The autumn is one of my favourite times in the southwest of Scotland and for visitors there are still plenty of activities to take part in. Inside or out there is a huge range of activities and here’s our top five of things not to miss. Be advised that owing to Coronavirus restrictions we HIGHLY recommend you book before arriving to secure your places so you can have your best ever half-term holiday!
Garden visits with a twist
At Castle Kennedy near Stranraer there is a Hallowe’en festival taking place throughout the month of October. You can try the Pumpkin trail or one with Witches and Wizards! For older children and adults there are various guided walks around the gardens which are spectacular in their autumnal colours.
Logan Botanic Garden in Port Logan is offering children oriented activities on the two Thursdays of half-term holidays – the first making kites and the second on scary skeletons with Hallowe’en in mind. There is also a guided autumnal colour walk, check their what’s on events page on their website for more info.
Ice-cream making workshops
At the wonderful Cream o’ Galloway near Gatehouse of Fleet there are fabulous ice cream making workshops for everyone to enjoy. Three people per station will spend approximately 90 minutes making a delicious concoction with the pasteurised milk from the organic cow with calf dairy farm. Once the work is done you can enjoy an ice cream tasting and of course, you get to take your own creation home with you.
Do the kids collectively groan when you suggest a family walk through the stunning Scottish countryside? Well, how about if you do it with cute, cuddly alpacas? There are three different farms within Dumfries and Galloway just waiting to introduce you to their amazing South American fuzzy friends. This will definitely be a story for the teacher when asked “What did you do on your holidays?”
Galloway Alpacas are the closest to Wigtown, situated outside of Gatehouse of Fleet in the Galloway and Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere – they offer a variety of alpaca trekking options through the wonderful countryside. Senwick Alpacas in Borgue near Kirkcudbright offer treks along the Solway Coast for stunning sea views. Slightly further afield are Nith Valley Alpacas offering expansive views from the top of their hills of the Nith Valley and surroundings.
Visit Viking Treasure
The Galloway Hoard, a collection of more than 100 artefacts dating from 900AD, will be on display at the Kirkcudbright Galleries. Found by a metal detectorist in Dumfries and Galloway in 2014, it is the most significant find of this time period anywhere in Britain or Ireland. The collection has been cleaned and preserved and investigated with modern techniques such as CT scans, X-rays and 3D modelling to tell us as much as possible about the significance of the objects ranging from jewellery to rarely found textiles.
Head for outer space
The newly opened Dark Space Planetarium in Kirkcudbright has a fully domed immersive screen to take you on a journey of the solar system, as well as interactive displays to engage and educate all ages. Find out about life on the International Space Station, try on the gloves an astronaut has to wear and learn plenty of fun facts about other planets and stars.