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10 Historic Sites You Must Visit in Dumfries & Galloway

Published on Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Steeped in rich history, Dumfries & Galloway offers a wide range of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. Whether you are fascinated by neolithic monuments, epic castle ruins or curious to see the burial place of the inventor of the bicycle, this Scottish region can quench your thirst for historical knowledge.

Sands of Luce Holiday Park is a perfect place to begin your historical adventures in Dumfries & Galloway. From luxury static caravans to wild camping on the coastline, we can accommodate your holiday desires. In addition, we have put together a guide of our favourite historical sites to enjoy in the local area. How many can you tick off your list during your stay with us?

1. Glenluce Abbey

Barnsallie Farm, Glenluce, Newton Stewart DG8 0JH

Founded in 1192 by Rolland, the Earl of Galloway, this 13th century Cistercian church is situated in the beautiful valley of the Water of Luce. The site features 16th century chapter house and a museum, as well as an impressive collection of artefacts. Celebs who have visited the site included Robert the Bruce, James IV and Mary Queen of Scots.

glenluce-abbey

2. Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns

6.5m south east of Creetown on the A75

Overlooking Wigtown Bay, is a pair of Neolithic burial cairns – said to be the resting place of a mythical Scottish king called Galdus The chambered tombs stand within 150 m apart, and date back to the 4th millennium BC – almost 6,000 years!

cairn-chambered-cairns

3. Dunskey Castle

Stranraer DG9 9AA

The ruins of Dunskey Castle lay on the striking rocky peninsula of bay, near to the seaside town of Portpatrick. The huge tower house predates the 17th century, and was built for the Adairs of Kinhilt – who also owned the Castle of St John in Stranraer, in about 1510. The sight is worth a visit, even just to witness the stunning views along the coastline.

dunskey-castle-scotland

4. Whithorn Priory, Museum & Visitor Centre

6 Bruce St, Whithorn, Newton Stewart DG8 8PY

Whithorn Priory is recognised as one of the earliest Christian sites in Scotland. It is believed to have been discovered by St Ninian in the 5th or 6th century. To this day, the site is a popular pilgrimage among Christians who travelled to Whithorn to see and touch the relics of St NInian, seeking miraculous cures and salvation. You can also visit the impressive St Ninian’s cave, which is approximately 7m long and 3m high.

whithorn-priory

5. Cardoness Castle

Castle Cottage, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas DG7 2EH

Take a step back in history to Cardoness Castle – built by the McCulloch family during the 15th century. Learn about the interesting lives of the McCullochs while taking a walk round the six-storey building, touch the intricate stone carvings and feast your eyes on the spectacular panoramic views of Fleet Bay of the Solway Firth.

cardoness-castle

6. Wanlockhead Museum of Lead Mining

Visitor Centre Wanlockhead, ML12 6UT

This Scottish attraction is nestled in the village of Wanlockhead, which – at 461 m above sea level – ranks as the highest village in Scotland. The 18th century lead mine, located deep in the hillside, giving visitors the exciting experience of going underground! For those with a keen geological interest, the Visitor Centre has wealth of knowledge on all things rocks, minerals, gold and local relics. If that isn’t enough, you can all try your hand at gold panning – will you find your hidden treasure here?

wanlockhead-museum

7. Sweetheart Abbey

New Abbey Bridge DG2 8BU

As the name suggest, this abbey has a romantic story. Founded by Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway in 1273, the Abbey was dedicated to her husband John Balliol. She was laid next to Balliol’s embalmed heart after her death, leading the monks to give name the abbey in commemoration of this act.

sweetheart-abbey

8. Kirkpatrick Macmillan’s Grave and Smiddy

Kirkpatrick Macmillan was born in 1812 in Dumfriesshire. The son of a blacksmith, he began working alongside his father in 1924. Later, in 1839, Macmillan would go on to invent the first bicycle – making him a local legend! Today, you can visit the Kirkland graveyard where his gravestone lays and the plaque that indicates where his smiddy was based.

870768_db757a9a

9. Drumlanrig Castle & Country Estate

Thornhill DG3 4AQ

A centrepiece of 17th century renaissance architecture in Scotland, Drumlanrig Castle is as beautiful inside as it is out. Boasting 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers, visitors are certainly in for a treat. With 90,000 acres of estate to explore and miles of scenic walks and a number of activities to get involved with, a day out at Drumlanrig Castle is a great experience for all of the family.

drumlanrig-castle-dumfries

10. Burnswark Roman Fort

Burnswark, Lockerbie

Burnswark is home to a native hill fort, said to be the possible site of a siege during the early conquest of Scotland. The huge fort contained a large marching camp, and a training camp on the south side – here, Roman soldiers were supposedly sent to conduct artillery training.

burnswark-fort

To find out more information about how the Sands of Luce Holiday Park can help you to make the most of your experience in the Dumfries & Galloway area, give us a call now on 01776 830456 or drop us an email at info@sandsofluce.com.