Seaward Caravan Park

Historic Attractions

Threave Castle

The region’s position, close to the Scotland / England Border and Ireland, has meant that a multitude of historic and religious influences permeate throughout. Fortified positions, such as castles, are common, and many are open to the public. Caerlaverock Castle, for example, often holds historical re-enactments and jousting tournaments during the summer.


Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, lived, worked and died in this area. His work as an excise officer took him all over the region, providing inspiration for many poems and verses. His first farm in the region, Ellisland, his home in Dumfries town centre and the Brow Well in which he bathed are open to the public, as is the churchyard that became his final resting place.


The region also boasts fascinating museums, many of which are free. A huge effort has been made in the last few years to make museums accessible to all ages, with activity sheets for younger visitors, theme weeks, activity sessions, and character re-enactments. Shambellie House, for example, has regular summer schools for children. In 2003 it also ran notable temporary exhibitions, including one featuring rare costumes from famous films.


Dumfries and Galloway Council is responsible for several museums in the region, and offers free entry to most. Museums include: Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura, Stewartry Museum, Toolbooth Art Centre, Robert Burns House, The Robert Burns Centre, The Old Bridge House Museum, and several others. More information is available online at


Other museums in the region
may be run by private trusts or national organisations. These include:


The Devil’s Porridge, Eastriggs, near Dumfries
This tells the history of one of the greatest secret munitions factories of the first world war, where 30,000 people lived and worked in total secrecy.
Tel: 01461 40460


Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop
The Blacksmith’s cottage where Christian weddings can be solemnised, plus the courtyard with the blacksmith’s workshop.
Tel: 01461 337635


John Paul Jones Museum, Arbigland, Kirkbean
The birthplace of John Paul Jones, founder of the American Navy. Exhibits, museum, shop and attractive grounds suitable for picnics.
Tel: N/A


Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet
This restored cotton mill, dated from the 18th century, has an art gallery, local crafts, exhibitions, a bookshop, gift shop, riverside café and terrace. The Mill on the Fleet particularly welcomes families, cyclists and walkers.
Tel: 01557 814099


Museum of Lead Mining, Wanlockhead
Museum dedicated to portraying the working lives of miners and their families. Guided tour of underground lead mine, miner’s cottages, and library. Visitor centre has displays of artefacts, tearoom and shop. Gold panning is a popular activity at the centre, and special events are often organised during the summer.
Tel: 01658 74387


Savings Bank Museum, Ruthwell, near Dumfries
Historic location of the first commercial savings bank. Set in motion by the Rev. Henry Duncan, who was also responsible for the restoration of the mediaeval Ruthwell Cross.
Tel: 01387 870640


Thomas Carlyle’s Birthplace, Ecclefechan

The birthplace of historian and writer Thomas Carlyle. Furnished to reflect the décor of 18th century domestic houses, and imitate their daily life, plus a collection of Carlyle’s belongings.
Tel: 01576300666


World Famous Old Blacksmith’s Shop Centre, Gretna Green
The romantic destination for many eloping couples, hoping to marry before angry parents caught them! This historic landmark has some tales to tell. In the present day marriages can be conducted within the legal limits by a Registrar or Minister, although it is more common to see “pretend” ceremonies involving visiting tours.
Tel: 01461 338441

For additional information on the following attractions run by Historic Scotland, please contact the website:


Caerlaverock Castle, nr. Dumfries
Partially ruined Medieval fortress which saw many Anglo-Scots conflicts. Unusual triangular shape and moat make this a particularly notable attraction. Includes exhibitions, a children’s adventure park, nature trails, shop and café (summer only).
Tel: 01387 770244


Cardoness Castle, Gatehouse of Fleet
Six storey tower house, and former family home of the McCullochs. Excellent views over Fleet Bay, and impressive architectural features.
Tel: 01557 814427


Dundrennan Abbey, near Kirkcudbright
The former home of Cistercian monks, Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night on Scottish soil here in May 1568.
Tel: 01557 500262


Glenluce Abbey, Glenluce
12th century abbey founded by Cistercian monks, with an exhibition of objects uncovered during excavation.
Tel: 01581 300541


MacLellan’s Castle, Kirkcudbright
16th century fortified residence of nobility, a more domesticated form of architecture than the previous heavily defended tower houses.
Tel: 01557 331856


New Abbey Corn Mill, New Abbey, near Dumfries
A fully working mill, this excellent attraction offers visitors the chance to see how flour was made, and how the miller would have lived. A joint ticket with Sweetheart Abbey provides a discount.
Tel: 01387 850260


Threave Castle, near Castle Douglas
14th century tower built by Archibald the Grim, and stronghold of the Black Douglases, this castle is located on an island, accessible only by boat.
Tel: 07711 223101


Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey, near Dumfries
Founded by Lady Devorgilla of Galloway, in memory of her beloved husband John Balliol. Lady Devorgilla was a popular local benefactor whose notable donations included the first bridge in Dumfries. Her donations often benefited the local religious order; the bridge in Dumfries provided a safe way for the monks to traverse the Nith, and the Abbey became a place of worship. After her death her body was placed next to her husband’s embalmed heart, and the Abbey was dedicated in her memory “Sweetheart Abbey”.
Tel: 01387 850397


Whithorn Priory, Whithorn
The site of Scotland’s first Christian church, founded by St. Ninian in the 5th century. Recent excavations have uncovered a wealth of rare artefacts, including early Christian carvings.
Tel: 01988 500508


Gillespie Leisure, Kirkcudbright DG6 4TS     
tel: 01557 870 267