Family visitor attractions in Dumfries and Galloway
Local farm parks, attractions and gardens to visit during your family holiday at Orroland
We have really enjoyed writing about the farm parks and children's attractions local to Orroland because they have given our own family so much fun over the years. Farmers who have diversified to offer something special for visitors to the region compete with national attractions whilst maintaining a non-commercialised feel popular with locals and visitors to Dumfries and Galloway. We have seen them develop over the years and they always try to offer something new.
At each of these attractions adults can enjoy watching their children play and appreciate an on-site cafe with lunch and drinks menus full of local produce. Admission fees do apply and it is best to check out the attraction's own website for prices. Phone numbers and web links are provided so you can check seasonal opening hours.
Cream O' Galloway Rainton Farm Gatehouse of Fleet 01557 814 040
Farm tours at Cream O' Galloway
Outdoor fun cart track & mini tractors
Lots of fun in the indoor adventure barn
The Cocoabean Company Chocolate Factory Twynholm DG6 4NP 01557 860608
Mix fun with chocolate at The Cocoabean Company, Twynholm (25 minutes from Orroland). A visitor centre and small specialist chocolate factory, they supply delightfully tasty chocolates to local businesses and national retailers such as John Lewis, Waitrose and Harrods. Alongside the factory, they have an imaginative indoor soft play area (think Willy Wonka) and an extensive outdoor playground with an enormous dinosaur, pirate ship, wooden play tower, big slides and swings. You can book chocolate making workshops for adults and children which are fun and something a bit different. With great tasting chocolate, an appealing lunch menu and a visitor shop for selecting some chocolatey treats this is a popular family day out, rain or shine. Check out their facebook page for daily events. This attraction is open all year round.
Zoom down the Adventure slide
Chocolate workshops fun for all ages
Indoor softplay area and slides
Threave Estate & Gardens Castle Douglas DG7 1RX
Regarded as one of the best gardens to visit in Scotland, Threave Garden will not disappoint. A garden for all seasons, it is lovely to visit all year round and suitable for families of all ages to explore. We recently visited and notice that each time there is something new to see, the children enjoy the freedom to explore and play. There are waymarked trails, bird hides and a wildfowl sanctuary on the estate, the walks within the grounds are beautiful. It is advisable to check opening days and times between November - March as these can vary, the best number to call and check is 01556 502 575.
Beautiful walks around Threave Estate
Intriguing gardens at Threave Estate
Fun and exploration abound at Threave
Mabie Farm Park Burnside Farm, Dumfries DG2 8EZ 01387 259666
Meet a variety of animals and have a go at some fun indoor and outdoor activities at Mabie Farm Park. It is one of the largest farm parks in the region, just outside Dumfries (40 minutes from Orroland). There are lots of things to do for toddlers up to early teens and it's worth allowing a full day to take in everything on offer and get best value for money. The farm park covers an area of over forty acres and has many attractions; an outdoor bouncy pillow, dirt buggy track, grass sledging slope, pedal go karts, a boating pond, lots of farm animals to meet indoors and outdoors (with time slots for helping to feed and pet some of them). If it is a wet day, there is a 5000 square foot indoor playbarn for youngsters and a barn full of straw bales with ropes to swing from for older children. You'll find a farm shop full of goodies and a large tearoom serving lunch and hot drinks. There are plenty of places for adults to sit and watch on the picnic tables while the children play. The park closes for the winter season from early November - end March. Their facebook page is also a good place for up-to-date events and information.
Huge grass slide, Mabie Farm Park
Outdoor play area at Mabie Farm Park
Indoor playbarn at Mabie Farm Park
7Stanes Mabie Mountain Bike Trails Mabie Forest near Dumfries
Adjacent to Mabie Farm Park are the excellent mountain biking trails of 7Stanes Mabie Forest. These can provide a good option for older teens whilst younger members of the family visit Mabie Farm Park. The biking trails range from family friendly to difficult, with a taster circuit if you don't want to cycle very far. As a guide, our children have been cycling the green route since they were 5 years old. At the 7Stanes trail head there is a good playground, loos and lots of paths for walking/running about, including streams to leap across or build dams in. The 7Stanes trails and forest are an excellent source of free fun. Nearby is Mabie Hotel - walking distance from the trail head - which serves a pleasant lunch for those who aren't in the picnicing mood.
There are two other 7Stanes trails in the region which we enjoy visiting, Dalbeattie (our closest) and Kirroughtree (near Newton Stewart). The 7Stanes website is a great place for more information about the routes and visitor centre opening times, bike hire and cafe facilities.
