Places To Visit In Ayrshire and beyond

Not only is there so much to see and do in Dumfries and Galloway, we are close to many interesting places to visit in Ayrshire and beyond, all within easy reach for a day trip. 

Visit Ayrshire – highlights Robert Burns Birthplace and Culzean Castle & Country Park

Take a day out to explore the nearby Scottish region of Ayrshire, famous as the birthplace of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns.  We suggest a circular route of 3 hours 45 minutes’ drive time, with a stop off just over an hour into your route to stretch your legs and explore the Crawick Multiverse. This is a fascinating sculpted landscape created by landscape artist Charles Jenks. It’s a fascinating land art installation with cosmology, science and art all combined to create this fascinating space for you to explore.

Back in the car and it’s off to your next stop as you enter Burns country. Ayrshire, like Dumfries and Galloway is a less explored part of Scotland with much heritage and beautiful landscapes to discover. Robert Burns was inspired by both regions of Scotland and wrote most of his poetry and songs about his life here. A visit to Alloway, less than 50 minutes from the Crawick Multiverse at Sanquhar and you step into the world of Burns. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, part of the National Trust for Scotland reveals the life of Robert Burns and what made him tick. From Alloway, we recommend a run over to the coast and a stop at Culzean Castle and Country Park. Perched on a cliff top, the castle and its grounds are amazing to explore. There’s a tearoom here too and woodland adventures for the young and young at heart. From here you meander for an hour and a half back to Barstobrick, though the magnificent Galloway Forest Park. It’s an incredibly scenic route back home after a great Ayrshire day out.  

Day trip to Ireland – highlights Titanic Belfast and Giant’s Causeway

We recommend a very early start to make the most of a daytrip to Belfast, yes you can do it in a day! In just over an hour from Barstobrick you will reach the ferry terminal at Cairnryan, and your sea passage to Belfast begins. Go on foot or take the car. Enjoy the crossing, which takes around 2 hours 15 minutes on board one of Stena Line’s ferries, with all the amenities for an enjoyable and comfortable trip. Once you reach Belfast, if you have left the car behind hop on a bus for the short trip into Belfast city centre and the Titanic exhibition, which is handy to reach. By car Titanic Belfast is only 10 minutes away and if you have given yourself a full day, how about driving for an hour and twenty minutes from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway. Combining this breath-taking geological structure with a visit to the Titanic exhibition or another of the many fascinating attractions in Belfast, such as the Ulster Museum or the Crumlin Road Gaol will certainly be something to tell all your friends and family about. 

Daytrip to Glasgow or Edinburgh – highlights Edinburgh Castle and Kelvingrove Art Gallery

It’s just over 100 miles to Edinburgh from Barstobrick and just under 100 miles to Glasgow. That’s a drive time of 2hrs 30mins to Edinburgh and less than 2hrs to Glasgow but we recommend you drive to Lockerbie, less than 40 miles (under 1hr) away and catch a train to Edinburgh or Glasgow, which takes about an hour. That way you are straight into the city centre with no parking or traffic worries and you have enjoyed the relaxation of a train journey cutting across part of the Southern Upland Way. Of course, arriving by train means you are restricted to sightseeing in the city centre but with so much to see and do in these contrasting main cities of Scotland, you will soon fill your whole day.  

In Glasgow highlights are the Gallery of Modern Art, the Hunterian Museum, if you are interested in Charles Rennie Mackintosh and of course the shopping! Don’t forget Kelvingrove Art Gallery, accessible via the Glasgow Subway (also known as the Clockwork Orange), from Buchanan Galleries or St Enoch to Kelvinhall station. A walk along the River Clyde brings you to the Glasgow Science Centre on one side and The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel and The Tall Ship on the other.            

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city is steeped in history and Scottish culture. The National Museum of Scotland is here as is the National Galleries of Scotland. Not to mention Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Don’t forget Leith nearby and the Royal Yacht Britannia. You can get a bus out there and there’s the Edinburgh trams to reach Edinburgh Zoo. Meander the Royal Mile and visit the Scotch Whisky Experience or the Camera Obscura (there’s one of these in Dumfries too) & World of Illusions, which is great for families as is Dynamic Earth at the bottom end of the Royal Mile and near to the base of Arthur’s Seat, which you can walk up and get amazing views of the city. A climb up the Scott Monument, situated on Princes Street will also provide you with great views of this magnificent Scottish city.  

Discover the Eastern corner of Dumfries and Galloway – highlights Drumlanrig Castle, Samye Ling and Gretna Green

Barstobrick is in the west of Dumfries and Galloway, with great access to the coast and many stunning beaches but go further inland and you discover more amazing scenery and fascinating places to visit. To take in a few of the highlights as well as some magnificent scenery, we recommend two circular routes. The first is a round route over to the north east corner of Dumfries and Galloway to visit Drumlanrig Castle and more Robert Burns sites. This is a complete drive time of less than two and a half hours. Heading more south easterly and then further north easterly, you enter a romantic world, discovering the story of Gretna Green, famous for run-away weddings since 1754. You then step into another world, discovering a glimpse into the Tibetan lifestyle of Buddhist monks at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre in Eskdalemuir. This route is a full drive time of just over 3 hours.

