Escape the crowds, explore the big open countryside to enjoy the unique landscape of Southwest Scotland. We highlight our top 10 open spaces in Dumfries and Galloway all within easy reach of Queensberry House.

Delve into an amazing forest

Ae is the shortest place name in the UK.

The Forest of Ae is a superb spot for a picnic by the river, red squirrel spotting and seeing many intricate wood sculptures including one very fancy bench.

Climb a dramatic waterfall

The Grey Mare’s Tail is one of the highest waterfalls in the UK and a nature reserve rich in wildlife.

It is home to the world’s fastest animal – the peregrine falcon.

You can walk up alongside the water (45 minutes) and stop at the top where Loch Skeen is waiting for you.

Worth the effort.

Seek out a historic landmark

The Devil’s Beef Tub is a striking must-see with jaw-dropping views.

This cavernous hollow in the landscape was once used to hide cattle plundered during the cross-border raids and where William Wallace was said to have arranged covert gatherings in 1297.

Now it’s a tranquil spot popular for walking or birdwatching.

Take on a famous ‘way’ – the easy way

A gentle stroll around Castle Loch nature reserve in Lochmaben will reward you with woodland paths, castle ruins, a sculpture trail by a world champion chainsaw carver no less – and you can say you’ve walked (part of) the Annandale Way without too much huff and puff. 

Wander round a lovely loch

St Mary’s Loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders and has many historical and literary connections.

The excitement begins before you even arrive if you take the scenic route passing the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall.

See the Tree of the Year

Carrifran Wildwood is a magical place and home to Scotland’s famous Tree of the Year which was once a lonely rowan – the ‘Survivor Tree’ (pictured above). Borders Forest Trust has pledged to plant one million trees.

Twenty years on they are more than half way there.

Spot golden eagles

Moffat Community Woodland is a peaceful place with a mix of beautiful mature trees and newly planted broadleaf.

It’s a haven for wildlife. You may see golden eagles – although we can’t promise! – but they are here.

And the Moffat alpacas might make an appearance.

Walk the Merlin Trail

The route to the Merlin Trail is in rich, open countryside where it’s unlikely you’ll see another soul. Merlin – the wizard of Arthurian legend – was in fact a real-life nomad druid who lived in Southern Scotland in the sixth century.

Get close to his cave where he sheltered for a decade.

Feast your eyes on a botanic garden

Part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh collection, Dawyck Botanic Garden has 65 acres of five-star gardens – from blue poppies (seen in June) and some of Britain’s oldest trees to endangered plants and many the first examples brought to Scotland.

Marvel at land art

Crawick Multiverse, designed by Charles Jencks, was once a former coal mine and now an incredible work of land art.

A place to pause and consider space, cosmology and astronomy – here recreated in the form of stone sculptures, winding paths and lookout points.

There are plenty more places to explore in Southwest Scotland.

Read our blog The best things to do in Dumfries and Galloway.

Call us on 01683 478 341 if you need any help booking your trip.

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