On the wide banks of the River Nith a short way inland from the Solway Firth, DUMFRIES is the largest town in southwest Scotland. Long known as the “Queen of the South” (as is its football club), the town flourished as a medieval seaport and trading centre. Enough remains of the original, warm red sandstone buildings to distinguish Dumfries from other towns in the southwest, though its main appeal is its associations with Robert Burns.

On the Burns trail in Dumfries

Burns’ House

Simple sandstone building where the poet died of rheumatic heart disease in 1796, a few days before the birth of his last son, Maxwell. Inside, one of the bedroom windows bears his signature, scratched with his diamond ring.

Burns Statue

Presiding over a roundabout, this sentimental piece of Victorian frippery in white Carrara marble features the great man holding a posy. His faithful hound, Luath, lies curled around his feet.


Burns’ body lay in state here, in Dumfries’ most singular building, a wonky hotchpotch of a place built in 1707 to fulfil the multiple functions of prison, clocktower, courthouse and arsenal.

Robert Burns Centre (RBC)

A free exhibition on the poet’s years in Dumfries plus an optional 20min slide show (£2).

St Michael’s Church

Originally buried in a simple grave near St Michael’s Church, in 1815 Burns was dug up and moved across the graveyard to a purpose-built mausoleum, a Neoclassical eyesore which houses a statue of him being accosted by the Poetic Muse.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 26.04.2021

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