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Scotland’s history & heritage

Explore on wheels, History and heritage, Towns and villages

Scotland’s history and heritage is a huge attraction – one of the reasons visitors flock to the country.

And the southwest corner has plenty to offer.

Take a walk or a short drive out of Moffat and feast your eyes on castles, stately homes, monuments, ruins…

Each landmark has a unique story to tell.

And here are some of our favourites.

Seek out Moffat’s fine heritage

Its oldest houses date back to 1723 and 1751, and its Town Hall, once the bath house, is where people flocked when Moffat became a spa town in the 17th century.

There’s plenty more.

Join the heritage trail – part of the annual Moffat Walking Weekend – in autumn to find out more.

Walk to a lonely ruin

Frenchland’s Tower (above) is a 16-century ruin but a fine looking one still and one of the many highlights you’ll spot on a walk about the Moffat hills.

Swoon over Sweetheart Abbey

The 700-year-old abbey church stands proud in the village of New Abbey in Dumfries and is now cared for by Historic Scotland.

As the name suggests there’s a tale of romance behind the building.

It’s a tribute by Lady Devorgilla, Lady of Galloway (1210-1290), to her adored husband.

Delve into Dumfries’s historical treasures

Dumfries Museum (the largest in the region) is full of fascinating finds and located in an 18th-century windmill.

Next door is the Camera Obscura (the world’s oldest).

Theatre Royal Dumfries is Scotland’s Oldest Working Theatre (1792).

Robert Burns and JM Barrie are just two of the famous names associated with it.

Prepared to be spooked?

The theatre is said to be haunted.

Join Mostly Ghostly – the paranormal investigation team and storytellers of the darker side of history – for a spooky tour to find out….

Linger at lochs and landmarks

A gentle circular walk of Castle Loch Nature Reserve in Lochmaben offers not just a slice of heritage with castle ruins but tree sculptures, outdoor classrooms and the Annandale Way.

Discover a riches-to-rags story

MacLellan’s Castle in Kirkcudbright was once a 16th-century tower house and home to a powerful family.

Venture inside and seek out the ‘laird’s lug’, a spy hole, and find out about the castle’s eventual descent into ruin.

Be king of an unusual castle

The triangular fortress Caerlaverock Castle – the only one of its kind in the UK – dates back to the 1270s.

It has a moat, a gatehouse and many carvings depicting its turbulent history.

Now it’s a peaceful place within ancient woodland.

Follow in royal footsteps

Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, has been the home of the Stuart family since 1107.

One famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots – marvel at the tiny bed she slept in.

Plus: there’s an amazing maze – don’t get lost!

Come on in… to the home of a great Scot, Walter Scott

Abbotsford is one of the world’s most famous mansions set on the banks of the River Tweed in the beautiful Scottish Borders.

It is full of antique treasures once owned by the literary giant Walter Scott.

Its picturesque and fragrant Regency gardens were designed by the man himself.

Get involved in a ‘living museum’

Dating back to 1866, Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders, won Regional Winner of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Best Heritage Tourism Experience – and no wonder.

It’s the oldest letterpress printers in the UK.

See how the printing press worked back in 1866, pore over its vast but perfectly preserved archive of print jobs and get first-hand experience of typesetting at this piece of Victorian history.

See a famous home in the Artists’ Town

Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, Broughton House in Kirkcudbright, once belonged to Scottish artist and Glasgow Boy EA Hornel.

Naturally there’s an exquisite art collection, but also an impressive Japanese garden.

Take the Kirkcudbright Art Tour to get the full experience.

Read more on Moffat.

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