Glimpses of Historic Glory In South West Scotland | Travel Research Online


Glimpses of Historic Glory In South West Scotland

The recent Scotland Reconnect trade show has given me a great opportunity to take a closer look at a destination I know well and, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be introducing you to/reminding you about a wide variety of wonderful Scottish travel experiences you can offer your customers.

Hop Onto The Isle Of Arran

Many Scotland tours start in Glasgow, before heading north towards the Highlands; but this time, I’m suggesting that you head south west for the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Arran. It’s often called Scotland in miniature, thanks to the Highland Boundary Fault that runs right through its heart, dividing a mountainous, dramatic highland landscape on one side from lush, green lowland countryside on the other. The island’s star attraction is Brodick, every inch the quintessential island castle—and you will want to spend most of the day there. Before returning to the hotel, the scenic island tour will include a wee dram or two at the award-winning Lochranza Distillery.

Part of the walking route to The King’s Cave is said to be where Robert the Bruce took shelter. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam


Burns Cottage – The birthplace in 1759 of the poet Robert Burns and now museum in Alloway. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

Taking the short crossing back to the mainland, turn south to the small town of Alloway and visit the humble, thatched cottage where Robert Burns was born and spent the first years of his life. Being there at lunchtime, I strongly recommend that you celebrate his legacy with haggis, neaps, and tatties in the museum café! On then to Culzean Castle, perched on the Ayrshire cliffs and overlooking the Firth of Clyde with flamboyant formal gardens, fruit-filled glasshouses, and a fine collection of paintings and furniture. President Dwight Eisenhower often stayed here, and the top floor of the castle is named in his honour.

Everything In The Garden’s Stunning

Because of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, there are plenty of fine gardens in this neck of the Scottish woods. Specialising in plants from the southern hemisphere, the Logan Botanic Garden is an exotic paradise at the southwestern tip of Scotland. It has also been awarded 5-star status by Visit Scotland. 20-minutes away, the gardens at Kennedy Castle have been described as ‘one of the showpieces of Galloway.’ Originally laid out in 1734, it is one of Scotland’s most important historical landscaped gardens, situated on an isthmus around the romantic ruins of 16th century Castle Kennedy and surrounded by the White and Black Lochs.


Wigtown Celebrates 20 Years as Scotland’s National Book Town, 15/05/2018
Credit: Colin Hattersley Photography

Browse Around Scotland’s Book Town

If any of your clients are book lovers, as they head eastwards through Dumfries and Galloway, they’ll thank you effusively for leaving them in Wigtown for the afternoon. Back in 1998, the town was officially designated as Scotland’s National Book Town and with over a quarter of a million books to choose from, both old and new, in a wide range of independent bookshops, they are unlikely to escape empty handed! The 2021 dates for the annual Wigtown Book Festival are 23rd September to 3rd October, featuring more than 200 events for adults, children and young people including literature, music, film, theatre, arts and crafts.

An Artist’s Colony Revealed

Leaving Scotland’s Book Town, head for nearby Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir–coo–bree). Established as a Royal Burgh in 1455, the town has always been supported by a busy fishing trade. Behind the harbour, the streets have housed generations of creative artists, a tradition maintained today by a flourishing colony of painters and craftworkers—which has led it to being called “The Artist’s Town.” The afternoon should then be filled with a visit to the School of Heritage Gardening at Threave and where the garden is divided into a series of smaller gardens to showcase different gardening styles and planting schemes, including a rose garden, rockery and walled garden.

Colourful beach huts at Kirkcudbright harbour. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Moat Brae House and Garden was acknowledged by J.M. Barrie as the inspiration for Neverland. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Take Flight With Peter Pan

To finish your tour of southwest Scotland, add a visit to Moat Brae House in Dumfries, acknowledged by J.M. Barrie as the inspiration for Neverland and now Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling. With secrets and surprises around every corner, take a stroll through the history of a beloved children’s book and then explore the garden that inspired a legendary ‘Enchanted Land’ of imagination. And finally, there’s a visit to Drumlanrig Castle. With seventeen turrets and four towers, its magnificent rooms display spectacular collections of silver, porcelain, French furniture and art making it one of the most rewarding and romantic of Scotland’s grand houses.

Paull Tickner, owner of U.K-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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