3 Days Exploring Dark Skies and Natural Beauty of South West Scotland
If you’re a lover of nature, then exploring the natural beauty and experiencing the spectacular dark skies of South West 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 to 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).
Stop 1 - Galloway Alpacas
Stop 2 - Galloway Forest Park
Stop 3 - RSPB Crook of Baldoon Nature Reserve
Stop 4 - Galloway Astronomy Centre
Harrisons Coffee House and Beltie Books
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.
Stop 1 - Glenwhan Gardens, Arboretum &Tearoom
Stop 2 - Sandhead Beach (Luce Sands)
Stop 3 - Mull of Galloway Experience
Henry’s Bay House Restaurant, Stranraer
Wigtownshire County Golf Club
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.