The southwest corner of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway, has stately homes, deserted hills and ruined abbeys to compete with the best of the Borders. It also has the Solway coast, a long, indented coastline of sheltered sandy coves that’s been dubbed the “Scottish Riviera” – it’s certainly Scotland’s warmest, southernmost stretch of coastline.
Dumfries is the largest town in the region, and only really a must for those on the trail of Robert Burns. Further west is enticing Kirkcudbright, once a bustling port thronged with sailing ships, later an artists’ retreat, and now a tranquil, well-preserved little town. Contrasting with the essentially gentle landscape of the Solway coast is the brooding presence of the Galloway Hills to the north, their beautiful moors, mountains, lakes and rivers centred on the Galloway Forest Park, a hillwalking and mountain-biking paradise.