From Gretna Green, visit Lochmaben Castle and stop at Ruthwell to see the impressive Cross. Explore Caerlaveroch Castle and the historic market town of Dumfries. Head to Southerness Lighthouse enjoying Solway Firth and Nith Valley, pausing at Sweetheart Abbey en route. Visit Threave Castle before ending at Dundrennan Abbey.
Starting in the middle of the 18th century it was possible to marry over 18 in Scotland whereas the marital age was 21 in England. This small village, on the border became the place to arrange a quick marriage. Over the years, the famous Blacksmiths Shop became Gretna Green's best-known marriage venue.
On the banks of Castle Loch, there are impressive castle ruins, constructed in the 12th-century, with imposing defensive walls & a moat. The castle was captured by Robert the Bruce in 1306 before being retaken by the English, then surrendered back to the Scots after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The Ruthwell Cross is a stone Anglo-Saxon cross probably dating from the 8th century. It is the most famous and elaborate Anglo-Saxon monumental sculpture, and possibly the oldest surviving "text", predating any manuscripts. It has been described by Pevsner as "The crosses of Bewcastle and Ruthwell ... are the greatest achievement of their date in the whole of Europe”.
Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th century. A wide moat, red bricked twin-towered gatehouse and lofty battlements make Caerlaverock the epitome of the medieval stronghold.
Known, like its football club, as "Queen of the South", this is an ancient town founded as a Royal Burgh in 1186 at the lowest crossing point of the River Nith, the ‘Devorgilla Bridge’. Robert Burns is buried here. A great place to explore the National Scenic Area of the Nith estuary and visit the twelve apostle stone circle.
The romantic abbey is enclosed by an impressive precinct wall - a walk of massive granite boulders, ranking as one of the most complete in Scotland - and despite border wars, it stands remarkably complete, in a beautiful setting nestled between the grey bulk of Criffel Hill and the sparkling waters of the Solway Firth.
One of the oldest lighthouses in Scotland it sits on Southerness Point, which extends 10 miles into the Solway Firth. Surrounded by the sea at high tide, this square structure was built as a marker in 1749 on the instructions of Dumfries Town Council who wished to ensure safe passage of ships entering the Nith Estuary.
Situated on an island in the middle of the River Dee, this formidable castle is only reachable by boat. The massive tower house was built in the late 14th century and was the stronghold of the Black Douglases. Nearby Threave Garden and Estate is also worth visiting.
Built in the 12th century by David I the abbey stands in a small secluded valley, its remoteness in keeping with the strict rules of the Cistercian abbey. It is one of the most impressive to survive. Mary Queen of Scots spent her last hours on Scottish soil in the abbey.