Castle Douglas in Dumfries, Scotland, is known for its historical importance, it is built next to Carlingwark Loch in which traces of prehistoric crannogs can be found. This is an evidence of early inhabitation of the area. Small Roman forts were situated nearby that were built around AD 81 but were abandoned soon after. Threave Castle is situated near Castle Dougles was a seat of the powerful "Black" Earls of Douglas. There is a small collection of cottages developed by the shores of Carlingwark, these cottages can still be seen on the Western approach to Castle Douglas and are known as the Buchan.
About Castle Douglas
Castle Douglas was built in 1792 by a wealthy descendant of the Douglas family, William Douglas, who made his money in an 'American Trade' and created this beautiful town on the shores of Carlingwark Loch. The town's layout is based upon the grid plan pattern of streets as used in Edinburgh's New Town, built around the same time. Sir William Douglas also took initiative to construct number of industries in Castle Douglas, including hand-woven cotton factories from which Cotton Street derives its name.
The completion of the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway in 1859 further improved the town's infrastructure facilities, and it soon developed into a major market town for the surrounding area. The hexagonal market building, which was built in 1900, is still being in constant use. Although the railway was closed in 1965 the A75 trunk road was developed roughly following the lines of the original military road and passed through Castle Douglas. The many hotels and pubs which derived from coach stops are an indication of the town's importance as a stopping place for travellers.
There are many tourist attractions available in Castle Douglas, prominent among them are the Castle Douglas Art Gallery, an offshoot of the Stewartry Museum at Kirkcudbright; Carlingwark Loch, an attractive lake and is home to numerous water birds; Threave Castle, the family castle of the Black Douglas line of the House of Douglas, it lies on an island in the middle of the River Dee, admission includes the very short ferry journey; and the Threave Gardens a National Trust for Scotland property. All these places offer a unique experience that would convert your holiday break into a special one to remember.
A short walk around the park beside Carlingwark Loch makes a very pleasant stroll. As a continuation there is the walk known as Lover's Walk, which goes out along the south shore of the loch to an area of marsh, from where further trails lead back to the town or on to Kelton Hill and Threave Gardens. Now there is also a walk leading from the town to Threave Castle, and there is a network of trails around the National Trust for Scotland property at Threave Gardens. Threave Castle and Threave Gardens are both to the west of the town and about 2km apart.
Castle Douglas is ideally located amidst Dalbeattie, Kirkudbridge, Dumfries, New Galloway and Newton Stewart. Hence, Castle Douglas is commonly used by tourists as a base for exploring the tourist scope offered by the surrounding areas.
Phone code: +44 (0)1556
Local Sights & Activities for Castle DouglasSightseeing
A mile southwest of town, off the A75 or reached by the lochside road, is Threave Garden, the NTS horticultural school's magnificent floral extravaganza. The best time to visit is early spring when over 200 types of daffodils burst into bloom, but it's a very colourful experience at any time of the year. In Spring 2002 Threave House will open to the public for the first time. It will contain a horticultural implement museum. Info: Gardens open daily all year from 0930 till sunset. Visitor Centre open Mar-Good Friday Wed-Sun 1000-1600; Easter-31 Oct daily 0930-1730; Nov-Christmas Wed-Sun 1000-1600 (hours subject to change). Check times and prices for House. £5, £.4 concession. Tel 502575.
Two miles further west at Bridge of Dee, a country lane branches north (right) and leads for about a mile to the start of a footpath which takes you to the gaunt tower of Threave Castle, standing alone on an island in the middle of the River Dee. Threave was built in the 14th century by Archibald 'the grim', third Earl of Douglas, and head of the 'Black' Douglas line. The Douglases were one of Scotland's most powerful baronial families and the main line, the 'Black' Douglases, were descended from 'the Good' Sir James, trusted friend of Robert the Bruce. The outer wall of the castle was added in 1450 in an unsuccessful attempt to defend it against King James II, who was determined to break the power of the maverick Border family. The Covenanters reduced Threave to its present ruinous state in 1640, and little remains of the interior. It's a romantic ruin nevertheless, especially as you have to be ferried across to the island. It's a 10-minute walk from the car park, then ring the bell for the custodian to take you across in a small rowing boat. Info: 1 Apr-30 Sep daily 0930-1830. £2.20, concession £1.60. Tel 0131-6688800 (HS).
