7 Days exploring History & Heritage on the SWC300
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 - 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.
Stop 1 - Gilnockie Tower
Stop 2 - Annan Museum
Stop 3 - Annandale Distillery and Visitor Centre
Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Caerlaverock Castle
The Eskdale Hotel
The Globe Inn
The Waterside Rooms
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.
Stop 1 - Robert Burns House
Stop 2 - Dumfries Museum
Stop 3 - Historic Scotland- New Abbey Corn Mill
Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Sweetheart Abbey
Abbey Cottage Tearoom
Easterbrook Bistro, Bar & Spa
Grovewood House Bed and Breakfast
The Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club
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.
Stop 1 - John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum And Visitor Centre
Stop 2 - Historic Scotland- Threave Castle
Stop 3 - Historic Scotland - Dundrennan Abbey
Stop 4 - Broughton House and Garden
Auchencairn Store and Tearoom
The King’s Arms Hotel
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.
Stop 1 - Historic Scotland- MacLellan's Castle
Stop 2 - The Stewartry Museum
Stop 3 - Historic Scotland- Cardoness Castle
Stop 4 - The Mill on the Fleet
The Crafty Crow
The Mill on the Fleet
Cally Palace Hotel
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.
Stop 1 - Creetown Gem Rock Museum
Stop 2 - Robert the Bruce, father of a nation
Stop 3 - Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre & Cafe
Stop 4 - Historic Scotland- Glenluce Abbey
Craiglemine Cottage B and B
Up-Yonder Holiday Cottage
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.
Stop 1 - Stranraer Museum
Stop 2 - Culzean Castle and Country Park
Stop 3 - Dundonald Castle
Stop 4 - Dumfries House
Henry’s Bay House Restaurant, Stranraer
The Coo Shed
Wildings Hotel and Restaurant
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.