Dumfries and Galloway

The Coast Road

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Overview

Start at MacLellan’s and Cardoness Castles and then pause at St Ninian’s Cave en route to Glenwhan Gardens. Enjoy the tranquillity of The Mull of Galloway, then visit Dunksey Castle and Castle Kennedy gardens. Stop at Stranraer and the Irish ferry port of Cairnryan before ending at Alloway in Ayrshire.

MacLellan’s Castle

Named after Sir Thomas MacLellan who began to build the tower-house castle in 1560 in Kirkcudbright. This was a spacious townhouse which retained some defensive qualities but wasn’t intended to stop an army. You may also wish to visit nearby Broughton House and Garden.

Cardoness Castle

A good example of a Scottish tower-house castle, built in the later 15th century, is a well-preserved ruin with some great views over Fleet Bay and the Solway Firth. Built on a rocky bluff it occupies a commanding defensive position and originally it would have had direct sea access before land has been subsequently reclaimed.

St Ninian's Cave

If you take the short woodland walk from the car park you will see why St Ninian used this spot as a place for prayer and contemplation. It is by a pebbly beach overlooking the sea and the Mull of Galloway but with small cave in a rocky outcrop you can get the sense of why this secluded place was special.

Glenwhan Gardens

A beautiful newly made garden recovered from marshy moorland ground with stunning sea views. The warming influence of the Gulf Stream enables Glenwhan to grow many tender plants from around the world with large collections of rare trees and shrubs. The acid soil makes for spectacular rhododendrons and azaleas.

RSPB Mull of Galloway

Nestled at the southernmost tip of Scotland, the Mull of Galloway has views over the Solway Firth and Irish Sea best seen from the unique Lighthouse foghorn. On a clear day, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and Cumbria can all seen, as can the Scar Rocks, an outlying part of the reserve with a small gannet colony.

Dunskey Castle

Nestled at the southernmost tip of Scotland, the Mull of Galloway has views over the Solway Firth and Irish Sea best seen from the unique Lighthouse foghorn. On a clear day, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and Cumbria can all seen, as can the Scar Rocks, an outlying part of the reserve with a small gannet colony.

Castle Kennedy

The ruined castle was destroyed by fire in 1716 and never rebuilt although the gardens surrounded by water and comprising 75 acres of terraced earthworks and magnificent avenues are maintained. This is one of Scotland's most well-known historical gardens. Nearby Stranraer is home to The Castle of St John, a medieval tower house and garden.

Cairnryan

The village that overlooks Loch Ryan and is notable for its large modern ferry port with services to Northern Ireland. The village has a proud maritime history but the modern port dates from the Second World War when it was developed to build the famous floating Mulberry Harbours used on the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

Robert Burns Birthplace

Cross into Ayrshire and walk around the village of Alloway and see the modest cottage where Burns was born in 1759; follow in the footsteps of Tam o’ Shanter by visiting atmospheric Alloway Auld Kirk and the Brig o’ Doon bridge; and see the classically styled Burns Monument, set in luscious rose gardens and the Burns Museum.

Overview

1

MacLellan’s Castle

2
8.4 miles

Cardoness Castle

3
36.3 miles

St Ninian's Cave

4
26.8 miles

Glenwhan Gardens

5
21.3 miles

RSPB Mull of Galloway

6
22.3 miles

Dunskey Castle

7
12.4 miles

Castle Kennedy

8
8.0 miles

Cairnryan

9
42.4 miles

Robert Burns Birthplace

What to see and do…

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About the The Coast Road Trail

Distance:178 miles
Cities / Towns:9
Number Of Businesses:0

The coastal trail takes in tower houses and great views across the Irish Sea starting at MacLellan’s and Cardoness Castles, and pausing at St Ninian’s Cave and explore Glenwhan Gardens which benefit from the area’s mild climate. The Mull of Galloway provides an area of tranquillity before visiting Dunksey Castle and Castle Kennedy gardens. Next, head to Stranraer and the Irish ferry port of Cairnryan before ending in Ayrshire at Alloway with its many references to Robert Burns.

Home to Robert Burns

The town of Alloway is just to the South of Ayr and is packed with interest for those interested in the life and works of Robert Burns. The cottage where he lived and the museum of his life are linked by the Poet’s Walk whilst the Brig o Doon bridge overlooks the Burns monument and memorial garden.

Scottish Tower Houses

The 17th century was known as the Killing Time with battles between Covenantors and Scottish Royalists, Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army and following the restoration armies loyal to Charles II. There are many fine examples of Tower Houses built for defence and comfort against marauding bands, the typical residence of the wealthy.

Mull of Galloway

Scotland’s most Southerly Point the Rhins of Galloway peninsula juts into the Irish Sea offering miles of sandy beaches, views and cliff top walks. Abundant wildlife means you can see dolphins, porpoises and many sea birds. The warm climate means that there are many great gardens, each with their own character.