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Dumfries

Dumfries is a relaxed, friendly and historic town, which is well served by public transport with easy access to UWS Dumfries Campus by foot, car or bus from the town centre.

With a population of over 38,000, Dumfries provides all the amenities of a city, but on a smaller scale. Restaurants, pubs and clubs are plentiful - entertainment options include sports, health clubs and cinemas, as well as vibrant high street and independent shops. Close proximity to the countryside makes it an ideal place for people who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

The cost of living is also relatively low - a night out in Dumfries will cost you considerably less than a night out in Glasgow, Edinburgh or London. Affordable accommodation in town is readily available.

History

Dumfries is an historic market town located in the south west of Scotland, within the Dumfries and Galloway region. Established as a Royal Burgh in the 12th century, Dumfries was a bustling market town and inland port with thriving wool and cloth trades.  

Luxuries like wine were imported to the town from France and Spain, with spices coming from further afield. Medieval Dumfries was also home to many craftsmen such as fleshers, skinners, glovers, shoemakers and bakers. 

Due to its location close to the border with England, Dumfries suffered raids and conflicts during the 14th and 15th centuries and was subjected to a series of fires at the hands of the English.  

 

Historic Market Town

In 1306 Robert the Bruce (Lord of Annandale, an area to the east of Dumfries) murdered John Comyn (the "Red Comyn", a rival for the Scottish Crown) in Greyfriars Kirk in the town. This act secured the kingdom for Bruce and would lead to the Battle of Bannockburn against England in 1314.

Dumfries is an historic market town located in the south west of Scotland, within the Dumfries and Galloway region. Established as a Royal Burgh in the 12th century, Dumfries was a bustling market town and inland port with thriving wool and cloth trades. Medieval Dumfries was also home to many craftsmen such as fleshers, skinners, glovers, shoemakers and bakers. Due to its location close to the border with England, Dumfries suffered raids and conflicts during the 14th and 15th centuries and was subjected to a series of border raids at the hands of the English.

Conflict with its southern neighbour would continue over the centuries. Despite this, Dumfries thrived as market town, growing in size to a population of over 20,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. Dumfries is the administrative centre for the Dumfries and Galloway region, and is the largest town in the south of Scotland.

Dumfries is often referred to as the “Queen of the South” (a name it shares with the successful Scottish Championship football team) and has been voted the best place to live in Scotland. The Bard (poet) Robert Burns spent his later years in Dumfries until his death in 1796 and is buried in Burns' Mausoleum in St Michael's Church. His statue at the top of Dumfries High Street appears on five pound notes.

Other famous people with a Dumfries connection include:

  • John-Paul Jones - founder of the United States Navy
  • JM Barrie - author of Peter Pan
  • James Clerk Maxwell - scientist and "father" of modern physics
  • David Coulthard - Formula 1 racing driver and TV presenter
  • Dr Neil Oliver - historian and TV presenter
  • Sam Heughan - TV actor, most famous for his role in the "Outlander" series
  • Calvin Harris - international DJ, songwriter and music producer

Top Attractions

Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura

Housed within an 18th century windmill located on a hilltop overlooking to town, Dumfries Museum is certainly unique. It contains a large number of artefacts of local and national importance, such as fossil footprints left by prehistoric reptiles and tools and weapons from early inhabitants of the area. The top floor of the building is dedicated to a camera obscura which dates back to 1836 and offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding countyside.

Visit Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura

Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle is a medieval stronghold with a turbulent history. Home to the Maxwell's and dating back to the 13th Century, it’s unique triangular shape, imposing sandstone walls and defensive moat makes it one of the most impressive looking castles in Scotland. Today, the castle is a five-star visitor attraction with a siege warfare exhibition, nature trail and children’s adventure park.

Visit Caerlaverock Castle

Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal in Dumfries, opened in 1792, is Scotland’s oldest working theatre. It has played host to some illustrious visitors, including Robert Burns, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. Today, it is owned and operated by Dumfries’ Guild of Players who put on a regular season of plays including a Christmas pantomime.

Visit the Theatre Royal

Guid Nychburris

Not so much an attraction as an event, the Guid Nychburris Festival takes place annually in Dumfries, generally on the third weekend in June. Deriving its name from the Middle Scots words meaning “good neighbours”; the festivities include a pageant, the coronation of the Queen of the South and the Riding of the Marches.

Find out more about Guid Nychburris

Eating, drinking and entertainment

Eating out

Dumfries has a superb choice of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Local favourites include Primo Piano for fresh Italian food, Caven's Arms for traditional pub grub and Mrs Green's Tea Lounge for the best afternoon tea in town. Neuro's Restaurant and Spa has recently opened within the grounds of UWS Dumfries Campus, and Pizzeria il Fiume is virtually next door to UWS Accommodation at Dock Park.

Pubs

If you fancy a night on the tiles, Dumfries has some lively pubs and clubs that are worth a visit. The Globe Inn, established in 1610, was frequented by Robert Burns. The room and chair which Burns used are still in use today and if you want to sit in his chair you must recite at least one line from his poems. Complete with its own ghost that is said to make an appearance at parties and special events, the Globe offers quality drinks and a great atmosphere.

Visit The Globe

Places to eat

Caven's Arms

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Caven's Arms

Primo Piano

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Primo Piano

Neuro's

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Neuro's

The Swan

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The Swan

Nightclubbing

Dumfries has two nightclubs:

  • A Dumfries institution Chancers is the biggest nightclub in the region. It's open 365 days a year and has a mix of all music genres including chart, dance and classic pop
  • Spread across two floors and with live music and DJ nights every weekend, The Venue is the go-to place in town for night time entertainment

 

The Venue

Sports and leisure

Mountainbiking

Dumfries & Galloway offers an extensive range of recreational facilities and is home to internationally-renowned mountainbiking facilities. The region has five of the seven internationally-renowned 7Stanes mountain biking centres

7Stanes

Golf

As the home of golf, there is lots of choice if for the keen golfer. Dumfries & Galloway has several 9 and 18-hole competition-grade golf courses. The Crichton Golf Club is adjacent to UWS Dumfries Campus, and other clubs including Dumfries & Country and Dumfries & Galloway offer affordable golfing to students

Crichton golf Club

7Stanes Mountainbiking

Ae

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Ae

Dalbeattie

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Dalbeattie

Glentrool

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Glentrool

Kirroughtree

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Kirroughtree

Mabie

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Mabie

Outdoors

Galloway Activity Centre, situated on the banks of Loch Ken, specialises in outdoor activities including archery, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip wire and much more. You can visit for the day or stay onsite in a variety of different accommodation including eco pods, yurts and Lochside cabins.

Galloway Activity Centre

Galloway Forest Park

Galloway Forest Park, located a short distance from Dumfries, is the largest forest park in Britain with over 300 square miles of forest to explore. The ancient woodland is home to a great variety of wildlife including deer, red squirrels, otters and wild goats in the Galloway Goat Park. The park is perfect for a day out, whether it be walking, cycling, fishing or just sitting back and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Galloway Forest Park
Last updated: 20/09/2017