The region of Dumfries and Galloway is renowned for the quality of its natural beauty. Walkers will be delighted with the variety of routes ranging from wheelchair accessible to exceptionally challenging. Ancient woodland, picturesque gardens and rugged coastline make it a joy to visit at any time of year.
Galloway Forest Park covers 300 square miles and includes 250 lochs and 2 trillion trees - perfect for walking and mountain biking! It isn't just great in the day time - it was Britain's first Dark Sky Park and incredible at night. Another natural wonder is St Ninian's Cave near Whithorn Abbey. It's a special site for Christians who believe that St Ninian, the first Scottish Saint, used it.
Wigtown is famed for its bookstores and annual book festival which celebrates writers of all genres. While you're there, visit the distillery at Bladnoch, or play 18 holes at the Wigtown and Bladnoch Golf Club. Other courses nearby include St Medan, the most Southerly course in Scotland, Lockerbie and Colvend.
Possibly the most famous village in Dumfries and Galloway is Gretna Green. Even if you're not planning to get married there, it's still fun to see the famous blacksmith's shop where eloping English couples have been tying the knot since the 1700s.
The Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve is brilliant for bird spotting, especially in autumn and winter when it has an influx of migrating geese. Other fantastic places for wildlife watching include Carstramon Wood, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation; and Castle Kennedy Gardens in Stranraer, where you can see red squirrels, wildfowl, osprey, otters and foxes, among dozens of other species.
Dumfries prides itself on its strong connection to Scotland's most beloved poet, Robert Burns. There's a museum devoted to his life and works at Ellisland Farm and another at Robert Burns House, where he spent his final years. While you're there, remember to have a dram in his honour at The Globe Inn .
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