The A713 runs north from Castle Douglas along the shores of long and skinny Loch Ken to New Galloway. The loch is a popular watersports centre, with sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, rowing and fishing. There's also an RSPB nature reserve on the west bank, and walking trails. Loch Ken Marina, Tel 01644-470220, at the village of Parton, on the east bank eight miles north of Castle Douglas, hires motor boats for water-skiing.
It's open Easter-31 October daily 0900-1700. Galloway Sailing Centre, Tel 01644-420626, Lochken also at Parton, offers watersports tuition and hire, as well as other activities such as quad biking and gorge scrambling, and basic dormitory accommodation (F). It's open 1 April-31 October daily 0900-1900; November-March daily till 1700. Fishing permits and boats are available at the marinas and the caravan parks. The village of Parton hosts the Scottish Alternative Games on the first Sunday in August. The various traditional Scottish games include the world finals of the Gird'n'Cleek competition, whatever that may be.
Castle Douglas Events
Castle Douglas Hotels & Accommodation
There is a camping and Caravan Park near Carlingwark Loch. There are adequate Accommodation in Castle Douglasthat ranges from luxurious hotels, comfortable guest houses and Bed and Breakfast.
There's lots of Accommodation in Castle Douglas, including the Crown Hotel, Tel 502031, The Crown Hotel the pleasant Douglas Arms Hotel, Tel 502331; and Imperial Hotel, Tel 502086. All are on King St and serve decent food.
On the outskirts of Castle Douglas, set in its own grounds is the wonderful Urr Valley Hotel, a charming country house hotel. Well recommended. Late Rooms Availability for Urr Valley Hotel in Castle Douglas
There are also many good value B&Bs and guesthouses. Try Craigvar House, 60 St Andrew St, Tel 503515, open Mar-Oct; or Albion House, 49 Ernespie Rd, Tel 502360, open Feb-Oct. There are several other places to stay along Ernespie Rd. A few miles northeast of town, at Haugh of Urr, is the peaceful and attractive Corbieton Cottage, Tel 660413.
Thirteen mile south of Castle Douglas, on the A711, is the village of Auchencairn, overlooking a lovely bay. There's a range of accommodation here, including the luxurious, award-winning Balcary Bay Hotel, Tel 640217, which has an excellent restaurant.
There's also a campsite at Lochside Caravan & Camping Site, beside the loch, Tel 503806, open Easter-late Oct; and at Loch Ken Holiday Park, by the village of Parton, Tel 01644-470282, open late Mar-early Nov.
Douglas House Bed & Breakfast Luxury Bed & Breakfast in center of Castle Douglas. 4 Star accommodation with all rooms en-suite Ground floor accommodation with wheelchair access. more details about Douglas House Bed & Breakfast
Self Catering Cottages in Castle Douglas
The best place to eat in Castle Douglas is Carlo's, 211 King St, Tel 503977, a moderately priced Italian restaurant. Eleven miles out of town, on the A712 near Crockettford, is Craigadam, Tel/Fax 650233, Craigadam where you can enjoy good home cooking at mid-range prices. They also offer B&B.
The King Street has numerous restaurants including the Italian, Chinese and Indian, which offer a variety of dishes to cater to the needs of the tourists from various parts of the world.
Travel Directions to Castle Douglas
Ins and outs
McEwan's bus Nos 501 and 505 run frequently from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright, stopping in Castle Douglas. Bus No 520 runs north along the east shore of Loch Ken from Castle Douglas to New Galloway and Dalry. Tourist Information Centre, Market Hill Car Park. Apr-Jun, Sep and Oct daily 1000-1630; Jul and Aug daily 1000-1800. Tel 502611. A good way to explore the area is by bike, and you can rent bikes at Ace Cycles, 11 Church Street, Tel 504542. Mountain bikes cost £10 per person per day.
Castle Douglas offers easy parking facilities. There is a large car park on the Market Hill at the top of the town next to the Tourist Information Centre. There is also free parking on many of the side streets that lead away from the town centre.