Located in the stunning southwest region of Scotland, Wigtownshire is renowned for its captivating scenery and fascinating cultural heritage. From the rolling pastures surrounding the town of Wigtown to the cozy seaside resorts of Portpatrick and Stranraer, Wigtownshire has something to offer everyone.

In our area guide, we delve into Wigtownshire's rich historical background, notable landmarks, and unique local lifestyle. Promising a variety of outdoor activities, a thriving local arts scene, and highly respected schools, Wigtownshire is an ideal location for those looking for a peaceful rural life with all the conveniences of modern living.

History of Wigtownshire

Wigtownshire has a vibrant history that dates back as far as the Iron Age, with historical remnants such as hill forts now surrounded by exquisite countryside. The region's status as a historic county was established in 1335 by royal warrant. Wigtownshire's coastal location made it an attractive area for settlement, with its harbours playing a key role in the area's economy. The area was heavily involved in the Covenanting period of Scotland's history, with Wigtown itself known as the 'Town of the Martyrs' due to the persecution of Covenanters.


Wigtownshire's natural and man-made landmarks are some of its most appealing features. Noteworthy is Wigtown, Scotland's national book town. It's an incredible haven for bibliophiles with a variety of bookshops and the annual Wigtown Book Festival. Stranraer, the second-largest town in Wigtownshire, is known for its stunning Loch Ryan and the bustling Harbour. Portpatrick's beautiful harbour and charming village-centric atmosphere is another draw.

Landmarks we love

  • Stranraer Museum: Located in the shadow of the old town hall, Stranraer Museum features a range of exhibits highlighting the region's history, from its early days to recent years.
  • Cairn Holy: A Stone Age burial site featuring two remarkable Neolithic stone chambers with stunning panoramic views.
  • Logan Botanic Garden: Enjoy a walk through exotic plant species at Scotland’s most exotic garden located at Logan House.
  • Kirkmadrine Stones: This historic site houses some of the oldest Christian monuments in Scotland.
  • Whithorn Priory: Known for its striking red sandstone ruins, it's one of Scotland's earliest Christian sites.

Top 10 things to do in Wigtownshire

  • Mull of Galloway Experience: Visit Scotland's southernmost point, featuring a historic lighthouse and breath-taking coastal views.
  • Wigtown Book Festival: As Scotland’s national book town, this ten-day literary celebration is a must-visit for book lovers.
  • Lochinch Castle: Explore the historic residence of the Earl and Countess of Stair with its stunning gardens.
  • Port Logan Fish Pond: A unique 18th-century tidal fish larder turned visitor attraction with a captivating marine life display.
  • Glenluce Abbey: Visit the serene ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey located in the tranquil valley of the Water of Luce.
  • RSPB Mull of Galloway: A nature reserve offering a chance to view a variety of birds and wildlife.
  • Walk the Southern Upland Way: A long-distance footpath offering splendid views of the Wigtownshire countryside.
  • Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve: Explore the magnificent landscapes of Wigtownshire, home to a vast variety of birdlife.
  • Glenwhan Gardens: Discover a burst of colours and fragrances in this beautifully nurtured garden.
  • Agnew Park: Enjoy a peaceful family day out at this picturesque park in Stranraer complete with a boating lake.

Our recommended areas to live in Wigtownshire

  • Wigtown: Known as Scotland's national book town, Wigtown offers a peaceful lifestyle with a strong sense of community.
  • Stranraer: Home to a variety of amenities and the bustling port of Loch Ryan, Stranraer is ideal for families and young professionals.
  • Portpatrick: This picturesque coastal town offers a relaxed lifestyle with stunning seascapes, renowned golf courses and charming pubs.
  • Newton Stewart: Known as the 'Gateway to the Galloway Hills' this market town offers a blend of outdoor and urban activities.
  • Whithorn: Rich in history and culture, Whithorn is best known for its links to Saint Ninian and offers a peaceful setting with stunning rural views.

Best schools in Wigtownshire

Wigtownshire boasts some fantastic schools, catering to students of all age groups. Stranraer Academy is renowned for its excellent education, dedicated staff, and nurturing environment. While Sheuchan Primary School is praised for its inclusive education and community spirit. The rural nature of Wigtownshire also enables children to grow up in a safe, peaceful and supportive environment while being engaged in outdoor learning activities. For younger children, Wigtown Primary School and Whithorn Primary School offer excellent early years education. Finally, for children with additional needs, the Rephad Primary School is a gem, featuring a dedicated support for learning team. All these schools offer a well-designed curriculum fit for today's learning needs.

Transport links in Wigtownshire

Despite its rural setting, Wigtownshire offers excellent connectivity through a network of well-maintained roads. The A75 and A77 are the two main roads that run through the county, providing convenient access to major towns and cities. The ferry port at Cairnryan offers services to Northern Ireland, making this a popular route for those travelling between Scotland and Ireland. For local transportation, bus services connect most towns, while rail services from Stranraer reach major cities like Glasgow. For air travel, Glasgow Prestwick Airport is the closest, offering both domestic and international flights.

Wigtownshire offers a tranquil and welcoming rural living experience with all the modern amenities. The region's thriving arts scene, outstanding natural beauty, and rich history make it an ideal place to put down roots. The excellent schools, local amenities, transport links, and magnificent surroundings combine to provide a lifestyle that's as relaxed as it is engaging. Whether you're seeking peaceful solitude or a sense of community, Wigtownshire has plenty to offer. Combining the best of both worlds; a serene countryside setting and excellent urban conveniences, Wigtownshire is an area that truly feels like home.

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