Drive through delightful coastal scenery along the A710 Dumfries road to arrive at New Abbey. Attractions here include the romantic ruins of Sweetheart Abbey, built by Cistercian monks in 1273 and the working New Abbey Corn Mill. There is also a village shop, tea shop and the Abbey Arms pub.
This visit is a delight for the keen gardener. The 64 acre garden was recently voted by ' Independent' readers as No 2. garden in the UK and includes a walled garden, sculpture garden and a secret garden to included just a few. A visitor centre, shop and restaurant completes the experience.
Threave House, within the gardens, is open to visitors but please check opening hours.
13 miles (25 minutes drive)
Best visited on a seperate day from the gardens.
This is quite a unique experience. From Threave Estate car park follow the waymarked route to Threave Castle to arrive at the river bank. Here ring the bell to summon the ferry boat which will ferry you across to the island castle. Ospreys can be viewed on a tree nesting platform ( bring your binoculars). Enjoy these lovely ruins before catching the boat back.
There are many signposted walks around the estate visiting 5 bird hides including 2 overlooking the River Dee. Keep an eye out for roe deer and redstarts.
Known as the 'Food Town' it has many small shops (often food), some small gallerys, restaurants and pubs. Here you will find a small swimming pool and a tourist information centre. At the end of the town is the beautiful Carlingwark Loch. In the summer hire a pedal boat to explore. There is a lovely walk around the loch - see our detailed route in the cottage.
The 'Artist's Town' because of many past and present artists. Visit the galleries and exhibitions and be inspired. Visit Broughton House and Garden right in the heart of the town, it is the former home of artist E A Hornall (one of the Glasgow Boys), packed with paintings and a large collection of work br Robert Burns.
Kirkcudbright is still a small working fishing port, landing large quantities of scallops - take some home from the harbourside fish shop.
Return by the slightly longer but very scenic route via the A711 to Dalbeattie, passing Dundrennan Abbey and the pretty Auchencairn village.
Drive around Loch Ken and nearby forest and spot the distinctive fork tailed red kites. There is a feeding station near Laurieston where large numbers assemble at feeding time 2pm (but check before setting out), a visitor centre at Barstobrick and several good view point around the route.