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Home » Itinerary » 7 Days exploring History & Heritage on the SWC300
 

Explore the SWC300

7 Days exploring History & Heritage on the SWC300

 

MILES350
KM563
DAYS7
 
Opening dates and times vary across attractions. Please ensure to check opening times and availability directly with each attraction before you visit.

The South West Coastal 300 is the perfect road trip for lovers of history. This 7 day itinerary takes in many of the most fascinating sites, stories and experiences of this beautiful corner of Scotland.

Follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Robert Burns. Visit spectacular moated strongholds and clifftop castles. Explore our industrial past with a ride on a steam train or a visit to an 18th century lead mine.

If you prefer a bespoke guided tour try the Five Star Solway Tours, experts in history and ancestry. Or for those of you who like your guided tours a bit more on the spooky side, Mostly Ghostly is the one for you!

Day 1
OVERVIEW

Day 1 - Canonbie to Dumfries

Day One of this itinerary takes you first to Gilnockie Tower, this 16th century tower house is home to the Clan Armstrong Centre. From Canonbie, travel west to Annan where you’ll find the fascinating Annan Museum, look out for a 4000 year old Bronze Age burial urn, mummified baby crocodiles and the 110 year old piece of chocolate!

Before you leave Annan, it’s time for a real taste of the region at Annandale Whisky Distillery, discover how Scotch single malt whisky is made. Last stop of the day is one of our favourite Scottish castles, Caerlaverock Castle, the only triangular castle in the UK, this moated medieval stronghold will capture the imagination of old and young alike.

 
MILES 30.8
KM 50
STOPS 4
 
Caerlaverock Castle
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Gilnockie Tower

Gilnockie Tower is a stunning example of a Scottish Pele Tower. Built some 500 years ago, it was home to Johnnie Armstrong, a notorious Border Reiver. In 1530 this powerful chieftain was hanged by a Scottish King, his story romanticised by Walter Scott.
 
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Stop 2 - Annan Museum

A family friendly museum housing a permanent exhibition on the history of Annan and the surrounding area. A fascinating journey through time takes visitors from the prehistoric period up to the era of nuclear fission.
 
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Stop 3 - Annandale Distillery and Visitor Centre

Established in 1836, we’re one of Scotland’s oldest operating distilleries. Located close to the Scotland-England border, we’re also the first (and last) distillery in Scotland. In 2007 the distillery was bought by the Annandale Distillery Company Ltd.
 
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Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle is the UK's only triangular castle. With its wide moat, twin towered gatehouse and loft battlements, it is an awe-inspiring medieval stronghold.
 
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EAT

Food in this area

Easterbrook Bistro, Bar & Spa
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The Globe Inn,
The Globe Inn
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The Nith Hotel
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Kirkpatrick House B and B
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Real Farm Holidays
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Surrone House
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Eskdale Hotel
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The Townhead Hotel
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The Waterside Rooms
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Day 2
OVERVIEW

Day 2 - Dumfries to New Abbey

Day two kicks off with a visit to the Dumfries home of one of Scotland’s most famous sons, the poet Robert Burns. Burns is probably most famous as the author of Auld Lang Syne, the Scots language song that is sung by people around the world on New Year’s Eve every year.

Next stop, Dumfries Museum which offers an amazing insight into how people lived in our region across the centuries. It is also home to the world’s oldest working Camera Obscura from which you can see a unique panorama of Dumfries and the surrounding area.

Finish your day in one of the most charming villages in Scotland, New Abbey, which is book-ended by the spectacular Sweetheart Abbey and the beautifully-restored New Abbey Cornmill.

 
MILES 473.9
KM 763
STOPS 4
 
Sweetheart Abbey
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Robert Burns House

It was in this simple sandstone house in a quiet Dumfries street that Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, spent the last years of his life. He died here in 1796 at the age of just thirty seven. The house shows us how the poet and his family lived in the late eighteenth century and is now a place of pilgrimage for Burns enthusiasts from around the world.
 
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Stop 2 - Dumfries Museum

A treasure house of history in Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries Museum tells the story of the land and people of the region. Look out for fossil footprints left by prehistoric animals, the wildlife of the Solway, tools and weapons of our earliest people, stone carvings by Scotland’s first Christians and the everyday things of the Victorian farm, workshop and home.
 
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Stop 3 - Historic Scotland- New Abbey Corn Mill

See a beautifully-restored village mill in action and learn about how oatmeal, a staple of the Scottish diet, was once made. A mill was probably built here by the monks of nearby Sweetheart Abbey, but parts of the present building probably date from the late 1700s.
 
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Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Sweetheart Abbey

A monument to human and divine love, Sweetheart Abbey was named for its founder, Lady Dervorgilla, who was buried here with the embalmed heart of her beloved husband. The abbey church, with a stone effigy of the founder, survives almost intact.
 
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EAT

Food in this area

Afternoon Tea in the garden at Abbey Cottage Tearoom with a view of Sweetheart Abbey on the South West Coast 300
Abbey Cottage Tearoom
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Cavens Country House
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Mabie House Hotel
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

The Abbot’s Tower
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Ferintosh Guest House
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Grovewood House Bed and Breakfast
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Lindean Guest House
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Marthrown of Mabie
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The Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club
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Day 3
OVERVIEW

Day 3 - Kirkbean to Kirkcudbright

Day three begins at the childhood home of John Paul Jones, the ‘father of the US Navy’. Jones was born in 1747 at Arbigland Estate in Dumfries and Galloway where his father was a gardener. Next, head west along the pretty coastline and then inland towards Castle Douglas to Threave castle, take a short ferry ride across the river Dee to this impressive island fortress.

At your next stop, Dundrennan Abbey, you can follow in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots. This ruined medieval abbey is where Mary spent her last night on Scottish soil before fleeing to England, never to return. Final stop of the day is in Scotland’s artist town, Kirkcudbright, where you’ll find Broughton House, home of Scottish painter E.A. Hornel.

 
MILES 50.5
KM 82
STOPS 4
 
Threave Castle
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum And Visitor Centre

The John Paul Jones Cottage Museum is located on the Arbigland Estate near Kirkbean in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The cottage is where John Paul Jones, hero of the American Revolutionary War and founder of the United States Navy, was born in 1747. Jones' father was a gardener for the estate.
 
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Stop 2 - Historic Scotland- Threave Castle

Cross the River Dee by boat to visit this enchanting castle set on its own island. Rich with wildflowers in summer; you might see ospreys and otters hunting in the river.
 
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Stop 3 - Historic Scotland - Dundrennan Abbey

Enjoy the peace of this beautiful Gothic abbey set in tree-fringed pastures where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last hours in Scotland.
 
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Stop 4 - Broughton House and Garden

Right in the heart of Kirkcudbright, a pretty artists’ colony on the Solway Firth, Broughton House is an 18th-century Georgian house and the former home of Scottish painter E A Hornel, one of the Glasgow Boys. The house holds Hornel's pictures, vast collection of artefacts and furniture and has an beautiful garden.
 
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EAT

Food in this area

Auchencairn Store and Tearoom
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Colvend Shop and Treats & Eats Tearoom
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Jake Irving Ceramics and Coffee Shop
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Arbigland Estate
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Cavens Country House
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Crown and Anchor Bed and Breakfast and Tea Rooms
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Millbrae House B and B and Self Catering
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Selkirk Arms Hotel
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The King’s Arms Hotel
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Day 4
OVERVIEW

Day 4 - Kirkcudbright to Gatehouse of Fleet

Before leaving Kirkcudbright, take a stroll to the impressive MacLellan’s Castle, a tower house right in the heart of the town. Then head along to the charming Stewartry Museum to learn more about life in bygone times in The Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire.

Further along the coast, near Gatehouse of Fleet, you’ll find Cardoness Castle, built in the 1400’s by the notorious McCulloch family. Gatehouse of Fleet is also home to The Mill on the Fleet. This restored 18th century cotton mill on the bank of the river is now an exhibition centre, with displays focusing on the history and heritage of Gatehouse and its surroundings. It also boasts a lovely café and bookshop.

 
MILES 9.8
KM 16
STOPS 4
 
The Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Historic Scotland- MacLellan's Castle

Explore the impressive residence of a powerful family in the heart of Kirkcudbright and the vaulted ground floor rooms in which their servants once worked. Look for the laird’s lug, a spy hole in the great hall through which the lord could eavesdrop on his guests.
 
