A large but very charming old county town, set on the banks of the River Nith. Dumfries has a long and very turbulent history and is filled with attractions and historic buildings. You will also find plenty of well known shops and independent retailers along the high street, plus a wide selection of restaurants and eateries.

River Nith Dumfries

The town is famed for its connection with Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard, and also with J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. Burns lived in nearby Ellisland Farm (1788 - 1791), where he wrote some of his most well know poems and songs, including Tam o 'Shanter and Auld Lang Syne. There is a Robert Burns Centre in the town which celebrates the life and works of this world famous poet. The house were he died can also be visited on Burns Street and his mausoleum is located in St Michael's churchyard.

The old six arched sandstone bridge (shown above) dates from the 15th-c, and is the oldest of five that cross the Nith. It was built over the site of a previous wooden bridge, erected by Lady Devorgilla, wife of John de Baliol, founder of Balliol College, Oxford. Built into one end of the bridge is the Old Bridge House, the oldest house in Dumfries, which is now a museum of everyday life. Just downstream of the old bridge is the Caul, a weir created to power riverside grain mills in the 18th-c. On summer evenings, salmon can often be seen leaping the weir to get upstream to spawn.

One of the most interesting buildings in the town is The Observatory on Rotchell Road, home to the Dumfries Local History Museum. The building is a converted 18th-c windmill. It has a Victorian style Camera Obscura located above that provides an interesting moving panoramic view of the area. The most prominent building in Dumfries is the Midsteeple on the High Street, built in 1707 as a courthouse and prison.

It was in Dumfries that the Scottish patriot Robert Bruce committed his first act of rebellion against Edward I in 1306, when he murdered his rival to the Scottish throne, John Comyn, in the town’s Greyfriars monastery. Later he won his first victory in the war of independence by capturing Dumfries Castle. Very little of the original castle structure remains and the area is today marked by Castledykes park.

Some of the county's gentlest and most beautiful scenery lies in the nearby lowlands region. The town's central location makes it a good base from which to explore this part of Scotland, where you can enjoy plenty of hill walking and mountain biking. The surrounding area is also peppered with war torn castles and grand houses such as Caerlaverock Castle, Drumlanrig Castle and Maxwelton House, along with many other historic attractions.

Attractions and Places to Visit in Dumfries

Robert Burns Centre

Award-winning visitor centre telling story of connections between Robert Burns and the town of Dumfries.
• Audio-visual presentation
• Scale town model
• Award-winning cafe

Opening times: times vary see Website for details - Admission Free
Location: Mill Road, Dumfries DG2 7BE - T: 01387 264808

Robert Burns House

The simple sandstone house in which Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, spent the last years of his brilliant life.
• Kilmarnock Edition
• Original manuscripts
• Burns desk and chair

Opening times: times vary see website for details - Admission Free
Location: Burns Street, Dumfries DGl 2PS - T: 01387 253297

Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum

The prime objective of the Museum is to preserve and maintain the aviation heritage of Dumfries & Galloway along with exhibits from all over the world. Visitors can have a hands on experience in various aircraft. Impressive display of artifacts. Large and ever expanding aircraft collection.

Opening times: Easter - Oct: Sat & Sun 10am - 5pm; Wed, Thur/Fri Jul- Aug: 11am - 4pm - Admission Charge
Location: 2 Woodland Cottages, Newbridge, Dumfries DG2 OHZ - T: 01387 720488 - Website

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura

A treasure house of history, telling the story of Dumfries and Galloway.
• Fossil footprints left by prehistoric reptiles
• Tools and weapons of the earliest people
• Stone carvings of Scotland's first Christians
Installed in 1836, the camera obscura provides a fascinating panoramic view of Dumfries.

Opening times: Apr to Sept: Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm, 2-5pm; Oct to Mar: Tues - Sat 10am -1pm, 2-5pm - Admission Free
Location: The Observatory, Rotchell Road, Dumfries DG2 7SW - T: 01387 253374 - Website

Old Bridge House

Built in 1660 into the sandstone of Devorgilla Bridge, Dumfries' oldest house is now a museum of everyday life in the town. Contains several mock period rooms, including a 19th century nursery, family kitchen and early dentist's surgery.

Opening times: Apr to Sept: Mon - Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm - Admission Charge
Location: Mill Road, Dumfries DG2 7BE - T: 01387 253374 - Website

Savings Banks Museum

Site of the world's first Savings Bank. Includes historical displays, money boxes, notes and coins.

Opening times: Apr to Sept, Tues- Sat 10am-4pm; Oct to Mar, Thu - Sat 10am-4pm (& BH Mon) - Admission Free
Location: Ruthwell, Dumfries DG1 4NN - T: 01387 870640 - Website

Map of Dumfries


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