One of the complaints we often hear about rural Scotland is that everything is closed in the winter. In Dumfries and Galloway, that’s simply not the case. No matter what time of year you visit, there’s plenty to see and do no matter what you interests.
We’ve put together a range of different activities which should keep you busy if you visit us, no matter what time of year. The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory sits on a hilltop on the edge of the Galloway Dark Sky Park and is open to the public throughout the year. The observatory aims to inspire people of all ages and runs a range of events to make the most of the spectacular night sky, as well as regular events around the moon and meteor showers. Please book any of these events to avoid disappointment.
Station House Cookery School is open all year as a cafe, but also runs a great range of cookery demos and courses all year round. They have courses from a few hours to a few days and they cover a huge range of topics, from mastering specific skills like bread making and pasta making, to cooking certain cuisines such as Asian, Indian and Chinese cookery. They also have courses tailored to kids and many of the classes welcome kids for free. Highly recommended.
Dumfries and Galloway has an abundance of wildlife to see and one of the highlights are the Red Kites you can see in certain parts of the area. The Red Kite Feeding Station at Bellymack Hill Farm is the place to be to see these brilliant birds up close. The feeding station truly is open all year – you can go along on Christmas Day or New Years Day to see the birds being fed. Feeding is at 2pm during winter hours and admission is £5 for adults (take cash) and under 16’s are free. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead.
For those looking to find out more about the area, Solway Tours hold the key. Whether it’s ancestral tours of the area, Outlander tours, the areas links to the World Wars, Burns, Robert the Bruce, or just the highlights of the areas attraction – both man made and natural, SolwayTours are the experts. They have heaps of knowledge of the area and it’s highlights and can create bespoke tours to suit you and what you want to see. Whether there’s a large group of you staying at Craigbittern, or two of you at Rosewall, they can create the perfect tour for you.
If you’re in need of refreshment, Crafty Distillery is the place to be. Home of the fabulous Hills & Harbour Gin, Crafty Distillery have a cafe and shop and offer daily tours of the distillery throughout the winter months. They say it better themselves: ‘We’re from Scotland. The country that invented almost bloody everything. That’s why our logo is a little bolt of inspiration. Our mission is to create tasty honest craft spirits for everyone who likes a tipple. We make our very own spirit from local grain to add to our gin. Hardly anyone does this as it takes ages and costs more. So why do we bother? More taste. More honest. More Crafty.’
Our last suggestion is the stunning Sweetheart Abbey, which is the backdrop to our own Rosewall Cottage. Sweetheart Abbey was built in 1273 as a shrine to love. Named Dulce Cor – Latin for Sweet Heart, the Abbey was built by Lady Devorgilla of Galloway as a shrine to her late husband Lord John Balliol. She is said to have had his heart embalmed and to have carried it with her everywhere. When she died in 1289, she was laid to rest in front of the high altar in the Abbey, clutching her husbands heart to her own. Today the spectacular Abbey is a popular tourist attraction and is open throughout the winter from 10am to 4pm, except Thursdays and Fridays.
In addition to these great attractions, many other local businesses stay open throughout the year, making this area a great plae to visit any time of year. There are also many walks, beaches, gardens, drives and a plethora of other natural offerings in the area all year round. Whatever time of year you choose to stay with us, there really is so much to see in D and G!