1. To enjoy event after event (after event)
Dumfries & Galloway really comes into its own in the warmer months with a range of events and festivals. The fun kicks off with Spring Fling (May 26–28), an arts and crafts open-studios weekend. Overlapping with the Fling is the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival (May 25 to June 3), a ten-day bonanza showcasing the best of local creativity. Other highlights include the Eden Festival (June 7–10), a cute-and-boutique music event, and Electric Fields (August 30 to September 1), a larger music festival in beautiful forest surroundings. Finally, aw shucks, why not go ahead and treat yourself at the Stranraer Oyster Festival, a fitting way to round off the summer (not that the summer ever really ends in Dumfries & Galloway).
Spring Fling © Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland
2. To bask in the Gulf Stream’s frontline
The Gulf Stream’s frontline: otherwise known as the Solway coast. Fractured and circuitous as if to make the most of its length, Scotland’s southernmost coastline is full of gorgeous sandy coves. Tour along it by vintage Alfa Romeo to really enjoy the full “riviera” experience – there’s no St-Tropez or Cannes, but who cares when you’ve got coastal beauties such as Southerness, Sandyhills, Mossyard and Carrick Shore? The South West Coastal 300 is the way to go (top down, if at all possible). Really make a road trip out of it by venturing all the way down to Scotland’s southernmost tip for the Mull of Galloway Experience, a fascinating lighthouse visit.
Sandyhills bay © Damian Shields/VisitScotland
3. To see more clearly than ever before
It’s far from the nastiest member of the pollution family, but light pollution affects our lives all the same. Often it’s not until we see what the night sky looks like without light pollution that we really understand what we’ve been missing. Galloway Forest Park is the UK’s first Dark Sky Park and it makes for a jaw-dropping experience of stargazing. Those who are drawn to the science behind dark-sky stargazing should also check out the work of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, a UNESCO-backed scheme to promote a sustainable relationship with the natural environment.
Galloway Forest Park © Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland
4. To get your pulse racing
The Dumfries & Galloway landscape isn’t just there to be gawped at, you know. Amongst many other pursuits, Laggan Outdoor offers a human slingshot, which will give you a – ahem – unique perspective on the surroundings. Galloway Activity Centre, meanwhile, can hook you up with everything from paddleboarding and sailing to climbing. For two-wheel enthusiasts, the 7stanes mountain biking centres are well worth checking out. They cater for everyone from beginners and families up to steely thighed mountain biking experts.
Mountain biking near Dalbeattie © Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland