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Whithorn | Dumfries and Galloway

Whithorn in the Machars Peninsula is perhaps most famous for its connections with St. Ninian and as Scotland`s Cradle of Christianity.  In more recent years, it has gained a reputation as a centre for artists and crafts people. 

In the fifth century, the early Christian settlement at Whithorn, started by St Ninian, had contacts with Gaul. It had a sophisticated church hierarchy and imported fine wines and pottery to a thriving and literate community. As such, Whithorn is quite possibly Scotland’s earliest town.

Later, in the middle ages, the burgh thrived as Scottish kings and queens visited the shrine. From Robert the Bruce to Mary Queen of Scots, and by thousands of pilgrims. St Ninian’s Cave is well worth a visit and makes for a a very interesting short walk through a wooded glen then along a shingle beach with views of the Isle of Man.

Since 2013 Creative Whithorn has organised an annual Arts & Crafts Trail. The trail showcase a wide range of work at various venues in the town. The town is also home to the smallest theatre in Scotland – The Swallow Theatre – which puts on regular performances throughout the year.

In 2016 the Whithorn Trust built an Iron Age Roundhouse. A few years earlier, archaeologists discovered a settlement of about 8 roundhouses nearby. The new roundhouse replicates the houses from 2,500 years ago. And it is open to the public.

The town’s main street has several listed buildings many painted in pastel hues. The Whithorn Town Trail takes in about 30 properties. Get an information leaflet from The Whithorn Story Visitor Centre in the town.

The quiet roads around the town and the Machars make the area appealing to leisure cyclists. There are four waymarked routes from 17 to 25 miles long taking in the coastal villages and historical sites. 

Explore Map of Whithorn
Balnab Farm Whithorn

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