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Steer clear of the crowds and enjoy fabulous views, adventures and accommodation in Southern Scotland.
Spend a little time in south-west Scotland and you’ll soon discover eye-popping scenery, towns and villages oozing charm, imposing castles and abbeys steeped in history, majestic wildlife, and vast, empty beaches. The newly created South West Coastal 300 represents some of the country’s best driving routes and with a number of superb accommodation options to which we’ll happily introduce you, you can fully appreciate your time in this gently thrilling corner of the country.
Make your way to the archetypal Galloway town of Kirkcudbright (pronounced: 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. Wherever you’re travelling from, we’ll create a personal, tailor made route to get you here.
Opened in summer 2018 after complete refurbishment, your hotel 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.
Perhaps better than anywhere at illustrating the contrasts between here and other Scotland holiday destinations, the Galloway coast today awaits discovery. Amidst some 200 miles of ever changing scenery you’ll find sandy bays, intimidating sea cliffs, thick woodland and glowing seaside villages, often without another soul in sight. Today, you’ll enjoy a half day tour with a friendly local guide, bringing the area to life, uncovering hidden charms, history and wildlife.
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.
Venture a little further afield for more surprising discoveries, such as the homage to Peter Pan and J. M. Barrie at Moat Brae in Dumfries – fascinating for kids of all ages – and the uniquely-shaped fairy-tale castle at Caerlaverock. We’ll provide plenty of appealing suggestions.
After breakfast, you’ll be making your way along the coast towards Wigtown, ‘Scotland’s National Book Town’, with its bright 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 harbour-side 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 Rhinns 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 overnight on several occasions, and here was the scene of a secret meeting between him and President Eisenhower (who spent the night on a warship at anchor nearby) 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.
Close by your hotel you’ll find the cute harbour town of Portpatrick as well as more gardens per square mile than virtually anywhere in the UK, exotic and unusual species brought on by the milder climate. At the Mull of Galloway, just 45 minutes away, you’re at the Scottish mainland’s southernmost point and home to one of the loveliest lighthouses anywhere in the UK. But, should you elect to spend the day lounging at your hotel, strolling its private beach and discovering its grounds, there’s not a court in the land would convict you of any wrongdoing.
A great day of coastal driving today, the rolling Irish sea giving way to the vast Firth of Clyde as you head on to your final base. Coastal villages dot the route, magical Ailsa Craig appearing to hover between the coast and the horizon, and as you reach Turnberry, turn off the main route to stick to the coast. Soon you’ll be bending your senses on the world famous ‘Electric Brae,’ and perhaps taking time to explore clifftop Culzean Castle and Gardens, before rounding Ayr on your way to Troon.
Peeking somewhat fortress like from behind its perimeter, your accommodation in Troon is an impressive mansion style country house hotel set in sumptuous, colourful gardens. Once private home to the originators of a world famous whisky, the house has been welcoming guests for some 30 years, its family owners delivering a relaxed environment and attentive service, cosseting accommodation and refined dining.
Just 30 minutes from Troon, you’ll find Dumfries House, one of Scotland’s finest stately homes, its interiors and gardens waiting to be discovered on a small, group guided tour in the company of an engaging host.
Later, stroll the perimeter of Troon’s world famous links golf course and the town’s endless sandy beach and endearing streets, a fish and chips lunch by the harbour, perhaps.
After a hearty breakfast, say farewell to Troon. We’ll make sure you find your way home via the most scenic route, suggesting one or two places to explore along the way if you wish.
This holiday explores the southwest of Scotland, covering Dumfries & Galloway, and the Ayrshire coast.
£1365 per person for March & November, £1475 per person for April & October, and £1575 per person for May to September.
Prices based on two people sharing a room for five nights on a bed & breakfast basis and two nights dinner, bed & breakfast.
Also included is a private half-day guided tour of the Galloway Coast, and a guided tour of Dumfries House as part of a small group.
Car rental is not included, but can be arranged for a range of vehicles – do just let us know if we can help.
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.
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This holiday can be arranged from March until November.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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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.
We loved our week in the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. It is a very apt holiday name as we would never have thought of doing this trip without you!Anthea, Oxfordshire, England
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