Journey to Orroland from the South
M6 - Gretna (1 hour from Orroland)
There is no doubt that you'll pass through some interesting places on your journey to Orroland holiday cottages. Dumfries and Galloway is an amazing region full of variety; beautiful landscapes and an abundance of history, heritage and geological interests. Here you will find information to help you plan and enjoy your journey; giving you an introduction to the area before you arrive.
We understand everyone will experience a different journey, those travelling with young children, travelling as a group, couples or those travelling alone or with a dog, so we've included information and options which can help you select where to stop along the way depending on your interests and needs.
You'll enter Dumfries and Galloway from the south via Gretna. Gretna Green is one of the world's most romanticised wedding destinations; its 'runaway marriages' began in 1754 when stricter marriage laws came into force in England. To this day, weddings here are as popular as ever, with some 4000 per year! The village is an interesting and unique place to visit, you can either take the exit off the M6 following signs for Gretna or come off for Dumfries along the A75 and it is signposted off the A75. You'll take the A75 when you head towards Dumfries.
There are lots of gift and craft shops in Gretna, a food hall, café, an outdoor maze and sculptured gardens. There is a service to look up marriage certificates of any relatives who may have married there and print them off as a souvenir. It's somewhere suitable for all ages for a unique stop off.
Gretna also has a shopping outlet renowned for top brand bargains. Gretna Gateway is just a couple of minutes drive from Gretna Green and has a variety of branded shops, cafés and eateries open 7 days a week. It also has an outdoor play area. If you need fuel, there is an independent filling station opposite Gretna Gateway otherwise the next filling station is at Annan about 10 miles away.
From Gretna, follow the A75 to Dumfries, approximately 20-minutes' drive. The Devils Porridge Museum is midway between Gretna and Annan (signposted with brown signs from Eastriggs). It tells the story of HM Factory Gretna, which was the greatest munitions factory on earth. It was 9 miles long and supported the Great War with 30,000 workers employed from all over the country.
A little off the route but worth mentioning is the peaceful village 3 miles north from Gretna, Kirkpatrick Fleming. It houses Bruce's Cave where Robert the Bruce famously gained inspiration from a spider's efforts, giving rise to the saying, 'If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again'. In the winter of 1313 after suffering defeat Bruce went into hiding in this very cave whilst evading capture by Edward Longshanks. He then went forth from the cave, raised an army and won the historic battle of Bannockburn in 1314, even though his army was outnumbered ten to one. He established his claim to the throne and thus the beginning of freedom for Scotland. Signs for the cave can be followed from the village, the cave can be accessed from a path and there is a small shop at the camp site reception for essentials (open 9-9pm in the summer).
Back to the A75, Annan is the next town along. Annandale was owned by the Bruce family and many links and villages hide historical facts about Robert the Bruce. Annan is the third largest town in Dumfries and Galloway, originally a market town, which developed local industry using waterpower for grain milling and cotton spinning. For those interested in the history of Annan which dates way back to the Romans and then the famous Bruce family, Annan museum is easily found on the High Street. It houses a fascinating walk through time right up to the First World War with interactives and children’s activities. There are many stunning walks from Annan and the town has several restaurants, cafés and take aways. The Annan website is the source for more information.
The River Annan flows through the town and reaches the sea at Annan, it is one of the region's foremost fishing rivers with the water coming down originally gathered from the Southern Uplands.
Interested in Whisky? You might appreciate a stop off at the recently re-opened Annandale Distillery just 5 minutes drive north of annan. Originally established in 1836, Annandale distillery predates Glenfiddich and is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries. The newly developed buildings house a gift shop, coffee shop serving food and hot drinks plus you could take one of four tours on offer.
Continuing from Annan to Dumfries along the A75, the road has a few small quiet villages signposted off the route. Dalton hides a fantastic Thai restaurant in the Murray Arms pub (also does takeaway).
Caerlaverock Castle is signposted off the A75 just before Carrutherstown, about 7 miles south of Dumfries. This unique castle is about 4 miles down the B725. It was built to control the South-West entrance to Scotland which in early times was the waterway across the Solway Firth. A visit is worth the detour and there is a sleek tea room and shop on the estate. Building the castle began in about 1277 and with its moat, twin towered gatehouse and imposing battlements, Caerlaverock Castle is the epitome of the medieval stronghold. The castle's turbulent history owes much to its proximity to England which brought it into border conflicts. Visitors can enjoy a five star welcome, an interactive siege warfare exhibition and a children's adventure park. Be sure not to miss WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre on the Castle Estate, offering open space and tranquil wildlife watching. It may be quicker to follow Dumfries from here along the B725, a scenic drive along the River Nith.
Back along the A75 route (if you don't head to Caerlaverock Castle this time) Scotland's 'Best Dinosaur Experience' is just past Carrutherstown, signposted right off the A75: Dino Park at Hetland Garden Centre, about 8 miles from Annan. Open 7 days a week April-October it is associated with next door Hetland Garden Centre, which has a cafe (often with queues a mile long) and shop. Dino Park offers good leg-stretching fun for children, particularly pre-school and up to about 8 years old. You don't need a great deal of time there - an hour maybe - and it is right at the roadside so it's quite a handy break in the journey.
A little further along the A75 towards Dumfries is Drummuir Ice Cream Farm, which is signposted left off the A75 near Collin. There is a soft play area for toddlers and an indoor and outdoor play area for older children. This ice-cream parlour is a popular tourist attraction March-October and is situated on the owners' working dairy farm. The ice cream is luxurious and they have a variety of flavours, all with natural ingredients. Farmhouse baking, light lunch and coffee shop are also available in their purpose-built cafe.
Coming into Dumfries, if you are travelling with young children that you'd like to wear out, a great stop off for them would be Dalscone Fun Farm, it has lots of indoor and outdoor play activities, animals to meet, as well as a cafe and toy shop (closed on Sundays). Located just off the A701 entering Dumfries, you will pass it on your left just before Heathhall Garden Centre, which also has a coffee and gift shop. Garden Wise is a popular garden centre with a large selection of plants and gifts as well as a new children's play area and coffee shop. The garden centre is located along the A780, just coming out of the town it is right off the A711 towards Dumfries and Galloway Golf Club - a welcoming club with a very good range of facilities for golf enthusiasts and their families.
From Dumfries, look out for the A711 to Dalbeattie. Visit our Dumfries to Orroland article for more details and more stop-off suggestions for the last leg of the journey.
You can also find a map and directions on our location page.