Things to see and do on your journey from Dumfries to Orroland
From Dumfries, take the A711 to Dalbeattie (approx 40 minutes drive from Orroland)
The A711 will take you through the historical town of Dumfries, the largest town in Dumfries and Galloway. Known as the centre of the region, Dumfries acquired the status of Royal Burgh in 1186. Little is left of the medieval town now but reminders of those days can be found at nearby Sweetheart Abbey and also Dundrennan Abbey (2 miles from Orroland). There are lots of shops and attractions in Dumfries itself so it's worth exploring. It is situated near the mouth of the River Nith, which runs into the Solway Firth. If you wanted to bypass the town and head straight to Orroland you could take the A75 for a few miles then pick up the A711 at the Kilnford Barns roundabout.
Famous poet Robert Burns resided in Dumfries; his house is now an interesting museum about how he would have lived there in the eighteenth Century. There is also a Robert Burns Centre, near the river with a fascinating scale model of Dumfries in the 1790s and a haunting audio-visual presentation of life in the town in those days. There are museum trails, fun activities and visitor information to help you explore Dumfries and Galloway's Robert Burns connections. There is a gift shop and an exhibition programme of work by local artists as well as an award winning restaurant, Hullabaloo. In the evenings the centre is the regional film theatre for Dumfries and Galloway.
Burns Statue overlooks the main high street which includes commercial shops familiar to most town centres. There are a variety of local and commercial bakers, cafes and restaurants serving locally sourced food. For a large supermarket, Tesco including Tesco fuel, is just off the A76 Glasgow road.
If you wanted to pop into the tourist information centre at Dumfries, it is located down the White Sands opposite the car park - otherwise you can find a host of information on the VisitScotland website for virtual guides and information on places of interest in the area.
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.
There is a large sport and leisure complex known as DGOne in Dumfries, it has a large gym and swimming pool hall which includes a national short course competition pool, a 20m training pool and a leisure water pool with beach and water features and flumes. The centre also has an entertainment programme including shows and events, their website is the source for more information.
If you are thinking about food shopping or another option for a stop off, we would recommend a visit to either of two great local farm shops and cafes on your way to Orroland:
Kilnford Barns Farm Shop and Cafe is on the route off the A75 and has a good butchery shop and cafe serving locally sourced, home grown produce, particularly pork and beef from their own farm. There is a nice outdoor play area and park with a large wooden play house, as well as a lovely walk around the grounds to see the farm animals. They are usually open until 5.30pm during the week and 5pm at weekends.
Loch Arthur is an organic farm shop further down the A711 just past Beeswing (its not really signposted so look out for the Church on your left coming out of Beeswing and there is a left turn signposted for New Abbey - take that left turn and then follow the small signs for Loch Arthur just after the turn). It has featured in The Telegraph’s top 50 farm shops in the UK, offering a fantastic range of organic produce and crafts from their working community farm. The new farm shop and cafe was finished in early 2014, boasting a light and spacious barn in which to enjoy their menu. There are peaceful walks around the grounds including a duck pond in the garden. Dogs are welcome but should be kept on a lead as there are sheep nearby. Somewhere worth remembering during your stay, their award winning cheese is highly recommended!
The A711 brings you through Dalbeattie, founded in 1793 as a mill town, a port and world famous granite quarrying centre. It has still got its Craignair Hill quarry, but now makes most of its income from tourism and service industries. If you are interested in its history, Dalbeattie has a fantastic little museum, manned by local volunteers who are passionate about the area.
The town has several shops and cafes, an Esso garage (last fuel stop en route to Orroland) and Colliston Park, great for strolling or enjoying a picnic; there is also a good play park for children. The Granite Kitchen is one of our recommended local places to eat and is just 15 mins from Orroland in Dalbeattie town centre. Generous home-made locally sourced food is served in a contemporary style dining area or you can take away; great for lunches. A variety of diets catered for and gluten free products are also available here. Free customer WiFi too.
The local granite defines the trails at Dalbeattie 7stanes, another popular mountain biking venue approximately 1 km out of the town. It has various grades of trail - easy to difficult - each with incredible views. The taster loop and green route are suitable for a family friendly ride and the red route is one of the most popular 7Stanes trails for the experienced biker. There are local facilities to hire bikes and public facilities at the trail head, Richorn Car Park.
The last section of the journey is to continue along the A711 towards Auchencairn, a very scenic route past Palnackie, once an important sea port, now a quiet village and home to The Willow Tree cafe and bistro, a popular place for breakfast through to evening meals, it is a favourite for walkers and holiday makers in the area, as well as the locals.
As you continue to Orroland, the features of the twin peaks of Screel and Bengairn are visible to the right, with the tidal flats and sandy bays of Kippford and Rockcliffe to the left, worth a visit in their own right they are features not to be missed on your visit for those who enjoy getting away from it all and taking in the views.
An interesting stop on the route is the unique Orchardton Tower (there is a brown signpost for this off the A711), built in 1456 by John Cairns. Scotland has many free-standing tower houses, but only this one is circular. A remarkably complete structure with fire place, original staircase and coves within to explore. It is possible to get to the top via a doorway into the main body of the tower, although the steps are steep and very narrow to climb. It is advisable to supervise children here and keep dogs on a lead since there are livestock nearby. It's an ideal picnic spot (pretend its your own castle for the afternoon as you are likely to have it all to yourself!)
On reaching Auchencairn, pleasantly situated at the head of the Solway estuary, you are in an area of unspoiled hills, cliffs, islands, bays and beaches known locally as the Scottish Riviera. There are numerous breath taking walks from here, details of which you can find on the Auchencairn website. We love the walk to the village's nearest (and rather secret) sandy beach, Red Haven. Here you will find a collection of such walks that are all within close proximity to Auchencairn and of an easy to moderate nature that can be enjoyed by anyone of a reasonable fitness. They can be downloaded, printed, and taken with you as a guide to some wonderful scenery that remains undiscovered for many.
The short drive from Auchencairn to Orroland commands, from many points, extensive views of the Solway and English coast. This landscape is so varied and extensive in its range that we can only here indicate a few prominent features. On an ordinarily clear day in the distance you can see the lofty summits of the Cumberland hills. Behind is the peak of Screel hill and so entering Orroland through the eagle guarded entrance, you will feel a world away, yet the journey has really just begun.
This article connects with our other route planning articles to help you enjoy your journey to Orroland. Journey from the South - Gretna to Dumfries and Journey from the North - Moffat to Dumfries. You can also find directions on our map in our location page.
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