Dalscone Farm Park Edinburgh Road Dumfries DG1 1SE 01387 254445
Dalscone Farm Park in Dumfries (40 minutes from Orroland) has an extensive and popular indoor and outdoor play area for under 12s. Children love the toy shop which is open all year as well as the cafe with seating overlooking the indoor play area. The outdoor farm park includes crazy golf and pedal carts, a large wooden play castle, mini digger in the sand pit and much much more. The outdoor park is open from Spring to the end of October and the indoor is open all year (excludes Sundays). There are lots of interesting animals to see around the park too; pigs, donkeys, goats, ponies and sheep to name a few. The latest addition was a group of meerkats! You can keep up-to-date with Dalscone Farm Fun via their facebook page or check out their website for opening times.
Outdoor play area at Dalscone Farm
Kids love the mini carts and car track
Dino Park at Hetland Garden Centre, Carrutherstown, Dumfries DG1 4JX 01387 840632
If your children love dinosaurs, they'll love Dino Park just outside Dumfries. It is the largest dinosaur park in Scotland and situated within the grounds of Hetland Garden Centre. There is an extensive play area, many large dinosaurs to meet around the park and much to learn about them.
Mossyard Farm Pottery Gatehouse of Fleet DG7 2ET Tel: 07928 103490
A paint it yourself workshop for individuals, groups and families. Booking is essential before you visit so please call to make arrangements first. Visitors can tie this in with an activity, or visit to the cafe, at Laggan Outdoor Activity centre only a few hundred yards away.
Family friendly historic attractions
Drumlanrig Castle & Estate Thornhill DG3 4AQ 01848 331 555
Drumlanrig Castle and Estate (1 hour from Orroland) has many offerings for children including a woodland adventure playground and a soft play area for 6 year olds and under. You can take bikes or hire some at the castle courtyard; this is a super way to take in the stunning scenery surrounding the way-marked mountain biking trails leading out from the castle grounds. Walkers will find way-marked trails from 1.5km - 7km in length and you can also book a countryside ranger to find out about the conservation work on the estate. You can explore via a landrover tour if you prefer.
If you can drag your children away from roly-polying down the oh-so-tempting mown grass slopes around the castle, head in to the castle itself. Drumlanrig Castle is the stunning Dumfriesshire seat of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Here you will find the internationally recognised Buccleuch Collection of artworks, ceramics, tapestries and furniture and be immersed in over 600 years of the Douglas family’s history. For food, head for the Castle Tearoom rather than the Courtyard Cafe (if our last experience of the cafe was typical it was poor.) The gardens are lovely. There is a programme of events running throughout the open season, many of which are of interest to families. Drumlanrig seasonal brochure. The Castle and Castle Tearoom are closed October-April but the grounds remain open for the mountain biking trails and walks. The adventure playground and gardens are also seasonal so it would be best to call before your visit to be sure of what is open October-April. They have a lovely Christmas fair early in December within the stableyard with food, crafts and mulled wine.
Caerlaverock Castle Glencaple Dumfries DG1 4RU
Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle run by Historic Scotland (about 50 minutes from Orroland). It is open all year round and I've always found it charming that there are car park attendants there to give you a 5-star welcome. Visitors can enter the imposing medieval stronghold and explore its imposing battlements, finding out the part the castle played in many a brutal border conflict. The castle-themed adventure playground will rival the actual castle for your children's attention and if one castle isn't enough you can suggest they lead the way along the nature trail through the woods to the foundations of another earlier castle. If you're lucky there may be a re-enactment event on during your stay; these are very engaging for children and their adults. There is home-baking aplenty and freshly ground coffee in the tearoom on site.
Beyond the medieval inner sanctum of the castle, Caerlaverock estate offers much else to tempt the visitor. There is stunning scenery, signposted walking routes, an internationally renowned National Nature Reserve and a national Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. A popular tea room and shop at Glencaple offer sustenance to walkers, cyclists, bird watchers and indeed to all who visit the estate.
Creetown Gem Rock Museum Creetown Newtown Stewart DG8 7HJ 01671 820 357
A unique and educational place to visit, this museum is fascinating and fun for all ages. It is one of a kind and renowned worldwide as one of the finest private collections of gemstones, rocks, crystals, minerals and fossils in the UK. There is a lot to see and the owners have made every effort to offer something for everyone to make a visit here memorable and enjoyable. Their Prospectors' Pantry cafe is fantastic and serves a wide selection of drinks, home baking and lunches. The cafe has a log burning stove in the spacious and comfortable seating area and they also have special events on throughout the year, their craft fair is very popular. The museum and café is open all year round, from 1st April – 30th September open seven days (9.30am – 5.30pm) and 1st October – 31st March (10am – 4pm) Closed Monday and Tuesdays. There is a small admission charge to enter the museum but it is free to look around the gift shop and enjoy the café.
Self Catering Holiday Cottages for families South West Scotland
All these attractions are within 1 hour's drive of the holiday cottages and large holiday home at Orroland. If you love the great outdoors and wish to holiday in a cottage designed and equipped specially for families find out more about our family friendly holiday cottages near Kirkcudbright.