This is easily my favourite time of year. The weather may not be playing ball just yet, but on a sunny day in the garden you can just see that spring is on its way.
Snowdrops have been blooming for a few weeks now and we can see flecks of yellow amongst the greens of the Daffodils (my kids still call them Daffadandillies – a reference to the much-loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett).
Spring also means that many of the visitor attractions and gardens near us are opening their doors after what has been a particularly tough winter for many. Here we round up what is happening locally to to help with your advance planning or give you a head’s up before you set off! All of these are within about an hour’s drive of the house in Wigtown.
A roundhouse, a Saint and royal Pilgrims
Just down the road in Whithorn you’ll find a reconstruction of an Iron Age Roundhouse following finds on the site of two roundhouses during excavations in the 1980s. And at the Whithorn Trust, which opens on 1st April annually, you’ll find the startling history of Whithorn laid out. It is hard to imagine today’s sleepy town as a place of much importance but the founding of a Christian community in the town by St Ninian circa 397AD meant it later became a place of pilgrimmage. From the visit in 1302 by England’s furture King Edward II to its heyday in the late 1400s and early 1500s courtesy of visits from James IV, Whithorn flourished and trade thrived.
Red squirrels and Easter Eggs
Threave Garden & Estate are open now and have done a huge clear up job after the many storms that battered Scotland this past winter. They’ve recently announced they are once more able to open Kelton Hill wood and the Squirrel Hide. What a great place to visit and see Red Squirrels up close!
And if that’s not enticement enough they are also running Easter Egg Trails on Friday 15 April to Monday 18 April from 10am till 4pm! Follow the trail, collect the clues, solve the puzzle and win your chocolate-y reward! It’s £4 per trail and there’s no need to book.
Head to Space
Last summer the Dark Space Planetarium opened in Kirkcudbright offering a fabulous day exploring space. And it has the added bonus of being an excellent rainy day option to keep the kids amused! Of course if you are here before the clocks change, or indeed like staying up late why not book a tour with the Dark Sky Ranger who offers tours of the Dark Sky in the Galloway Forest Park. We were the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and still offer some of the best viewing of the celestial skies.
If you are a fan of whisky, check out Bladnoch Distillery – it has the advantage of being walking distance from our house in Wigtown! The distillery is under new ownership and has won a Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice award in 2021. There are a couple of tours with tastings depending on your level of interest.
And nestled on the edge of Newton Stewart you’ll find the award-winning Crafty Distillery, which offers tours of its distillery which produces gin and vodka with a tasting at the end. Panoramic views over the Galloway hills complete the experience.
Local attraction updates
If you have visited before you will notice that some of our visitor attractions have had to pivot owing to Coronavirus restrictions and are not quite the same as before. This is most noticeable at Cream o’ Galloway which no longer offers its vast children’s play areas. Now there are ice cream and cheese making workshops, farm tours and wildlife spotting galore – still a wonderful day out for the whole family. And until the end of March they are offering 50% off fees as part of Great Days Out in Scotland.
Castle Kennedy Gardens were severely hit by the storms but are in the process of cleaning up and hoping to open on 1st April – but worth checking their Facebook page to be sure.
The Cocoabean Company in Twynholm is in the midst of restoration work following a fire there last October. The much loved chocolate factory offers workshops, role play, outdoor play areas but it is closed through March while the work to refurbish the main building is ongoing. They are hoping to be fully open in time for the Easter holidays but again, check in with their Facebook page before heading off – better still book in advance.