We are able to provide history and heritage tours of the region as part of your holiday with Galloway Holidays or design a short break to include these and other historical places for you to visit yourself.
Rather than just offer history and heritage tours to specified places, we prefer to enhance a tour by offering tailored itineraries in consultation with customers using our knowledge of the numerous history and heritage locations, combined with other interesting features of Dumfries and Galloway region along the way, some of which are mentioned below.
History and Heritage breaks can be two days or longer and combined with other places of interest along the way. The image is of Orchardton Tower.
Dumfries and Galloway is rich with castles, towers and abbeys which provide a fascinating glimpse into Dumfries & Galloway’s romantic, chequered – sometimes bloodthirsty – past.
Too many to mention here, there are over 30 castles in the region, but near our Castle Douglas base is Threave Castle, situated on an island in the River Dee and reached by ringing the bell for the boat person. Built by Archibald ‘the Grim’, Lord of Galloway it was the stronghold of the Black Douglases, the most powerful family in Southern Scotland in the mid -15th century. Ravens now make their home there and an osprey nests near by.
Kirkcudbright’s MacLellan Castle, built as a town house by Thomas MacLellan of Bombie can be found in the town by the harbour, not far from Broughton House, a National Trust for Scotland property formerly occupied by artist E.A. Hornell.
Cardoness Castle, a 15th century tower house is near the old harbour in Gatehouse of Fleet where sailing ships used to arrive with cotton from America. The Mill on the Fleet VC explains the history of the town. Further east is the triangular Caerlaverock Castle with its moat and imposing battlements.
Drumlanrig Castle is still occupied and offers tours of the Duke of Buccleuch's home.
Glenluce and Dundrennan Abbeys
As well as castles telling the region’s history the abbeys in Dumfries & Galloway are also steeped in history and romance. Three Cistercian Abbeys are well worth a visit. Over in the west is the 12th century Glenluce Abbey set amidst some of the most beautiful countryside in the region. Robert the Bruce visited Glenluce as did James IV and Mary Queen of Scots.
Dundrennan Abbey, near Kirkcudbright was founded by David I and it was here Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland before sailing across the Solway to England where she was imprisoned and executed by her cousin Queen Elizabeth.
Perhaps the most romantic of all is Sweetheart Abbey in the picturesque village of New Abbey, a few miles from Dumfries. The abbey was founded by Lady Devorgilla in memory of her husband, John Balliol (fonder of Balliol College, Oxford). Devorgilla, so much in love with her husband was distraught at his death and had his heart embalmed and placed in a silver casket. This she carried everywhere with her until her death when she – and the casket – were buried at Sweetheart Abbey.
New Abbey corn mill, run by Historic Scotland, is still working for demonstations, is another historical site in the village. You can even walk up to the Watreloo monument.
Whithorn Priory was founded in 397AD by St Ninian who brought Christianity to Scotland. It was once the most holy place in the country and pilgrims – Royal and common – came from all over the country with Whithorn growing in size and importance until pilgrimage was banned in 1581. A visitor centre is well worth a visit.
Sorbie Tower, pictured, is the family seat of the Hannay clan and can br found in a clearing in the trees near the village of Garlieston.
The above is just a wee taster of some of the historical sites in the region - there are many more! If you would like a historical holiday itinerary designed for you, please contact us.
Book this tour
You can pay a 25% deposit now online to book this tour. We also accept other forms of payment; please see the payment section of our services page for details.
You can also use the enquiry form lower down the page to ask us any questions