Best Free Things To Do In Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway, situated in southern Scotland, is a haven of sights to see, attractions to experience and scenery to be mesmerised by. There are walking trails, museums, history, culture, adventure thrills, and so much more. And the best thing about so many of these things is they are completely free.

Let us save you some hard-earned money by walking you through some of the most exciting things to do in Dumfries and Galloway for free.

Free Things To Do: Dumfries & Galloway

Galloway Forest Park

Galloway Forest Park is a great way to spend a full day in nature. There are three visitor centres within the park. You can experience stunning views over the Galloway hills and lochs within the park. Or, for the more adventurous, the park also provides the opportunity to mountain bike.

Making for a great day out, regardless of the time of year, the park is also great for spotting wildlife. A multitude of wild goats and red deer call the park home, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to sneak a peek at one or two of them.

The park is considered one of the best places in Europe to stargaze, so if you fancy a night under the stars, this could be the perfect location for you.

Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura

Dumfries camera obscura sunny day

The small museum is host to a big collection of artefacts and is undoubtedly one of the best Dumfries museums. The museum plays host to fossil footprints from the prehistoric era and tools used by the first Scottish inhabitants. There are even some stone carvings which are believed to have been created by the country’s first-ever Christians.

Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles is the largest stone circle on mainland Scotland. Although the name suggests differently, there are, in fact, only 11 stones remaining. The 12th vanished mysteriously in the 19th century, with locals claiming Judas as the culprit.

Only four of the stones are believed to be local, with the remaining believed to have been brought from further afield. The stone circle makes for an educational hour or two and is certainly not an attraction to be missed.

Castle Douglas

Threave Castle on a sunny day with a moat and green grass

Threave Castle © Shutterstock / Bill Spiers

This town is one for the foodies. With over 50 businesses in the food and drinks industry, the market town often hosts fayres with a wide selection of free samples. The town is also great for a wander about to soak up this pretty little town’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Station Park and Boating Lake

Station Park is a free-play park that has an interactive water feature. This proves to be very popular in the summer with kids and teenagers who try their best to dodge the spurting water. There’s also a skate park and a beautiful garden where you can while away for a few hours with a picnic or ice cream.

There’s a boating pond too. Sadly, it isn’t free to use a boat, but if you want to spend a few pounds, it’s worth it alone for the view of the park. There’s also an 18-hole putting course that charges a small fee for its usage.

Agnew Park

Agnew Park is the perfect location for a leisurely stroll. Situated in Stranraer, it’s also the perfect location to explore the town. In the high street, there’s a wide range of shops where you can buy gifts for loved ones back home or grab a quick coffee.

Dock Park

This beautiful and fun-filled park is definitely worth a visit when you are in the area. The most famous feature in the park is the bandstand, dating back to the 19th century. Even today, there are various concerts played throughout the year.

Dock Park is also great for entertaining the kids for the day. There’s a Peter Pan-themed mini-golf area where they can test their golfing prowess. After that, there’s a large playground where they can tire themselves until their hearts are contented.

As well as this, there is also a historic maze, which the whole family (big kids included) can get involved in and have some fun with.

Southerness Beach

Southerness beach in Dumfries and Galloway on a sunny day with a rainbow
Photo © James Johnstone (cc-by-sa/2.0)

 

The large sandy beach is the perfect location for when the weather is favourable. The sandy beach is vast, making it perfect for a brisk walk under the sun. The beach is situated in the town of Southerness, which has beautiful views of Solway Firth and is a great location for a spot of shopping or simply people-watching on a bench by the beach.

Burns House

People from all over the world flock to the one-time home of Scotland’s bard, Robert Burns. Visitors are free to explore the home where Burns once lived and wrote some of his most famous and beloved poetry. Among the artefacts kept in the home include original manuscripts and the desk and chair he once used to work on.

A trip here is an absolute must if you are a fan of literature and/or history. You’ll certainly be in good company. Everyone from Samuel Keats to William Wordsworth have paid a visit here to catch a glimpse of Burns’ life.

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FAQs

What’s the best time of the year to visit Scotland?

There’s never a wrong time to visit Scotland. Choosing which time of year you decide to visit often depends on what you want out of your visit.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to scale some Munros, the spring and summer months will usually be best. If you want to avoid lots of tourists, consider visiting in the quieter months between October and March.

Is Dumfries and Galloway popular with tourists?

Dumfries and Galloway is a bit of a hidden Scottish gem, so you won’t find the area overrun with visitors. However, certain attractions can get busy (such as the Devil’s Porridge First World War Museu,), so do your homework and try to go during quieter times of the day if you wish to avoid the crowds.

What else is there to do close by to Dumfries and Galloway?

Dumfries and Galloway is perfectly located to be a great base for taking day trips further afield across Scotland. Driving to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, should take less than two hours, but it’s worth it. The city makes a great day out for all the family.

In Summary

There’s something for the whole family in Dumfries and Galloway, whether you want to soak up some of the history or simply relax and explore the stunning scenery the location offers.

Exploring the great outdoors is easy, with a huge variety of parks to keep both you and the children entertained. Coupled with this, the many museums and visitor attractions offer up some great opportunities if the weather isn’t overly appealing.

But whatever you get up to in this stunning location, you are sure to have a holiday to remember for a long, long time to come.

Links

Galloway Forest Park – Forestry and Land Scotland

Southerness, near Dumfries – Beaches | VisitScotland

Castle Douglas Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

Ancient Scotland – Twelve Apostles (ancient-scotland.co.uk)

Dumfries Museum And Camera Obscura, Dumfries – Museums | VisitScotland

Agnew Park – Stranraer – Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)

 

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