The spirit of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national Bard inhabits the region around Dumfries. North of the town sits Ellisland Farm and Museum where Burns built a home and farm for his young family when they first arrived in the area. South of Dumfries sits the Brow Well where Burns came just days before his death in the hopes its healing waters would soothe his ailments. 

The town of Dumfries is very much Robert Burns’ town. He lived, worked, performed, made merry and sadly died prematurely at 37 here. But it is also where J.M. Barrie got his inspiration for Neverland and where in 1306 Robert the Bruce murdered John Common at Greyfriars Monastery to become the next king of Scotland.  

The town’s history and the lives of its famous inhabitants are on display at various museums and there is a trail to follow in the footsteps of Burns himself. Moat Brae offers a children’s delight with an outdoor playground and indoor exploration spaces that a young J.M. Barrie would surely have found delightful. Today Moat Brae is also Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature hosting many events including a dedicated literary event each spring.  

While in Dumfries find time to enjoy fine cuisine at Burns’ favourite Howff, relax and luxuriate at a spa and find time for a walk by the River Nith, which flows through the town and under the famous Devorgilla Bridge. Named after the Lady Devorgilla of Galloway, an impressive link to her lies south of the town at the delightfully named Sweetheart Abbey. This was built as a tribute to her late husband John Balliol and is worth a visit. Equally notable is Caerlaverock Castle, the UK’s only triangular castle located on the opposite side of the mouth of the river Nith.