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8 places to visit in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Carrick Bay: a secret beach in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

There are so many gorgeous places to visit in Dumfries and Galloway, from cute towns and villages to good old National Trust places to stunning beaches.

I may be biased, because all my childhood holidays were there so I know it really well, but Scotland’s most southerly area really is an underrated part of bonny Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway is often overlooked and I don’t know many people who have visited. Yeah, it might not have the dramatic landscape of the Highlands or the bustle of the big Scottish cities, but it has some of the prettiest towns and coastlines I’ve ever seen.

Here’s a few places in Dumfries and Galloway that I reckon you can’t miss.

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Visiting Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey, Scotland

Visiting Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey, Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

Have you heard the one about the 13th century lady who carted her dead husband’s embalmed heart around with her and then when that wasn’t extreme enough, she built a gigantic abbey in memory of him? No? Well, you have now.

You don’t get that kind of thing on Take Me Out, do you?

The beautiful ruin of Sweetheart Abbey lies in the pretty village of New Abbey, in the Dumfries and Galloway area of south-west Scotland. It’s well worth a visit even if you’re not into history.

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Carrick Bay: a hidden beach in Dumfries and Galloway

Carrick Bay: a secret beach in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

Carrick Bay is an amazing and fairly ‘secret’ beach in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Here’s an introduction to its magic.

When I say ‘secret’, obviously it isn’t that secret if I’ve found it. But it’s hidden away and must be quite undiscovered because it’s empty every time we go. That’s secret enough for me. And given that my blog only has about four regular readers, including my mum, writing about it here is unlikely to change the ‘secret’ levels. 

It lies about 10 miles from Kirkcudbright (where we always stay) and 6 miles from Gatehouse of Fleet, so it’s slap bang in the middle of the area. We’ve been going there since I was a child but only discovered Carrick a few years ago. Up until then, our favourite beaches were Rockcliffe and Kippford, but now Carrick is definitely up there with them.

I suppose we’d never found Carrick because it’s so off the proverbial beaten track. On this visit, we only saw two other people. Other than that, it was just us and the sea. Click through and look at it. What a beaut…

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A day in Gatehouse of Fleet and Mossyard beach

Discovering Gatehouse of Fleet and Mossyard Bay, Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

We had a day out in Gatehouse of Fleet and nearby Mossyard Bay during our recent holiday to Kirkcudbright in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. It’s quite a good combo for a day out, because it’s always good to do a town in the morning, eat, and then do something beachy/rural later. Gatehouse of Fleet used to be the industrial centre of South West Scotland, with mills, its own port, and all that kind of thing going down. It’s quite small, with one main high street. It’s quiet, surrounded by rolling hills, and on the banks of the river Fleet. The kind of place you can stroll round at your own pace.

Here’s what there is to get up to on a day in and around Gatehouse…

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A perfect day in Castle Douglas, Scotland

A day in Castle Douglas, Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

We had the perfect day in Castle Douglas during our recent holiday to Kirkcudbright in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. Not too much crammed in, but not too slow either. We did a bit of shopping, had a nice lunch and an exquisite local beer, and then attempted to walk off the calories round the local National Trust haunt, Threave Gardens. The latter also involved sitting on some Belted Galloway cows. Naturally.

Here’s the lowdown…

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Rockcliffe to Kippford – the best coastal walk in Scotland

Rockcliffe to Kippford - the best coastal walk in Scotland | PACK THE SUITCASES

The best coastal walk in Scotland, or even just the best walk in Scotland, is going from Rockcliffe to Kippford – two pretty villages in the Dumfries & Galloway area.

Obviously I’ve not done every walk in Scotland, so this is a grand claim, but I’m going with it. It takes in some adorable cottages, beautiful rocky and shelly beaches, wild flowers and the potential of red squirrels.

Here’s how to do it.

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