Dumfries and Galloway is packed with lovely little towns with loads to see, do and explore. We’ll feature some of our favourites in the coming months and give you some ideas on the best food, drink, shopping, attractions and more in each.
Set in stunning countryside and in a coastal location, Kirkcudbright, pronounced kir-coo-bree, is a vibrant harbour town with a population of about 3,500 people. It has an extensive calendar of events throughout the year and is a great shopping town, with lots of small independent shops to explore.
Maclellan’s Castle is one of the towns most prominent features, located in the centre of the town and acting as the backdrop for many of the events that occur. Entry is ticketed and you can visit the small shop after you’ve explored the castle. It’s also worthwhile popping across the road and taking a look at Greyfriars Church to see the stunning glasswork in the windows and the memorial to Sir Thomas and Lady Grissel MacLellan.
Kirkcudbright has a great little museum, which is well worth exploring and is great for a rainy day. The Stewartry Museum is packed with things to see.
Kirkcudbright is known as ‘The Artists Town’ due to it’s rich art history, with many of the countries finest artists choosing to stay in the town in part due to it’s stunning surroundings and special quality of the light; and there are many Art galleries to explore. The Kirkcudbright Galleries is the largest, and is a gallery of national significance, with a combination of local artists and national exhibitions, as well as events, a visitor shop and a great cafe.
Other galleries worth visiting are The Tolbooth Art Centre, which was once a prison. Broughton House and Garden (pictured)is packed with art and has a beautiful large garden to explore. There are also The Whitehouse Gallery and Harbour Cottage Gallery, as well as a few other galleries if you take a walk around the lovely old High Street.
Calendar of events
No matter what time of year you plan on visiting the town, there is an all year calendar of events which includes something for everyone. The bustling Farmer’s Market is on once a month from March to November, culminating in a Food Festival. There is a Children’s Festival in June, Scottish Nights throughout the summer, the Riding of the Marches and Country Fair in July, and the spectacular Tattoo and Fireworks display at the end of August, once the culmination of the festivities for the year. There are kite festivals, plant fairs, car boot sales, vintage fairs, car rallies, a parade, an Arts and Crafts Trail, a light festival and this is just the beginning! The town’s website lists all the events so that you can plan what’s on during your stay.
Kirkcudbright’s independent shops continue to thrive, very much in contrast to many high streets throughout the UK. Take a look in Brambles Deli to pick up some tasty treats such as olives, a wide selection of cheeses and Mediterranean specialities, as well as freshly baked goodies. With an abundance of gift shops, you’ll be able to treat yourself or bring home some lovely gifts, from all of the following: Rhubarb, Willow, The Antiques Shop, Tolbooth Crafts, Banks and Braes and the PA Pop Up Shop. If you’re looking for great quality jackets and walking gear, W.M. Laws is worth a visit and there are a few good clothing shops in the town too! Kathryn King jewellers is worth a look – a stunning selection of handcrafted jewellery.
Food & Drink
All that shopping will have given you an appetite and there is no lack of great places to eat and drink in the town. For lunch Station House Cookery School & Cafe takes some beating. They’re big on sourcing local ingredients and making as much as possible in house, so the food is of the highest standard and there is a great selection; they do a decent coffee too! The Selkirk Arms is a reliably great evening choice, with the option to eat in their dining room or the more informal, and our our opinion, better atmosphere of the bar. You can choose from burger and fish and chips to more formal dining options and they’re great for local seafood specials.
A great alternative for dinner is the Auld Alliance Restaurant. Focussing on French cuisine with Scottish ingredients and a Scottish twist, this lovely little restaurant serves delicious food with great customer service. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, Polarbites is an award winning chip shop with all the favourites, as well as a range of specials, all beautifully cooked and fresh as can be. You can sit in and BYOB or take your fish and chips and sit at the harbour or on the Moat brae to enjoy.
The area surrounding Kirkcudbright is packed with stunning coastline and beaches, great walks and incredible views, all of which are well worth exploring.