For the first of our suggested routes, drive across the beautiful countryside of New Galloway towards the picturesque village of Moniaive, which is under 50 minutes away. A further 15 minutes and you will reach the market town of Thornhill. Here there are many independent shops and cafes to enjoy. Onwards to Drumlanrig Castle, which is less than 10 minutes away. Gasp at the splendour of this fairy tale castle as you head up the driveway. Explore the castle and the grounds as well as the woodland adventure playground, which is great for letting off steam and enjoying the fresh air. You need to back track from Drumlanrig, through Thornhill and onwards to Dumfries, stopping off at Ellisland Farm, less than 10 minutes away from Thornhill and less than 15 minutes from Dumfries. Here is the farm Robert Burns built as the first home for his family. Built in 1788, on the banks of the River Nith, its tranquil and picturesque setting inspired many of Burn’s romantic poems. If you have time, stop off in Dumfries to visit the Burns Mausoleum and the Dumfries Museum with the world’s oldest working Camera Obscura. It’s just over 30 minutes and you are back at base, in Barstobrick.    

The second of our suggested routes takes you south to the very edge of the Scotland/England border at Gretna Green. It’s famous the world over for run-away marriages and remains a romantic destination for weddings to this day. There’s an interesting museum and independent shops to explore at Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop. From Bastobrick it’s about 1-hour drive time to Gretna Green and from here you head across country or via the A7 to Langholm, which sits on the edge of the Scottish Borders. The drive to Langholm will take you around 20 minutes and a stop in this pretty border town is worthwhile. From here, head into a wilder landscape and Eskdalemuir to the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre, which is about 25 minutes away. At Samye Ling you enter the peaceful world of Buddhist teaching. It’s a fascinating place to take a stroll, viewing the traditional buildings and picturesque gardens that have been created to enjoy nature and experience an inner calm. Feeling a renewed sense of relaxation and inner peace, you can meander back to Barstobrick, through Lockerbie and over to Dumfries, arriving back at base within an hour and fifteen minutes, to put your feet up and reflect on your day of discovery and enlightenment.  

Explore Lanarkshire and The Scottish Borders – highlights Wanlockhead, New Lanark and Moffat

Complete your tour of the South of Scotland by spending a day out discovering Lanarkshire or the Scottish Borders. Daytrips from Barstobrick to these neighbouring regions provides many options for new places to visit and things to see. On your way over to Lanarkshire, we suggest a visit to Wanlockhead, which is an hour and fifteen minutes away. Wanlockhead is Scotland’s highest village and as a former lead mining village, the Museum of Lead Mining is its main attraction along with the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway, which is Britain's highest adhesion railway, reaching 1498 feet above sea level. Wanlockhead provides amazing views, nestling in the Lowther Hills and not far from here is the head of the Mennock Pass, which forms part of the Southern Upland Way.  Just over 40 minutes away is New Lanark, another industrial story that was a spearhead to social change in Britain during the peak of the industrial revolution. Robert Owen was the industrialist behind the social thinking that spread, giving mill and factory workers better work conditions and a better quality of life. New Lanark tells the full story of the people who lived and worked here. After leaving New Lanark you can make a beeline along the M74, heading off at the Dumfries turn off for home or stop off in the spa town of Moffat. This slight detour off the M74 provides you with a chance to enjoy this picturesque town, on the edge of the Scottish Borders. Its 1 hour and 40 minutes back to Barstorick from New Lanark or less than 50 minutes to Moffat and from there it’s just over an hour back to base.

The Scottish Borders is steeped in history and one of the most fascinating places to visit is Traquair House, 7 miles south east of Peebles. To get there from Barstobrick it takes just under two hours, but you can break the journey half-way with a stop in Moffat and 10 minutes from here, make a quick stop in the roadside parking to look over the Devil’s Beef Tub but be careful you don’t fall in! From here Traquair House is less than an hour away. It’s Scotland’s oldest inhabited house and was visited by 27 Scottish kings and queens, so they have a story or two to tell. Mary Queen of Scots was a guest and her son, James the later king of both Scotland and England slept in a cot which is on view. As well as a fascinating history, Traquair House has lovely grounds to enjoy, a maze, craft workshops, café and a brewery, where you can sample the ales produced in the Traquair House Brewery.  Break the journey home by stopping off at St Mary’s Loch, the largest natural loch in the Borders. Situated in the Yarrow Valley, it’s next to Ettrick Forest, an ancient hunting ground where William Wallace rallied his allies to come together to raid the nearby English settlements. Taking a walk at this atmospheric spot conjures up a sense of the drama. St Mary’s Loch is under half an hour from Traquair and in less than an hour and a half you are back at Barstrobrick.  

Carlisle and The Lake District – highlights Keswick, Ullswater Steamers and Lowther Castle & Gardens

It’s a hop skip and jump over the Scottish border to Carlisle, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Barstobrick. Hailed “The Great Border City” the history of Carlisle has many tales linking Scotland and England. Visit the Castle, the Cathedral and the train station in Carlisle provides links into the Lake District and further destinations north and south. From Carlisle you can reach the English Lake District, famed for its propensity of lakes and mountains. Penrith is only about 15 minutes on from Carlisle and Keswick is less than 30 minutes on from Penrith. There’s Rheged Discovery Centre just off the M6 and in Keswick you can enjoy the views, go for a mountain hike or enjoy a stroll by the edge of Derwentwater or take a trip on the launches there. Ullswater Steamers is not far away from Penrith, nor is Lowther Castle and Gardens. A drive between the two takes you across amazing Lake District scenery. The south Lakes towns of Ambleside, Grasmere and Windermere are a little further away, up to 2hrs and a little over, but the north Lakes has equally amazing scenery and is much more peaceful. From Carlisle you can also take a trip along the Cumbrian Solway Coast, looking across the water to Scotland and Criffel, the solitary hill that overlooks the Solway in Dumfries and Galloway. You can’t quite see over to Barstobrick, but you know you are not too far away after a fun day in Cumbria and the English Lakes.