The Clyde Valley, Ayrshire, and Dumfries and Galloway
From Glasgow travel along the Firth of Clyde and into North Ayrshire. On the coast are several Thistle Holiday Parks in Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire, from where it is easy to enjoy the beaches or head inland to explore the countryside. Ayrshire is the land of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet; In Alloway, just south of Ayr, is his birthplace, a modest cottage, whilst nearby is Alloway Kirk, in the graveyard of which Burns’ poem ‘Tam o Shanter’ is set. In the Clyde Valley is New Lanark, a cotton-making village of the 18th century; as well as exploring the village, you can walk up the valley to the Falls of Clyde.
Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway has miles of sandy beaches, miles of winding roads and thousands of acres of forest and moorland; more than enough for a several short breaks! The main town is Dumfries but along the Solway Firth are several pretty villages Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas, Kippford, Creetown and Wigtown. known as Scotland’s Book Town. Drive all the way south to the Mull of Galloway, the most southerly point in Scotland, from where you can see the hills of the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, Stop off en route at the Logan Botanic Gardens - the influence of the Gulf Stream means that the plants are tropical!
There is plenty to tempt you off the beaten track. The road south from Dumfries goes through New Abbey, with the graceful ruin of Historic Scotland's Sweetheart Abbey and New Abbey Cornmill. If you're on a family holiday, then the place to go is Mabie Farm Park - plenty for kids to enjoy, both inside and outside.
The road from Dumfries runs south and then west along the Solway Firth to Kirkcudbright, then on to Gatehouse of Fleet, where the family can visit Cream o’ Galloway – a working farm which makes a range of tasty ice-creams. At Creetown visit the unique Gem Rock Museum. A few miles south is Wigtown, Scotland's Book Town, with many second-hand bookshops to browse in. Then on to Whithorn, the "Cradle of Christianity", where the heritage centre traces the history of the settlement from 450 A.D.
Those with an interest in gardens should visit the beautiful Castle Kennedy Garden, Glenwhan Garden and Dunskey Garden. If heritage is more your thing – visit Threave Castle (on an island in the river, so you have to cross in a small boat), Further west are Glenluce Abbey, and Drundrennan Abbey, where, it is said, Mary, Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland before fleeing to England. Another great place to visit is Historic Scotland's Caerlaverock Castle; with its moat and imposing battlements, south of Dumfries.
Kirroughtree Visitor Centre in the Galloway Forest Park is the flagship site for Forestry and Land Scotland; it is purpose-built to offer top-quality food and drink, plus you can hire bikes, and there is a wildlife hde. Not far away are the Clatteringshaws and the Glentrool Visitor Centres. The Galloway Forest Park is the UK's first Dark Sky Park and one of the best place to see the starsas there are no lights to spoil the view of the Milky Way, although you'll have to wait until the nights get darker in the autumn. https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/forest-parks/galloway-forest-park
Historic Scotland: When you plan your holiday in Dumfries and Galloway, be sure to get the Historic Scotland's Dumfries and Galloway Explorer Pass. Two adults, plus up to 6 children pay only £44 for the Pass - which gives entry to nine attractions as civerse as Glenluce Abbey, Whithorn Priorty, New Abbbey Cornmill and Threave Castle. The Pass is valid from April to September so remember to ask about it on your 2019 holiday. The Pass is available from HS properties area or online at www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/explorer-passes/dumfries-and-galloway-explorer-pass/