Miles

137

Kms

220

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. It also includes lots of opportunities (weather permitting of course!) to enjoy and learn about the Dark Skies in one of the regions with the lowest light pollution in the UK.

Opening dates and times vary across attractions. Please ensure to check opening times and availability directly with each attraction before you visit.

Day 1

Getting Back to Nature

Kick off Day One by meeting some of our loveliest locals at Galloway Alpacas. Set in the gorgeous Galloway countryside, this place and these lovely animals will bring a smile to your face!

Next stop, Galloway Forest Park, Britain’s largest forest park and first Dark Sky Park. There is so much to explore, whether you want a gentle stroll with gorgeous views, a long hike through the forest or a challenging biking trail, it has it all. Kirroughtree also has a lovely cafe where you can grab lunch.

In the afternoon, head over to Crook of Baldoon Nature Reserve. This coastal reserve at Wigtown Bay is the ideal place to see lapwing and curlews as well as lots of other wildlife.

Round off your day by taking a Tour of the Universe, one of the many evening courses available at Galloway Astronomy Centre (booking required).

Miles

50

Kms

81

Stops

4

Travel Time

3h 30min

Stop 1 - Galloway Alpacas

Nestled in the beautiful surroundings near to Gatehouse of Fleet, Galloway Alpacas offers trekking, alpaca experiences, weddings and events.

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Stop 2 - Galloway Forest Park

The Galloway Forest Park has everything you need for a great day out, whatever the time of year. Meet red deer and wild goats, choose from two scenic Forest Drives, follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce or picnic beside a peaceful loch. This is also Scotland’s first Dark Sky Park – one of the best places to stargaze in Europe!

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Stop 3 - RSPB Crook of Baldoon Nature Reserve

A breath-taking panorama of salt-marsh, mudflats and hills. The site is home to many birds including geese, golden plover and whooper swans in the winter.

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Stop 4 - Galloway Astronomy Centre

The location for anyone wanting to see thousands of stars in a dark sky. There are few places in the UK where you can clearly see the Milky Way and also the Andromeda Galaxy with just your eyes. The Galloway Astronomy Centre is such a place.

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Beltie Books and Cafe
location_on Wigtown

Browse our selection of Books, then partake in some refreshments.

Gather at Laggan
location_on Gatehouse of Fleet

Where good food and good views nourish the soul

Day 2

Explore the Rhins of Galloway

Day Two begins at the beautiful Glenwhan Gardens. These family run gardens hewn from moorland are home to large collections of rare trees and shrubs.

Next, head over to Sandhead Beach, this beautiful sandy beach stretches for more than a mile and is a lovely spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

The Mull of Galloway is a must visit when in the Rhins, the lighthouse at Scotland’s most southerly point is surrounded by dramatic views. There is accommodation at the Mull of Galloway too, so if you stay until after dark you might get to enjoy some of the spectacular dark sky views.

Miles

22

Kms

35

Stops

3

Travel Time

50min

Stop 1 - Glenwhan Gardens, Arboretum and Tea Room

Glenwhan Gardens has been described as one of the most beautiful man-made gardens in Scotland with unique & stunning sea views across the Mull of Galloway.

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Stop 2 - Sandhead Beach (Luce Sands)

Sandhead is situated on the Luce Bay coast of the Rhins of Galloway. It has a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for more than a mile and boasts unlimited sand when the tide is out. Luce Bay is designated a Special Area for Conservation for its dune, seashore and seabed habitats and the fantastic marine wildlife it supports. With ample car parking and picnic tables by the beach, the area is a great place for a picnic before walking on the beach.

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Stop 3 - RSPB Mull of Galloway

The Mull of Galloway is Scotland’s most Southerly Point. At the end of a narrow peninsula with stunning views in every direction, the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and the RSPB Visitor Centre and Reserve. This outstanding coastal reserve of grassland and heath is surrounded by steep cliffs and home to locally important colonies of seabirds.

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Henrys Bay House offers locally sourced dishes, prepared and cooked freshly to order by local Chef John Henry and his team.

North West Castle Hotel
location_on Stranraer

Traditional hotel offering friendly hospitality with excellent cuisine and leisure facilities including indoor curling rink.

Day 3

Kirkcudbright to Dumfries

The final day of your visit begins at the Dark Space Planetarium in Kirkcudbright. Recently opened it is a must see for anyone who wants to learn more about our Dark Skies.

Your second stop is the beautiful Threave Garden and Estate. Home to the School of Heritage Gardening, if you are a fan of gardening, you will love this inspirational place.

Next, go and explore the beautiful Mabie Forest, with trails for all fitness levels, this is the perfect place to enjoy the tranquility of the forest.

And if you are staying another night, why not book a tour with the Dark Sky Ranger? He can take you to the best star gazing spots and teach you all about the night sky.

Miles

65

Kms

105

Stops

4

Travel Time

2h

Stop 1 - Dark Space Planetarium

The Dark Space Planetarium is a state-of-the-art interactive experience for everyone. The exhibition space contains hands-on science and space themed exhibits designed to enthuse and educate people of all ages.

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Stop 2 - Threave Garden & Estate

A garden for all seasons and a haven for wildlife, with an osprey platform and bat reserve. Threave’s wonderful garden has been created over the years by students of the Trust’s School of Heritage Gardening – and is a fine example of landscaped beauty. The garden is divided into a series of smaller gardens to showcase different styles, including a rose garden, rockery and walled garden.

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Stop 3 - Mabie Forest Park

Mabie Forest Park is a beautiful forest park just to the south of Dumfries offering spectacular views across the Dumfries and Galloway countryside and over to the Solway Firth. It is home to one of the 7Stanes Biking centres and offers walking and biking trails for all abilities.

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Stop 4 - Dark Sky Ranger

Dark Sky Tours in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and across Dumfries & Galloway. Learn about space and star gazing with the option to receive high quality photos of your experience!

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The Selkirk Arms Hotel
location_on Kirkcudbright

Quality 4* Hotel & Restaurant in the heart of Kirkcudbright

Mr Pook's Kitchen
location_on Castle Douglas

Dumfries & Galloway on a plate

Where to Stay

Cairnsmore Cottages
location_on Newton Stewart

Two self-catering cottages set within a cobblestone courtyard

Tigh Na Mara Hotel
location_on Stranraer

Picturesque traditional Inn, central location with amazing views of Luce Bay. New outdoor heated pods , free wifi and the best local produce available.

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse Holiday Cottages at the most Southerly Point of Scotland are the perfect choice for your next self-catering holiday.

The harbour is a minutes walk away, possible to do several interesting walks direct from the cottage into the beautiful countryside, without the need for a car.