DAY TRIP – Dumfries & Galloway, Abbeys and Castles

There’s nothing I like better than taking advantage of the long hours of daylight in Scotland at the moment and last week, I took a day trip to some Historic Scotland sites in Dumfries and Galloway and a walk along the Solway coast.

We left early on a Sunday morning when the traffic in Edinburgh was very light and got to the picturesque town of New Abbey in a couple of hours.  

Sweetheart Abbey

Our first stop was Sweetheart Abbey was founded in 1273 by Lady Devorgilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John Balliol.  On her death, she was laid to rest next to her husband’s embalmed heart and the monks named their abbey in memory of her. 

We have Historic Scotland passes which allowed us to enter all these sites for free and they are still running their offer of 3 months free when you buy a years’ membership. We covered this fantastic offer a couple of months ago, but it ends 11th July, so be quick.  

Conveniently placed next door to the Abbey is a wonderful tea room where we had brunch including some freshly baked scones. We sat at one of the outside tables and admired the Abbey whilst eating.  

 Also in the village, is the New Abbey Corn Mill.   Again, it’s a Historic Scotland site, so we used our passes and were given a guided tour (no extra charge) of this Corn Mill that demonstrates how oatmeal is produced.  

New Abbey

Driving a few miles southwards towards the Solway coast, we reached the area of Southerness and took a stroll by the sea and admired the views.   It really was a perfect summer’s day and confirmed the reason why I love Scotland so much.  When the sun is shining, there really is no better place to be. 

Solway Coast

This was as far away from Edinburgh as we could realistically drive in one day, so headed back through New Abbey and to the wonderful Mabie Forest a few miles South of Dumfries.   We stretched our legs here again, amidst dog walkers and mountain bikers making good use of this wonderful forest.  

Mabie Forest

A few miles further down the road, we came to Dumfries again and branched off right, down to the magnificent Caerlaverock Castle.  The front lawn was full of families having picnics and children made use of the park in the grounds.  Exploring the castle,  we imagined how life must have been  hundreds of years ago.  What I love about this castle (and was also a favourite of my Australian partner) is that it is surrounded by a moat.  

Caerlaverock Castle

We made use of the food facilities here and had an afternoon sandwich and more cakey goods before taking the scenic drive back to Edinburgh through the Borders.  The whole day was about 12 hours long, with 210 miles driven, but a number of wonderful pictures stored in our minds forver (as well as the memory card).  

Suitabled for disabled?  New Abbey Corn Mill is not suitable for wheelchairs, but the others have limited access.  There are other view points along the Solway coast that have wheelchair accesible viewpoints.

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