Historic Dumfries & Galloway Guide

Facts about Dumfries & Galloway

Population: 148,000
Famous for: Fabulous castles, The Southern Uplands
Distance from London: 7 – 8 hours
Highest Mountain: Merrick (843m)
Local delicacies: Lowlands whisky, Moffat Toffee
Airports: None (close to Glasgow Prestwick though)

Boasting an impressive range of tourist attractions, the border county of Dumfries & Galloway features a mix of rolling hills, imposing castles and stunning stretches of coastline. This was an area close to the heart of the famous poet Robert Burns, who spent his later years near the town of Dumfries writing poems and folk songs such as The Merry Muses of Caledonia.

This is also the county of love, a title mainly attributed to the small town of Gretna Green where for centuries eloping couples have come to marry. The reason why Gretna is so popular with young couples is a long and complex one, but in essence the marriage laws in Scotland allow couples aged 16 and over to marry without parental consent. Because of this, Gretna Green is one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations along with Las Vegas!


Dumfries and Galloway is also home to the only Anglo-Saxon remains in Scotland, specifically the Ruthwell Cross near Annan. This cross is also famous for having been inscribed with the earliest known example of English poetry.

In terms of castles, this region boasts some truly fabulous examples. For starters there is Orchardton Tower near Castle Douglas, the only cylindrical tower house in Scotland. Just a few miles down the road is the 14th century Threave Castle, a magnificent fortification which is surprisingly well intact considering that it survived a two month siege in 1455!

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Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns

By Ben Johnson

Robert Burns is the best loved Scottish poet, admired not only for his verse and great love-songs, but also for his character, his high spirits, 'kirk-defying', hard drinking and womanising!

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