Mini guide to Dumfries
Situated on the wide banks of the River Nith, a short distance inland from the
Solway Firth, Dumfries is by far the largest town in southwest Scotland. Characterized
by its red sandstone buildings, the town is famous for its association with Robbie
Burns, one of Scotland's literary icons. It's also a great base for exploring
the Solway coast and Southern Uplands.
Most visitors to Dumfries are on the trail of Robbie Burns (1759 - 1796), and
the town is liberally sprinkled with sites having historical links to the famed
gentleman. On High Street is the Burns Statue, dating from the Victorian era,
while nearby is the eclectic Midsteeple building, where Burns' body lay in state
before burial. The Globe Inn was Burns' favourite pub, while Burns' House and
the Robert Burns Centre feature memorabilia and displays devoted to the poet.
Burns was originally buried in a simple grave at St Michael's Church, but was
later moved to a special Mausoleum nearby.
There are a number of other interesting attractions around the town. Down on
the shallow and fast-running Nith is the pedestrian-only Devorgilla Bridge,
built in 1431 and one of the oldest bridges in Scotland. Attached to its southwest
end is the town's oldest house, built in 1660, now housing the tiny Old Bridge
House Museum. For great views across the town, head up to the Dumfries Museum
which is housed partly in an 18th century windmill and features a camera obscura
on its top floor.
Dumfries abounds in guest houses and bed-and-breakfasts, and there are a couple
of decent hotels. There is a wide variety of dining options as well, with some
quality restaurants, cafés and bistros spread around the town. To wind
up the evening, try one of the many bars such as the Hole in the Wa' pub or
the smoky, oak-panelled Globe Inn, both old haunts of Burns.
The southwest corner of Scotland, now known as Dumfries and Galloway, is a
region set apart from the rest of Scotland and features stately homes, deserted
hills and ruined abbeys. The long, indented coastline of sheltered sandy coves
that makes up the Solway coast has been touted as the 'Scottish Riviera,' and
offers dramatic cliffs interspersed with tiny fishing villages. West of Dumfries
is charming Kirkcudbright, once a bustling port thronged with sailing ships,
later an artists' retreat, and now a tranquil, well-preserved little 18th century
town. Contrasting with the essentially gentle landscape of the Solway coast,
is the brooding presence of the Galloway Hills to the north, their beautiful
moors, mountains, lakes and rivers centred on the 150,000-acre Galloway Forest
Park, with peaks reaching to over 2000 feet and a seriously underused network
of hiking and mountain-biking trails.
Dumfries is easily accessible from Cumbria via the M6, then A74, then A75 from
M24 Junction 22. Dumfries train station is 5 minutes walk east of the town centre
and trains run frequently to Glasgow and northern England. The bus terminal
is at Whitesands beside the River Nith, and there are regular local and long
distance services. The nearest airport is Carlisle.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Friars Carse Country House Hotel
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking