Things to do
New Galloway is the perfect holiday base to explore south-west Scotland. There is so much to see and do! As well as the pretty towns and villages, the region has some of the most breath-taking scenery you’ll come across – from Bennan viewpoint, to Clatteringshaws Loch, to Murray’s Monument you’ll be blown away. Discover the beaches, walk the hills, go on adventures in the forests and see the landmarks; you’ll love being on holiday in south-west Scotland!
There’s far too much to fit on this page, so we’ve just listed a few close-by activities and attractions to get you started. Have fun exploring!
In New Galloway
You don’t have to drive anywhere to find things to do during your holiday in New Galloway, there is lots to choose from right here in the village. You can enjoy a walk in the woods behind the golf course, or the circular route from the car park across to the River Ken along the river bank back to the main road in to the village; or if walking’s not your thing, here’s what else New Galloway has to offer:
The historic town hall with it’s trademark clock tower is often open (or can be by arrangement) and worth a visit to see its beautiful interior and imposing paintings. Regular events and entertainment take place here throughout the year, check out the website to see the latest. Click here to view their website.
There’s plenty of family fun to be had right in the heart of the village. The play park has facilities for toddlers through to older children, the skate park is a firm favourite of all ages. There is a beautiful picnic area by the river, a playing field perfect for ball games, and plenty of space to run around and tire out little legs!
It’s exciting times for the village, in April 2017 we were awarded funding to create a village shop, with self-catering accommodation attached. Renovations will be happening throughout 2017, come and see how it’s all going. It’ll be open in 2018. Find out more on their website – click here.
A nine-hole golf course right here in New Galloway, with beautiful views across Loch Ken and the Galloway Hills. The club welcomes visitors as well as members, with sections for ladies, gents and juniors. If you’re in the area and want to play a round of golf, take a look at their website. Tel: 01644 420737
Home to restored, hand-painted and up-cycled furniture, and design-led vintage homeware – and it’s based right here in New Galloway. They have Pop Up Shops throughout the year when you get to browse their pieces in person instead of choosing from their Etsy Store; check out their website to find out more.
You’ll find the castle on the left just past the Golf Club as you leave the village. Thought to be built by Roland, Lord of Galloway in the late 12th century, Kenmure Castle was the resting place of Mary, Queen of Scots during her travels. Note that the castle is a ruin now and although you’re welcome to walk up to view it, it is not safe to enter. Discover more about the castle’s history in the Scottish Wars of Independence during Robert the Bruce’s reign, as well as at times of civil trouble in the 17th century, here.
Activity and adventure
The Galloway Hills are a popular holiday choice with road cyclists and mountain biking enthusiasts. New Galloway is situated in the heart of the 7stanes, a collection of world-class mountain-biking centres located across southern Scotland. With routes to suit all abilities and experience levels, the 7stanes attracts riders from throughout the UK and further afield.
A thrill-seeker’s haven, if you’re looking for fun activities for all ages GAC has got it covered! With laser tag, archery, a wobbly waterpark, zipwire and more you could easily spend the whole day here. The centre caters for team building, stag and hen parties too.
Tel: 01556 502011
The closest locations to go wild swimming are Loch Ken and Loch Stroan. There is public access to Loch Ken from all the lay-bys on the New Galloway to Laurieston Road (A712) – just make sure that there isn’t anyone already fishing there. The good news is it’s free! All you need is a wetsuit and off you go.
The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park was the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and Europe. We’ve got some of the darkest skies in the UK, and you can view it at it’s best through the telescopes in the observatory’s 5 metre dome.
Tel: 01292 551118.
A country sports activity centre providing one-to-one instruction as well as catering for lads and dads weekends, short breaks for couples, activity packages for larger groups and more. With clay pigeon shooting, trout fishing, rifle shooting and game shooting.
Tel: 07747 691447
If you want to learn to water ski, perfect your wakeboarding skills or have fun on the new Giant Sofa Ride, head here. There’s lots of watersports and fun activities to choose from, all delivered by a highly-trained, professional team.
Tel: 01644 470333
Wildlife and walking
In Scotland, residents and visitors have the right to access most land, which means there are plenty of walks to be had out there. All that is asked is to act responsibly, take a look at the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for more information.
The cafe and visitor centre is set on the shores of the loch, with spectacular views across the Galloway hills. You can even see Merrick on a clear day (the highest hill in the southern uplands). It’s a short, leisurely stroll to Bruce’s Stone, and the perfect place to spot wildlife, especially waterbirds during the summer months.
We’ve got 300 square miles out there just waiting to be explored! Go on foot, by mountain bike, or take a slow, steady drive through the forestry roads during the summer months. With ancient woodland, trickling burns, rugged rocks and peaceful valleys you can make your own adventures. You may even see some red deer, a red squirrel and a few birds of prey along the way.
With picturesque picnic spots, lots of forest tracks and woodland paths, there’s plenty to do along the Raiders’ Road. It’s a good place for family adventures, bike rides with the little ones and some wildlife-spotting. Stop off at Otter Pool and Stroan Loch to soak up the scenery and kick back for a while (the railway viaduct at Stoan Loch was featured in the film Thirty-nine Steps, so you can do a bit of set-jetting whilst you are here too!). Try to find your path through the Labyrinth, say hello to the stone Otter at Otter Pool and see the wooden sculpture of a red kite at the start of the Raider’s Road in Mossdale.
Click here to find out more.
Just a short drive along the beautiful Queen’s Way you will come to the Galloway Red Deer Range. People of all ages enjoy getting up close to these spectacular creatures in a natural environment. You can watch the deer and other wildlife from the sheltered hide, so this is a good place to visit whatever the weather. The Wild Goat Park is very close by, also worth a visit to see these characterful goats that roam the hills – a particular favourite with small children.
Just a short (but steep) climb from a small car park, Murray’s Monument is an impressive obelisk to see. You can enjoy breathtaking views across the valley, and you could walk a bit further to take in the picturesque waterfall Grey Mare’s Tail, then unveil some surprising company along the route to Black Loch. You’ll see!
This is a popular attraction with visitors on a family holiday with the children. The little ones get to join in the workshops and make their own chocolate creations, and have fun in the indoor soft-play area and outdoor playground. It has a cafe, so the adults get to kick back and relax too.
It’s a working farm and visitor centre, and while the ice-cream is delicious – a visit here offers so much more! As well as a tour of the farm, there is a woodland adventure playground with a fairy glen, the Flying Fox and a drop slide, pedal karts, cycle paths and Go Boing! And when you just need some quiet time there are tranquil nature trails, wildlife ponds and peaceful garden to relax in and enjoy. Even if the weather isn’t so good you can still have fun here, with an indoor visitor centre, soft play area for the little ones and a cafe.
There is so much more to see and do in Dumfries and Galloway, from foraging for wild food to going on a nocturnal wildlife tour, to being launched from a giant slingshot! Take a look at these websites to find out more.