South West Scotland Tourist Information

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle

From Kilmarnock in the North, to the South West tip on the island-like Stranraer and Drummore promontory, and inland along the Solway Firth to the likes of Gretna, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart, South West Scotland also stretches up the A74(M) through Lockerbie and Moffat.

Portpatrick harbour front buildings – near Stranraer

Portpatrick harbour front buildings – near Stranraer

What’s South West Scotland like?

This is a picturesque and fertile area with weather gifted by the gulf stream, and is home to Robert Burns country. The Western coastline is peppered with beautiful sandy bays (with views across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man), and seaside towns and villages like Portpatrick, while the inland uplands of the Carrick countryside inspire walkers to just keep on going…

Robert Burns

Robert Burns, the “Ploughman Poet” and the national poet of Scotland, was born in Alloway, and is undoubtedly one of Ayrshire’s most famous sons. In addition to the Burns Museums and monument near to his birthplace in Alloway, there are others within Scotland, notably in Kay Park, Kilmarnock, the location of the Burns Monument Centre. See also our page

Gardens and the outdoors

Lush plantings and wild greenery abound because of the gulf stream’s warming influence on the weather, so the visitor might want to take advantage of the visitor-friendly gardens in this area. Walled gardens, garden centres and nurseries are certainly wonderful, as are the wild gardens, framed by granite mountains. And if you love walking, wildlife, cycling, or horse-riding, this is a wonderful base for an active holiday, with golfers being equally well catered for. Ayrshire is renowned as one of the best golfing districts in Scotland – with three Open Championship courses to its credit, plus many other smaller ones along the coastline.

Described as the highlands of the lowlands, the Galloway Forest Park is Britain’s largest and covers 300 square miles over coastal and mountainous regions – in fact it covers a very large portion of the South West. Much-loved by spotters of wildlife, birds such as barn owls, crossbills, buzzards, golden eagles and raptors have all been regularly spotted.

Castle Kennedy

Castle Kennedy

Just some of the many castles

Castle Kennedy village, near Stranraer, is home to a ruined castle. In fact, there are two castles in the village but only Castle Kennedy with its 30 hectares of terraced gardens allows visitors.

Culzean Castle, on the other hand, is no ruin and is in fact one of the finest properties accessible to visitors in Scotland. Situated on the mainland with views to the Isle of Arran, it is a spectacular building with plenty to see indoors and outdoors, and even has a deer park!

How to get there

The inner South West area (around Lockerbie, Moffat and Dumfries), is extremely accessible, being very close to the main motorway network – the A74(M) bringing visitors from the M6 at Carlisle. Further West, towards to coast, the whole peninsula is criss-crossed with a network of major A roads – the A77 on the West coast, linking with the M77 to Glasgow in the North, and the A75 along the South coast towards Carlisle.

Where to stay

We are pleased to offer visitors to this picturesque and accessible, tourist-friendly area, a wonderful variety of self-catering holiday cottages, hotels and guest houses. We are also able to offer some apartments, caravan/holiday park facilities and also rooms within pubs and inns. Do take a look at our varied lists below and why not stay with us while you’re walking the Southern Upland Way?