Things to see and do near the Isle of Whithorn

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The Isle of Whithorn

The Isle of Whithorn

What to see and do at the Isle of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway

There are many places of interest within a short distance of the Isle of Whithorn. The map above shows the locations of the places listed below.

St. Ninian's Cave

St Ninian's CaveReached on foot from a car park at Physgill - a pretty walk through woods and by a stream until you reach a wide pebble beach with the cave at the north end. Used as a retreat by St Ninian and successors in the 6th and 7th centuries, and today still a place of pilgrimage. (Historic Scotland)

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Whithorn Priory and Visitor Centre

Whithorn PrioryIn the heart of Scotland's oldest Christian town, you will find a fascinating exhibition showing the story of Whithorn from the earliest times. Walk round the excavated Northumbrian monastery, ruins of a medieval cathedral and crypts and see one of the finest collections of early Christian stones. Don't miss seeing the priceless 12th century Whithorn Crozier, now restored here from Edinburgh's Royal Museum. (Historic Scotland & The Whithorn Trust)

Visit the Whithorn website at

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Cruggleton ChurchCruggleton Church

Built as a private chapel for the Lords of Galloway, resident at nearby Cruggleton Castle (ruined). A key to visit the Church may be obtained from a nearby farm.



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Rigg Bay

Rigg BayDuring the second world war, this was where the Mulberry harbours used in the D-Day landings were tested. A solitary tower remains out in Wigtown Bay as a reminder. The quiet, sandy beach here has always been popular with local families, and is easy to get to. Perfect for a picnic.

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Galloway House Gardens

Galloway House GardensAcres of wooded and semi-wild gardens which are full of surprises. In spring, ablaze with colour from tree-sized rhodedendrons and azaleas, bluebells and magnolias.


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Once a busy harbour, with railway and ferry services and maritime industries, the village is now a quiet retreat geared to farming and leisure. This was the estate village for Galloway House nearby, and many of the attractive houses in the crescents that surround the bay are holiday homes. Pleasure craft now share the harbour with a few fishing boats.

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St. Medans Golf Course

One of the prettiest locations for a coastal 9-hole golf course anywhere in the country. Stop on the hill above to take in the view, with the Isle of Man lying the south; admire the bronze statue of an otter placed there in memory of Ring of Bright Water author Gavin Maxwell, who spent much of his childhood near Monreith. See our page on Activities: Golf.

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Monreith Animal World

Open from the end of March to end of October, here you can see otters, eagle owls, small mammals and reptiles, as well as foreign birds, waterfowl, goats, ponies, cattle and a small museum. (01988 700 217)

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West Drumrae

At this riding and horse driving centre visitors can take accompanied treks over hill and farmland, or enjoy carriage driving around the quiet lanes of Wigtownshire. (Tel. 01988 700 518)

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Swallow Theatre

Swallow TheatreThis is one of Scotland's smallest theatres, just over 40 seats, located in a former farm steading at Moss Park, near Whithorn. An annual programme of drama, recitals, poetry and music features visiting professional and local amateur artistes. For more details tel. 01988 850 368.

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Monreith Beach

Monreith BeachReached by a long flight of steps from the roadside lay-by just outside Monreith village, this offers sweeping views of Luce Bay, with the Mull of Galloway and the Rhins peninsula to the west. On good days, expect to see the distant hills of Antrim and the Mourne mountains in Northern Ireland.

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Barsalloch Fort

Just off the A747, you can climb up a steep slope to this Iron Age promontory fort, defended by a deep U-shaped ditch. (Historic Scotland)

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Port William

Port William  StatueFamous as a haunt of smugglers until the establishment of a customs post in 1788! No customs here now, but the harbour and layout of the town has changed little over the years. Take a stroll from the harbour up to the green and try and engage in a little conversation with one of the Port's most picturesque inhabitants!

Carnival Week is during the first week of August, and another popular event, the Port William Folk Festival takes place at the end of May. For more information visit;

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Monreith House Gardens

About a mile from Port William, this was the home of Sir Herbert Maxwell, naturalist, author and artist, and also grandfather to Gavin Maxwell (see St Medan's).

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Drumtroddan Standing Stones

Two important prehistoric sites - consisting of Standing Stones and nearby, Cup and Ring Marked rocks dating from the Bronze Age. (Historic Scotland)

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'Ewe to Ewe, Millairies'

This is the home of Galloway Farmhouse Cheese, and the famous Cairnsmore - a hard pressed cheese made with ewe's milk. There is a small shop at the farm, but ring ahead to check opening (Tel. 01988.500224).

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Kilsture Forest

Kilsture ForestEasily reached from the road, this small forest offers a tranquil setting which, if you're patient will often reward with sightings of roe deer and plentiful and varied bird life.

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Druchtag Motte Hill

At Mochrum village, you can climb up the steep slopes of this good example of a motte castle. (Historic Scotland)

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Chapel Finian

The remains of a chapel, which was probably for pilgrims on their way to Whithorn. (Historic Scotland)

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Bladnoch Distillery

Bladnoch DistilleryScotland's most southerly distillery, recently revived from mothballing by a new, enterprising owner, welcomes you to take a tour of the establishment, and sample some of the fine lowland malt whisky that's been produced here. A must for any whisky lover! Guided tours, gift shop, fishing and canoeing. River and woodland walks. Picnic and barbecue. (Tel. 01988 402605).

Bladnoch Distillery website:

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Scotland's National Book Town is centred on this attractive 12th century burgh; home to more than 30 bookshops and related businesses, with the centre of attraction the main market square and fine County Buildings and Town Hall. This has now been totally restored, and houses a magnificent observatory giving live coverages in season of local nesting ospreys.

Each year there is a wide variety of book events and activities, including book markets, exhibitions, writers performances and festivals. (visit )

Down on the riverside, by the River Cree, visit the site of the Wigtown Martyrs. Wigtown is home to the largest local nature reserve in Britain.

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