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Stop 2 - The Stewartry Museum

The Stewartry Museum was founded in 1879, and first occupied part of the Kirkcudbright Town Hall. As the collection grew, the present purpose-built museum was planned and opened in 1893. The Museum has an old-world charm and exhibits a wealth of objects relating to the area known as The Stewartry, or Kirkcudbrightshire.
 
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Stop 3 - Historic Scotland- Cardoness Castle

Cardoness was built in the 1400s by the notorious McCulloch family, as a demonstration of their status. The well-preserved prison shows the kind of reception their most unwelcome guests might expect.
 
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Stop 4 - The Mill on the Fleet

Set in the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area in Galloway in south-west Scotland The Mill on the Fleet Visitor and Exhibition Centre offers a varied programme of exhibitions and events throughout the season,particularly on the natural environment of South West Scotland, its history and heritage, renewables and green living themes
 
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EAT

Food in this area

Gather at Laggan
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The Crafty Crow
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The Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse
The Mill on the Fleet
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Barholm Accommodation
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Cally Palace Hotel
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Gatehouses of Fleet
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Sea View Snugs at Laggan
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The Crown Hotel – Bar & Restaurant
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The Ship Inn
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Day 5
OVERVIEW

Day 5 - Creetown to Glenluce

You don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy a visit to the Creetown Gem Rock Museum, one of the quirkiest and most fascinating museums you’ll ever visit. Next, head to Galloway Forest to explore the site of Scottish King, Robert the Bruce’s, victory at the Battle of Glen Trool which took place during the First War of Scottish Independence.

Delve into Scotland’s spiritual past, in Whithorn, Scotland’s ‘cradle of Christianity’. Visit the Whithorn Priory and Museum, St Ninian’s Chapel and St Ninian’s Cave. Continuing the spiritual theme, further along the coast is Glenluce Abbey, where you will learn about 400 years of monastic life at one of Scotland’s best preserved monasteries.

 
MILES 86.8
KM 140
STOPS 4
 
Bruce's Stone
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Creetown Gem Rock Museum

Would you like to see a 4.5 billion year old, three kilogram meteorite; or the fossilised egg and dung of a dinosaur; or one of the largest natural gold specimens on display in the UK? Then the Creetown Gem Rock Museum is for you!
 
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Stop 2 - Robert the Bruce, father of a nation

In the heart of the Galloway Forest Park, near Loch Trool, is a stone. This huge granite boulder marks the place of a battle that took place in the First War of Scottish Independence in March 1307. The man who led the Scottish troops was Robert the Bruce.
 
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Stop 3 - Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre & Cafe

The Whithorn Trust runs the exhibition and museum detailing the town's 1600 years of Christian history. Coffee and gift shop with locally sourced products.
 
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Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Glenluce Abbey

Tucked in a tranquil valley is one of Scotland’s best-preserved monasteries. A highlight is the magnificent chapter house, with its ornate windows and grotesque carvings. There is also a remarkable plumbing system that supplied the Cistercian monks with running water.
 
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EAT

Food in this area

Connors Restaurant
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Crown Hotel, Portpatrick
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The Pheasant
The Pheasant
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Auld Schoolhouse Sandhead Holiday Cottage
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Craiglemine Cottage B and B
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Fernhill Hotel
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Lochinch Castle Holiday Cottages
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Rickwood Bnb in Portpatrick
Rickwood House B&B Portpatrick
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Up-Yonder Holiday Cottage
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Day 6
OVERVIEW

Day 6 - Stranraer and the Ayrshire Coast

Step inside and discover Wigtownshire’s fascinating past at Stranraer Museum. Then head up the beautiful west coast to one of the most spectacular castles in the South West. Culzean Castle is perched on a dramatic clifftop in South Ayrshire and is a must see in the region for any history lover.

Next stop is a visit to the birthplace of the formidable Stewart dynasty, Dundonald Castle. And last but by no means least, visit the beautiful Dumfries House, an 18th Century Estate and House, set in 2000 acres which was saved by His Royal Highness Prince Charles in 2007 and has since been beautifully restored. It is home to a world renowned collection of Chippendale furniture.

