Tucked away from the main tourist trail, it boasts a fascinating history that includes some of Scotland’s greatest figures as well as magnificent scenery.
The famous writer and philosopher is celebrated at Thomas Carlyle’s Birthplace in Ecclefechan. From humble beginnings in this unassuming cottage, Carlyle went on to become one of the best-known social commentators of the 19th century. The house is filled with his artefacts, books and memorabilia.
Scottish artist E A Hornel is remembered at Broughton House & Garden in Kirkcudbright. One of the early 20th-century ‘Glasgow Boys’ and a stunning colourist, Hornel had an eye for sensual detail. His own artworks can be seen alongside many of his contemporaries. His Japanese-inspired garden is a delight to explore.
One of the UK’s highest waterfalls, Grey Mare’s Tail cascades from a height of 60m and is the centrepiece of a beautiful nature reserve. Visitors can walk to a viewpoint or hike further uphill to Loch Skeen, the glassy mountain pool that is the waterfall’s source.
Rockcliffe on the Solway Firth is another great destination for those interested in natural landscapes. Highlights include wildflower meadows in summertime, ancient woodland, a hike to the historic Mote of Mark on a small hill, or a walk across the causeway at low tide to the bird sanctuary of Rough Island.
Some 12 miles further north lies Threave Garden & Estate, at Castle Douglas. Visitors can explore a series of gardens that showcase different styles. The wider estate is home to some lovely walking trails, an osprey viewing platform and the UK’s only bat reserve.