What to See and Do

Places to Visit

Portpatrick

A short trip away (just under 6 miles) from the lodge, Portpatrick is a popular haunt for tourists to this part of Scotland and it’s easy to see why. Its picturesque fishing village charm combined with stunning sea views to Northern Ireland and a selection of excellent gift shops provides instant appeal. It is also the start point for long distance trail, the Southern Upland Way.

Portpatrick panorama
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Stranraer

About 5 ½ miles down the road is Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway’s second largest town. Though considerably smaller than Dumfries, the town features all the amenities you might need, including supermarkets Morrisons, Lidl and Tesco. The town is best known for its port to Belfast, though it has much more to offer than this. The town has two museums in the form of the Stranraer Museum (former town hall) covering local history and rotating exhibitions and the Castle of St John (former prison, military fort, court and home) – due to reopen in 2010 – covering the building’s history. The town also features a history themed town trail and Agnew Park holds pedal-carting, paddle-boats, miniature ride-on railway and adventure playground. The entertainment hub of Stranraer is the Ryan Centre – with theatre, cinema, gym, courts and swimming pool. You can also go curling in the North West Castle Hotel.

Stranraer panorama
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Gardens

Glenwhan Gardens
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One of the attractions of this area is the host of beautiful gardens situated locally. The most famous is probably Logan Botanic Gardens, particularly noted for its tropical plant collection, but be sure not to overlook Ardwell, Dunskey, Castle Kennedy and Glenwhan gardens, all within 20 miles of the lodge.

Northern Ireland

Laggansally is the perfect base from which to take a day trip to either Belfast from Stranraer or Larne from Cairnryan. See the respective Stena Line and P&O websites for details.

 

Beaches

We are not far from some particularly nice beaches here and most notable are Larbrax and Killantringan Bays, both are large sandy beach with rockpools and plenty of seashore life, only a few miles away.

Mull of Galloway
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Nearby Portpatrick has a small but pleasant beach and on the other side of the Rhins is Wig Bay with sand shingle and shell beach that is excellent for birdwatching. Sandhead also has a very large beach where seals can often be seen basking. As well as sandy shores, the Rhins features picturesque rugged coastline with two lighthouses nearby – one of which is a restaurant.

Other Places of Interest

Logan Fish Ponds – a restored Victorian fish larder turned mini aquarium is well worth a visit.

Mull of Galloway Experience - as well as being a RSPB nature reserve (with live feed from cliff top cameras and visitor centre), you can visit the lighthouse museum and even climb the 26 metre lighthouse tower. There is also a delightful cafe / restaurant with a grass roof and unrivalled views.

Cream o' Galloway - taste the delicious ice cream and see how it is made as well as enjoy nature trails and other activities

Creetown Gem Rock Museum marvel at the magnificent gems on display in this world renowned museum.

Bladnoch Distillery - a tour of this distillery is a must for any whisky connoisseurs.

What to Do / Activities

Golf

There are 4 main golf courses to enjoy in the area: Stranraer Golf Club (visitors welcome), Lagganmore Golf Club (near Portpatrick), Portpatrick Golf Club (this includes 2 courses, of which the 9 hole Dinvin course is ideal for amateur golfers - visitors just pay and play) and Wigtownshire Golf Club, Glenluce (visitors welcome). All are in easy reach of the lodge.

Fishing

Free trout and carp fishing is available in our own shared loch nearby.

Other lochs available to visitors are Soulseat Loch (nr Stranraer with disabled facilities), Dindinnie Reservoir, Penwhirn Reservoir (nr Cairnryan) and Knockquhassan Reservoir. Find out about freshwater fishing and sea angling in the area.

Walking

Southern Upland Way Sign by Portpatrick
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If you enjoy exploring, bring your wellies and we’ll point you in the right direction. The views from the hills at Blackpark will take your breath away – Ireland is visible on a clear day and so is Ailsa Craig, Arran and the Mull of Kintyre.

Probably the longest and most famous walk in the area is the Southern Upland Way which starts in Portpatrick but can be picked up at several other points close to the lodge. Why not try out the newly established Loch Ryan Coastal Path, which starts at Stranraer Tourist Information Centre and joins up with the Ayrshire Coastal Path – walk as much or as little of it as you wish. There are also a number of short walks published in leaflets by Dumfries and Galloway Council including Walking in the South Rhins and Walking in the North Rhins.

Cycling

Though there are few cycle routes in the Rhins of Galloway, the small country roads are generally quiet with fantastic scenery, which makes them a popular haunt for cyclists. The Galloway Forest Park is only 45 mins drive away and this hosts a network of cycle paths called the 7 Stanes, tailored to cyclists of varying abilities. It is also worth checking out the Dumfries and Galloway Council leaflet ‘Cycling in and Around Wigtownshire.’

Birdwatching

Wigtown Bay
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South West Scotland has some particularly excellent birdwatching spots, including RSPB Mull of Galloway (a nature reserve focused on cliff nesting birds with live cameras, visitor centre and café), Loch Ryan (great for ducks, grebes, divers, geese and waders) and not too far away there’s RSPB Wood of Cree and Local Nature Reserve Wigtown bay, where you can watch live cameras of a nearby osprey nest in summer.

The 'Wild Goose Chase' is something that happens once a year in Dumfries and Galloway. By travelling from Caerlaverock in Dumfriesshire, via Mersehead, Kelton Mains, Loch Ken and Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve, to Loch Ryan in Wigtownshire, you can see all 6 species of geese that spend the winter here: barnacle, Canada, brent, pink-footed, greylag and Greenland white-fronted, as well as two species of swan — mute and whooper. There are a number of guided walks as well as bus tours across the region. See the Wild Goose Chase webpage for more information.

Horseriding

If you fancy a bit of pony trekking through the stunning local countryside or horseriding lessons then look no further than the adjacent farm — Lochnaw Home Farm.

 

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