 
MILES 92.7
KM 150
STOPS 4
 
Culzean Castle
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Stranraer Museum

Stranraer's historic Old Town Hall, built in 1776, is the home of Stranraer Museum. Step inside and discover Wigtownshire's fascinating past. See one of Scotland's oldest ploughs, look at Victorian Wigtownshire in 3D photographs and investigate the collection through our museum trails
 
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Stop 2 - Culzean Castle and Country Park

With a dramatic clifftop setting, Robert Adam architecture, fascinating history & beautiful surrounds, Culzean Castle and Country Park is one of Scotland's best days out. This glorious 260 ha estate was once the playground of David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis. The park is planted with conifers and beech, sculpted around miles of sandy coastline dotted with caves, and finished off with a Swan Pond, an ice house, flamboyant formal gardens and fruit-filled glasshouses.
 
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Stop 3 - Dundonald Castle

Dundonald Castle’s legacy is just beginning. It’s a vibrant ‘living’ monument and holds a special place in the heart of its village. Home to Scots King Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce; it’s where the formidable Stewart dynasty was born. The 14th century Castle, its ancient hilltop and surrounding woodland hold their secrets and those of the powerful Cochrane family, favourites of King Charles I.
 
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Stop 4 - Dumfries House

Dumfries House has a fascinating history with the artefacts inside a testament to its long and chequered past. Re Opened in 2008 following a painstaking restoration the crowning glory is the magnificent collection of some 50 pieces of Chippendale’s work, preserved examples of Britain’s finest ever craftsmanship saved for the nation and visitors to Scotland to enjoy for centuries to come.
 
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EAT

Food in this area

The Coo Shed
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The Kirkton Inn
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Wildings Hotel and Restaurant
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Donnini Apartments
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Dumfries House Lodge
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Newark Farmhouse B and B and CL
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Nithsdale Hotel
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The Signal Box
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Wildings Hotel and Restaurant
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Day 7
OVERVIEW

Day 7 - Patna to Wanlockhead

If you’re a fan of industrial history, you’ll love the Doon Valley Railway Museum, with its nostalgic charm. Discover how the ordinary people of Upper Nithsdale lived and worked in times past at the Sanquhar Museum.

Another of the most dramatic castles in the region is your next stop, Drumlanrig Castle, a magnificent stately home set in spectacular parkland. For your final stop, head to Scotland’s highest village, Wanlockhead, home to the Lead Mining Museum, the only former lead mine open to the public in Scotland.

 
MILES 64
KM 103
STOPS 4
 
Drumlanrig Castle
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Doon Valley Railway

The Doon Valley Railway is a ‘living museum’. Here unique and historically significant industrial steam and diesel locomotives are restored and can be seen working in an authentic setting.
 
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Stop 2 - Sanquhar Tolbooth Museum

Discover Sanquhar’s world famous knitting tradition and the story of the mines and miners of Sanquhar and Kirkconnel. What was it like to be a prisoner in Sanquhar jail? How did the ordinary people of Upper Nithsdale live and work in times past? All this and more can be found in the town’s fine 18th century tolbooth.
 
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Stop 3 - Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate

If you like delving deep into history, soaking up the finest culture, exploring beautiful countryside – or adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking – you’ll love a day at Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate. From activities for kids to salmon fishing, you’ll find a raft of activity awaiting you. The Castle has 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers and from your very first glance you’ll know you’re entering a special place. Special enough, in fact, that the producers of Outlander recently used the Castle for filming their second series! Please check opening times ahead of your visit, for much of the year, castle visits must be booked in advance.
 
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Stop 4 - Wanlockhead Lead Mining Museum

Discover Wanlockhead's 18th century lead mine where you will experience the thrill of going on the only underground mine tour in Scotland. Take a glimpse into the past by visiting the miners’ cottages and see how the miners and their families lived during the periods of 1750, 1850 & 1910. The Miners’ Library is one of three subscription libraries in Scotland set up by the Miners themselves. You can even try your hand at panning for gold!
 
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EAT

Food in this area

A’ The Airts
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Burnside Tearoom and Fuel Station
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Roundhouse at Loch Doon
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STAY

Accommodation in this area

Blackaddie House Hotel
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Self Catering on Drumlanrig Estate
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Dumfries House Lodge
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Hopetoun Arms
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Newark Farmhouse B and B and CL
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Scaurbridge House
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