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Castle Douglas is a town in Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland, with a population of 4174 in 2011. The big attractions are Threave Gardens and the castle. This page also describes nearby villages such as Dalbeattie, and the coast of the Solway Firth.

Get in[edit]

King Street, Castle Douglas

By car[edit]

The A75 from Dumfries to Stranraer by-passes the town to the north with easy access from roundabouts at either end of the town.

By bus[edit]

Various bus services get you to Castle Douglas including the 501/2 from Dumfries and Kirkcudbright and the 503 from Dumfries.

National Express / Ulsterbus 920 runs overnight from London Victoria via Luton airport, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester airport and city, Preston, Carlisle, Dumfries, Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Cairnryan then by Stena ferry to Belfast.

By train[edit]

The nearest station is some 18-miles away in Dumfries

Get around[edit]

Map of Castle Douglas

The town is fairly compact and can be easily explored on foot; however a car or other means of transport is essential to explore the area around the town.

See[edit]

Threave Castle, Castle Douglas
  • 1 Threave Garden, Threave Estate DG7 1RX (A mile southwest of town), +44 844 493 2245. April-Oct daily 10:00-17:00, Nov Dec to 16:00. Beautifully presented gardens over 1600 acres (647 hectares) run by National Trust for Scotland. The main garden has landscaped and themed areas; the Sculpture Garden has over 30 works by Scottish sculptors; and the nearby Nature Reserve (free entry, open all year) ranges from wetlands to woodlands. Wildlife includes bats, ospreys and various wildfowl. The House itself can be visited by guided tour May-Oct W-F & Sun only. The estate also hosts a School of Horticulture. Garden £9, plus House £15, NT / NTS free. Threave Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 2 Threave Castle, Kelton Mains, Castle Douglas (Off roundabout on A75 west of town), +44 7711 223101. Apr-Sept daily 10:00-16:30, in Oct to 15:30. Threave Castle is a much-bashed but still massive tower built in the 1370s by Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway. It was the stronghold of the Black Douglases, too strong for King James II liking, so in 1455 he besieged and captured it. It was thereafter in royal control until 1640 when the Covenanters captured and partly demolished it, and it was abandoned. The castle is on an island in the River Dee, so you get there on a little boat, included in the ticket price. Adult £6. Threave Castle (Q607339) on Wikidata Threave Castle on Wikipedia
  • 3 Carlingwark Loch at the southwest edge of town is a shallow freshwater loch; it and its grassy surrounds have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). A footpath makes a 3-mile circuit. The islets in the loch were crannogs - prehistoric dwellings on stilts in the water. A canal connects the loch to the river 1.5 miles away: it was used to bring in shell-marl to lime the fields, but it's long disused and now just a ditch. When toxic blue-green algae became troublesome in 2009 the loch was fitted with an expensive aerator, which was ineffective; then they discovered that chucking straw into the water solved the problem.
  • 4 Dalbeattie is a village five miles east of Castle Douglas, formerly a major source of granite. It has a small museum, eating places and accommodation. Dalbeattie was the birthplace of William McMaster Murdoch, First Officer of the Titanic and in charge when it struck the iceberg; he did not survive.
Rockcliffe
  • South of Dalbeattie, the River Urr opens into a sea inlet, and its east bank is dotted with holiday caravans and other accommodation.
5 Kippford is the main village. You can walk along the coast to Rockcliffe (though by car you have to double back onto A710). Here find the "Mote of Mark" a 5th C hill fort, an art gallery, and Rough Island a bird sanctuary. You can walk to the island at low tide, but access is closed in May and June when the oystercatchers are nesting.

Do[edit]

  • Spot the Red Kite (Milvus milvus), a raptor with a metre-plus wingspan that curves low over the fields in search of mice, small rabbits and carrion. They were once common but unloved in Britain: Shakespeare's King Lear compares his daughter Goneril to a kite, and suggests that the bird's only talent is for stealing panties off drying lines. Kites were harried to extinction in Ireland and almost to that point in Great Britain, but from the 20th C they were protected then re-introduced. The Dumfries and Galloway region was repopulated in 1992/93 with birds from Germany. So look out for them anywhere, but especially along the Red Kite Trail which has several feeding stations. The suggested route is 24 miles anti-clockwise round Loch Ken in winter, plus 16 miles of forest roads only open in summer.

Buy[edit]

King Street has a little string of shops. Tesco at the north end of town is open daily 07:00-22:00.

Eat[edit]

  • There's a line of cheap eateries along King St.
  • Mad Hatter, 53 King Street, +44 1556 502712, . M-Sa 09:00-16:00. The café is friendly, welcoming and comfortable. Dog friendly, good refreshment stop during a walk.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Sulwath Brewers, 209 King Street DG7 1DT (in back yard), +44 1556 504525. M-Sa 10:00-18:00. Castle Douglas' own brewery, where you can have a drink or buy off-sales to take home. Their Scotch Pies are highly recommended. Tours M & F at 13:00.
  • 2 Laurie Arms, 11-13 Main Street, Hough of Urr DG7 3YA (on B794 four miles west of Castle Douglas), +44 1556 660246. M-F 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00, Sa Su 12:00-00:00. Dog-friendly pub with real ales and restaurant with good local food.
  • Anchor Hotel, Kippford DG5 4LN (off A710 south of Dalbeattie), +44 1556 620205, . Traditional pub overlooking Kippford harbour, good food and has accommodation. Real ales, dog friendly. If the weather is fair it's a great place to sit outside and watch the world go by.

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

Good 4G signal outdoors on all networks, but EE and Three are poor indoors, as of May 2020. 5G has not yet reached Castle Douglas.

Go next[edit]

  • Dumfries is best known as the poet Robert Burns' last home, but nearby there are also several castles, Sweetheart Abbey, and The Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
  • Kirkcudbright has long been an art colony; it was especially popular with "The Glasgow Boys" such as EA Hornel.
This city travel guide to Castle Douglas is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.