Wrought from red sandstone that has softened to a blush pink, the beautiful Drumlanrig Castle, affectionately known as the Pink Palace, holds sway across the Nith Valley. Explore the long heritage of the South by touring the beautiful ancestral home of the Duke of Queensberry.
Head for the Rhins of Galloway on the far west coast of Southern Scotland and you will arrive at the picturesque seaside village of Portpatrick. The once busy port is now a serene holiday resort, with pastel-coloured houses, a great selection of independent shops and eateries, and a stunning bay that invites visitors to while away the day.
The Moffat Hills
The South of Scotland is anything but flat, with the great expanse of the Southern Upland Hills stretching across the region. The Moffat Hills are one of the most popular ranges to explore for outdoor lovers – bounded by the Rivers Tweed and Annan, the valleys and peaks shelter a number of stunning sights, including one of the UK’s highest waterfalls, Grey Mare’s Tail, and Britain’s most important Buddhist Centre, Samye Ling.
Logan Botanic Garden
Visit Logan Botanic Garden, part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and specialising in exotic plants. Because of its positioning on the south western coast, the garden enjoys a sub-tropical climate – or as close as we get in Scotland! – and is able to sustain plant species from places like South and Central America and Australasia. This garden will really make you feel as if you’ve stepped out of Scotland and into the tropics.
Langholm Common Riding
Past and present converge at the annual Common Ridings in the old Reiver territories of the South of Scotland. In Langholm, the ‘Muckle Toon’, riders thunder up the Main Street in the big spectacle of the main ‘chase’ and gallop along the local hills. Though far from the fearsome raiders on horseback who ruled these lands for centuries, the ancient custom of checking the boundaries of local towns with a rideout is celebrated to this day, making the Common Ridings the biggest equestrian festival anywhere in the world.
Clatteringshaws Loch in the Galloway Forest Park
It’s in the South of Scotland that you’ll find yourself contemplating the vastness of space. By day, the range of walking trails, gentle ambles and challenging hikes across the Galloway Forest Park will see you scale stunning peaks and viewpoints with hardly another soul in sight. But at night, it comes alive as the UK’s first designated Dark Sky Park: Head to Clatteringshaws Loch, which offers some of the best view points of the night sky, count the stars of the Milky Way, and make a wish as shooting stars pass by up above.