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About South West Scotland

South West Scotland is a special mixture of coast and mountains. The main drivers of our economy are tourism, farming and forestry. South West Scotland has a wonderfully mild climate so that we are famed for our gardens, particularly in the west of the region.

In South West Scotland we like to have fun! And why not? We want you to feel good about, well, everything. So, whether it is high art or walking, food or jazz. Books or kids or country and western. Poetry or sailing or singing or Robert Burns. Biking, running or rallying. Mining or weaving or gardening or cycling. Tree-felling or baking or growing or dancing. Star-gazing or bird watching … there’s always something fun to do for everyone of any age.

Creativity is everywhere in South West Scotland. It’s in the air, on hilltops, in valleys, by lochs and deep in the Galloway Forest Park. Experience the wonder of the starry night sky; stride into the future alongside inspiring environmental art. Indulge your senses with flavourful food, drink and songs of love. Uncover the secrets of so many small towns.  Share the vision of great artists, inventors, writers and philosophers. Contemplate a past where man sought to track the planets and understand the very nature of space and time.

Landscape

Dramatic landscapes have inspired a wealth of artistic talent. Visit South West Scotland features several pieces of outdoor / environmental art including Andy Goldsworthy’s Striding Arches at Cairnhead, Matt Baker’s stone faces in the Galloway Forest, Hideo Furuto’s sculptures in Creetown and other artworks on The Raiders Road, and at the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. Drumlanrig Castle near Thornhill has one of the most prestigious collections of art in the UK, in Port William you will see Andrew Brown’s Man on the Beach looking out over Luce Bay and don’t forget to visit Kirkcudbright – the region’s Artists’ Town, with numerous studios and galleries.

Drumlarig Castle and Estate Thornhill
Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill.

Authors have been inspired by the land, sea and sky to create memorable literature; JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, was conceived in Dumfries at Moat Brae, Dorothy L Sayers set her famous crime novel ‘Five Red Herrings’ in Kirkcudbright and you can visit Hugh McDiarmid’s hometown of Langholm. S. R. Crockett used South West Scotland as location in his books. Wigtown is Scotland’s Book Town, featuring bookshops galore, events and festivals. Robert Burns has a special place in Dumfries history; drink at his favourite watering hole and visit his mausoleum.

Marvel at the uniquely triangular Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries; see Dunskey Castle defy gravity as it perches over the Irish Sea at Portpatrick; take a pilgrimage to Whithorn, the shrine of Saint Ninian who brought Christianity to Scotland.

Coast

Where earth meets sea is the birth of inspiration. Scotland’s southernmost point reaches out into the great night sky with its lighthouse alerting nocturnal voyagers of rocky cliffs. The light, like a star, sweeps inland; its beam illuminates the massive Mull o’ Galloway, inhabited by fishing ports, gardens and seabirds. Other points along this southern coast tell their own story of a landscape washed by the ebb and flow of the Solway Firth. The Isle of Whitorn, one of Scotland’s mildest ports and landing stage for Christian monks as they spread Christianity northward; Gatehouse of Fleet and Carrick, one of the most serenely beautiful spots anywhere in Britain and inspiration to Kirkcudbright artists who worked from the seaside huts dotted along the shore; Sandyhills, with its expansive beaches that capture the heat of the sun in summer and the light of the moon at night.

Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
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