Guide to South Scotland

Get lost in South Scotland’s spectacular scenery and wonderful landscapes. From Dramatic landscapes and sparkling lochs to vibrant cities there is wealth of cultural wonders waiting to be uncovered.

A 7 day ITINERARY for South Scotland

There are so many things to experience on a trip to South Scotland that seven days may not be enough, however we have compiled the best of the best to ensure you make the most of your holiday.

Get wild in Galloway Forest Park

This vast forest sprawls for 300 square miles, so there is definitely plenty here for an all-round family day out! For the adrenaline-seekers, head to Kirroughtree visitor centre and try out the 7stanes mountain bike trails. There are gentle routes for families and more challenging options for the dare devils! There is also a long distance cycle route which links Kirroughtee with the other two forest park visitor centres.

For a more relaxing afternoon, keen-anglers can choose from 10 lochs which offer permits for fishing. After that, make the most of the different trails which wind their way through the forest paths and if you’re still there in the evening you’ll be able to spot stars in the night sky. Galloway Forest Park is the UK’s first Dark Sky Park.

A day of adventures and St Mary’s loch

The great thing about holidaying in Scotland is that there are so many opportunities to make the most of the great outdoors. St Mary’s loch is a family-friendly sailing club where you can all enjoy life on the water. With regular events, training groups, family fun days and an annual regatta, you’ll be sure to find something for your visit. That’s not all St Mary’s loch offers though, through St Mary’s Loch angling club you can soak up the quieter side of the surroundings, for complete solitude you can hire a boat to take out on the loch too. If you’ve had lots of fun on the lake or you’ve admired the views enough, it’s time to get a bit more active - it’s a great spot for cycling and walking too!

Kelso and Floors Castles

Start your day with a gentle stroll around the charming market town of Kelso, stopping for a coffee and a croissant in the family-run Seasons café.

When you’re ready for the day, stop by the majestic ruins of Kelso Abbey which dates back to 1128. After a relaxed morning exploring Kelso, you’ll be ready for a bit of fun and action at Floors Castle, the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. Plenty of adventures and discoveries await visitors at the castle and throughout the grounds. A combination of well-kept formal gardens, wild and wonderful woodland, river walks and adventure play grounds will be sure to keep you all busy for hours.

At lunch time, the onsite Terrace Café and Courtyard Café serve a delicious range of light lunches, cakes and hot and cold drinks to keep you well-fuelled.

Visit the Mull of Galloway

The most southerly point of Scotland! The Rhins of Galloway is an unspoilt peninsula which is a guaranteed escape from the hustle and bustle of South Scotland’s towns. Climb the 115 steps of the Mull of Galloway lighthouse and soak up the panoramic views, visit the engine room exhibition, which is housed in the former fuel store, workshop and engine room.

The RSPB nature reserve around the lighthouse will offer sightings of a fantastic range of species for keen birdwatchers and a circular walk around the headland may allow you to set eyes on dolphins and porpoises. Stop by the glass-fronted Gallie Craig Coffee House to enjoy the fantastic views over a cream tea.

Finally, continue your explorations into one of the six gardens on the headland which thrive in the mild climate here.

Exploring Glasgow

Start your day with a trip to Glasgow’s Riverside Museum for an insight into daily Glasgow life in the early to mid-20th century. It’s a great experience for kids too, with digital tours and exciting interactive learning opportunities.

Behind the museum you’ll find the Tall Ship Glenlee which launched in 1896. Not far from the museum is Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum which is free to visit, so definitely worth popping in for an hour. By now you’ll be more than ready for a delicious lunch over at Café Gandolfi, an atmospheric restaurant in the heart for Glasgow’s Merchant city.

When you’re refreshed, pop by the majestic Glasgow Cathedral before ascending 150 foot into the air above Glasgow in Titan Clydebank, a 100 year old ship building crane! Once you’re back down on the ground, relax in one of Glasgow’s green parks before taking the kids to an evening show at the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre. For the adults, you could end your day at the super-chic club, The Corinthian Club.

Explore Stirling

Start early as there is a lot to see in Stirling! Head to Stirling Castle and step into the shoes of Scottish Kings and Queens from yesteryear.

Once you’ve explored the Castle Courtroom and heard the intriguing stories, head over to the Battle of Bannockburn Experience! A state of the art 3D experience which brings medieval Scottish battles to life.

After that, spend some time wandering around the town, stopping for a light lunch in one of the many cafes or restaurants. Next, head to the renowned National Wallace Monument which overlooks the scene of the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

You can learn all about the battle inside, visit the Hall of Arms, Hall of Heroes and The Royal Chamber before climbing right to the very top to admire the breathtaking views. If you stick around into the evening, grab an early dinner before braving the Stirling Ghostwalk through the eerie old town.

Top 5 museums

A day in Peebles

An unspoilt market town which straddles the River Tweed. For the shoppers among you, you’ll be in heaven! Split into the High Street, the Old Town, Eastgate, Northgate and School Brae, each area offers a different shopping experience.

Once you’re all shopped out, grab lunch in one of the cafes or restaurants while you decide what’s next on your itinerary. The Peebles Town Trail will show you a range of interesting historic sites in the town such as Cross Kirk Church ruins and the remains of the town wall.

For something a little bit different, if you’re brave enough, you could try out the Peebles Railway Tunnel Adventure. Rumoured to be the hiding place for the Royal Train when the King and Queen visited the damage caused by the Blitz on Clydeside during World War II!

Top 5 walking trails

  • Galloway Kite Trail
  • Borders Abbey Way
  • Southern Upland Way
  • Ayshire Coastal Path
  • John Buchan Way

Into the wilds of South Scotland

Scotland is full of wild and wonderful places to escape the crowds.

South Scotland holidays

Feeling inspired? The beautiful South Scotland landscapes are waiting!

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