Interesting nearby towns and villages

Gatehouse is well placed for exploring the towns and villages of the Stewartry and Wigtownshire, whether it be art in Kirkcudbright, books in Wigtown, or food in Castle Douglas.  The area is rich in places to visit for all interests.

Kirkcudbright, twenty minutes drive to the east of Gatehouse, has an active port used by scallop dredgers, and a large marina often holding 50 yachts and cruisers. Its High Street contains fine Georgian houses interspersed with 'wynds', narrow entries between the houses leading to other smaller houses. It is known as the Art Town of Scotland because of its long association with artists: there are usually art exhibitions in the Tolbooth and in the Harbour Gallery. It houses the Stewartry Museum. Visit the official Kirkcudbright Community web site:

Castle Douglas, half an hour to the east of Gatehouse, calls itself the Food Town. It is particularly useful as a shopping centre, with its large Co-op supermarket, hardware store, and engineers who will service such things as outboard engines, motor mowers, etc. Visit the Castle Douglas Food Town site:


Newton Stewart, half an hour to the west of Gatehouse, is again a shopping town. It has an interesting museum run entirely by volunteers. Visit the official Newton Stewart web site:


Wigtown, some 45 minutes drive into Wigtownshire, is Scotland's National Book Town. It has 22 book shops (at the last count!), and by its old harbour a nature reserve for wild fowl, complete with an observation hide. Visit the official Wigtown Book Town web site:


Whithorn, about 1 hour's drive into Wigtownshire, has the remains of the mediaeval cathedral established in 1147. More recently, a well-publicised archaeological dig has exposed the site of the Candida Casa monastery, which existed from about 725 AD until the cathedral was built. A fine exhibition centre illustrates the archaeological history of Wigtownshire, displaying the artefacts found during the archaeological dig. Visit the Whithorn Trust web site:


The Isle of Whithorn, about ten minutes beyond Whithorn, is an ancient picturesque port about a fine natural bay. Here St Ninian landed in about 390 AD to bring Christianity to Scotland. The headland is an iron age defended fort. A few miles to the west lies St Ninian's cave, an interesting walk of about 30 minutes, with its ancient inscribed crosses.


Portpatrick on the west coast of Wigtownshire, 90 minutes drive from Gatehouse, was the original ferry port to Ireland. Always a jolly place, well frequented, with a touch of Cornwall about it.


The Mull of Galloway, the most southerly point of Scotland, is about two hours drive from Gatehouse. A cliff-top site, it is a sanctuary for many types of sea birds. From here you can see England, the Isle of Man, and Ireland.

Special Places


Caerlaverock Castle
One of Scotland's greatest medieval castles - about an hour away, south of Dumfries.  Can be combined with a visit to Sweetheart Abbey, the New Abbey Cornmill, (both also Historic Scotland), Caerlaverock Bird Reserve, or The National Museum of Costume at New Abbey. Historic Scotland:read more.

Dundrennan Abbey

Dundrennan Abbey
12th century Cistercian Abbey.  Beautiful fragments of a fine building in a pituresque location. Historic Scotland: Read more.  

Carsluith Castle

Carsluith Castle
Another local castle to the west of Gatehouse, a 16th century towerhouse, very well preserved and in the care of Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland:read more.  


There are two burial sites at Cairnholy dating from Neolithic times, both very well preserved and commanding fine views over Wigtown Bay.  Cairnholy I is notable for the impressive facade, in front of which, archaeological evidence suggests, ceremonies took place.  More.  

The Mill on the Fleet

The Mill on the Fleet is a restored Mill, once part of Gatehouse's main mill complex.  It is now a visitor and exhibition centre with a varied programme of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, as well as displays on the history and heritage of Gatehouse and the Fleet Valley.  The Mill also houses the Tourist Information Centre, the Riverside Café, a shop, and a bookshop. More.  

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