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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Secrets of Southern Scotland

Steer clear of the crowds and enjoy fabulous accommodation in Southern Scotland.

Spend a little time in southern Scotland and you’ll soon discover eye-popping scenery, towns and villages oozing charm, imposing castles and abbeys steeped in history, majestic wildlife, vast, empty beaches, some of the country’s best driving routes and a number of superb accommodation options to which we’ll happily introduce you so you can fully appreciate your time in the Borders.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Mar - Nov

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Day One – Break for the Border

Make a start on your southern sojourn by arriving at your first hotel, by the attractive Border town of Peebles.

Your hotel in Peebles

Enjoy superb service and hospitality at this family owned 19th-century former baronial castle. With just 12 rooms you’ll feel a touch of exclusivity, while the acclaimed restaurant’s ever-changing menu of locally sourced produce served in impressive surroundings pulls off the trick of feeling simultaneously ‘fine-dining’ and wonderfully relaxed.

Day Two – Out and about in The Borders

There’s so much to see in this part of Scotland, we think you’ll plan a return visit even before you leave. The Tweed Valley features, for example, a wealth of historic houses, their pasts rich in often turbulent stories – Traquair House with its ancient royal connections, and Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford to name but two. The pretty Border towns of Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick and Selkirk are each awash with gardens, ruined abbeys, quirky shopping, fine lunch- and dinner-spots and atmospheres all their own. You might even like to venture a little further to the East Coast, where beautiful beaches and coastal towns and villages offer endless sources of activity and interest.

Day Three – Wend your way to Galloway

Take the long way round, along one of the most picturesque routes in Scotland, perhaps stopping for lunch at Moffat or Thornhill – we’ll provide recommendations for some of our favourites – or maybe for a look around Drumlanrig Castle, eventually arriving at your second stop, in one of southern Scotland’s most charming country house hotels.

Your hotel in Closeburn

A traditional country house overlooking beautiful gardens which shelter a tucked-away hot tub for residents’ use. Public areas extend to lounge, bar and dining room but nothing is on a grand scale and the relaxed approach of owners Adam and Jan and their small team lend an informal feel. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are made particularly welcome. Rooms are simply and stylishly appointed, while the cosy bar is an inviting place to spend a while with a book and a dram from the extensive collection of malts on offer.

Day Four – Getting to know Galloway

Several of the county’s most popular attractions are within very easy reach, including Drumlanrig Castle. Plentiful local walks range from countryside strolls to more ambitious hikes, perhaps in search of imposing Andrew Goldsworthy sculptures atop the hills.  The nearby charming town of Thornhill is a diverting place in which to spend an afternoon, and also contains one or two alternative dining options. Dumfries is around 20 minutes’ drive away, featuring the recently-opened Moat Brae centre celebrating J.M. Barrie’s local connections- trust us, adults will be just as fascinated as youngsters!

Day Five – Kirkcudbright calling!

Make your way to the archetypal Galloway town of Kirkcudbright (pron: Kir-COO-bree). Like moths to a flame, artists have for generations flocked to Kirkcudbright – hence its nickname ‘the Artists’ Town’ – attracted by its sheltered situation in the estuary of the River Dee on the north Solway shore and its year-round mild (well, milder) climate.

Your hotel in Kirkcudbright

Opened in summer 2018 after complete refurbishment, your hotel in the lively ‘artists’ town’ of Kirkcudbright is a delightful recent discovery. This Georgian structure on the High Street stands proudly, its classically designed façade seemingly little-changed save for a bright new lick of paint to the stone and window-frames. Inside, you’ll find a pleasing mix of traditional and up-to-date, sympathetically and skilfully assembled by the enthusiastic family owners. Part café, part bar/restaurant and hotel, there a distinct purr about the public spaces – including the large outdoor area – as locals and visitors enjoy a coffee and light lunch, or dinner and a glass of something a little stronger. Upstairs, just eight simply appointed rooms feature all you need for a comfortable stay, while all of Kirkcudbright’s charms are right on the doorstep

Day Six – Kirkcudbright, your new favourite town

There’s something of the past about Kirkcudbright, its streets filled with independent shops while featuring a pleasing lack of ‘chains’. Enjoy an easy stroll around its smart and beautifully kept streets and marina, stop for coffee or lunch at one of any number of great spots, take in the fascinating Stewartry museum, Broughton House and Maclellan’s Castle and wonder why more UK towns have not managed to retain their character the way Kirkcudbright proudly has.

Day Seven – Wigtown, the Isle of Whithorn and one of Scotland’s most acclaimed hotels

After breakfast, you’ll be making your way along the coast towards Wigtown, ‘Scotland’s National Book Town,’ with its charming market square and host of quirky shops, cafes and inns, as well as the UK’s largest local nature reserve at Wigtown Bay. Later, take the drive amidst unique landscape through Whithorn to the Isle of Whithorn – actually a tiny peninsula – where a superb harbourside inn awaits to serve you catch-of-the-day seafood and a glass of its own micro-brewed beer. After lunch, you’ll drive along the superb coastal route – one of southern Scotland’s best – and onto the hammerhead peninsula of the Rhins of Galloway.

Your hotel on the Rhins of Galloway

Ready for indulgent luxury? It’s right here at one of the country’s most acclaimed hotels. With just 10 rooms, a celebrated restaurant, extensive grounds including a private forest and its own secluded beach, it’s all too-easy to slip into an entirely different pace of life. None other than Winston Churchill stayed here on several occasions, and here was the scene of a secret meeting between him and President Eisenhower during WW2.

You’ll enjoy dinner here in the evening, then you might want to relax on the lawn or take a stroll on the private beach as the sea crashes on the nearby rocks, savouring every moment.

Day Eight – Return home

After a sumptuous breakfast, say a fond farewell to Galloway and make your way home.


This holiday starts in The Borders before journeying south to Dumfries & Galloway.


£865 per person for March & November, and £945 per person for April, September & October, and £975 per person for May, June, July & August.

Prices based on two people sharing a room for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis (a five course tasting menu dinner is also included on your final night).

A wee touch of luxury

Why not upgrade to a nights’ stay in the luxurious Glenapp Castle for your final night? One of southern Scotland’s best-kept secrets, hidden away along a winding private approach, nestled in its own secluded forest, Glenapp Castle exudes chocolate box-charm and Scottish baronial grandeur. With just 17 inviting rooms and service of outstanding quality, you’re made to feel special from the moment you arrive, and dining here is a rare treat, too, with the gourmet menu of locally sourced produce served in the castle’s elegant dining room, affording breath-taking views of Ailsa Craig and the Kintyre peninsula. Please ask us for more details.

Various hotel and room upgrades are available on this holiday as well as various excursions including a foraging and cookery demo, and Dark Skies walk – ask us for a quotation. This combination can easily be tailor-made to suit.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.


Check availability for Secrets of Southern Scotland

This holiday can be arranged from March until November.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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