Need a few ideas for your next trip?

Something a little bit different?

Discover 24 things to do in Southwest Scotland in 2024.

Explore fascinating landmarks and scenic routes, discover unique history and heritage… away from the crowds and within easy reach of Queensberry House.

1 Seek out a ‘living museum’

Robert Smail’s Printing Works is a Victorian treasure trove dating back to 1866.

A tour of this, the oldest working commercial letterpress printers, is a must.

See how this family firm printed newspapers, tickets, posters and letterheads before the digital age.

Marvel at every print job undertaken in the carefully preserved archive.

Why not try your hand at typesetting here? It’s part of the tour.

2 Raise your glass to a new distillery

Now open: Moffat’s first (legal) distillery, from Dark Sky Spirits, a ‘boutique blender’ of Scotch whisky.

We were lucky enough to see the distillery on a hard-hat tour.

It’s housed in a beautiful building on a green 17-acre site, worth exploring too.

We love the Moffat Liqueur Brammle made from blackberries and brambles.

3 Stargaze under truly dark skies

Moffat is Europe’s first dark sky town and now has its own observatory where you can see stars, planets and much more.

Stargazing is free, fun and endlessly fascinating.

Join a dark sky walk during the Moffat Walking Weekend in autumn.

4 Be wowed by the Artists’ Town

Follow the creative types to Kirkcudbright, the Artists’ Town, not least for the Kirkcudbright Galleries and Broughton House, once home to Glasgow Boy EA Hornel.

5 Hike across ancient grounds

The Devil’s Beef Tub in Moffat is a striking landmark with jaw-dropping views.

William Wallace was said to have arranged covert gatherings here in 1297.

Now it’s a tranquil spot popular for hiking and birdwatching.

6 Eat out at one of Scotland’s best Italian restaurants

Claudio’s in Moffat is a family-run establishment serving up consistently delicious authentic fare in a friendly atmosphere.

Try the antipasto: a mix of four tasty starters, for when you can’t decide.

7 Fly by the Moffat Spitfire

Where else would you find a full-size spitfire in a regular garden?

It’s the talk of the town.

8 Walk up a mighty waterfall

The Grey Mare’s Tail in the Scottish Borders is one of the highest waterfalls in the UK with Loch Skeen at the top, a superb place to go wild swimming.

9 Discover the ‘devil’s porridge’

Arthur Conan Doyle coined the term the ‘devil’s porridge’ when he visited the world’s largest munitions factory in Eastriggs where women played a key – and dangerous – role.

The Devil’s Porridge Museum is now a five-star attraction and winner of Best Visitor Attraction Experience (VisitScotland’s Scottish Thistle Awards).

10 Seek out Moffat’s heritage

The historic spa town has some fine architecture including its two oldest houses (1723 and 1751) and Scotland’s narrowest street.

A walk around will reveal some interesting finds…

11 Be enchanted by the home of Peter Pan

Moat Brae in Dumfries is an architectural delight on the River Nith where JM Barrie was inspired to write his beloved children’s character.

There’s much to thrill adults too.

12 Savour Scotland’s Chocolate Capital

Head to the genteel Borders town of Peebles for some choc therapy.

Cocoa Black was created by the UK World Chocolate Master herself Ruth Hinks and draws in Michelin-starred chefs, celebrities, locals – and us.

13 Join the Robert Burns trail

Scotland’s national bard wrote some of his more famous works here in Dumfries and Galloway – among the most important and well-known verse in the world.

Seek out his old haunts around Dumfries.

14 Dine out at an award-winning restaurant

Winner of many accolades, the elegant Brodies in Moffat offers a relaxed fine dining experience from a Sunday roast to afternoon tea.

It also has a gin lounge with an exquisite and extensive menu.

15 Tour Scotland’s oldest inhabited house

Traquair House in Peebles dates back to 1107 and it’s here you can see the bed Mary Queen of Scots slept in.

There’s also a maze, brewery, walled garden, chapel and woodland walks.

16 Be enlightened by land art

See astonishing sculptures up close depicting space, cosmology and astronomy at the Crawick Multiverse in Sanquhar in this land art installation created by renowned designer Charles Jencks.

17 Gaze in wonder at a Nepalese Garden

Tibetan prayer flags, mini waterfalls, woodland species… it’s all at Craigieburn Gardens and Nursery in Moffat.

It’s a special space full of Himalayan plants that thrive in the local climate and provide a relaxing environment for you to stroll about in.

18 Dare to do a haunted theatre tour?

Some say the Theatre Royal in Dumfries is one of Scotland’s most haunted theatres.

Time your visit during a tour by Dumfries and Galloway’s paranormal investigation team Mostly Ghostly.

19 Marvel at Scotland’s Tree of the Year

Carrifran Wildwood just outside Moffat is a magical place for a wander.

Its famous rowan stands proud in an inspiring project to plant a million trees.

How many so far?

Six hundred thousand and counting…

20 Drop by for a historic knitting pattern

The petite town of Sanquhar is home to a high-quality unique knitwear design which dates back to the 17th century.

Join a tour at the A’ the Airts Community Arts Centre to see how it’s made.

The town also has the world’s oldest post office (1712).

21 Make a splash at St Mary’s Loch

The largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders was once loved by literary figures such as Walter Scott and James Hogg.

It’s now a peaceful beauty spot for a gentle walk and water sports including paddle boarding and kayaking.

22 Wander in botanic gardens

Dawyck Botanic Garden in Peebles (part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh group) has a tree-mendous collection, from the oldest to the tallest, as well as species from all around the world.

23 Admire a castle with a difference

Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries was built in the 13th century and this impressive medieval stronghold with a twin-towered gatehouse and moat has a triangular shape – unusual in Britain.

24 Join a literary pilgrimage

Abbotsford House (pictured above) is famous for once being the home of a great Scot, Walter Scott, the 19th-century novelist and the ‘Father of Scottish Tourism’.

Scott wrote some of his best-known novels at this iconic mansion and designed the exquisite Regency garden.

See more literary hot spots here.

And when you’re finished exploring, seek out Moffat’s independent shops. Start browsing here.

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