Welcome to the serene rural idyll that is Dumfriesshire, a bucolic county in the southernmost part of Scotland. The region’s powerful historical legacy is as ancient as the hills that gently roll across its rural landscape, and hold a charm that's as timeless as the stone from which many of its quaint properties are built.

From the alluring towns of Dumfries and Lockerbie to the picturesque villages dotting its pastoral expanse, our area guide takes you through the best Dumfriesshire has to offer. Expect local insights into the area’s landmarks, schools, transport links, preferred residential areas and the top local attractions that elevate living in Dumfriesshire to an enriching experience.

History of Dumfriesshire

Dumfriesshire's history is deeply rooted in Scotland's heritage. Dating back to Roman times, it was a historic county, covering a large area, until administrative reorganisation in the late 20th century. It has had a varied history, seeing Viking invasions, border conflicts, and royal connections.

Key figures such as Scotland's National bard, Robert Burns, have left a lasting imprint on the region—adding to its distinctive charm. Today, Dumfriesshire is celebrated for its rich history, peaceful countryside, and vibrant local culture.


Three of Dumfriesshire's most notable landmarks include the iconic Caerlaverock Castle, the Burns House Museum in Dumfries, and the notable Devil's Porridge Museum. Caerlaverock Castle with its moat, twin-towered gatehouse, and imposing battlements, is a romantic, triangular fortification that encapsulates the medieval castle experience superbly. The Burns House Museum, where the celebrated poet spent his last years, is a celebration of his life and endeavours. The Devil's Porridge Museum illuminates the historic role of the munitions factory in Gretna, which played a vital role during both World Wars.

Landmarks We Love

  • Old Blacksmith’s Shop: Gretna Green – For over two centuries, this romantic spot has borne witness to thousands of runaway marriages. It's an enduring symbol of love and endeared local tradition.
  • Drumlanrig: Near Thornhill - A grand castle surrounded by beautiful gardens and woodland, Drumlanrig Castle is a treat for history buffs and nature enthusiasts.
  • Moffat Tourism Sculpture: Moffat - An iconic sculpture which is a symbol of the town’s sheep farming heritage and well loved by residents and visitors.
  • Ruthwell Cross: Ruthwell - A magnificent Early Medieval Anglo-Saxon cross with unique runic inscriptions and biblical carvings.
  • Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura: Dumfries - A vibrant museum showcasing the area's history and natural heritage.

Top 10 things to do in Dumfriesshire

  • Visit the Annandale Distillery: Annan - Indulge in a bit of whisky tasting at this historic distillery, which dates back to 1836.
  • Hike the Southern Upland Way: Starts in Portpatrick - This long-distance footpath offers phenomenal views of the Galloway hills.
  • Explore the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Trails: Across Dumfries and Galloway - Known as the best mountain bike routes in the country, a must for all adventure seekers.
  • Visit Moffat Woolen Mill: Moffat - A classic mill offering a spectrum of woolen goods from local weavers.
  • Enjoy Threave Garden and Estate: Near Castle Douglas - The sprawling estate with a garden, nature reserve, and a historic castle.
  • Visit Charteries Memorial Church: Dumfries - An architectural marvel with fascinating ecclesiastical history.
  • Explore Mersehead Nature Reserve: By Southwick - A winter haven for barnacle geese, this RSPB nature reserve offers rewarding bird watching opportunities.
  • Visit the Savings Bank Museum: Ruthwell – A unique museum that gives insight into the origins of modern banking.
  • Enjoy Dumfries Ice Bowl: Dumfries - The leading ice rink in Scotland, a paradise for ice-skating enthusiasts.
  • Visit Drumlanrig Castle: Thornhill - A lavishly decorated castle set amidst the Ningaloo Duke’s Forrest Estate.

Our recommended areas to live in Dumfriesshire

  • Gretna - Known for its historic Blacksmith’s Shop, Gretna combines the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city. It offers excellent local schools and transport links, and is very family-friendly.
  • Dumfries - As the administrative capital, it has outstanding healthcare facilities, thriving social scene and excellent educational institutes that cater to every age group.
  • Moffat - This spa town is nestled amidst breathtaking scenery. It's wonderfully connected yet maintains a laid-back, small-town vibe, catering to anyone seeking a peaceful lifestyle.
  • Lockerbie - Known for its local schools, historic heritage, and bustling local market, it offers an enriching community living experience.
  • Annan - Home to the famed Annandale Distillery, and blessed with a beautiful coastline, it's a vibrant town that presents a good mix of urban amenities amidst natural beauty.

Best schools in Dumfriesshire

Dumfriesshire offers a brilliant array of education facilities, catering to all age groups. For the very young, there are numerous nurseries and pre-school set-ups. For older children, primary schools including Lockerbie Primary School, Gretna Primary School, and Moffat Academy excel in imparting quality education. When it comes to secondary education, Dumfries High School, Annan Academy, and Lockerbie Academy stand out for their dedicated staff, comprehensive curriculum and excellent facilities.

For higher education, Dumfries is home to the University of Glasgow's School of Interdisciplinary Studies. There are also good vocational pathways and apprenticeships available locally.

Transport links in Dumfriesshire

Dumfriesshire is well served by major roads, the A74(M) and the A75, facilitating seamless road travel throughout the region. Frequent buses also enable easy local travel. Dumfries is the main railway station in the region, with regular services to Carlisle and onward connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh. For air travel, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are the closest major airports, albeit Newcastle airport is also an option.

In conclusion, there's much to cherish about Dumfriesshire—the blend of history, culture, amenities and tranquility makes it a unique place to call home. From its fascinating historical sites, educational opportunities and transport links to the myriad of leisure activities, ardent community spirit, and picturesque landscapes, you're in for a lifestyle filled with enriching experiences.

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