A large but very charming old county town, set on the banks of the River Nith. Dumfries has a long and very turbulent history and is filled with attractions and historic buildings. You will also find plenty of well known shops and independent retailers along the high street, plus a wide selection of restaurants and eateries.
The town is famed for its connection with Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard, and also with J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. Burns lived in nearby Ellisland Farm (1788 - 1791), where he wrote some of his most well know poems and songs, including Tam o 'Shanter and Auld Lang Syne. There is a Robert Burns Centre in the town which celebrates the life and works of this world famous poet. The house were he died can also be visited on Burns Street and his mausoleum is located in St Michael's churchyard.
The old six arched sandstone bridge (shown above) dates from the 15th-c, and is the oldest of five that cross the Nith. It was built over the site of a previous wooden bridge, erected by Lady Devorgilla, wife of John de Baliol, founder of Balliol College, Oxford. Built into one end of the bridge is the Old Bridge House, the oldest house in Dumfries, which is now a museum of everyday life. Just downstream of the old bridge is the Caul, a weir created to power riverside grain mills in the 18th-c. On summer evenings, salmon can often be seen leaping the weir to get upstream to spawn.
One of the most interesting buildings in the town is The Observatory on Rotchell Road, home to the Dumfries Local History Museum. The building is a converted 18th-c windmill. It has a Victorian style Camera Obscura located above that provides an interesting moving panoramic view of the area. The most prominent building in Dumfries is the Midsteeple on the High Street, built in 1707 as a courthouse and prison.
It was in Dumfries that the Scottish patriot Robert
Bruce committed his first act of rebellion against Edward I in 1306, when he murdered his rival
to the Scottish throne, John Comyn, in the town’s Greyfriars
monastery. Later he won his first victory in the war of
independence by capturing Dumfries Castle. Very little of the
original castle structure remains and the area is today
marked by Castledykes park.
Some of the county's gentlest and most beautiful scenery lies in the nearby lowlands region. The town's central location makes it a good base from which to explore this part of Scotland, where you can enjoy plenty of hill walking and mountain biking. The surrounding area is also peppered with war torn castles and grand houses such as Caerlaverock Castle, Drumlanrig Castle and Maxwelton House, along with many other historic attractions.
Award-winning visitor centre telling story of connections
between Robert Burns and the town of Dumfries.
• Audio-visual presentation
• Scale town model
• Award-winning cafe
Opening times: times vary see Website for details - Admission Free
Location: Mill Road, Dumfries DG2 7BE - T: 01387 264808
The simple sandstone house in which Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, spent the last years of his brilliant life.
• Kilmarnock Edition
• Original manuscripts
• Burns desk and chair
Opening times: times
vary see website for
details - Admission Free
Location: Burns Street, Dumfries DGl 2PS - T: 01387 253297
The prime objective of the Museum is to preserve and maintain the aviation heritage of Dumfries & Galloway along with exhibits from all over the world. Visitors can have a hands on experience in various aircraft. Impressive display of artifacts. Large and ever expanding aircraft collection.
Opening times: Easter - Oct: Sat & Sun 10am - 5pm; Wed, Thur/Fri Jul- Aug: 11am - 4pm - Admission Charge
Location: 2 Woodland Cottages, Newbridge, Dumfries DG2 OHZ - T: 01387 720488 - Website
A treasure house of history, telling the story of Dumfries and Galloway.
• Fossil footprints left by prehistoric reptiles
• Tools and weapons of the earliest people
• Stone carvings of Scotland's first Christians
Installed in 1836, the camera obscura provides a fascinating panoramic view of Dumfries.
Opening times: Apr
to Sept: Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm, 2-5pm; Oct to Mar:
Tues - Sat 10am -1pm, 2-5pm - Admission
Location: The Observatory, Rotchell Road, Dumfries DG2 7SW - T: 01387 253374 - Website
Built in 1660 into the sandstone of Devorgilla Bridge, Dumfries' oldest house is now a museum of everyday life in the town. Contains several mock period rooms, including a 19th century nursery, family kitchen and early dentist's surgery.
Opening times: Apr to Sept: Mon - Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm - Admission Charge
Location: Mill Road, Dumfries DG2 7BE - T: 01387 253374 - Website
Site of the world's first Savings Bank. Includes historical displays, money boxes, notes and coins.
Opening times: Apr to Sept, Tues- Sat 10am-4pm; Oct to Mar, Thu - Sat 10am-4pm (& BH Mon) - Admission Free
Location: Ruthwell, Dumfries DG1 4NN - T: 01387 870640 - Website
Abbotsford | Annan Museum | Barstobrick | Bladnoch Distillery | Bruce's Stone | Broughton House | Castle of St John | Castle Kennedy | Caerlaverlock Castle | Cardoness Castle | Creetown Museum | Cream O' Galloway | Dryburgh Abbey | Dundrennan Abbey | Devils Porridge Museum | Ellisland Farm | Glenluce Abbey | Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park | Jedburgh Abbey | Hidden Treasures | John Paul Jones Museum | Kelso Abbey | Logan Botanic Garden | Laggan Outdoor Centre | Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway | Melrose Abbey | Moffat Museum | Maclellan's Castle | Mabie Farm Park | New Abbey Cornmill | Newton Stewart Museum | Sanquhar Tolbooth | Stewartry Museum | Stranraer Museum | St Ninian's Cave | Sulwath Brewery | Sweetheart Abbey | Threave Castle | Threave Garden | Thomas Carlyle | Tolbooth Art Centre | Whithorn Story | Wigtown Nature Reserve | Gretna Green