yourself in our communities, where you can see the local historical attractions, drink the regional tipple, dine in award-winning restaurants, and meet our ...

  7. Things to Do in South of Scotland

    9. Mabie Farm Park. 602. Farms. Family fun farm park with lots to do for old and young. The whole family can spend hours from feeding the animals, bouncing on the jumping pillows, slides,play barn,straw barn, boating pond,donkey rides,our choochoo express,quad biking and lots of fresh air out in our park area.

  8. Attractions

    Attractions. Live out your passion for discovery in the South, where you can experience a multitude of unforgettable attractions. Scale towers of ancient castles, hike in sun-dappled forests, sip locally brewed beer, stroll through gardens of magnificent estates, and step into atmospheric abbeys. Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it ...

  9. Must-see attractions Southern Scotland, Scotland

    Southern Scotland. Between the towns of Maybole and Kirkoswald, by the A77, Crossraguel Abbey is a substantial ruin dating back to the 13th century that's good fun to…. 1. 2. 3. Discover the best attractions in Southern Scotland including Culzean Castle & Country Park, Traquair House, and Abbotsford.

  10. South of Scotland 2024: All You Need to Know Before You Go

    The Selkirk Arms Hotel. 740. 2023. Black Bull Hotel. 527. 2023. Ernespie House Hotel. 219. South of Scotland Tourism: Tripadvisor has 274,611 reviews of South of Scotland Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best South of Scotland resource.

  11. Things to Do in South of Scotland

    The most popular things to do in South of Scotland with children according to Tripadvisor travellers are: Kitchen Coos & Ewes; Dalscone Farm Fun; Bainloch Deer Park; Beirhope Alpacas; St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve; See all kid friendly things to do in South of Scotland on Tripadvisor

  12. South of Scotland 2024: All You Need to Go Before You Go

    South of Scotland Tourism: Tripadvisor has 273,986 reviews of South of Scotland Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best South of Scotland resource. ... Sign in. Explore South of Scotland. Hotels. Things to Do. Vacation Rentals. Restaurants. Travel Forums. Hire a Trip Designer. Flights. Rental Cars. Add a Place. More. Europe ...

  13. Southern Scotland

    Let's go. Total driving time/distances - this route around Southern Scotland is 500 miles and will take around 13 hours to drive the route in total without stops. Days needed - minimum of 5 to 7 days. Day 1/2 - East Lothian. Day 3/4 - Scottish Borders. Day 5/6 - Dumfries and Galloway. Day 7 - Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.

  14. Explore the UNESCO sites of South Scotland

    Walks, cycle routes, ways to travel around. The south of Scotland is a picturesque place to explore on foot or on two wheels. Follow the many trails and waymarked paths around the area, with a chance to spot elusive and native wildlife along the way. Take a picnic with you and stop off to admire your surroundings.

  15. One Week in South Scotland: Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway

    3. The South has Something for Everyone. History buffs will love the Abbey Trail in the Scottish Borders and the many castles in Dumfries and Galloway, outdoor lovers can go for challenging walks and multi-day treks, hit the mountain biking trails or fly down one of Europe's longest zip wires.

  16. A Guide to the Best Castles to Visit in South Scotland

    Stirling Castle. Address: Castle Esplanade, Stirling, FK8 1EJ Contact details: Tel 01786 450 000 Out About Scotland complete guide: Stirling Castle The ancient and incomparable Stirling Castle is one of Scotland's top tourist attractions, in part due to the fact that it has so much history waiting to be discovered during a visit. The castle was the royal seat of power long before Edinburgh ...

  17. 8 Great Places to Visit in Southeast Scotland

    Melrose Abbey : Even though it lies in ruin, Melrose Abbey is one of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in Scotland. It is probably best known as the final resting place of the embalmed heart of King Robert the Bruce. The burial site is marked by a round stone with a carving of a heart and the Scottish saltire.

  18. 8 Great Places to Visit in Southwest Scotland

    The Isle of Arran is the 7th largest in Scotland and is famously known as "Scotland in Miniature", thanks to its low-lying grasslands in the south and the more mountainous terrain in the north. There are two ferry crossings to Arran from the mainland - Claonaig in Kintyre to Lochranza for 30 minutes and Ardrossan to Brodick for 55 minutes ...

  19. The 14 best places to visit in Scotland

    5. Loch Lomond. Best place for a lakeside hike. Despite being less than an hour's drive from the bustle and sprawl of Glasgow, the bonnie braes (banks) of Loch Lomond - immortalized in the words of one of Scotland's best-known songs - comprise one of the most scenic parts of the country.

  20. 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Scotland

    It's one of the Angus Glens, a series of tranquil valleys split by single-track roads, offering some of the most majestic landscapes of north east Scotland. It sits between Angus, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire and makes up part of the Cairngorms National Park. Explore Glen Clova: Glen Clova. 16.

  21. 10 Amazing Things To Do in South West Scotland

    7. Whithorn. 8. The Steam Packet Inn. 9. Crook of Baldoon. 10. Mull of Galloway. With breathtaking scenery, enchanting history, scrumptious cuisine, bright sandy beaches, and some of the darkest, starry skies in Europe - South West Scotland is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle and recentre yourself.

  22. 3 Days Exploring Dark Skies and Natural Beauty of the South of Scotland

    Days. 3. If you're a lover of nature, then exploring the natural beauty and experiencing the spectacular dark skies of the South of Scotland should definitely be on your bucket list! This three day itinerary takes you to Britain's largest forest park, Scotland's most southerly point and Scotland's home to heritage gardening.

  23. Where to Go in Scotland, by a Local

    The market town of Dumfries in south Scotland packs a lot of historical punch for its size. Fans of Peter Pan should visit Moat Brae, a centre for children's literature and the birthplace of the boy who never grew up. For more literary sights, head to Robert Burns House, where Scotland's national poet wrote some of his most popular poems.

  24. Map reveals where in the UK you can see the 2024 solar eclipse

    Total solar eclipses generally occur every 18 months or so, but partial ones take place between two and five times a year. MORE : Map shows where bird flu is spreading in US amid new warning

  25. 10 Best Mountain Towns in the South

    Named one of Travel + Leisure's Best Small Towns of 2023, Highlands, North Carolina (population: 1,088) has a long history as a getaway for Southerners looking to escape the oppressive summer ...

  26. Spring in the South of Scotland

    As spring arrives in the South of Scotland, warmer, brighter days breathe new life into our countryside. The landscape bursts into bloom, as vibrant flowers like daffodils and bluebells take over gardens and woodlands. Across the region, thriving working farms welcome newborn animals and invite visitors to 'Go Rural' for a day.

  27. Weekend Money: The cost of getting divorced

    A couple could pay up to £2,600 for an uncontested divorce and between £10,000 and £30,000 if it is a contested case. Read this and more in Weekend Money, and we'll be back with live Money ...