What does Scotland represent to you?
For many of us, it’s rolling hills, dense forests, sheer rock faces and — of course — a jolly good blast of the bagpipes. For others, it’s the legendary stories of Robert Burns or Mary Queen of Scots.
Truth is, all of this typifies Scotland. And if you’re looking for a way to experience the best of this expansive country in just one trip, then your destination of choice has to be South West Scotland.
3 must-see sights in South West Scotland
1. The Valley of Light
Glenluce means “Valley of Light”, and this village is one of the most picturesque places in the UK. Little explorers can uncover a 12th Century abbey, where Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots both spent time.
Or, if you really want to get in on the action, the valley also has great opportunities for salmon fly fishing — an activity the kids won’t forget in a hurry!
2. Cream o’ Galloway
While the scenery of Glenluce is cut straight from a postcard, Cream o’ Galloway was designed uniquely for children. The site brings together two things: a working dairy farm, and an amusement park.
The result? Some of the freshest ice cream you’ll ever taste, and enough adventure playgrounds to spend the whole day on your feet (sorry!).
3. Threave Castle
Sure, Threave Castle itself is quite impressive. But it’s the journey there that’s really worth getting excited about: the centuries-old structure is only accessible by boat.
Even better, the only way to get a boat, is to find your way to a small jetty on the River Dee and ring the brass bell by pulling a rope. Then, as if by magic, your boatman will appear!
3 must-do family activities in South West Scotland
1. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, wherever you go!
South West Scotland is home to some of the country’s most iconic wildlife, including the instantly recognisable Highland cattle.
But it doesn’t stop there. The rich biodiversity of the location means you’ll also spot badgers, deer, pheasants, otters, weasels and much more.
2. Tour Dumfries
Within this little pocket of Scotland, you’ll find the famous Dumfries nestled on the banks of the Nith. While on the surface Dumfries looks like a quiet market town, there’s lots to be discovered for families with young kids.
If your little one loves planes, take them to Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum. If they’re obsessed with dinosaurs, then treat them to a trip around Dino Park. Or to journey into Scotland’s past, a walk around Caerlaverock Castle will not disappoint.
The best time to visit South West Scotland?
Let’s be completely honest: Scotland’s weather is, at best, unpredictable.
Generally speaking, South West Scotland averages a high of 19C in July and a low of 2C in January. If you don’t mind a few showers, then spring half terms and Easter holidays are well spent in South West Scotland, when the air is fresh and the high season is just beginning.
What to pack for South West Scotland?
The secret when travelling Scotland is to always be prepared.
Braving the Scottish weather is not for the faint of heart — even in warmer seasons! So we always recommend taking additional layers. On top of that, you’ll likely find use for a pair of wellies, a raincoat, an umbrella, and even some sun cream.
And, as much of South West Scotland is best explored on foot, it’s worth packing a comfortable and sturdy pair of shoes, too.
Getting around South West Scotland
South West Scotland is one of the most well-connected areas of the country.
With Glasgow Prestwick Airport less than an hour away, as well as excellent rail and road links from all over the UK, you’ll have no trouble finding your way here. Leaving, on the other hand? You might find that a tad tougher.
For ultimate freedom on your trip, we’d suggest touring the area by car. That way you can take in all the sights, in whatever order you feel like.