Visitor Attractions in Dumfries and Galloway
Guests staying at on of the three Kirkennan Estate's Holiday Cottages will enjoy our central location in Dumfries and Galloway. You will be well placed to visit a number of beautiful beaches on the Solway Coast, historic sites such as castles, prehistoric ruins or stately homes, beautiful gardens that take advantage of the gulf stream influenced mild climate, characterful local towns and villages and nature reserves. There are also many local pubs and places to eat as well as a wealth of local hikes, walks and places to cycle. For the more active three of the 7-Stanes mountain bike routes are within easy reach. Fishing, golf and boating are also available locally. There are a range of art galleries and studios open to the public along with numerous other attractions.
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Bird and Wildlife Watching
Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages are an ideal holiday location for nature lovers. The estate itself has woodland, garden, field and tidal river habitats and if you are lucky and patient otters, deer, red squirrels, bats and kingfishers can be spotted without leaving the site. Goldeneye, wigeon, teal, goosander, shelduck, lapwing, curlew, redshank, and greenshank can also be seen on or near the river.
Dumfries and Galloway is a beautiful and varied area rich in birdlife. Here you can find mountains, moors, lochs, woodlands, coastal, river and farmland habitats. Two miles away are the shores of the inner Solway Firth, one of the most important winter estuaries for birds in Britain, holding up to 40,000 wildfowl and 83,000 waders.
Beaches and Coast
The part of Dumfries and Galloway around Kirkennan is known for its beautiful coastline and beaches. Some beaches close to the holiday cottages include:
Red Haven is one of our favourite beaches. It is approximately 4 miles away and can be reached by a short walk from the carpark (20 minutes approx.) It is a good site for a picnic.
Whitehorse Bay (2.5 miles to parking then 45 min walk) is a beautiful and secluded sandy bay. Walking further will take you to another sandy bay facing the Solent. Both are normally deserted.
Rockcliffe (9 miles) is a small village with its own sandy bay.
Portling (just over 9 miles) has nice cliffs and pools and lots of sand – usually deserted.
Sandyhills (9.3 miles) is a wide sandy beach. There is plenty of parking near the beach for which there is a charge.
Dumfries and Galloway is rich in historic sites and monuments. Easy to reach on a day trip from Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages include:
Burns House, Dumfries with information about Scotland's national bard.
Cairn Holy a prehistoric burial site in an atmospheric location with great views.
Caerlaverock Castle a well preserved medieval triangular castle.
Dundrennen Abbey a ruined 12th century home of Cistercian monks.
Orchadton Tower, Scotland’s only circular tower house. Always open with free entry.
Sweetheart Abbey a romantic 13th century ruined Abbey
Threave Castle a14th century tower of Archibald the Grim, sited on an island in the river Dee and reached by boat.
Dumfries and Galloway lies within the gulf stream and this, plus the plethora of historic houses have led to some great gardens and nurseries that are worth a visit. Interesting ones include:
Broughton House and Garden in Kirkcudbright. House and garden of the painter E A Hornell, one of the Glasgow boys. The garden was influenced by his visit to Japan.
Cally Gardens: a walled garden that operates mainly as a plant nursery with many rare specimens. [Check status before visiting as it is currently for sale]
Elizabeth McGregor Cottage: Garden Plants
Threave Estate and Gardens: In 2013 Threave was voted second in The Independent's '10 Best Gardens to Visit in the UK'. One day we aspire to have Kirkennan’s walled garden looking like Threave’s – but they have rather more people working on it so it may be a while!
Castle Douglas: Scotland’s Food Town has an active high street with many locally owned shops. It also has a micro-brewery Sulwaths where you can sample their produce and take a tour.
Dumfries: a historic market town on the River Nith, known for its connection with Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet.
Kippford: A pretty coastal village on the other side of the River Urr. Kippford is at the mouth of the river Urr and has a marina, a pub, an ice cream/gift shop and a scenic walk to Rockcliffe.
Kirkcudbright: A scenic town with a castle, harbour and artistic heritage
Wigtown: Scotland’s book town with many second hand book shops hosts a literary festival at the end of September/beginning of October each year.
Dumfries and Galloway is famous for its wildlife. Some places to visit include:
Caerlaverock Wetland Centre: A 1,400 acre wild reserve of the Wildlife & Wetlands Trust situated on the north Solway Coast.
Galloway Red Kite Trail and feeding station where kites are fed daily at 2pm.
Ken Dee Marshes: A RSPB wetland and woodland reserve with great views across the River Dee and Loch Ken.
Mereshead: An extensive RSPB wetland and saltmarsh area and haven for breeding waders, wintering waterfowl and year-round bird and wildlife-watching.
Threave Estate is a good place to see ospreys and bats.
Pubs and Places to Eat
Dumfries & Galloway is known for producing fine food, indeed the nearby town of Castle Douglas is known as Scotland's food town. Whether you are looking for an intimate meal for two, a hearty pub lunch, afternoon tea or just feel like having a takeaway, there's plenty of choice. Alternatively if you want to use our well equipped kitchens you can experiment with trying a range of local produce.
We are grateful to our guests for helping to compile a list of their local favourites easily accessible from Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages.
With wonderful wildlife walks, charming coastal paths, short strolls and strenuous hill climbs, the landscape around Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages is a Mecca for those that enjoy outdoor pursuits.
Of course in addition to walking, a plethora of other outdoor activities are also available including golf, cycling, fishing, boating and much much more.
Art Galleries & Studios
Situated close to the Artists town of Kirkcudbright, visitors to the Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages are ideally placed to visit the many art galleries and artists studios nearby.
It is said that originally, artists were drawn to the area due to the quality of light. Today artworks range from traditional and contemporary paintings to pottery, sculpture and photography.
In addition to the attractions listed, there are also a range of other themed visitor centres in the local area of Dumfries and Galloway.
Bainloch Deer Park: 'It is well worth the fee to be driven in a 4x4 and have the deer come and feed from your hand. It was a fantastic experience' (July 15)
Cream o' Galloway: fantastic ice-cream with a visitor centre geared to young children.
Dalbeattie Museum: small museum run by volunteers in Dalbeattie.
Dino Park: recommended by visitors to Kirkennan for 'anyone with little ones'.
John Paul Jones Museum
Local Attractions which are wheelchair accessible
For your guidance and with the help of Bronwen and Dave at Disabled Holiday Information we have compiled a list of wheelchair accessible attractions in Dumfries and Galloway within an hour or so drive from Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages. Don't forget that much of Kirkennan's own gardens are accessible and you can borrow our mobility scooter to enjoy them! As commented by a visitor in March 2016 'For anyone who falls into the category of having limited mobility and owning a dog, it is difficult to imagine they could find anywhere better suited'.
All on one level. Living room with open fire. Kitchen. Wheelchair-accessible shower room.
Living room with open fire. Dining room. Kitchen. 4 bedrooms: 1 double, 1 twin (both downstairs), 2 singles.
Living room with wood burning stove. Dining room. Kitchen. 2 bedrooms. Bathroom. Shower room with toilet.